(Newspapers of Ohio)

Misc. Ohio Newspapers
1880-1899 Articles

Kirtland Temple, Stereo Pair, late 1880s

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Articles Index  |  Painesville Telegraph


Zanesville  Daily  Courier.
Vol. ?                               Zanesville, Ohio, February 7, 1880.                               No. ?


In November, 1817, a society of people called the Vermont Pilgrims made their appearance in Zanesville. This society originated in Lower Canada, and in May, 1817, emigrated to Woodstock, Vermont. After sojourning a short time in the latter place they started South, traveling through New Jersey, Virginia, and thence through Eastern Ohio to Zanesville. Very few persons are now living that can call to mind anything definite in regard to these deluded people. The following sketch is from the Zanesville Express, dated November 5, 1817.

"Our readers will see in this day's paper an account of a set of adventurers, under the demonination of the Vermont Pilgrims, who have commenced the peregrinations, pretty much in the style of the European Gypsies. We understand they were lately seen near St. Clairsville, Ohio. Their appearance and manner are represented as odious and disgusting. Their object, they say, is the good of mankind, which they endeavor to attain by the most repelling examples. Their Prophet announces that he has the power of casting out devils, and that he intends shortly to commence business. It is painful to observe, that in this enlightened age, such imposture or delusion should be countenanced in society; that fanaticism should still find followers, and enthusiasm so preposterous gain if this singular pilgrim has really advocates among us. But the power he professes, we think he would have found sufficient employment at home."

From the Albany Gazette, October 13, 1817:

A correspondent informs us that five wagons, loaded with the household goods, men, women and children of this sect, passed through Cherry Valley, Otsego Co., on the 25th ult, on their way to Ohio. The men and women were pressed through Sussex (N.J.) and were as they allege, followers of the same prophet. They call themselves the true followers of Christ. Their pretended prophet came from Canada a few months since, and is a man of austere habits; and a great fanatic. His followers are not yet numerous, but it is thought he will increase them. He rejects surnames, and abolished marriage, and always has his followers to cohabit promiscuously. The men eat their food in an erect posture, and the women when they pray, prostrate themselves on the ground with their faces downwards. They frequently do penance for sins, and seem to make uncleanliness a virtue. They allege that their prophet has not changed his clothes for seven years. There was with the party above described a deluded woman, who it is said had always sustained a fair character, and who left a husband in affluent circumstances and a family of children, to follow this prophet. It is probable, the object of the leader of this sect, was to draw as many after him as possible, and to form in some of the Western States, a new settlement, similar to the one made by Jeminia Wilkinson in this state.


From the Virginia Patriot:

I noticed in one of your late papers some account of several pilgrims who were then in New Jersey on their way from Woodstock, in Vermont, to the south. Their pilgrimage, it appears, commenced in Lower Canada. I believe in May or June last, in which province, it is understood, they had just before been tried before one of the King's Courts, on a charge of murdering one of their children; or in other words, administering to it a decoction from a poisonous bark (by command of the Lord), although the proof of the fact was not of that positive character, which a conviction for murder demanded. Yet so fully convinced, were the Canadians of their guilt, that a march became it is said, the last resort, of this new sect.

At Woodstock, in the State of Vermont, they successively arrived and tarried several weeks; made some proselytes, and otherwise added to their numbers. Beneath the roof of a Christian preacher, their devout professions procured them a hospital protection, and so incessant were their professed addresses to, and communications with invisible beings with whom they pretended at times to hold converse in the most unmeaning gibberage; added to their dirty caps, bear skin girdles, and long beards, their fame went abroad, and not a few visitors, (among whom was the writer of this article) did curiosity lead to their habitation.

They observed times of fasting, wore sackcloth and ashes -- frequently denounced woes upon persons and villages, and often fell prostrate to the earth in their devotions. Strange as it may appear, such a sect gained proselytes -- and the worthy man whose hospitable doors had been opened to these strangers, saw members of his family assume the girdle and ape their manners, whether they also commenced a pilgrimage, I am not informed. Should these people, in executing there [their] plan ever be able to visit Virginia, it is hoped that their reception may be such, especially by the guardians of the public peace, as such pilgrims shall justly deserve.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Zanesville  Daily  Courier.
Vol. ?                               Zanesville, Ohio, February 14, 1880.                               No. ?


From the Zanesville Express, Nov. 20, 1817.

The Prophet and Pilgrims: -- As this part of community may feel anxious to know something of a new sect, (I will not say a Christian sect) who have made their appearance here from Lower Canada and Vermont, composed of a leader by the name of Ballard, who call themselves Pilgrims. I have thought proper to forward you the following, which is about all of the information in my possession respecting them.

On their first arriving in town a meeting was notified at the Court House, at this place, where an exportation was given by on of their party, Mr. Holmes, the only man of any considerable talents among them, who has been a Methodist preacher about twelve years in Vermont. Although Mr. Holmes preached (as he called it) without a text, and wandered without system, upon various subjects, yet he made use of many pithy, common place expressions, which would have been well received by the community at large, had they not visited the Prophet and his group, at home when it is presumed no person possessing a mediocrity of talent, could retain five minutes in suspense relative to the sincerity of Ballard, the Prophet, who wears every feature and gesture of a consummated scoundrel

He has frequent paroxisms in which he utters the most unmeaning gibberish, which he calls an unknown tongue, in which he pretends to converse with the Diety, which is composed at most, if not more than four sounds, which he will successively repeat from two to five minutes, which length of time he has more than once been known to occupy in the reiteration of Bab-Wab alone. The discerning mind may easily behold in this pretended Prophet the sum of his wishes to destroy all civil establishments, disannul marriage under the spurious pretence that Jesus Christ is the bridegroom, and all his followers are the bride, and consequently need no civil restrictions to govern their passions, but that those passions in them, and their gratifications are without sin, all being conducted with an eye "single to the glory of God" -- that they cannot sin as long as they are followers of the Prophet.

in fact this wildness of speculation, this depravity of principle and pursuit, this destruction of every principle of religion and reason, impelled them to leave a section of the country where little was to be expected from a people generally enlightened, and seek a remote section, offering less mental light, where they might, with greater certainty of success execute their designs, enjoy boundless sway, and support themselves in idleness, sloth and gratifications of their lusts, under the names of morality and religion, upon the ruins of a misguided community. They say that the spirit of God has directed them to make a settlement in the town of Pike, on Derby Creek, whither they are bound.

We would advise the inhabitants of Pike, to beware; that in proportion as they value morality and religion, or revere the laws of civilization to be cautious how they admit an enemy into their houses, to steal away their brains. From all we can gather from this slothful, dirty group, we are disposed to say that they practice indiscriminated cohabitatation, openly profess the power and gift of Prophecy, pretend to heal the sick by various incantations, and that they are fast progressing to such perfectability, through the instrumentability of fasting and prayer, as to be soon able to raise the dead, who (to use their own expressions) die in the Lord. Some of them have stated, since they have been in this place, that from scripture, they thought they could draw strong proof that they should never die; and went to quote several texts, which have strict reference to spiritual death.

The writer of this has spent much time with them (foolishly) to satisfy his mind relative to their doctrine their motives, etc. He has found them generally aloof to conversation; and if at any time they attempted to answer his enquiries, it has been in an evasive way, introducing a different subject with the answer. Never did a young pedagogue command more obsequiousances from his pupils in a country school, than does this Prophet from his followers; they groan when he groans, shout when he shouts, and ape him in his every monkey trick; flying at his command with such servile agility, that a bystander might well conclude that they verily believed that the keys of heaven and hell were suspended upon his bear skin girdle. In this sect we see a striking proof of the awful strides which mankind have made in every instance, who have left the church of Christ and its cannons, handed down by the Apostles and their immediate successors, and taught for doctrines, the command of men.

When the Pilgrims arrived in Zanesville they stopped upon an open lot on the southwest corner of Locust alley and Fifth street, ground now occupied by the residence of Mrs. J. V. Cushing. Upon their entrance into town the old Prophet led the way, carrying a long crooked head staff. It was a shepherd's staff, and as he walked he would bring it down every time he stepped from his right foot, at the same time muttering something to himself, his converts, male and female, following, in single file, in a half circle, and all keeping time with the Prophet. The wagons, containing the children and invalids, brought up the rear. They attracted a large crowd of men and boys. After pitching their tents and partaking of dinner, a meeting was called in front of the Court House, where a Mr. Holmes, formerly a Methodist minister, delivered an exhortation. At these meetings the women would occasionally exhort. The writer, when a boy, with others, would often visit their camping ground, curiousity prompting the desire to see them go through their devotional exercises. They seemed to be very devoted to their peculiar mode of worship, the women frequently lying face downward, and making all manner of gestures, the old Prophet at the same time going through with his gibberage, something he didn't understand, nor anybody else. The boys, at that time, called it "Hog Latin." The men all wore long beards, also caps, long gowns, and bearskin girdles around them. When any person joined their sect they termed it "a taking of the girdle." The Prophet would go through a great deal of palavering over the girdle, as though it was a sacred article. They were a queer looking set, and as they went about the streets the boys would recite the following:

Hark, hark, the dogs do bark.
The Pilgrims have come to town.
Some in rags and some in tags.
And some in dirty gowns.

It annoyed them considerably. It is said that had some of the women and girls been decently attired, they would have made rather a handsome appearance. The Prophet, Ballard, with his long beard, dirty gown, and bearskin girdle, looked like one of the Patriarchs of old. The pilgrims had two or three songs which they would sometimes sing in going about the town. They remained in Zanesville and Putnam over two weeks, their destination being the Darby Plains, on Big Darby Creek, northwest of Columbus. One convert was the result of their labors in Zanesville. He started away with them. His two brother-in-laws followed, and persuaded him to return. He was a well meaning man, but was carried away with the name of Pilgrim and the promised land. After leaving Putnam they went through Lancaster, Lithopolis, Columbus and Franklinton to the town of Piketon, on the Darby Plains. Upon their arrival there the citizens would not allow them to stoop, and they continued to wander around, from one place to another for several weeks. Mr. Wm. H. Griffith, a resident of Underwood street, informed the writer that at this time he was living with his father on the Darby Plains, and had met the Pilgrims many times in traveling from place to place, the old Prophet always in the lead.

Capt. John Dulty, still living, told the writer that in the spring of 1818, as he was crossing the mountains for stock, near Greensburg, east of Pittsburgh, he overtook a woman, walking and carrying a bundle. He thought he had seen her in Zanesville, and inquired if she was not one of the Pilgrims. She answered that she was, and informed him that the Pilgrims, after being warned away from the Darby Plains they traveled from place to place, and finally started for the Promised land in the Arkansas canebrakes, to build up a settlement there by sending out missionaries. In traveling in a northwesterly direction from Dayton into Indiana, the smallpox broke out in their encampment, and the Prophet and several of the leading men died with the disease. That scattered the members and broke up the clan. With the death of Ballard, the Prophet, ended the life of one of the greatest of impostors. The press throughout the country commented severely on this ridiculous sect, called the Vermont Pilgrims.

Note: See the Zanesville Times Recorder of July 6, 1969 for information concerning the writer of the above 1880 article (Elihah H. Church) and for more about the 1817 visitation of the Prophet Isaac Bullard's "Vermont Pilgrims."


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  June 3, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


Hiram is Township No. 5, in the seventh range of townships in the Connecticut Western Reserve, in the State of Ohio (formerly called New Connecticut.) The township was drawn in the partition of the lands of the Connecticut Land Company by the following original proprietors, viz: Col. Daniel Tilden, Daniel Green, Joseph Metcalf, Levi Case, John Fitch and Joseph Burnham, of Lebanon, Windham county, Conn., and Joseph Perkins of Ashford, in the same county, upon the Draft. They were all Free Masons, and, at a Lodge meeting one evening Col. Tilden proposed to call the township Hiram, in commemoration of the King of Tyre, which was unanimously agreed to....

(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

Elijah Mason with his two sons, Roswell M. and Peleg S., aged respectively 17 and 19 years, Mason Tilden (son of Col. Daniel Tilden) of Cannestres, and Elisha Hutchinson, from Herkimer, New York, started early in the spring for New Connecticut, leaving their families at home. They had visited the township and located their lands the year before 1802. Arriving in Hiram, Elijah Mason began to make improvements on the west half of lot 23, and cleared about twenty-two acres in a rectilinear shape, extending westward from the Center about one-fourth of a mile, on which he sowed for a crop of wheat and built a log cabin. Elisha Hutchinson cleared twenty acres and built a cabin on lot 23 near where Zeb Rudolph's house now stands. Mason Tilden in like manner cleared and built on lot 23 or 22. ... They bought all their provisions in Warren, then a little collection of about half a dozen log houses, and where all the merchandizing for a large section was done then and for a considerable time afterwards. The goods brought here were very expensive and had to be transported through the woods to their homes, making them still more costly. Three of their hired men, Jacob and Samuel Wirt, and Richard Redden, from Pennsylvania, were so much pleased with the township that they determined to settle in it. Redden bought out Flemmings and sent of went for his father and family who arrived in the fall, and who were the first white family that wintered in the township. The Wirts bought the east half of lot 38 on which Dea. E. M. Young now lives. The number of white inhabitants in the township this winter was nine. Mason Tilden and Hutchinson had gone east in the fall and commenced at once preparing for an early emigration in the spring. Many others also were induced to emigrate as soon as the condition of the roads would permit. Roswell and Peleg Mason objected for themselves to going again into the woods of the Reserve, which considerably perplexed their father, inasmuch as he was somewhat dependent on them for help. He was, however, resolved to follow his previous intention but Gov. Marsh, who was the father of his first wife, and whom he visited in Vermont prior to starting, during the winter advised him under the circumstances, to purchase a particular farm in that State, which, to use his own language, he "was fool enough to do!"


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  June 10, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

In the fall of 1807 Gershom Judson then a widower living in Mantua, was married to Miss Sarah Redden, by Elder West [sic - Wirt?] of Nelson. This was the first marriage that transpired in Hiram. The first mill in the township was built by Lemuel Punderson, at the Cuyahoga Rapids, in 1807, for Esq. Law, of Cheshire, Connecticut; a flood came in the fall and carried it off. In 1808 the dam was rebuilt and a saw mill put in operation. This mill was superseded by others by the Messrs. Canfield, which afterwards passed into the hands of Garrett & Quinbys and Philbrick & Rice and these mills were made famous by the great Pope and Rice lawsuits of recent occurrence, and which cost the parties several thousand dollars. For a few years prior to the erection of these mills lumber had to be obtained at Garrettsville, and before the building of Garrett's mill, sawed lumber was not in fashion, but a sort of split plank called puncheon used in its stead. The most of the settlers up to this time were from Pennsylvania. They had come poor, but were hospitable and generous to a fault. Some of them were at first squatters, settling upon land and improving it until somebody appear[ed] from whom they could get a title. These improvements, or betterments as they were termed, were frequently the subjects of sale, and sometimes constituted all the wealth which the settlers were able to gather around them for many years. The first road in the north part of Portage County was laid in 1800 from Warren to Cleveland through the center of Hiram to the west line of lot 24 in Mantua, where it turned southwesterly to Esq. Sheldons, in Aurora, thence northwesterly to the Center of Aurora. In 1806 the road was laid through Garrettsville and the south part of Hiram. On the organization of Portage County, in 1808, Hiram included Mantua, Shalersville, Freedom, Windham, and Nelson, At the October election of that year 42 votes were given, among which those of Delaun Mills, of Nelson, John Redden, of Hiram, Amzi Atwater, of Mantua, and Joel Baker, of Shalersville; William Kennedy was elected Justice of the Peace, and all set down as done in Hiram. Party politics could not have run very high at that time, as out of forty-two votes given Thomas Worthington had thirty-nine for Governor, Jeremiah Morrow had forty for Congress, David Abbott forty for Senator, and Abel Sabin thirty-eight for Representative. From 1809 the yankee element predominated among the incoming settlers until in a few years New England had a great majority of representatives in Hiram. This year Thomas Johnson, an Irishman from Braceville, Trumbull county, came and bought out the Wirts, (who moved away) contracting to pay them for the land in whiskey, which was considered a good substitute for that then very scarce commodity -- money. The number of inhabitants now in the township was about twenty. Simon Babcock, in the summer of 1809 or 1810, came from Lebanon, Connecticut, with a two horse team and settled on lot 22, near where Horace Munn now lives. Col. Daniel Tilden had given Mrs. Babcock, who was his daughter, two hundred acres of land in Hiram. In 1810 Parley Hughes came from Hartford, Vt. with a yoke [of] oxen and settled where Elijah Mason had begun improvements, he having purchased the land before leaving Vermont. The improvements he found upon this land were worth but little, as fire running in the woods had destroyed most of the fences, and the neglected underbrush had grown thickly over it. Hughes brought many farming and mechanic tools with him, which proved very valuable, as there had been up to this time, great scarcity of such implements in the settlement.


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  June 17, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


In the fall of the same year [1810] his [Parley Hughes'] son-in-law Ephraim Hackett arrived with his family and settled on the west part of the east half of lot 22 near where Alexander now lives. The population was now augmented to about 30. In June, 1810, Orrin Pitkin and wife came from the same place with a span of horses and settled on the east one hundred acres of lot 32 where A. Honey made a quite small improvement in 1800. Elijah Mason was to give Mrs. Pitkin, his daughter, one hundred acres of land of her own selection, but she traded her right to her brother Roswell for the land on which they settled. Pitkin was to pay one hundred dollars for the betterments but he never paid the money and Roswell never gave the title which finally passed into the hands of Miles T. Norton by the way of Judge Norton, of Middlebury....

(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  June 24, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


Benjamin Hinckley and family arrived in September 1813 from Connecticut and settled on the west part of the west half of lot 38, the improvements on which he bought of Dyson obtaining his title elsewhere. He purchased considerable land besides. There were now in Hiram thirteen families, embracing sixty-four persons, twenty-nine of whom were adults. Of this twenty-nine none are now known to be living. In the fall of this year a log school house was built upon a spot then called Popular Ridge, about a half mile south of the center of the township near the top of the hill south of where Benjamin Tilden's house now stands. In this house the first school was taught the ensuing winter by Benjamin Hinckley. He begun his school on the 13th of December and taught ten weeks, having an attendance of twenty scholars. The names of the scholars were as follows: Betsy Young, James I. Young, L. P. Young, Andrew Young, Lydia Young, Sally Young, John C. Young, Orrin Hutchinson, Harriet Hutchinson, John Dyson, James Dyson, Sarepta Hughes, Polly Hughes, Samuel Johnson, Alex. Johnson, Susan Johnson, Susan Hinckley, Ann Hinckley, Peggy Hampton and ______ Judson. Six of those are now known to be living, viz: Betsey L. Harris, Susan H. Proctor, James I. Young, John C. Young, Capt. Andrew Young, and Alexander Johnson. In his school book is the following entry: "Father of light and life. Thou God supreme; Oh teach me what is good! Teach me thyself! Save me from folly, vanity, and vice -- from every low pursuit, and feed my soul with knowledge, conscious peace, and virtue fine, sacred, substantial, never failing bliss." He was a surveyor and Justice of the Peace, and set out the beautiful row of maple trees now standing in front of Eber D. Hinckley's house and farm.

From this time schools were maintained in the township. At this time Hiram was but one school district, but in 1816 the township was divided into two which were known respectively as the center and south road districts, in each of which a log school house was built soon after the districts were formed. These houses served the people for all public purposes....

(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

In the winter of 1816 Symonds and Jason Ryder with their father, mother, and sisters, arrived and settled on lands previously located by Symonds, who had built a cabin near to where Jason and his son John J. now reside. They afterwards divided their lands, Jason retaining the homestead and Symonds building where Hartwell and son now reside....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  July 1, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


It was this year [1816] that the first post-office in Hiram was opened at the Center. Thomas F. Young was appointed Post Master, which office he held for thirty-six years, until the day of his death, which occurred on the 27th of November, 1852, at the age of 67....

(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

This year [1818] Gersham Judson came from Mantua and began on lot 31, afterwards sold to Paul Pitkin and moved to Illinois or Missouri and died there leaving a large family. Stephen B. Pulsifer and family arrived in the township and settled on lot 19. Ira Herrick with his father and mother began at the east end of lot 33. Daniel Tilden, Benjamin Tilden, John Tilden and Polly Tilden arrived sometime during the spring of this year. Daniel settled on lot 31, which he afterwards sold to Samuel Udall. John Tilden settled on the west half of lot 28, but his father, Benjamin Tilden lived with his son Arunah, who had arrived the year previous. In October Ebenezer Piney arrived and settled on the southeast part of lot 31, which afterwards passed into the hands of Samuel Udall and then to Lucy Judson and is now owned by Hartwell Ryder. These arrivals, which were all in 1817, augmented the population to about one hundred and twenty.

Early in January, 1818 Daniel Hampton came from Trumbull County and settled on the west part of the east half of lot 33. About the 23d of January, 1818, John Johnson, Samuel Udall, Martin Miller, Charles Loomis and Thomas Cowen left Pomfret and Hartford, Vermont, with their families, which were large, all bound for Hiram. Johnson had two or three yoke of oxen, one span of horses and two cows. Udall had four yoke of oxen, three horses and one cow. Loomis, Miller and Cowen also had teams of oxen and horses. Cows were brought mostly for their milk on the road, as the several families mostly boarded themselves. The snow was deep all the way and they were about six weeks on the road, arriving in Hiram on the fourth day of March. Mr. Johnson settled on the west ends of lots 22 and 39, where he had caused a cabin to be built the year before, and where William W. Stevens now lives. Mr. Udall moved into a cabin owned by Mr. Hutchinson, where Zeb Rudolph now lives, and bought and settled on the west halves of lots 24 and 27. Mr. Loomis settled on the middle part of lot 39 where Nelson Udall now lives. Mr. Miller settled on the west half of lot 36, the land now owned by Bela Wheeler. Mr. Cowen first moved into a cabin owned by Richard Redden, and afterwards to Miles T. Norton's cabin.... There were four men now in Hiram who had served in the war of the Revolution. They were Col. Daniel Tilden, who was a lieutenant, and who was a pensioner, old Mr. Turner, also a pensioner, Elijah Mason, of the Connecticut Militia, and Christopher Redden of the New Jersey Militia. About 1820 or 22, Deacon John Rudolph, who had lived in Nelson since 1806, moved into Hiram near where Mr. Orman Newcomb now lives. He had a large family among which were John Jr. and Zeb, both now residents of Hiram, and have lived in Nelson and Hiram about seventy-five years. John married for his first wife a daughter of Judge Atwater, of Mantua, and raised a large family. Zeb married a daughter of Elijah Mason, and is the father of General Garfield's wife. The family emigrated to Ohio from Maryland, John Jr. being about six years old when his father moved into Garrettsville; he was married and moved into Hiram about the same time or a little before his father did, his residence having for the past fifty or sixty years been where he and his son James now live.


Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  July 8, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


A few anecdotes will serve to illustrate the status in many respects, of the community of Hiram in the early day, but while reading them, it should be remembered that crudity of ideas in regard to some things, is excusable in men who are proficient in matters pertaining to their particular avocations....

(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

During the year 1820, the first frame school house was begun in the south road school district, and after much effort was completed. In the Center district a little time afterwards, a frame building was put up to subserve the purpose of a school house, and with a Masonic hall above, but it was never completed. Some years previous to this Thomas Johnson and Elisha Hutchinson built each a frame barn which were the first two frame buildings in the town. About the same time, 1819 or 20, Jesse Bruce came into the township with his family and built the first frame dwelling house in the township. It stood on the hill a few rods east of Alvah Udall's barn on lot 25; a few years later he moved on to the east part of lot 24, and died there. He was one of the first carpenters in the township and put up many buildings; his family moved to the Western States.

In 1819 the first military company was organized by the election of Symonds Ryder, captain; (Ryder had previously been an ensign in the company formed by Hiram and Nelson) Orrin Hutchinson lieutenant; Silas Raymond, ensign; John Tilden, orderly sergeant; George Udall, drummer; John M. Tilden, fifer. Udall and Tilden afterwards became drum and fife majors of the regiment....


Forty Years.

Forty years ago on the 28th of June, the year 1840, (on a pleasant Sabbath evening) could have been see Wm. E. Jones and Augusta E. Bump of Mantua, quietly wending their way along the rough and newly-cut road through unbroken forests, to the rude and humble home of Symonds Ryder, to have their willing hands and loving hearts which had long been one in the sight of God, but now to be joined in the sight of man, never to be severed until He who gave should call them home. They found the good man quietly milking his cow, but he soon rolled down his sleeves of home-spun linen and quickly joined the happy pair in the bands of wedlock, gave them his blessing, and they went on their way rejoicing....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  July 15, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

From the date of the first preaching in 1815 to 1835, all sorts of doctrines were promulgated by all sorts of preachers, and it was the peculiar aptness of the people to listen to new isms, that induced the Mormons, then beginning to gather in Kirtland, to turn their attention to Hiram. In the winter of 1831 Joseph Smith, Jr., with others, had an appointment to preach at the south school house and such was the apparent purity of his religion, which went by the name of "liberal," that he won for himself and it many friends. During the next spring and summer several converts were made and matters seemed to be going on prosperously for the "Latter Day Saints." Soon, however, very luckily for their dupes, they went temporarily to Missouri, probably to locate a State [sic - Stake] of Zion, and accidently left behind them papers which discovered to the public some of the dirty ropes and pulleys that worked the machinery of their church behind the well-painted screen that they exhibited to the Gentile world. Those papers revealed a deeply laid plot to get possession of the property of their converts and place it under control of Joseph Smith, their prophet. This opened the eyes of the Hiramites and by fall the Mormon church in the township was [a] very lank concern. It was determined by some not to suffer this flagrant attempt at humbug and swindle to pass with impunity. Accordingly in March, 1832, a company of men from Shalersville, Garrettsville, and Hiram, went under cover of night to Mormon headquarters and took the saints, Smith and Rigdon, from their beds, and denuding them of their sleeping costumes, gave them a plentiful covering with tar and feathers and at the same time gave them the pleasure of "riding on a rail." That manner of rail riding is presumed to be not quite so enjoyable as the present mode of rail riding. This produced the desired result, for the township was soon purged of their presence. They went to Kirtland where Mormonism flourished until 1837, when their emigration to Missouri took place. It is highly probable that had it not been for the discovery of this plot and the resulting tar and feather visitation of the prophets, that Hiram would have been revealed to be a State [sic - Stake] of Zion. Several of the men who engaged in this summary proceeding are still living, no doubt with the consciousness of having contributed a public benefaction, while others perhaps with more deliberate judgment would decide that mobs and persecutions were not conducive to the welfare of mankind and do not tend to the eradication of evil.

The prevailing religious sentiment up to this had been and for a short time subsequent continued to be, Baptist. This denomination had a small church building at the Rapids which has since been burned. The Congregationalists also had a small church organization at the same place, but it proved too weak to sustain itself. On the first day of March 1835 a church of Disciples was organized at the south road school house, consisting at first of thirteen members. In one year its membership embraced twenty-one, and it continued to steadily increase and prosper until it now numbers between two and three hundred. In 1844 its members erected a church building at the Center which was burned in about twelve years thereafter to be succeeded by the fine and commodious brick edifice that now stands upon the site of the old building....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                               Garrettsville, Ohio, Thursday,  July 22, 1880.                               No. ?

Early  History  of  Hiram.

History of the Early settlements of the Township of Hiram.


(see Udall Compilation for remainder of text)

The Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, as it was named in its first charter granted in 1850, and Hiram College as re-chartered in 1867, has now long been considered, wherever it is known, to be one of the best institutions of learning in Northern Ohio....

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Stark [ County ] Democrat.

Vol. 47.                             Canton, Ohio, Thursday, October 7, 1880.                             No. 19.



Talmage Desires to Have the Utah Polygamists
Forthwith Banished, Reformed, or Locked Up.


Text Gen. 19:24. "Then the Lord rained upon Sodom brimstone and fire out of heaven."

Sodom and Salt Lake City are eynonyomous. You can hardly think of one without thinking of the other. Both rested in the midst of fertile plains, Sodom and Utah. Both were near salt and fish-less seas. Both were the capitals of the most accursed wickedness. Both are doomed. In 1857 a company of emigrants from Arkansas set out to better their condition in California. They were good, respectable people, but they did what appears to me a most terrible thing -- made the transit of the continent by an emigrant wagon. They suffered everything on their way. By night fires kept away the wolves. By day they stared danger and starvation in the face; tender womanhood and children were there crying for rest. There were 179 in the company, and their way lay across Utah territory. It had been the custom for the emigrant trains to stop in the Utah country and take in new supplies of provision; but Brigham Young had heard of this company, and forbade any one extending even the hand of bought kindness to these emigrants and why? It was a revenge for the fate of Elder Pratt, who had been killed in Arkansas where he had stolen away a man's wife and brought her into Momonism. On, on went the emigrant train, suffering all indignities, until they came into Mountain Meadow. The Indians dashed down upon them, but a temporary barricade was successfully thrown up. Then the Mormon militia came down to their murderous work; but you know how men fight when they are fighting for their wives and children. They were imprisoned in a death-trap, and oh, how they suffered for water, with the spring justt outside, under the sweep of the Mormon rifles. Two little girls, clad in white, were sent out from the barricade to get water. No sooner were they seen than they were shot dead; appeals were made, and three brave fellows volunteered to go out to make the attempt to push on to California and secure help. They were prayed for by the whole band and went out to be butchered. Time passed by and one day wagons were seen coming. They were met, and assurance was given the emigrants that they could pass on peacefully upon giving up their arms. They laid them down and walked out -- first the men, then the women and the children. Then came that blot upon our country's record, the Mountain Meadow massacre. Mormon rifles and daggers and knives slew all save a few little children who were thought too little to tell the story. Women sick within the barricade were taken out into the presence of their murdered husbands, stripped of their clothing, and hurled, as they received their death wounds, upon the heap of corpses. Stock and jewelry, dresses and effects, in all $300,000 worth, were taken by the Mormon government. Years after, one of those saved children saw a dress in the possession of a Mormon woman, and exclaimed, "That is the dress that mamma used to wear. Oh! what have you done with my mother?" John D. Lee was the presiding spirit of that massacre; and when, fifteen years after, he gave his testimony, he said he had orders to do what he did, and that the property taken went to the Mormon power. Gen. Carleton passed over the grounds and gathered the skeletons of the martyrs into decent graves, placed over them the inscription, ''Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." No wonder Brigham Young, when he saw it, ordered it to be torn down.

It is this same Mormonism that I arraign to-day for trial before you, a jury of American people, for disgracing manhood and dishonoring womanhood. Gory, ghastly, hideous, revolting Mormonism, stand up and look into the faces of the American jury that is to try you. This summer, as well as on a previous occasion, I had the opportunity of inspecting this iniquity and of asking many questions, and having them answered by anti-Mormons and Mormons. The Governor of Utah called upon me and asked me, and asked me, when I got home, to present the subject to the people of the East. I promised to do so, and this morning I redeem that promise. They tell us it is dying out. It is a lie. Seven hundred and fifty arrived but a few days before we got there; ten thousand have been added the past year, and 300 miasionaries are now out to gather up victims from other lands. Our own fair East, and Great Britain, Norway and Sweden are scoured by the licensed procurers, and only recently a number of Scotch Presbyterians fell into their hands. These missionaries are compelled to go out, for this whole system is cruel and Herodic. These missionaries go to those who have to struggle for life, and beguile the weary with fair promises. "Come with us to Utah and we will give you farms and gardens of your own." No wonder some of these people flee from poverty to get into a most stupendous swindle -- for you sho'd see them carrying the tenth of their incomes to the tithing houses. They are taxed till the blood comes, and the only escape is the grave. I charge Mormonism with being one great cruelty. No one denies the existence of the Danites. The Hickman butcheries were Brigham Young's own, and he should have fallen for their expiation. I saw a cellar in which a mother and her two sons had been murdered, for no reason but that they had divulged the secrets of the Endowment House. They have a delicious vernacular. When they speak of putting a party to death, he either has "met with an accident," or "has been unfortunate," or "has been cut off just below the ears." Why have these atrocities stopped? Because a regiment of United States troops are stationed on the hills overlooking the city, and may at any time rake the city with shrapnel. Not because Mormonism is any the less brutal and bloody, but because it has not the courage, is it now in comparative rest.

I charge Mormonism with treachery to the United States Government. There is an oath taken in the Endowment House which is above all other oaths, and perjury is not such when it merely breaks a Gentile or Government oath. Mormonism hates the United States Government, and is a thorn in the side of the Constitution. There is a man in Salt Lake City who had for his wives a mother, grandmother and granddaughter. As the family increases, the house is increased in size; forgetting that no house is large enough to hold two women married to the same men -- (applause and laughter) -- marriage becomes a farce for there never yet was a woman who could truthfully divide a husband's affection with another. They may smile, but they have no mirth. An aged woman in Mormonism is a wretched object, in other lands and in civilized communities the softer chair is the throne of the grandmother. As her wrinkles increase, so do our love and veneration for her. But in the Mormon house, when when women get old they are pushed backward and outward, as the younger rivals take their place and in turn give way to others, Mormonism is hell. This corpse has been rotting in the sun out on our fair plains of the West for forty years, and the United States Government has not had courage to bury it. (Applause.) All the time it has been growinig in influence. Once it meant Utah; now it means Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, while the circle is widening as the influence goes forth to debach the nation. Mormonism receives $1,000,000,000 [sic] a year from her tithing system She has plenty of money to influence national legislation. When a committee of Congress was appointed to examine, one of the members asked why all this fuss about polygamy, because the Mormons make the having of four wives a part of their religion; while some members of Congress have four wives without the pretense of any religion. (Applause.) The United States stands convicted of inefficiency when it permits that gigantic indecency to go on. The curse of God will come down on this nation if we do not extirpate it. Would you interfere with a man's religion? No! The Mormon may believe Joe Smith a god, and Brigham Young the second person of the god-head; but polygamy is against morality, and therefore should be destroyed, and it never will be destroyed except by the Government. It will not be war; it will be police duty by the troops. Gen, Johnson in 1857, with his 2500 troops, might have destroyed it when sent out by President Buchanan, had he marched right on; but here was not moral courage enough in the Administration, and Gov. Powell of Kentucky, and Major McCullock of Tennessee, were sent out as Commissioners of Arbitration. Not an Administration since has had the power and the will to throttle the evil. We go and look at it and pass on. Grant went; Secretary Schurz went; President Hayes went -- everybody goes and looks and comes away. They cling to their idols and receive you with courtesy. They bow you into one city and bow you out of it; and I never had a more genial audience than one I addressed in this Mormon city. But if I were a believer in the transmigration of souls, I would pray that the spirit of Andrew Jackson might get into the soul of the soldier President who is to succeed him -- (applause) -- and in thirty days every Mormon would either be living with one wife, would go to jail or would leave the country. If they submit, all well; if not, then cannon of the largest bore to thunder morality into their ears. Arbitration by all means, then howitzers and bullets, bayonets and cannon balls.

If a pack of them should squat on one of our territories, and say that robbery was a part of their religion, how long would they be permitted to exist? I call the attention of the American Congress to this evil. Let some Senator, with a good morality of his own, lift up the anti-Mormon standard and expose the record, and he will gather about him an overwhelming following. It has got to be done. Let the man go forward in the name of God, and he will make his everlasting political fortune. Why do we have a campaign, and as our issue, exhume only the dry mummy of African slavery out of our soil, and toss it about as a weapon, when here we have a live, aggressive subject? Take some of the money that is being poured into the lap of this mother of harlots. Utah is rich enough to pay for all the surgery of taking out this cancer from our social and political body.

I make no war against Mormonism as a religion; but only as it is an insult to morality, The knife broke up Judge Drummond's court in 1857, and it was the same spirit that piled loose rocks on the edges of the canyons over the roads, ready to roll down on the United States troops. Now I have impanelled you as a jury. Are you ready for the verdict? What say you, guilty or not guilty? 'Guilty,' I hear one say, and another, and another, and so say the people of the country. When shall the execution take place? Let the scaffold rest, one end on the Sierra Nevadas and the other end on the Rocky Mountains. What grave shall be deep enough to bury this thousand armed, thousand footed, thousand headed corpse, and put upon a monument high enough for the world to see, "Born Feb. 22d, 1827; died ___, 1882." Every day we allow Mormonism to exist, we invite upon us the righteous judgments of our indignant God, come those judgments in whatever form they will. I make a plea for the 15,000 Gentiles who live on in hope in the midst of that abomination there, I plead for the thousands of emigrants coming and yet to come. I plead for the women of Mormondom, who live and die in mute despair. I plead for the womanhood grieved till it cannot weep, living on in the horrible pandemonium of a polygamous home. O, men with wives and mothers, and daughters and sisters, does not your blood run cold at the story of the great crime? O, you wives and women, sympathize with your sisters dying the still death of Mormonism. The one great sin in our republic. The best cornerstone of a republic is the hearthstone. May God keep it inviolate.

Note: Rev. Talmadge gave various versions of this speech during 1880-1881, in different cities. The New York Weekly World, of Sept. 29, 1880 featured a text very similar to the transcription provided above.


Vol. 107.                             Cincinnati, Saturday, January 29, 1881.                             No. 25.

Special Correspondence to the Cincinnati Gazette.

Mentor, Jan. 27. -- ...


The village of Kirtland, two miles south of Gen. Garfield's residence, is a place of interest to many persons who come from distant parts of the country to visit Mentor. It was once the Mecca of the Mormons, and that strange sect still have an interest in it. Their first temple was built in Kirtland in 1834, and still stands in good repair, a monument of the methodical fanaticism which has culminated in Utah. It is a stone building, eighty feet long by sixty in width, and the walls are about fifty feet high. It stands on a hill, and presents an imposing appearance. For a long time the ownership of this temple was in dispute, but it was filially settled in February, 1880, Joseph Smith of Plano, Illinois, the son of the original Mormon prophet, holds the property now as the trustee of the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," his title being confirmed by a decision of the Common Pleas Court of Lake County.

The original Mormon Church was organized in Palmyra, N. Y., April 6, 1830. A few months since its members, headed by Joseph Smith, removed to Kirtland, where Smith's co-laborer, Sidney Rigdon, a disciple (Campbellite) preacher, had already gathered a congregation of fanatical religionists, who readily embraced the new faith, and combining with the colony from New York, formed a strong community. Many converts were made in Mentor, and other adjoining towns, some of whom were persons of considerable wealth. They established a mill, store, bank and printing offlce in Kirtland, and for some years carried on a lively and prosperous business. During this period they built the temple aforesaid, at a reputed cost of $40,000.


In conversing with the older people in this vicinity, I find that their earliest recollections of Mormonism in Kirtland are in regard to the bank. It was a "wildcat" institution, of the class that flourished in those good old Democratic days before the wicked Republican party gave to the country an honest banking system and a sound currency. No legal checks or safeguards hampered the financial genius of the Latter Day Saints; and they made the volume of their paper money equal to the demands of trade in this section of country. The connection of several wealthy men with the enterprise gave it an advantage in gaining the confidence of the public, and as the notes of the bank were for some promptly redeemed on presentation, a fair credit was established, and a very large circulation was soon afloat. Farms, live stock, lumber, and indeed all kinds of property were bought by the Mormons wherever the notes of the bank could be used in payment. One of these notes lies before me as I write, and is an interesting relic of early Mormonism and of the financiering that was popu'ar forty or fifty years ago. Leaving off the figures, which were handsomely engraved on the margins, the face of the note reads as follows:

        OR BEARER.
                                 KIRTLAND, OHIO, March, 1837.
J. SMITH, JR., Cashier.               S. RIGDON, President.

The bank began business in 1831 and collapsed in 1837. When the inevitable crash came, Smith and Rigdon fled to the West to escape the wrath of hundreds of swindled Gentiles whose worldly goods had been exchanged for Mormon "money." Extraordinary efforts had been put forth to make the failure of the bank a great financial success for its managers and while thousands of their victims were left with an abundance of the worthless currency in their pockets, the "Saints" had acquired a legal title to a large amount of real and personal property. But thenceforth the Kirtland "Zion" was too hot for them and they removed as rapidly as possible to Independence, Missouri, then to Nauvoo, Ill., and finally to Salt Lake.

A few of the original Mormons, however, are still to be found in Mentor and vicinity. They are all aged people, and none of the peculiar features which Brigham Young added to Mormonism seem to have any attractions for them. They denounce the polygamists as apostates, stoutly deny the complicity of the prophet Joseph in the introduction of polygamy, and adheres to his son Joseph of Plano, III., who claims to be the head of the church which his father founded. ''Young Joe," as he is profanely called by the Gentiles, is very proud of the decision rendered in his favor last February by the Court of Lake county, and its main points are printed on a handbill which is given to all who visit the Kirtland Temple, The few old Saints who remain here cling to the hope that Joseph will return to Kirtland and re-establish his church where it was cradled fifty years ago. They are still full of the strange fanaticism which led them into Mormonism, and although for half a century their expectations have been disappointed, they still look daily for the "end of the world" and the literal "coming of the Lord." Their idea of the end of the world is a great catastrophe in nature, by which the Gentiles will be overthrown, and the followers of Joseph Smith will be placed in possession of the earth.

The farm on which General Garfield lives was owned by a Mormon in those palmy days of religion and financial inflation, when this region was the hotbed of Mormonism. The General is familiar with the early history of this strange sect, and has a hearty abhorence of the iniquities which have characterized it from its birth, In the judgment of a very large class of his countrymen, his official attitude toward the Salt Lake abomination is of far greater importance than the. question of this or that man's appointment to a Cabinet office. During his administration we may confidently hope for a real advance toward the destruction of the surviving "twin relic of barbarism" which now disgraces the republic.

A strange and yet not wholly improbable way of peaceably settling the question would be the acceptance of Joseph Smith's leadership by the Church in Utah, and a "revelation" through him of the necessity of stopping the further progress of polygamy. As the son and heir of the original prophet he has much prestige, even in Utah, and he is carrying on quite an extensive and systematic missionary work In many of the States, steadily increasing the number of his followers, all of whom are taught to regard polygamy as a fatal heresy. He has a printing house at Plano, where he publishes the Saints' Herald, a monthly journal and various Mormon books and tracts, including the "Book of Mormon." When a few more of the old reprobates at Salt Lake shall have followed Brigham Young to the eternal shades, it may not be impossible for young Joe to grasp the reins of spiritual authority in Utah, and about reorganization and reform. H. S. P.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XLI.               Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, February 26, 1881.               No. 159.


Special to the Cincinnati Commercial.

MENTOR, O., February 25. -- Little Lake, almost the smallest county in the State, is famous in two respects. First it is the home of the President-elect, a fact pretty generally well known by this time; and second, it contains the renowned "Mormon Temple." Having a few spare moments at Mentor to-day, the Commercial representative, accompanied by a reporter of the Chicago Times, drove out to the historic edifice. It is situated about three or four miles from the residence of the President-elect in the now quiet and almost obliviated town of Kirtland. It is built on a commanding point of land, and is visible long before the village is reached. The temple is of plain sandstone, and is strongly and substantially constructed. The visitor's first impressions on viewing the temple are the peculiarity of its architecture and its remarkable height. It is two stories high, and two rows of singularly arranged windows run entirely around the building. Two massive green colored doors form the entrance to the front of the Temple.

Its interior construction is unique and peculiar. The pews occupy the middle of the lower floor and are flanked at both ends of the church by terraced pulpits. Initial letters representing the degrees of officers and deacons are fastened on the front of these. Passing upstairs we find the upper section much the same except that a few modern improvements have been made in the pews.

There is still another room above, through which we passed. It was used as a conference room by the officers of the church.

After leaving the church the Commercial's representative called on a resident of the little village who remembered distinctly the first settlement in 1831. He informed us that at one time between 3,000 and 4,000 Mormons were in Kirtland and worshiped at the Temple. Three years after the settlement, or in 1834, the Temple was completed. A Mormon bank was established and did a rushing business. But little by little the church divided into factions and left, and no services had been held therein for two years. There are now but two followers of the Mormon faith in Kirtland. The Temple is a great curiosity to tourists, and in the summer time it is well patronized. The structure is now the property of Joseph Smith, jr., of Plano, Ill.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Canton  Daily  Repository.
Vol. ?                             Canton, Ohio, Tuesday, July 19, 1881.                             No. ?


The late Henry Wells, founder of the American express system, personally handled the alleged Mormon plates which Joe Smith pretended to find near Palmyra, N. Y., and which contained the "revelations" on which the Mormon religion is founded. They were encased in a cotton bag, and Mr. Wells did not actually see them, but from their lack of weight he did not believe they were metal plates as Joe Smith alleged, but were slates. He was greatly tempted to "smash" them; and if he had -- where would Mormonism have been today? Mr. Wells died in 1878.

Note 1: Henry F. Wells (1805–1878) came to upstate New York with his father's family a few years after the War of 1812. In the early 1820s they were living in Fayette, Seneca County and in 1822 Henry was apprenticed to Jessup & Palmer, tanners and shoemakers in nearby Palmyra. He was married there in 1827 and his first four children were born in Palmyra bewteen 1828 and 1833. In 1836 Wells became a freight agent on the Erie Canal and subsequently started his own freight business, Wells & Co. of Albany, New York. In 1850 he joined with other freighters to form the American Express Company. This firm extended its operations to California in 1852, as Wells, Fargo & Company. In 1905 Wells Fargo separated its banking and express operations, and by 1914 American Express was an independent corporation. Wells was thus the co-founder of two of America's best known companies.

Note 2: The 1907 Palmyra, Wayne County, New York says on page 27: "Henry Wells, afterwards founder of Wells College, starting from Palmyra, carried parcels short distances in a hand bag. His business grew until it needed a horse and wagon. In 1845 was formed the firm of Wells & Co., one of the earliest express companies in the country. This, merged with others, became the American Express Co. Henry Wells married his first wife Sally Daggett in the little weather beaten house that stands opposite Stafford street on the north side of Main street." In 1930 Thomas L. Cook reprinted a series of old articles from the Palmyra Courier-Journal, under the title of Palmyra and Vicinity, and on page 122 he stated: "Our next on the west in 1812 was owned by William Jackway. On this lot was a house and blacksmith shop. Later Levi Daggett occupied both. His daughter Sarah married Henry Wells, prominent in connection with the express business."

Note 3: According to an 1863 sermon delivered by the Rev. Horace Eaton, in Palmyra: "Where Asa Chase now resides there once stood a house built by Saml. Jennings. This house was occupied by the father of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, who came from Sharon Vt. [in] 1817. Afterwards Levi Daggett resided there & here occurred the wedding of Henry Wells & Sarah Daggett." All indications are, that the house owned by William Jackaway in 1812 was later the residence of the Joseph Smith, Sr., family -- and after the, the residence of Henry F. Wells' father-in-law.


Vol. 108.                             Cincinnati, Monday, December 12, 1881.                             No. 137.



A Talk With Joseph Miller, of Washington County, Pa.

His Reminiscences of Rev. Solomon Spaulding --
The Book Intended for a Novel and Used
as Sacred Hustory -- A narrative
Pertinent to the Times.

Special Correspondence to the Cincinnati Gazette.

Steubenville, O., Dec. 9. -- The Beautiful valley of Ten Mile, whose head rises high among the hills, and widens as the stream, whose laughing water kisses the rocks, as it turns right and left lends its power to drive the industries along its banks until it pours itself with open mouth into the mountain waters of the Monongahela, has more than a passing attraction to the tourist as he drives by its cultivated fields and well garnered harvests. Your correspondent, familiar with this valley, which lies in the southern part of Washington county, Pa., and in search of one whose name has been somewhat identified with a historic event well known to the American people, traveled down this beautiful lowland until he reached the abode of one whose memory is as fresh to-day as when the event transpired. There, near the town of Ten Mile, in a comely farm house, neat without and tidy within, and surrounded in his declining years by kindred of the closest ties and the comforts of life, your correspondent found the object of his search, one Joseph Miller, sr. Mr. Miller is now in the ninety-second year, a fresh, affable old gentleman, whose hand was extended to meet the writer as he introduced himself, and sat down to make known his mission. Mr. Miller is an elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and a man of unimpeachable veracity.

In answer to the question if he knew Rev. Solomon Spaulding, the author of the "Book of Mormon," he quickly turned toward the writer and his face brightened as his mind ran back to the events of the past, and he said, with considerable emphasis: "I most certainly do."

"Did you ever read a copy of the work?"

"Yes, some years ago," he continued, "Rev. J. W. Hamilton, a Presbyterian minister, now living in Steubenville, O., presented me with a copy, which I read carefully."

"Is it your opinion that you ever read or heard read any portion of it before?"

"Yes, I am quite positive that I did."

He then referred to a passage on page 148 which, he said, was so strange that, at the time Mr. Spaulding read it to him from his manuscript, it fixed itself upon his memory, and that he had never forgotten it. He said that about 1812 Mr. Spaulding came to Amity, a small village about five miles from his present home, where he kept a hotel. That Spaulding was in delicate health and he (Miller) often spent his evenings at his home. While there, upon several occasions, Mr. Spaulding would bring out a large roll of papers, and read select portions of their contents to amuse us of evenings. He told me that he wrote it for a novel, and intended to have it published as a means of support for his family. He called it "The Lost Manuscript Found," and said that he wrote it to pass away the time when he was feeling unwell. "I am confident," said Mr. Miller, "from what I know of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and the Book of Mormons, [sic] that Joseph Smith by some means got possession of the copy of that novel, and promptly made some changes in it, and issued it under the name by which it is known to-day." Mr. Miller said that Spaulding was an enthusiastic archaeologist, and that he often indulged himself in the belief that the American continent was at one time peopled by a colony of ancient Israelites, and that his MS. was only a fictitious history of the race which had built the mounds. Mr. Miller is the only man living at this time who was acquainted with Spaulding, at least, the only person who has any knowledge of the correct origin of the "Book of Mormon," or who ever heard it read from the lips of the author. He said to your correspondent, during his stay, that as he neared the grave, with but one breath between him and heaven, he hoped that last breath might carry a message that would prevent people from being led into Mormonism, that most seductive delusion of the devil."

"Spaulding was a good man," said Mr. Miller, "and I would not cast a shadow upon his memory, for it never was his intention to create a false religion by anything that he wrote. I attended him through his last illness, and when death called him from the earth, I, with my own hands, made the coffin that contains his sleeping ashes. He was buried in the church yard of the village, and his grave remains unmarked, while the work of his idle hours, eighty years ago, has grown in the country he dearly loved until the eyes of the nation are turned with horror upon its magnitude.["] The interview having closed, the writer took his leave, as it were, of the past, and sought the grave, a few miles away, that contains only the dust of him who undoubtedly penned, in the village near by during his illness, a work that has led thousands from the path of Christianity. The grave, as stated above, is unmarked, curiosity seekers having broken and carried away the small stone once erected. Hundreds of people from all over the country have visited the spot, and it is now proposed to erect a monument suitable to the memory of the deceased.   M. A. Cooper

Note 1: Murray A. Cooper was once the co-editor of The Washington Advance (Observer), and later a special correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette. He relocated from Washington Co., Pennsylvania to Steubenville, Ohio in the 1870s. An excerpt from this article was published in the RLDS Saints' Herald of Feb. 1, 1881.

Note 2: This interview article was only one of several in which Mr. Joseph Miller provided information over the years. His first newspaper piece was published in 1869, followed by another in 1879. These two accounts were followed by the interview conducted by Mr. Cooper for the Cincinnati Gazette. Joseph Miller provided a fourth account for publication in Feb. of 1882, but it was not printed until 1885. Finally, he wrote a fifth account, also in 1882, but it was not published until 1890.

Note 3: The essence of the 1881 Joseph Miller interview is reproduced in Chapter 10 of Sarah Jane (Harris) Kiefer's Genealogical and Biographical Sketches of the New Jersey Branches of the Harris Family in the United States (Madison, WI: Democrat Printing Company, 1888). According to Kiefer, "Mr. Miller died 12 April 1885, aged ninety-five years." An 1882 reprint of this article may be found on pp. 742-743 of Wayne Cowdrey et al., The Spalding Enigma, (Los Angeles: 2000), along with the other four Joseph Miller statements.

Note 4: One point made by Miller in this interview is perhaps incorrect. He states that is was never Spalding's "intention to create a false religion by anything that he wrote." A close reading of Chapter 8 of the c. 1812 Spalding story on file in the Oberlin College archives, along with the undated Spalding draft letter preserved along with that manuscript story, may convince any student of the subject that Solomon Spalding was very much interested in the potentially positive effects of contrived religion upon the lives of "the great mass of the people" who piously believed in "their happy delusions."


Vol. 48.                             Cleveland, Thursday, December 15, 1881.                             No. 298.


Joseph Smith's So-Called Inspiration.

Written as a Novel by the Late Rev. Solomon Spaulding.

(see original letter in the Cincinnati Daily Gazette)

Notes: (none)


Vol. ?                             Cincinnati, Friday, January 27, 1882.                             No. ?


Grave Doubts as to the Spaulding Theory of its Authorship.

To the Editor of the Cincinnati Gazette.

Your correspondent, M. A. Cooper, in writing from Washington County, Pa., gives an interview had with Rev. Joseph Miller, sr., which I would desire to make a few comments upon, and ask for a little space in the Gazette for that purpose, and if kindly published by you, I hope the hundred and one country papers which,have copied it will be fair enough to publish my reply. I can not expect the space necessary to present our side of the case as we would desire, and as would be but justice to us. The argument offered that certain passages in Mr. Spaulding's romance and the Book of Mormon are so strikingly similar that the latter must be a plagiarism on the former, has been used as effectively against the Bible. See "Bible in India."

The only recollection on the subject of any parties who have affirmed that they heard Mr. Spaulding read his novel, and several have affirmed this, among them John Spaulding, Henry Lake, Oliver Smith, Arthur [sic] Cunningham and others, who claim to have been Mr. Spaulding's neighbors, and all that Mrs. McKinstry remembers, of the similiarity of the two works, is four names, just these and no more, and they all remember the same four -- Nephi, Lamenite, Moroni, and Mormon -- and these are precisely the ones of all others used in the lectures of the early elders of the Church. But Mr. Miller remembers particularly a passage on page 148 that struck his mind so forcibly, as being identical with a passage in Spaulding's novel, but, he fails to give any intimation of what that passage related to or anything in it, so that those who have the book could judge of the accuracy of his memory. But I will not question the belief of the old gentleman that the Book of Mormon and Spaulding's romance are the same; he doubtless honestly believes that they are identical. But I wish to offer a few reasons why I do not believe it. In the first place there is no proof whatever yet produced, that Joseph Smith ever saw the manuscript of Rev. Mr. Spaulding: all that any writer has ever claimed is that Smith could have got access to it, but no one who had had it in custody has ever claimed that such was possible or probable, much less the fact that he did get it, and if he had, he certainly did not purloin it, as evidence to follow will clearly show, and all that he could do was to make a copy, and that as young "ignorant, illiterate, and lazy," as Smith has been accused of being, could hardly have accomplished. He was but twenty-five years old when the Book of Mormon was printed, and he claimed to have his "Golden Bible," which was a well known fact in the neighborhood, as early as 1827, or three years before, or when he was but twenty-two years old. But let us trace the history of this "Lost Manuscript Found," as Mr. Miller calls it, or "The Manuscript Found," as Spaulding's daughter says it was designated. Without quoting the exact words, in order to save space, I will give its history as told by Mrs. McKinstry in Scribner's Monthly, August, 1880. Spaulding wrote it from 1810 to 1812. In 1812 he removed to Pittsburg, lived there two years; in 1814 removed to Amity, Washington County, Pa., where he died in 1816. Mrs. Davison, Spaulding's widow, says that the manuscript then fell into her hands and "was preserved carefully" till Hurlburt got it in 1834. But Mrs. McKinstry says they removed to an uncle's home named Sabine, living in Onondaga Valley, N. Y., and an "old trunk" which contained the "Manuscript Found" went with them, and while it was there was seen and handled by her frequently. Then in 1820 her mother married a Mr. Davison, of Hartwicks, N. Y., near Coopertown, and sent for the furniture left at her uncle's, and the "old trunk with its contents reached her in safety." In 1828 she married Dr. McKinstry, of Monson, Mass., and went there to live, and that her mother joined her there soon after; how soon, she does not say, probably within a year or two, But even then, or in 1828, Joseph Smith had his "Golden Bible," as it was called, and the work of translating was going on, or the work was being prepared for the press before she left Hartwicks, N. Y., to go to Massachusetts. The document was in her possession then, as Mrs. McKinstry shows, for she says, "The old trunk. containing the desired Manuscript Found." She had placed it in the care of Mr. Jerome Clark, of Hartwicks, when she came to Monson, intending to send for it. In 1834, a Mr. Hurlburt came to her house to get the "Manuscript Found," and after some hesitation, and with much reluctance, they gave him a letter to Mr. Clark to open the trunk and deliver it to him. We afterward learned that he did receive it from Mr. Clark, at Hartwicks, but from that time we have never had it in our possession." Now suppose that Smith could have got possession of the wonderful document, it is clear that he did not keep it, and make the Book of Mormon out of it, for that book was published in 1830, and the "Manuscript Found" was still in the Spaulding family, or under their control, till 1834, or four years after. And if Smith got hold of it for a season and copied it, "illiterate and lazy" as he may have been, why did not some of those parties who saw the book in 1830 and 1831, right in the neighborhood where Spaulding wrote his romance, make an effort to get it, and compare the two, without waiting for Mr. Hurlburt to do it, four years after? Well, Hurlburt got it, and gave it to, Mr. Howe, of Painesville, O., who said that it was not the "Manuscript Found" at all, and to the writer he admitted that he had never Seen the "Manuscript Found," and only knew that what he got from Hurlburt was not like the M. F. by what others had said concerning the M. F. So, for aught that he personally knew, he did get the original genuine work, and it did not show any similarity to the Book of Mormon, and he did not do as he intended -- i. e., publish it, and thus kill the "Mormon delusion," by showing that the Book of Mormon was merely a plagiarism on Spaulding's romance. But, suppose that Jerome Clark palmed off some other of Spaulding's papers on Hurlburt, what has become of the "Manuscript Found?" But Mrs. McKinstry says Hurlburt did receive that very paper, but if she is mistaken, that "old trunk" ought to be hunted up, and perhaps it may be found yet. However, [is it] not likely that she was mistaken, and that Hurlburt got the right thing, and, when compared by Howe with the Book of Mormon, proved to be no more like it than chalk and cheese are alike, notwithstanding friend Miller's belief that Spaulding wrote the Book of Mormon[?]

Mr. Miller thinks Joe Smith only "made some changes" in the manuscript and "issued it under the name by which it is known today." The Book of Mormon is fully two-thirds doctrinal. The truly historical and biographical form but one-third. The doctrinal part must have been written entirely by Smith, then, for it is far from being the doctrine of the Church of which Mr. Spaulding was a minister -- viz.: the Presbyterian Church. It would probably take offense if I claimed that the book taught its faith and order. The "some changes" would, therefore, cover two-thirds of the book, and that much at least must have been original with Smith, leaving only the historical, biographical, and genealogical third to Mr. Spaulding's credit. But the trouble then would be that to separate the doctrinal from the historical and other part would make the latter absolutely unintelligible. So interwoven are these various portions that to separate them would be impossible. But grant that Smith merely changed the statement of doctrinal thought, which might be done by substituting a few words only here and there, and thus leave the body of the book as Spaulding's production, it would bring worse disgrace to his memory than anything yet said against Joseph Smith for this reason. In hundreds of places does the book represent angels from heaven speaking and revealing important truths, and of Jesus Christ Himself appearing here on this continent and teaching His disciples, like he did in Judea, and of organizing His Church, and His apostles teaching by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and it gives utterances of prophets, as the Spirit of God moved them, and fully a hundred pages are taken up with this style of writing, and the name of the Lord is used copiously. Now if Spaulding wrote all that as a novel, placing Christ, and angels, and the Holy Spirit in his plot, making his characters speak in the name of the Lord, and of course taking that holy name in vain; making them pretend to reveal divine and awful truths; then would he be the most wicked blasphemer and heaven daring wretch that ever lived. And if Joseph Smith, or any other man, wrote the prophetical and doctrinal portion of that book, either as a novel or as a pretended series of revelations, such an one deserves the execration of the whole human race, and the severest judgments of the Almighty. But the burden is put upon Spaulding's shoulders by his daughter's testimony, who said, in the article referred to, that it was believed to be her father's writings with but "slight alterations." Well, let any candid, impartial person read that book, note carefully its style, then remember that Spaulding's own family and friends say he wrote it all, except a few slight alterations, and wrote an the pretended utterances of Christ, of angels, of prophets, of apostles, who wrote and spoke in the name of the Almighty, and then realize that it was written as a novel, these characters all fictitious, these prophecies and sacred teachings all pretense, and that the writer was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a believer in God who said, "Thall shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain;" "Thou shalt not bear false witness;" "That for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account on the day of judgment," "And that all liars shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone." Our friends had better let Joe Smith have the credit of getting up the whole thing than make out their reverend to be such an abominable wretch as he must have been if he wrote the Book of Mormon, with but "slight alterations." Respectfully,
Chicago, Ill., Jan. 20, 1882.

Note 1: Elder Thomas W. Smith (1838-1894) was ordained an RLDS Apostle in 1873. He subsequently took it upon himself to refute the Spalding-Rigdon explanation for Book of Mormon authorship and wrote a number of letters and articles upon that subject. In a June 18, 1879 article, entitled "The Spaulding Story," Elder Smith sought to rebut John McKinstry's Aug. 31, 1877 Springfield Republican testimony, by demonstrating that the Rigdon-Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship were full of "absurdities."

Note 2: Elder Smith was mistaken, in his idea that Solomon Spalding was a Presbyterian "Reverend" at the time he was writing fictional stories in Ohio and Pennsylvania. He was only briefly licensed as an evangelist in his youth, and there is no reason to believe that Spalding professed Christian religious tenets during his later years. As early as 1801 he was publicly criticizing "ignorant domineering priest[s]."


Vol. XVII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, July 1, 1882.                     No. 26.

"The  Premises."


"Let us wait and see what is true in the premises." -- Religious Herald.

When Fuller wrote his Strictures on Sandemanianism, he was thought by many to have entered upon his work in order to save himself from the obloquy of being called a Sandemanian.

I do not know but what similar causes may have influenced the "very amiable Christian gentleman," whose modesty scarcely permits him to announce to the world the wonderful things that his erudite brain enabled him to bring to light.

Was Mr. Campbell responsible for Mormonism? What do the premises say?

The only ground upon which the learned gentleman can base his assertion, is the fact that Sidney Rigdon was a Mormon. Rigdon was, undoubtedly, the real founder of "the most corrupt and odious system that has disgraced the nineteenth century."

Let us look at the premises for awhile: Mr. J. H. Beadle, editor of the Salt Lake Reporter and Utah correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, published a book, entitled, "Life in Utah, or, The Mysteries and Crimes of Mormonism."

Mr. Beadle was not prejudiced in favor of the Disciples. In speaking of the causes which produced Mormonism, he said:

"The intense religious excitement which raged throughout the United States during the decade of 1820-30, which led to the wild phenomena of 'jerks' and so-called religious exercises of howling, jumping, barking and muttering, seems to have left a precipitate of its worst materials in Mormonism."

Who was responsible for the religious excitement that passed over the United States in the above-mentioned decade?

One thing is evident, it was not Mr. Campbell. All his efforts were made against such a mockery of pure and undefiled religion..

But the premises show such a state of religion. Jerks, jumpings, howlings, barkings, lights, voices, dreams, etc., were proclaimed as manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the human heart, convincing it of sin, and converting the person to Christ. An experience void of these was considered worthless. An experience such as related in the eighth chapter of Acts would not have been received as evidence of a genuine conversion in the associations of the Western Reserve in 1820. There and then the eunuch would have been required to show a powerful conversion, made manifest by contortions of the body, clapping of hands, leaping from the chariot and the enunciation of a direct communication from God to his own heart.

The people of the Reserve were taught that the word of God was a dead letter, and new revelations given to each individual , were necessary to conversion. New Testaments were sufficient to make a man wise unto salvation.

The insufficiency of the Scriptures, and additional revelations were two of the orthodox planks that had been nailed onto Protestantism. Mr. Campbell and his co-adjutors desired to have the planks removed. Because they expressed this desire, and because they were leading the people away from their vain superstitions to the simplicity of the truth, and because they said the so-called spiritual manifestations were the result of physical causes, and were not produced by the Holy Spirit, they were denounced as heretics, and accused of repudiating experimental religion, and denying the existence of the Holy Spirit.

Keep in mind what was orthodox then. Whoever had experienced "jerks," howlings, jumpings, barkings; whoever had seen a light or heard a voice; whoever had seen a vision or dreamed a dream, was safe.

Mr. Campbell said these things were vain delusions.

In 1830, Mormonism made its appearance. It came with a new revelation; it came saying the Old and New Testaments were not sufficient; it came offering as evidence what was seen and heard in the revivals of the orthodox churches. The Mormons heard voices, saw lights, dreamed dreams, and they had the jerks; they jumped and muttered and barked; they laughed and they cried. When those who had been taught that such things were evidences of true conversion to God, saw how abundant these evidences were among the Mormons, they were compelled to admit that the new religion must be from God. From this class of orthodox Christians the great majority of the first converts to Mormonism were made.

When Rigdon first openly received the messengers from Joe Smith, he pretended to discredit their statements. He called on them for proofs of the truths of their book and mission. "They related the manner in which they obtained faith, which was by praying for a sign, and an angel appeared to them." Two days after this Rigdon asked for a sign. The sign appeared and he was convinced!

The sign business was a great converting power among the Mormons. Some of their conversions are thus described:

Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time apparently lifeless. The fits usually came on during or after prayer meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium. They would exhibit all the apish actions imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and feet, rolling upon the frozen ground. * * * At other times they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations * * * Again, at the dead hour of night, young men might be seen running over the fields and hills, in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, lights, etc., which they saw moving through the atmosphere.

Concerning such evidences as this, Mr. Campbell said:

"He who sets out to find signs and omens will soon find enough of them. He who expects visits from angels will find them as he who, in the age of witchcraft, found a witch in every unseemly old woman. I doubt not but that the irreverences and levity in speaking of the things of God, which have been apparent in Sidney's public exhibitions for some time past, and which he has lately confessed, may yet be found to have been the cause of this abandonment to delusion. The Methodists, among whom it appeared so well to take, amongst whom it has recently so much prevailed, ought to be admonished against laying themselves open to such impressions in their swoonings, vociferous ejaculations, and notions about new visions and revelations of the Spirit."

Mormonism made comparatively but little progress among the Disciples. An article upon its advent among the Disciples of Ohio will appear, in due course, in the Church Union.

If we leave out of consideration every other question, and take up the popular idea of conversion, we have sufficient data to direct us to the fountains of Mormonism.

New revelations. lights, voices, contortions of the body, etc., were the commonly received evidences of conversion. These same evidences were given as the first fruits of Mormonism. And yet, today, a doctor of divinity, a professor in a theological seminary, attempts to turn away the odium of Mormonism from the shoulders of his religious ancestors, and saddle it upon the only set of men, who, in the day of its birth, denounced all such signs and visions, and revelations, etc., that it produced as evidence, as chimerical. Orthodoxy demanded that evidences of conversion should be given in answer to prayer, and should consist of signs, etc. The Mormons adapted the same principle of conversion and signs, etc., followed their prayers. They claimed the possession of the same evidences of conversion, as the most devout among the orthodox. This was an unanswerable argument to many who believed that the word of God was a dead letter, and that the Holy Spirit made direct communication to the sinner's heart. Such was the testimony in its favor then. When Prof. W. and the Herald, and "Bro. D." can show that Mr. Campbell and the Disciples, who were then at least nominally Baptists, taught that such experiences were what men claimed them to be; and when they can show that Mr. Campbell and the Disciples taught that the word of God was not sufficient without other revelations and signs, given in answer to prayer, in the work of conversion, they can show that they, equally with the rest, were responsible for "saddling upon the world the most corrupt and odious system that has disgraced the nineteenth century."

In conclusion, I ask, to whom do the premises point?


Thomas Jefferson Clapp.


In an editorial note in the CHRISTIAN STANDARD for May 6, mention was made of the death of this pioneer.

Thomas Clapp was born in Middlefield, Mass., January 7, 1806. He was the son of Orris Clapp and Pheobe Blish. Of their thirteen children Thomas was the ninth. The family removed to the wilds of Northern Ohio when he was less than six months old. He became a member of the Baptist church at the age of 21, being baptized by Elder Sidney Rigdon, who afterwards became a leader among the Mormons. About a year after the conversion of Thomas Clapp, the Baptist church at Mentor was swept away from its moorings by the rising tide of the reformation which was urged by Thomas and Alexander Campbell. This was in 1828. The leader of the movement in Mentor was Elder Adamson Bentley, then of Warren, O. Thomas Clapp entered fully into the spirit of that movement, and took at that time a position in religious matters from which he never swerved to the day of his death. His brother Matthew and his sister Harriet (afterwards wife of Darwin Atwater, of Mantua, O.), were among the converts in the meeting which wrought the change in the Mentor church; Matthew Clapp being the first one in all that region to respond to the gospel call as now given by the Disciples.

When Thomas Clapp was nearly 26 years old, in Nov. 1831, he was married to Lorinda Bentley, eldest daughter of Eld. Adamson Bentley, who then resided at Bentleyville, near Chagrin Falls, O. ...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                         Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, October 2, 1882.                         No. ?


History of a Remarkable Man
Who Was Once a Terror
to Sailors.

On the Great Lakes -- James J. Strang,
the Ruler of Beaver Island.

The Escape of a Deluded Man and
Woman From His Clutches.

At the foot of Lake Michigan, a few miles outside the Straits of Mackinaw, lies a beautiful island. In winter it is the battleground of blizzards, and the blasts which come howling down from the wilderness of Manitoba, making weird music among the tapering pines which seem to have been driven unto it to hold it in place, render it anything but a desirable habitation. But in summer, when nature has adorned its slopes and headlands with a coat of green, and the cool breezes play across its surface, few more delightful spots can be found. The great number of bare-tailed, broad-toothed, four footed little engineers which used to sun themselves on the beach, build mud houses and dams, or disport themselves in the clear water which surround it gave to it the name of Beaver Island. Every sailor who has made the trip from Cleveland to Chicago is familiar with the place, and though there are few mariners on the lakes who know its history, any man who sailed twenty-five years ago can tell many stories connected with it. At that time Beaver Island was inhabited by a band of


under the leadership of "King James," a polygamus disciple of Joe Smith, the Mormon. "King James," whose real name was James Jesse Strang, was the son of a farmer living in Herkimer county, New York. He received a passably good education in his native town, and after leaving school became a lawyer. About the time Joe Smith discovered the plates upon which he claimed was written a revelation from God, young Strang was pouring over Blackstone. He soon saw Smith and heard him talk, the result being that he was converted and admitted into the church. Shortly after this Smith turned his face toward the setting sun and came West. He settled at Kirtland, Ohio, and organized a Mormon community. He built a temple, and in the course of time had succeeded in collecting about him quite a band of followers. After a short residence in Ohio Smith pulled up stakes, and taking most of his disciples with him, went to Independence, Mo. In his journey westward Smith had been accompanied by Strang, who was


in the new doctrine. Wishing to extend his power, Smith delegated Strang to go to Wisconsin and organize a branch church, which the latter did with great success. Profiting by the example of his great leader, Strang proceeded to search for a "revelation." Having completed all his arrangements and having secured five witnesses, he digged in the ground and was rewarded by finding nine plates, covered with hieroglyphics which purported to be the record of one of the lost tribes of Israel. This record had been buried there and it was destined that some great prophet should find it. Joe Smith and Brigham Young looked upon Strang's "find" as an imposition, and were inclined to discredit the story. About the time Strang was reading the "revelation," Smith was killed by a mob at Nauvoo, Illinois. The death of Smith created a vacancy which Strang was anxious to fill, so he fixed up a forged letter purporting to have been written by Smith, in which the leader said he had a revelation from God to the effect that he was soon to die, and that Strang was to be the leader of the church. Taking this letter, Strang


and presented it to Brigham and the other elders. They did not believe the story, and Strang was promptly kicked out of camp. He returned to Wisconsin and redoubled his efforts to build up a church of his own. Beaver Island was then inhabited by a prosperous colony of about one thousand rough and hardy fishermen. Strang saw a chance, if he could overpower the fishermen, of establishing himself in a place where no one would, for a time at least, molest them. He therefore sent two or three embassies over to the island on a prospecting tour. They were treated very cooly by the fishermen, but they discovered that the soil was rich in resources, and upon making a report to Strang, he decided to possess the coveted island if possible. He accordingly sent over a number of men and set them to work establishing a colony. They had a hard fight, but finally secured a foothold, and the entire Mormon band was transplanted to the island. Work was then begun in earnest, and in a short time a town sprang up on Beaver Harbor, and was named St. James, after the King. The band then numbered 2,000, and was steadily increased through


who operated in the Eastern States. Strang started a newspaper, of which he was the editor, and it was said to have been the best conducted journal in the northwest.

Once established the Mormons inaugurated a bitter and never-ending warfare against the gentile fishermen, and step by step the latter were driven to the extreme end of the island. The encounters which took place were not without bloodshed, but as there were no laws except those made by King James, there was little fear of punishment for any crime committed against a gentile. These people were characterized as strictly honest in their dealings with one another, but they followed a different code of morals with the outside world. It was even said that they would not scruple at piracy in order to enrich their coffers. Indeed, the schooner Robert Willis, which so mysteriously disappeared many years ago, was last seen headed for Beaver Harbor, and as she was loaded with a valuable cargo of merchandise, it has always been supposed by sailors that she was


by the Mormon band. None of the crew were ever seen again, and it is probable they were murdered by the plumderers.

Although polygamy was not an essential part of the religion of Strang's church, he himself had five wives, and several others had two or three. In addition to his fanatical religious belief, Strang was an ardent sympathizer with the seccession cause. This probably had something to do with arousing public sentiment against him. At any rate one day in 1858 or 1859 the United States steamer Michigan dropped into Beaver Harbor and sent ashore a detachment of men who arrested the king on a charge of treason, the specific reasons for which being that he was conducting a government in open defiance of the laws of the United States. He was taken on board the steamer, accompanied by seventy of his best men, who voluntarily agreed to go with their leader, and was taken to Detroit for trial. The Mormons employed several prominent lawyers to defend Strang, but the prisoner insisted upon making the argument to the jury. His speech is said to have been


and logical to such a degree that he was acquitted. He then went back to St. James and resumed his sway, but it was not of long duration. His rules regarding the conduct of the people were very strict. The use of intoxicating liquors and tobacco was prohibited under heavy penalties, and many minor offenses were punished by whipping. A short time after his return from Detroit a United States army surgeon, who had been discharged from the service, applied for, and was granted admission to the community. The surgeon rose rapidly in the church and soon became an elder. He had unfortunately formed the habit of drinking in the army, and the old appetite returning, he indulged it, and became beastly intoxicated. So gross a violation of the rules would not be tolerated even in an elder, and the transgressor was immediately expelled from the community. Laying great store by his official position, the surgeon became very angry at Strang's decision, and securing the aid of two other malcontents, the trio


and shot him. The wounds did not result in death immediately, but after a short illness Strang died. His first wife, whom he had frequently tried to shake off, clung to him in his last sickness, and nursed him with great devition, saying that she could forgive him for his polygamous notions, and that she believed it to be her duty to cheer his last hours.

In the demise of this remarkable man the community received its death blow, for the faithful could not decide upon a leader. The property was divided, and the communistic idea was abandoned.

Captain C. T. Norton, whose place of business is at No. 631 Detroit street, who for thirty years or more sailed upon the lakes, remembers King James well, and in conversation with a LEADER reporter yesterday, he told the following


he once had in Beaver Harbor:
"Many years ago I was captain of a schooner called the L. B. Sheppard. I was bound from Cleveland to Milwaukee, and one afternoon just after leaving the straits the weather began to look very threatening, and I decided to anchor for the night. Beaver Harbor was the nearest point, so I ran the vessel in there. I had just entered the harbor as I saw a boat put off from the shore. It contained a man and a woman, who, as they came alongside, implored me for God's sake to take them on board and give them protection, as they were in danger of being killed by the Mormon king. I knew this king was a desperate man, but I did not like to leave these people at his mercy without trying to save them. They were therefore helped on board, and as we preferred the storm to an encounter with the Mormon band, the Sheppard was headed out to sea again, and by morning was fifty miles from the island. After the man's excitement had abated, he told the following story:

"'A few months ago one of the


visited the town in New York in which I lived with my wife. He held out great inducements to me, and painted a glowing picture of the advantages I would gain by emigrating to the West. His oily tongue and bland manner completely deceived me, and I decided to go with him. I had no idea what kind of a place we were going to until we arrived. I very soon found out, however. To-day the king sent me to the other side of the island to do some work. I suppose I returned sooner than he anticipated, for when I reached home I found him talking to my wife, who was weeping bitterly. i inquired what was the matter, and the king told me he had


to the effect that my wife must become his. It made me very angry, and I told him I had had a revelation that I must give him a whipping, which I proceeded to do. My offense was considered a very heinous one and the king threatened both my wife and me with death, but we escaped and reached the boat with which we came out to your vessel.'

"I took the man and his wife to Milwaukee," continued the Captain, "and they were very thankful. You may rest assured I never entered Beaver Harbor again on board the schooner Sheppard, but I have been there since on other vessels."

Note 1: The above article reads more like a fictionalized movie script's depiction of "Prophet" Strang's career, than the product of any serious attempt at historical reporting. The writer's evident disinterest in historical accuracy becomes so blatant at one point in his text, that he presents the Mormon leader (who died in 1856) as being "arrested... one day in 1858 or 1859." See "The King of the Saints" in the Sept. 3, 1882 issue of the New York Times for contemporary journalism of the more traditional (reliable) sort.

Note 2: For a reprint of Captain C. T. Norton's account see also the Boston Daily Globe of Nov. 05, 1882, page 10. By 1872 the chooner L. B. Sheppard was under the command of a Capt. Calloway -- it sailed the waters of the Great lakes at least as late as 1884. No "C. T. Norton" from that period has yet been identified -- although in 1860 the vessel's captian was listed as "Norton" -- possibly it was C. W. Norton.


Vol. XVII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, December 2, 1882.                     No. 48.



The regular readers of the STANDARD are aware of the blustering announcements made some time ago, through the Religious Herald and other Baptist journals, of Prof. Whitsitt's coming revelations concerning Mormonism as the offspring of Campbellism. It was to be a terrible revelation. One of the editors of the Herald professed to be horror-stricken at the thought of the unearthing of damaging facts which this historical explorer had dug up and was about to exhibit to the astonished gaze of an ignorant world, and another Baptist editor solemnly declared that if what was said could be proved, Alexander Campbell and his coadjutors were guilty of "saddling upon the world the most corrupt and odious system that has disgraced the nineteenth century." This hideous scarecrow has been swinging in the wind from that day to this, to frighten Baptists away from all sympathy with "Campbellism;" and now we have an exhibition of at least a part of the veritable Campbellite-Mormon monster discovered by Prof. Whitsitt, as the result of his wonderful "scientific investigations," in the shape of a lecture on "Mormon Theology" before the Baptist Pastor's Conference in Louisville, Ky., October 23d, 1882. Being published in the Western Recorder, in Prof. Whitsitt's own city, a copy of which was addressed to us in what we take to be Prof. W.'s own handwriting, we must regard the report of the lecture as approved by the lecturer. We give it in full on another page. We do not promise to publish reports of succeeding lectures, for if this is a fair specimen of the course, our space can be better filled than with such pretentious nothingness. After all the bluster and parade in heralding this great show, the exhibition will be found to be quite disappointing. Parturient montes nascetur ridiculous mus. If the reader cannot understand this, we need only say that he is likely to get as much solid good out of it without understanding it, as he can get out of the report of Prof. Whitsitt's lecture, with the best understanding of it that he can reach.

"He discussed in his lecture the proposition that Mormon Theology was founded, and for the most part developed by apostate Campbellites." We shall not take space here to protest against the use of a nickname which Prof. Whitsitt knows to be offensive to the people to whom he applies it, further than to say that if his gentlemanly instincts are not sufficiently refined to protect him from the employment of such names, especially in dealing with a people whom he professes to respect, he is perhaps more to be pitied than blamed. The stream in not expected to rise above its source. We know to whom he refers, and we pass the vulgarity without further notice.

Whatever amount of historical truth there is in the assertion -- and that there is considerable truth in it, it required not the "scientific" skill and research of Prof. Whitsitt to give information to the public -- the puzzle is, to know how this can "bear hard upon the Campbellites," or how it can be proved that Mormonism "sprung from Campbellism." An apostate, according to Webster, is, "one who has forsaken the faith, principles or party to which he before adhered." Now, in the name of the "sober, scientific investigation" which it is asserted that Prof. Whitsitt has given to this subject, we beg to know how "Campbellism" is to be held responsible for a system of theology "founded" and "developed" by men who had forsaken its faith, its principles, and its fellowship! The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesians that from among themselves men would arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them; of the apostates of the apostolic period, it was said that "many shall follow their pernicious ways." Indeed, the apostles foretold a very great apostasy, of wide, and long, and fearful reign. Does Prof. W. mean to say that these apostates sprung from the religion the apostles taught, and were "hard on" Christianity? What a pity this very "scientific" historian had not been there, to busy himself in explorations among the unwritten traditions of the apostolic age, that he might have enlightened some Baptist Pastors' Conference on the dreadful "literalism" of the apostles' preaching and teaching, and warned them against the evil tendencies of the gospel of the grace of God in view of the dreadful errors that had "sprung" from it!

The proposition of the lecturer being granted as probably true, and "Mormon theology" being shown to be a mischievous compound of truth and error, fact and fiction, sense and nonsense, and to have resulted, in a moral point of view, disastrously, the legitimate lesson to be drawn from it would be -- the danger of apostatizing from the faith, principles and fellowship of the "Campbellites." But not the whole intent of the lecture is to condemn the faith, principles and practices from which the Mormons apostatized -- and to identify Mormon faith, principles and practices with those which, in the proposition discussed, it is declared they had forsaken! Either the proposition is a gross blunder, or the proof submitted and the conclusions drawn are such as a "sober and scientific" reasoner ought to be ashamed of. To prove that Mormon theology was "founded" and "developed" by "apostate Campbellites," our lecturer proceeds to prove that Mormon theology teaches some of the very same things that A. Campbell and his coadjutors taught! How that proof is to be hitched on to that proposition, is a mystery which none but a marvelously "scientific" reasoner can ever know.

Apostates from a faith or a party, may take with them some of the ideas, or principles, or usages of the system they renounce. The apostates of apostolic times did this. Paul charges them with preaching "another gospel," yet he immediately adds "which is not another, but there are some that pervert the gospel of Christ." They retained the gospel in part, but perverted it as a whole, and added to it whatever suited their wicked purposes. Can they, by any amount of "scientific" treatment of the facts, be justly regarded as the offspring of the gospel? Can their wicked perversions and their moral corruptions be fathered on that gospel which they perverted? If not, Prof. Whitsitt's attempt to fasten the disgrace of Mormonism on the teaching of Alexander Campbell is disgraceful to him alike as a "scientific" historian and as a "sober" logician, and if the Pastors of the Baptist Conference at Louisville can swallow such reasoning, they must be on the borders of starvation, ready to devour whatever is offered to them. The truth is, that the apostates of primitive times had much more success than these apostates from our ranks, for it does not appear that "many" from among us "followed their pernicious ways." Their converts were mostly from other sources. Not only were their conquests few from among us, but our preachers promptly, boldly and successfully withstood them at the start, and soon put an end to their mischievous influence and proselyting career. Moreover, let Prof. W. understand, when he reasons after this fashion, that Sidney Rigdon, whom he regards as the real author of Mormon theology, was a Baptist, and came from the Baptists to us. And the Campbells, too. affiliated with the Baptists. And the principal adherents of the Campbells came from the Baptists. Sidney Rigdon could tell of no such inroads on our ranks as could the Campbells of inroads on the Baptist ranks. Of course then, Baptistism is the mother of Campbellism -- the latter sprung from the former, and has always retained much that is taught and practiced by the Baptists. Baptistism is not only the mother of Campbellism, but the grandmother of Mormonism, and the grandchild, in some respects, striking features of its grandmother, which don't belong to the mother at all.

Let us quote again from this report:

This purpose of "convincing Jews and Gentiles that Jesus is the Christ," which is announced on the title-page, Prof. Whitsitt declares to be the key of the Book of Mormon and he thinks that this manifest and expressed aim of the book shows that it had a Campbellite origin.

Marvelous! Now listen to this, from a book older a good deal than the Book of Mormon"

Many other signs truly did Jesus which are not written in this book, but these are written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life in his name (John xx 30-31).

Does this "manifest and expressed aim of the book" show that John's gospel "had a Campbellite origin?"

Or, take the report of the apostolic sermon, "the manifest and expressed aim" of which is thus announced:

And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, [opening] and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus which I preach unto you is the Christ (Acts xvii 2-3).

Does this show that Paul's sermon "had a Campbellite origin"

Prof. Whitsitt asserts that this is "the Campbellite Confession of Faith -- that Jesus is the Christ." That is to say, the "Campbellites" have the same. The editor of the Western Recorder, in defending Prof. Whitsitt, and presumably writing with that gentleman's approval, says in substance -- for we have not the paper by us and cannot give the exact language -- that no other body but the Disciples uses this confession of faith; they all use some other confession. That is to say, no other religious body of the present day adheres to apostolic teaching in this particular -- the Disciples and the Mormons are the only people who, in this respect, stand where the apostolic churches stood! Are Prof. W. and the Recorder becoming propagandists of Campbellism and Mormonism, that they thus hold these up in such marked contrast to all the churches that have departed from the apostolic model? But let us hear from a historian whose "sober and scientific investigation" Prof. Whitsitt will not, we presume, fail to honor:

The existence and first development of the Christian Church rests on an historical foundation -- on the acknowledgment of the fact that Jesus was the Messiah -- not in a certain system of ideas. Hence, at first, all those who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah separated from the mass of the Jewish people, and formed themselves into a distinct community. In the coming time it became apparent who were genuine, and who were false disciples; but all who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah were baptized without fuller or longer instruction, such as in later times has preceded baptism. There is only one article of faith which formed the peculiar mark of the Christian profession, and from this point believers were led to a clearer and perfect knowledge of the whole contents of the Christian faith, by the continued enlightenment of the Holy Spirit... Hence baptism at this period, in its peculiar Christian meaning, referred to this one article of faith, which constituted the essence of Christianity, as baptism into Jesus, into the name of Jesus; it was the holy rite with which sealed the connection with Jesus as the Messiah -- Neander's History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church, Book I., Chap. ii.

Will Prof. W. tell us if these apostolic churches "had a Campbellite origin?" Or did Campbellism, in this respect, have an apostolic origin? And, if this confession of faith had an apostolic origin, how is the conclusion to be avoided that Campbellism and Mormonism have alike "sprung" from apostolic teaching and practice? And how does this go to prove that the authors of Mormon theology were "apostate Campbellites?" The strongest mark of serious apostasy from primitive Christianity, in this particular, so far as the facts show, is that found in all the churches in which the editor of the Recorder could not find the apostolic confession of faith.

We quote again from the Recorder's report of Prof. Whitsitt's lecture:

The fact that immersion is prescribed as the exclusive mode of baptism betrays a Campbellite origin of the Book of Mormon; also the fact that infant baptism is forbidden. Smith, who was a Methodist in sympathy, could not have introduced these features. They must have been derived from Rigdon.

The reader will not fail to note the admirably "scientific" method of reasoning here set forth. Smith was a Methodist in sympathy, and therefore "could not" have introduced immersion and forbidden infant baptism. Yet it is well known that thousands of Methodists believe in immersion, and have insisted on being immersed, and that thousands of Methodists do not have their children sprinkled. If Smith had been a sincere and worthy Methodist, there is nothing in that fact to show that he "could not" have given these features to the Mormon theology. But to say that an impostor like Smith, capable of fathering all the lies about the golden plates and their translation, the visits of angels, etc., "could not" so far overcome his sympathies with Methodism as to put into his scheme of imposture anything that would suit his purpose, is an inconsequential piece of reasoning which we are compelled to say appears to us neither "sober" nor "scientific." We only speak of this, however, as a specimen of very foolish reasoning. We think it quite likely that these features of the Mormon system were "derived from Rigdon," as well as pretty much all else that enters into the religious teaching of the Mormons; and for this opinion we are not in the slightest degree indebted to the laborious and scientific researches of Prof. Whitsitt. It is based on facts long since made public, and accessible to all who desire to know them. Mormonism probably "derived from Rigdon," its immersion and its prohibition of infant baptism. They may, therefore, be fathered on him, so far as that system is concerned. But from whom did Rigdon derive them? From the Campbellites?" Nay, nay, but from the Baptists! Rigdon was a Baptist. He brought these ideas and principles with him when he came from the Baptists to us, and took them with him when he went away from us. And yet Prof. W. says they betray "a Campbellite origin of the Book of Mormon!" No sir, they betray, according to your own vicious cycle of reasoning, a Baptist origin of the Book of Mormon. The lecturer falls into the pit which he digged for the poor Campbellites. Rigdon derived immersion and opposition to infant baptism from the Baptists; and, so far as these features are concerned, the Book of Mormon has, according to the lecturer's method of reasoning, a Baptist origin. Yet, if any of our preachers were to charge on such grounds, that Mormonism is the offspring of Baptistism, we should conclude that there was a screw loose somewhere in his mental gearing; and if any of our professors in our Bible schools, were to teach such nonsense to their students, we should set them down as blind guides. Rigdon carried with him into Mormonism ideas of God and Christ, and the atonement, and the resurrection, and many other things that are recognized as true by all the orthodox denominations, and we presume he derived them from orthodox sources. Is Mormonism therefore, the offspring of orthodoxy? Nonsense. We may yet show that there are some features of Mormonism in which it is allied with Baptistism and with the popular orthodoxy of the time of its origin, in which it is directly opposed to the uniform teaching and practices of the "Campbellites." But this, with more that we have to say in review of Prof. Whitsitt's lecture, must await another opportunity.

But before we close, we call attention to a matter which deeply concerns Prof. Whitsitt. We called his attention to it once before, and sent him a marked copy of the paper; but we are not aware the he made any reply to it. We now repeat it. We have it on respectable authority that within the last two or three years, Prof. Whitsitt, if he did not originate, very heartily seconded, a proposal from a Baptist source, for a conference between leading Baptists and Disciples, to consider the question of union between these two peoples. We are informed that he went so far as to suggest the methods to be pursued to prepare the way for such a consummation. We are further informed that he was quite enthusiastic in behalf of such a proceeding. Now, while we have no intention to question his motives, we have a right to call attention to reported facts, which, if true, call for explanation from him. We ask, therefore: 1. Are the foregoing statements true? We published them once, and neither Prof. Whitsitt nor any Baptist paper, so far as we know, ever denied them. Indeed, to the extent of our knowledge, the papers that paraded Prof. Whitsitt's purpose to prove the Campbellite origin of Mormonism were as silent as the grave respecting the statement we published, and a very solemn stillness on the whole question of Prof. W.'s promised exposure of Campbellism, succeeded. We now renew the request for an answer to our question. 2. If these statements are true, how can Prof. Whitsitt consistently teach that Campbellism and Mormonism are parent and child? Does he seek to convert Baptists to Mormon theology and Mormon practices? How could he lend his influence to, and even become enthusiastic over, a proposal to unite the Baptists and us, if he honestly regards our teachings as the legitimate fountain of Mormonism? To reconcile his enthusiasm over a proposed attempt at union with his present effort to cover us with the foul disgrace of Mormonism, we confess is to us an impossible task. We are not disposed to condemn him without a hearing, But we frankly tell him that continued silence on this point will be taken as presumptive evidence of his inability to reconcile his former professions with his present teaching, and the people will draw their own conclusions.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 49.                             Cleveland, Friday, December 15, 1882.                             No. ?



Some Interesting Reminiscences and
Early Recollections of Mormondom.


The article in a recent Herald regarding the reestablishment of the Mormon temple at Kirtland, this State, has caused a good deal of comment throughout Northern Ohio, and many old people who resided in Kirtland, or in that vicinity, during the Mormon excitement, are coming forward with interesting reminiscences of those days. No one can furnish anything more entertaining in this connection than Mr. Isaac Fellows, of Youngstown, one of the old, solid and substantial citizens, foreman in the pattern shops of William Tod & Co.

Mr. Fellows said to a Herald reporter yesterday that he was living in Kirtland in 1825, and from that time to 1832 or 1833. It was a little town with little in its appearance to make it historical when


and two others came there and began preaching the Mormon religion. They claimed to have discovered the plates of the new Bible, the Book of Mormon, and by strong will power, energetic force and persistency succeeded in convincing many that they were divinely called to the services of mankind. Elder Rigdon, a Disciple preacher at Mantua, was one of the first converts to this new religion. It wedged its way into this strong New England orthodox community until many of its leaders of society and thought were within the Mormon fold.


since a leading and distinguished saint, went into the work with much enthusiasm. Hyde had been working in the same shop with Mr. Fellows before the Mormon invasion, and there was nothing to distinguish him beyond the ordinary man. A prominent man named Billings and others named Barlow, Morley, Dr. Williams, C. K. Whitney, A. S. Gilbert, John M. Burk, Dwight and Harpin Riggs and others rallied around Joe Smith and his chosen disciples and soon there rose the Mormon temple, now so famous and already described in the Herald.


Mr. Fellows say he remembers well the departure of the Mormons to the far West. His sister [Abigail Fellows] and her husband, John M. Burk, were among the faithful followers of the Prophet who left behind them home and friends to seek in the far off wilderness that freedom of thought and action, that opportunity for religious growth, which they had been taught to believe were denied them here. It was a sad parting and there was much excitement in Kirtland at the leave-taking. It was a cold day. Mr. Fellows thinks the year was 1833. He says it is not his recollection that the community of Kirtland were at all hostile to the Mormons, but they went away to establish themselves so far beyond the limits of civilization as to insure them against contamination with the wicked world and New England thought.

Among those who went with those Mormon emigrants was Charles Allen Burk, the son of Mr. Fellows' sister. He was about ten years old. Mr. Fellows says it was years after their departure before he heard from them. They were effectively swallowed up by the wilderness. He says he has watched for some


towards Salt Lake, and that he has never seen it or known anything regarding their trials and hardships until, in 1878, he received a letter from his nephew. He prizes this highly, yet permitted a Herald reporter to read it. The letter says: "We left Kirtland September 24, 1832, and went to Wellsville, O. There we got on a flatboat and went to Cincinnati, where we took the steamer Portsmouth for Louisville. There we had our baggage dragged around the falls, when we reembarked on the steamer Dove for St. Louis, reaching there sometime in October. The cholera was raging at St. Louis, and many of the colonists were taken down with the cholera and died. Mr. Blakesly died here. Here we bought ox teams and wagons, and started for Independence, Mo. At St. Charles, Mo., my mother took sick and died. She was buried in the St. Charles graveyard. She had a good, respectable burial, and a number of strangers went with us to the grave. She died November 8th, 1832. Her sickness and death left us two weeks behind the company, but they traveled slowly, and we overtook them. We arrived in Independence the last of November. Father bought a farm sometime in January, and we went to housekeeping, Widow Bunnel and her own daughters keeping house for us. We remained there until the night the stars fell, November 2d, when we started across the Missouri into Clay county, where we camped out in the open air, keeping warm by large cottonwood fires. A large number of people were with us. We remained in Clay county until December, 1836, when we moved to the far West, and settled in Caldwell county, where father built the Eagle Hotel. In 1838 we made another remove and left the State of Missouri. We went into Illinois, and from there to Lee County, Iowa, where we remained until June, 1841. We than settled in the town of Nauvoo, Illinois. Here we remained until September 20th, 1846, when we crossed the Mississippi River en route for Council Bluffs. We left my my step-mother, she was Mrs. Bunnel, at Farmington, Iowa, where she took sick. Father and I went on to Council Bluffs with the rest and remained there until April, 1847, when 141 men and three women started for somewhere, just where we did not know, but we brought up in the valley of the great Salt Lake. This was July 24, 1847. The country was very uninviting I can assure. On August 16th, in company with a number of pioneers and battalion men, we started for the Bluffs, 1,031 miles distant."

The description of the return trip would have little interest for the general reader.

"June 27th, 1848," continues the writer, "we started again for the mountains, with a large emigration of probably 1,000 wagons, but we divided into companies of 100 wagons. We reached Salt Lake without many accidents October 16th. My wife's brother was run over by a wagon. We buried him in a sand hill. I hurriedly made him a cottonwood box for a coffin.

"On September 25th, 1858," the letter says, "I learned of the death of my sister Salina. She died on the Platt River, ten miles above the head of Grand Island, and was buried without a coffin or box of any kind."

The letter is full of incidents of early life is Salt Lake and the far West, but these will suffice to show what these pioneers must have endured for the first twenty or thirty years after they left Ohio.

Note: The above article preserves a valuable historical source relating to early Mormonism -- even though it does contain a few obvious errors. Joseph Smith was not among the initial four Mormon missionaries who preached in the Kirtland area in 1830, nor was Orson's Hyde's first name spelled Horton. Isaac Fellows himself is mentioned in passing in the Jan. 1888 issue of Naked Truths About Mormonism.


Vol. XVII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, December 16, 1882.                     No. 50.

Prof. Whitsitt on Mormonism.

As we have been necessarily absent from the office for several days, we have not found time to complete our comments on Prof. Whitsitt's lecture. We give, instead, the following letter, sent by Bro. F. D. Power to the Western Recorder. Whether it will be allowed to appear in that paper remains to be seen. It will appear be seen that it sustains the statements my by us relative to Prof. Whitsitt's desire to submit a proposition from the Baptist side of the house, looking to a union of Baptists with a people whose teaching, he now claims, gave birth to the theology and peculiar morality of Mormonism! Whether the Professor is in living sympathy with Mormonism, that he was so earnest to bring the Baptists into association with the pestiferous doctrine that gave birth to it; or whether, since the death of President Garfield, the prize he sought has lost its glittering charm, we must leave our readers to decide for themselves. We know they will be interested in reading Bro. Power's communication to the Recorder: ...

Note: Mr. Power's lengthy letter was written to deride the idea of a Baptist-Disciple union. It says very little about Whitsitt's views on Mormon origins and so is not reproduced here.


Vol. XVII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, December 23, 1882.                     No. 51.

Prof. Whitsitt's Reply.

The Western Recorder of Dec. 14 publishes Bro. Power's letter, which appeared in our columns, last week, and follows it with the following comments, ostensibly from the editor of that paper:


(1) This exveedingly airy epistle... [is] on government stationery... We trust he came by it honestly...

(8) Prof. Whitsitt is not ashamed to admit that he has "learned more of the inner history of the Campbellites than he knew less than two years ago." Within this period he has learned that Campbellism gave birth to Mormonism, and he will confess that this discovery has modified his opinion in several important respects. Within this period he has also obtained some desirable instruction from a writer who appears under the nom de plume of "Zetesis," with regard to the Campbellite "Plea for Christian Union," and has become satisfied that it is a very unhandsome and offensive, though possibly not, in many instances, a disingenuous plea, and that no steps toward Christian union can be taken, or should be taken, until that plea is distinctly withdrawn and disowned.

... It was after the fourth of March, 1881, that he [Whitsitt] was so enthusiastic over this proposed conference in behalf of union; it was about a year from that time -- perhaps less than a year -- that he delivered his lectures on Mr. Campbell's "Sandemanianism," and announced his purpose to deliver a lecture on the Mormons, to show that Mormonism is the offspring of Campbellism. This whole question of Sandemanian heresy, over which such a blow was made, must have been settled in the Professor's mind before he was so enthusiastic in behalf of union; and it is just as difficult to suppose him to be sincere in initiating measures looking to a union with Sandemanian heretics, as to suppose him earnest in proposing a union with a people from whom he believed the Mormons obtained their ideas of believers' immersion, the design of baptism, weekly communion, and the apostolic confession of faith. But, according to the Baptist correspondents who make such a flourish of trumpets over the Professor's lectures on "Campbellism," he had been engaged "for several years" in laying before his classes "a genetic history of the movement named after Mr. Campbell," and of course must have been engaged for several years before that in his "scientific" and "philosophic" explorations and preparations; and yet, with A. S. Haydon's and Dr. Richardson's books within his reach, and with his very diligent examinations of the Millennial Harbinger, in which the facts concerning Sidney Rigdon and Mormonism were stated, and the fact published that Baptist editors charged Campbellism with giving birth to Mormonism, he never had even a suspicion of the connection between Campbellism and Mormonism which he now sees, and which he discovered very shortly after the failure of the proposed conference and the death of the President! Considering the many years of anxious and laborious investigation he deemed it needful to give to "Campbellism "before he gave his impressions to the public, Prof. W. was certainly in a very great hurry to announce his conclusions respecting a concoction of Campbellism and Mormonism which he did not even suspect a year beforehand, and concerning which he has made known nothing true that did not lie on the surface of history, known to thousands who make no pretensions to largo reading. If Prof. W. is satisfied to squeeze through this small hole, we regret to see him reduced to such a necessity. He has spoiled the charm of the pretension to profound and patient and philosophical research so boastingly set forth by Baptist editors as a basis of confidence in his statements concerning Campbellism and Mormonism....

Note: The Western Recorder's reply to Mr. Power's letter relates mostly to deride the idea of a Baptist-Disciple union. Only those portions of the text concerning William H. Whitsitt's views on Mormon origins are reproduced here.


Vol. XVII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, December 30, 1882.                     No. 52.

Prof. Whitsitt's and Mormonism
Once More.


In giving so extended a review of Prof. Whitsitt's lecture on Campbellism and Mormonism, it is not because the lecture, as reported deserves it, but because we think it advisable to take the occasion, for the benefit of the public, to speak at large of some things which need to be better understood.

Prof. Whitsitt charges that the theology and even the gross immoralities of Mormonism, are but the logical outcome of Thomas Campbell's maxim, "Where the Scriptures speak, we speak; where the Scriptures are silent, we are silent." Read the following paragraph from the Western Recorder's report of the lecture:

Prof. Whitsitt claims that he has added to the sum of information on these subjects the argument from internal considerations, which indicates clearly that Rigdon is the author of the theological portion of the Book of Mormon, and what is of more consequence, that the contents of this portion are such as none but a Campbellite could have written, since they are designed to sustain the Campbellite system as it stands, and to effect certain modifications of it in obedience to the fundamental Campbellite principle, "Where the Scriptures speak we speak." Mr. Campbell did not have the courage of his convictions. Mr. Rigdon did have the courage of his convictions, and he would not stop where Campbell stopped, but pressed that principle to what he conceived to be its logical and inevitable results. One exception must be mentioned here: even Rigdon could not at this period abide polygamy. He accordingly inserted in the Book of Mormon a provision against that point in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. But the dictum, "Where the Scriptures speak we speak," was too strong, and polygamy was finally introduced. When animal sacrifices, which are promised with the new temple at Salt Lake, and circumcision, and a few other deficiencies are remedied, the Mormons will be able to boast that they are the only people in existence who exemplify the fundamental principle which Thomas Campbell announced in the year 1809.

This is Prof. Whitsitt's great "discovery." He is wonderful in discoveries. So was Don Quixote. The Knight of the Sorrowful Countenance made wondrous discoveries, and cut and slashed at his imaginary giants with a valor, a skill and a proud success by no means inferior to those of our Knight of the Amiable Figure. The reader will see what is charged here:

1. That Thomas Campbell, and his son Alexander after him, taught that any thing taught, or even tolerated, in the Scriptures, no difference under what circumstances, or under what dispensation, is to be taught and tolerated now. Thus, circumcision and animal sacrifices, having been once taught, are as binding now as ever they were; while polygamy, which was never taught, but merely tolerated, and divorce for the slightest causes, which our Lord says Moses allowed because of the hardness of the hearts of the Jews, are, on the maxim of the Campbells, justifiable now. 2. That whatever the Bible can be made to speak, without reference to any canons of interpretation -- without inquiry as to whether the language is literal or metaphorical, without investigation as to whether it describes a mere expedient or utters a positive law, without asking whether it was of local or general application, is authority for anything, however grossly immoral, however ridiculous or absurd, however contradictory of other teachings of Scripture, or counter to what is called "the analogy of the faith," or the general tenor of Scripture. Not only did the Campbells so teach, according to Prof. Whitsitt, but this was, with them, "the fundamental principle" of "Campbellism," and if they did not carry it out to its legitimate results, in teaching and preaching the abominations that now characterize Mormonism, it was because they "did not have the courage of their convictions." And after recording these monstrous charges, along with talk about "Campbellite cant," and "an intolerable degree of coarseness," etc., etc., the reporter expresses the hope that "our Campbellite friends will not receive these results with denunciation and abuse," since Prof. W. is such a dear, "amiable" man, and has nothing "Polemical" in view in his lectures! In as far as this expresses a hope that the Disciples will not return to railing for railing, we take it as evincing some confidence that they have more of the Spirit of Christ than their defamer; but, with all meekness and gentleness, and without disappointing the hope so amiably expressed, we venture to say what was allowed once to be said to the prince of false accusers, "The Lord rebuke thee."

A more unauthorized and inexcusable perversion and misrepresentation of Thos. Campbell's maxim it would be difficult to imagine. If Prof. W. has studied the writings of the Campbells with even a hundredth part of the care and profound attention claimed for him in his investigations, nothing by lunacy or Boetian stupidity can shield him from blame for what he has said on this point.

1. What was Thomas Campbell treating of when he uttered this maxim? Why, of Christian union -- the bonds of Christian fellowship. Nothing, he urged, should be insisted on as a term of fellowship, such as the theological dogmas and speculations in the creeds, which God has never spoken. It was more frequently expressed by him in another form:

Nothing ought to be inculcated upon Christians as articles of faith, nor required of them as terms of communion, but what is expressly taught and enjoined upon them in the word of God. Nor ought anything to be admitted as of divine obligation in their church constitution and management, but what is expressly enjoined by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles upon the New Testament Church, either in expressed terms or by approved precedent.

Prof. Whitsitt knows, if he knows anything of what Thomas Campbell taught, that, outside of what was to be insisted on as essential to Christian fellowship, he treated distinctly of inferential teaching and of expedients -- of the course to be pursued in matters concerning which the Scriptures were silent -- for instance, the methods by which certain great duties, like the sending of the gospel into all the world, were to be accomplished. If he is incompetent to understand such teaching, he is unfit to pass judgment on Thos. Campbell's teaching.

2. Thos. Campbell was careful to insist that the New Testament alone is to the Christian a book of authority; hence to represent him as inculcating a principle that justifies polygamy, circumcision, animal sacrifices, etc., is an outrageous misrepresentation, and charity can only shelter the false accuser by a plea of incomptency to understand, or a blear-eyed prejudice that perverts the mental vision. Listen to Thomas Campbell:

Although the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are inseparably connected, making together but one perfect and entire revelation of the Divine will, for the edification and salvation of the Church, and therefore in that respect can not be separated; yet as to what directly and properly belongs to their immediate object, the New Testament is as perfect a constitution for the worship, discipline and government of the New Testament Church, and as perfect a rule for the particular duties of its members, as the Old Testament was for the worship, discipline and government of the Old Testament Church, and the particular duties of its members.

This is but one of numerous explicit declarations on this point, put forth in connection with the maxim, "Where the Scriptures speak," etc. We can quote pages of such teaching from Thos. Campbell. Yet Prof. W. dares to charge on him a conviction, to which he was not true, that polygamy, the offering of animal sacrifices, etc., were among the duties or privileges of the Christian! Shame!

The truth is, that as early as 1816 Alexander Campbell -- and in this his father was agreed with him -- provoked the wrath of the Baptists by teaching that Christians are not under the law of Moses. It was this, more than anything else, that provoked the Baptists to make it too hot for him in the Redstone Association. If Rigdon could be supposed to be sincere in his pretense that polygamy is scriptural, he probably learned his principles of scriptural interpretation among these Baptists with whom he was associated; he certainly never learned it from the Campbells.

3. Prof. W. seeks to make the impression that Thos. Campbell's maxim ignores all laws of interpretation, and insists on the most strictly literal meaning of the words of Scripture always and everywhere. He parades this "literalism" as a grievous feature of "Campbellism." This, again, is utterly false. It was a favorite saying with the Campbells: "The Bible was written by men, to men, for men," and they urged that its language must therefore be subjected to all the established canons of interpretation that were applied to other writings in the same language, or written in the same periods. Hence, Thomas Campbell says:

It is further proposed to show, in a series of discoveries, that the New Testament does really contain, and actually exhibit, a Divine system of religion and morality so complete, that the person who realizes it will "stand perfect and complete in all the will of God," be made "wise unto salvation," and be "thoroughly furnished unto all good works." And all this in the express terms of the Divine testimony, without the intervention of one human opinion; only taking it for granted that the sacred text means what it says when treated with that candid, evident fairness with which we treat any intelligible, interesting record; otherwise it can have no certain meaning at all.

We leave it to the candid reader to judge how shamefully Prof. Whitsitt has perverted the evident meaning of Thos. Campbell's maxim. If he interprets the Scriptures as blindly or as recklessly, heaven pity the theological students placed under his guidance. It is well known that among the shocking immoralities of the times, Mormon polygamy holds a chief place; and when Prof. W. attempts to hold the teachings of the Campbells responsible for one of the most disgusting and pernicious of all the crimes against society now practiced, he is aiming to cover what he calls "Campbellism" with infamy -- and this, too, on the slender ground of an utterly false and vicious interpretation of a single sentence of Thos. Campbell's -- an interpretation which he could not help knowing was at war with everything taught by Thos. Campbell in connection with a [full] elucidation of that sentence.

If this were not so supremely ridiculous as to be altogether harmless, it would be supremely contemptible. But we have bestowed too much and too serious attention upon Prof. W. and his absurdities.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVIII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, January 13, 1883.                     No. 2.

Prof. Whitsitt's Second Lecture.

The Western Recorder of Dec. 21, contained a report of Prof. Whitsitt's second lecture on Cambellism and Mormonism. Beyond its appearance in that journal, we have noticed no indication of public interest in it. In fact, since the Professor's enthusiasm over the question of the union of the Baptists and Disciples has become known, there is little concern about any thing he may say on the connection between Campbellism and Mormonism. The second lecture is no improvement on the first. It proceeds on the silly supposition that such notorious frauds as Smith and Rigdon were governed by religious convictions in the construction of a religious system which is permeated with the deceit and fraud of of those daring impostors. Think of such rascals being governed by any "fundamental principle" in establishing polygamy, other than the gratification of their own lusts. But the manifest contradictions between the first and second lectures, as to the responsibility for the enormities of Mormonism, are so glaring, that Prof. W.'s competency to deal fairly with the question will be apparent to every candid reader, Look at these extracts:


Prof. Whitsitt claims that he has added to the sum of information on these subjects the argument from internal considerations, which indicates clearly that Rigdon is the author of the theological portion of the Book of Mormon, and what is of more consequence, that the contents of this portion are such as none but a Campbellite could have written, since they are designed to sustain the Campbellite system as it stands, and to effect certain modifications of it in obedience to the fundamental Campbellite principle, "Where the Scriptures speak we speak." Mr. Campbell did not have the courage of his convictions. Mr. Rigdon did have the courage of his convictions, and he would not stop where Campbell stopped, but pressed that principle to what he conceived to be its logical and inevitable results. One exception must be mentioned here: even Rigdon could not at this period abide polygamy. He accordingly inserted in the Book of Mormon a provision against that point in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. But the dictum, "Where the Scriptures speak we speak," was too strong, and polygamy was finally introduced. When animal sacrifices, which are promised with the new temple at Salt Lake, and circumcision, and a few other deficiencies are remedied, the Mormons will be able to boast that they are the only people in existence who exemplify the fundamental principle which Thomas Campbell announced in the year 1809.


Prof. Whitsitt would not be understood as affirming that the Campbellites are responsible for all the weird and bizarre applications which the fundamental principle of Campbellism has received at the hands of the Mormons. The ingenuity of the Mormons in applying this literalistic principle has been truly remarkable, and the Campbellites may not fairly be held responsible for these fantastic extravagances; but it was for them an unspeakable calamity to have placed this principle in the hands of Mr. Rigdon. No greater misfortune could have befallen a worthy religious community. It is heavy enough to weigh down all the good which they have accomplished among men, and they deserve, in view of such a misfortune, a great deal of sympathy. Nevertheless, they can not be held accountable for anything beyond the ugly freaks of the literalistic principle which are exhibited within their own bounds. No one would willingly add the weight of a feather to the heavy burdens which the many noble and useful men among them are compelled to bear. Heaven bestow upon them strength and courage to learn a lesson from the horrible calamity which has befallen their church, and to banish the demon of literalism which goes about in it as a roaring lion.

Notice: In the first lecture, polygamy and kindred abominations are merely "modifications" of "Campbellism," in strict obedience to "the fundamental Campbellite principle;" Rigdon proceeded according to what he conceived to be "the logical and inevitable results" of this fundamental principle; and the practice of polygamy, circumcision, and offering animal sacrifices, "exemplify the fundamental principle which Thomas Campbell announced in the year 1809." The only reason why Alexander Campbell stopped short of polygamy and the kindred abominations of Mormonism is that "he did not have the courage of his convictions," and was therefore too cowardly to act on his "convictions."

But in the second lecture he declares the "the Campbellites may not be held responsible for these fantastic extravagances." They can not be held accountable for anything beyond the ugly freaks of the literalistic principle which are exhibited within their own bounds;" although these "fantastic extravagances" are but the legitimate outgrowth of their fundamental principle, and the only reason they did not plunge into all these extravagances is, that they did not have the courage of their convictions! Yet these legitimate and logical applications of the fundamental principles of the Campbells are "weird and bizarre applications" of that principle! Really, the awful tragedy which Prof. W. set himself to work up, has already, in his own hands, become a ridiculous farce, unworthy of respect.

And what is that dreadful "literalistic principle" which has and which hasn't wrought all this mischief? Simply, that the Bible, interpreted in the light of all approved canons of interpretation, is to settle every question of faith and duty. That is all. It is the Protestant principle assumed by all evangelical denominations as fundamental.

The attempt to make this the legitimate fountain of Mormonism, is alike silly in conception, weak and contradictory in performance, and wickedly sectarian in purpose.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVIII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, January 27, 1883.                     No. 4.

Whitsittistic and Mormonistic.

The Western Recorder, in its desperate efforts to sustain Prof. Whitsitt in his ridiculous attempts to bring the Disciples into disgrace, gets off the following on the creed question:

The example of the Campbellites in trying to get on without a creed is so sad and so frightful that it constitutes a sore stumbling block in the way of those who would fain persuade the religious public to dispense with creeds. Within a comparatively brief period the Campbellites have produced some of the most objectionable sects in existence, as for instance the Mormons, the Thomasites and Jesse B. Ferguson, with his adherents. People have said, and now say, that this was because they had no creed, and "all sorts of preaching by nearly all sorts of men."

Our readers have not forgotten that the Journal and Messenger, not long since, stoutly and indignantly denied that the Baptists had any authoritative human creed...

Because Sidney Rigdon, Dr. Thomas, and Jesse B. Ferguson departed from the word of God, and were opposed, rebuked and denounced by our brethren generally, the Recorder affirms that "the Campbellites have produced some of the most objectionable sects in existence." ... Will Prof. Whitsitt, or the editor of the Recorder, affirm that Luther, or the Baptists, "produced" these abominations -- that they are a legitimate outgrowth of Protestantism? Yet these fanatics were not "impostors," like Rigdon and Smith. The Roman Catholics, by sophistry very much like Prof. Whitsitt's, lay all these excesses at the door of Protestantism....

The Recorder of Jan. 18 has a two column editorial in reply to us, giving just five lines of what we said! ... The writer admits that Sidney Rigdon was "an impostor." That settles the question. It is as sheer an absurdity to hold the teachings of the Campbells responsible for the monstrosities of Mormonism -- a system framed by knaves for the purposes of imposture -- as to hold Jesus and the apostles responsible for the treachery of Judas... Yet this writer in the Recorder says:

But Mormonism differs from Campbellism solely in the more rigid application of this Campbellite principle. It has copied nearly every item of Campbellism, along with this literalistic principle, [and] only makes advances beyond Campbellism where it applies this principle further than the Campbellites were willing to apply it, The rigid application of the literalistic principle of Campbellism fully explains the Mormon doctrine of baptism for the dead, the doctrine of polygamy, the apostlehood and priesthood, the endowment, the plurality of gods, the theocracy, and every other prominent tenet of practice of Mormonism.

But Prof. Whitsitt in his second lecture called these the result of "weird and bizarre" applications which the fundamental principle of Campbellism has received at the hands of the Mormons...

We have given more space to this disgracing affair than it deserves, and shall not trouble our readers with it in the future, unless the controversy takes on some new phase worthy of notice; though we may yet find it necessary to set forth some of the features of Mormonism copied from the Baptists and other sects. We believe the Baptists themselves are largely disgusted with Prof. Whitsitt's course. It is a tribute to the strength of our position that, in place of manly opposition to our real teachings it is found necessary to resort to bugaboo [exertions?] to frighten the people away from us.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVI.                     Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, January 29, 1883.                     No. 29.


A Book on Pioneer Life and Early Settlers
in Northern Ohio.

Which Calls Out Some Interesting Reminiscences
of James A. Briggs.


Special Correspondence to the Leader.

69 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn.          
January 19. -- I am indebted to my old friend, Mr. Harvey Rice, of your city, for a copy of his book, "Pioneers of The Western Reserve," published by Lee & Shepard, Boston, Charles E. Dillingham, New York....

Mr. Rice refers to Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon and the temple the Mormons built at [Kirtland[. Rigdon was a man of very much intellect. He was a natural orator, had fine command of words, and was a very impressive speaker. He was once a Baptist minister. In the winter of 1833-'34 several gentlemen in Willoughby, Painesville, and Mentor formed themselves into a committee to inquire into the origin of the Mormon Bible. Of the members of the committee in Willoughby were Judge Allen, Dr. and Samuel Wilson, Jonathon Lapham, and myself. The committee held several meetings at the house of Mr. Corning, in Mentor. The place is now owned by Mr. Garfield. They employed a man by the name of Hulbut [sic - Hurlbut?], who was once a Mormon, to help in the investigation. He went to Pittsburgh and found a printer there for the manuscript of the book written by the Rev. Solomon Spalding, "The Manuscript Found."

We compared it with the Mormon Bible, and the names and language and style of the Bible were so like the manuscript that all were convinced that the "Mormon Bible" was made out of this manuscript of Spalding. A number of letters were received from those who had known Mr. Spalding, and from all the facts obtained tended to convince the committee that Sidney Rigdon, when he lived in Pittsburg, copied "The Manuscript Found" and from it made the Mormon Bible.

In the winter of 1833-34, Joe Smith made an assault upon Hulbut, and was arrested on a warrant, and the trial was in the old Methodist Church, on the southeast corner of the square in Painesville. It lasted for three days. Judge Bissell was the attorney for Joe Smith, and I was employed by Hulbut, having been admitted to the bar in October, 1833. If there had been reporters in those days the verbatim report of that trial for assault and battery would be a curiosity. I said to Judge Bissell: Now let us have an account of the finding of the gold plates of the Mormon Bible. The finding has nothing to do with the case, but let me ask Smith all about it. The Judge interposed an objection to the question, but withdrew it, and he got out the whole history from Smith under oath. He testified that when he dug into the earth, and reached the plates "that he was kicked out of the hole he had dug and lifted into the air by some unseen power." The whole trial was exceedingly rich, and the old church was crowded with delighted spectators. In my speech I paid my respects to one of the leaders of the Kirtland Mormons in such a manner that he said, "if it was not for his religion he would whip that young lawyer Briggs." Perhaps I am the only one that ever escaped a flogging on account of a man being a Mormon....

This volume has called up and mentions the names of very many whom I have known in the fifty years now gone, and bring to mind many incidents of pioneer life that I would like to record. But I must close, with thanks again to my good old friend, he classmate of President Hopkins and David Dudley Field, on Williams College, Mr. Rice, for his very interesting volume. It should be read by all people of "the Western Reserve." It will teach them lessons they ought to know, and ever to remember.   Yours truly,         JAMES A. BRIGGS.

Note 1: A copy of the above clipping is on file in Volume Two (page 128) of the James A. Briggs Scrapbooks (MS 882) in the Western Reserve Historical Society Library at Cleveland. This article contains the first known public mention by James A. Briggs of his 1833-34 dealings with D. P. Hurlbut. Previous Briggs letters on the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon were published in the N. Adams, Mass. Berkshire Advocate of Feb.12, 1834, the Boston Puritan-Recorder of Oct. 10, 1850, and the Sept., 1881 issue of the International Review. -- In the meanwhile Briggs had attempted to correspond with Hurlbut (then living in Sandusky Co., Ohio) but received no answer from the man.

Note 2: Although he tells of President Garfield's ownership of the "Lawnsdale," the old Warren Corning house in Mentor, Briggs neglects to mention the fact that Garfield had been assassinated in 1881. Harvey Rice's Pioneers of The Western Reserve was apparently published at the beginning of 1883. Briggs probably finished reading his copy around the middle of January and sent off his comments to the Leader on Jan. 19, 1883. He failed to mention that his 1834 defense of D. P. Hurlbut involved more than just a complaint having been filed against Joseph Smith, Jr. Joseph's lawyer also brought charges against Hurlbut at that time and the two cases were evidently reviewed by two different justices of the peace simultaneously. Hurlbut's proposed case against Smith must have been dismissed, but Smith's charges against Hurlbut (for attempted murder, no less!) were handed over to the Ohio circuit court for trial (held in Chardon that April). To further complicate matters, it seems that D. P. Hurlbut also filed a complaint against Joseph's brother, Hyrum Smith, during this same period (Dec. 1833-Jan. 1834).


Vol. XVIII.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, February 10, 1883.                     No. 6.

The Whitsitt Discovery!

The following is not only a vigorous expression of the sentiments of President Pendleton, but, as far as we can learn, a fair reflection of the general sentiment in our brotherhood; and as such, we give it place. We take occasion to say that we do not hold the Baptists generally responsible for the course of Prof. Whitsitt and the Western Recorder. As far as we have been able to learn, the most of the leading Baptist journals have declined to sneeze when Prof. Whitsitt sneezed, and even the Religious Herald gives a very faint te-hish-u in response, although loudly blowing the horn for the Professor in advance. We are glad to say this, to the credit of our Bpatist brethren.

From one point of view, it seems that the prejudiced fancies of Prof. Whitsitt do not deserve the attention... But in another light, it seems that the editor of the Christian Standard has done well to expose its spirit and its silliness. Prof. Whitsitt is a professor in a representative theological college of the Baptist Church and as such may be presumed to enjoy the confidence and respect of that good and honest body of Christians. Moreover, his lecture appears to have fallen quite gratefully upon the ears of some Baptist editors, as a discovery marvekous almost as the dishumed plates of the "Mormon Bible."... We call them to consider the low fancies by which it is seriously attempted to defame "Campbellites" as the theological godfathers of Mormonism, and as the propagandists of doctrines leading legitimately and logically to the monstrous and degrading impostures of Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon. We feel sure that noble men of this great denomination -- lay and clerical -- will be ashamed of the mean device by which this vulgar detraction is sought to be made reputable, and reprove it as it deserves, by a generous contempt for the author. If Professor Whitsitt has taken even tolerable pains to inform himself of the facts in the history of Mormonism, he knows that none did more to denounce and expose it in its very beginning than did these same "Campbellites" -- and that with them it made no headway. If Rigdon's theology had been their theology, why did they by all their prominent teachers so promptly and unanimously denounce and repudiate him?

That Rigdon should incorporate with his imposture some features of the gospel, which, if not recognized by all denominations are nevertheless clearly and in identical words taught in the Scriptures, is not strange, because he did not profess to repudiate Christ...

If Prof. Whitsitt were in the smallest degree capable of writing a correct history of anything, or could understand and apply the principles by which the facts are to be weighed out and interpreted, he would have seen how impossible it is to deduce anything like Mormonism from the "Theology of the Campbellites." The "Campbellites" require a "Thus saith the Lord," the Mormons, a "Thus saith the Prophet, Joe Smith." The "Campbellites" say, "Where the Bible is silent, we should be" -- The Mormons claim a new revelation and swear bu "the Book of Mormon." The "Campbellites" say that the Bible is to be interpreted by "the laws of language applicable to other books." The Mormons interpret it, as once many Baptists did, "mysrically, or through supernatural guidance." Joe Smith and other prophets, by new revelations and divine illuminations, are their guides. The "Campbellites" contend that the days of miracles ceased with the apostles; the Mormons contend that they are revived in their prophets. Generally, it may be said, that in everything that is peculiar and distinctive in Mormonism, they depart in toto from the spirit and principles of the "Campbellites," ...

We can bear the opprobiumbetter than they who cast it at us, but we will not consent to the falsehood nor the heresy that would be involved in its open or tacit acceptance.
                              W. K. P.

Note: It appears that the Rev. Dr. William H. Whitsitt's often blunt language and sometimes trenchant rhetoric got the better of the Disciple divines who attempted to fathom his "discovery" -- that Mormonism arose out of an apostate version of Campbellism. The Disciples had no willingness at all to be blamed for helping Mormonism come into the world, and in their 1882-3 responses to Whitsitt they spent 90% of their words in claiming innocence from that charge. In the other 10% of their collective response they implicitly admit that Rigdon did indeed take a number of distinctive Campbellite teachings and practices with him into Mormonism. But the historical importance of that fact was lost upon Disciple apologists whose main purpose was to distance the early history of their movement from the perceived aberration of Mormonism. It little interested the Disciples of Campbell's day, or those of the 1880s, that where the Book of Mormon agreed with Campbellite theology and discipline it also agreed with the religion preached by Sidney Rigdon -- and where the book differed with "regular" Campbellism is still followed Rigdon in his innovations or relapses back into Baptist tenets. To Whitsitt this realization of the book's theological structure was a notable discovery, worth sharing with the world. But to the Disciples of his day, Whitsitt's "discovery" had no practical use and served only to make Campbellism look bad. Eventually a few Disciple reverends did accept most of what Whitsitt had to say, but they gave him no credit for inspiring their own assertions of a Rigdonite perversion of their religion having given rise to the Latter Day Saint movement. Anti-Mormon crusaders like Clark Braden and Robert B. Neal learned to overlook the Christian Standard's vilification of Whitsitt and then to simply drop that Baptist theologian's name from their own later repetitions of the "discovery" he first championed.


Vol. XXXVI.                   Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, February 26, 1883.                   No. 57.


How Their Bible was Written and Promulgated.

Sidney Rigdon the Brains of the Movement, and
Solomon Spalding the Author.

How a Novel was Made Into a Divine Revelation
of Latter-Day Wisdom.

Something About Rigdon's Later Life -- An Atheist and a Disappointed Man.


Special Correspondence to the Leader.

... It is exceedingly astonishing upon what slender bases of fact many of the isms and religious sects of Christendom rest. Mormonism, one of the most remarkable of these, is already divided into several factions, but all of them take the nonsensical Book of Mormon as an authentic revelation from God and as a supplement to the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, more valuable, because more recent than they.

In order to understand how Mormonism was possible, it is necessary to consider, in brief, the condition that led to it. It was in reality a time of religious upheaval. New doctrines were being constantly promulgated by eloquent preachers. Everybody was investigating and thinking upon religious subjects.

Rev. Alexander Campbell, who had been brought up as a Scotch Presbyterian, and his father, Thomas Campbell, also a preacher, had traveled in Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and parts of the South, urging that all creeds were the works of men; that the Bible, in its simple and unadorned form, was "an all-sufficient rule of faith and practice," and that "the Bible is its own best interpreter." These men were soon joined by efficient allies such as Rev. Walter Scott, Silas E. Sheppard, and others, and the new idea grew with great rapidity. The most absolute congregationalism was both preached and practiced, and individual investigation and interpretation of sacred writings was encouraged. Churches were organized everywhere. The older denominations fought the new departure with considerable vehemence, and in some instances had the better of the argument. But the new preachers had one decided advantage over all others in that they took refuge in the Bible and in literal interpretation. As a direct outcome of the teachings briefly outlined above, it is not remarkable that nearly every separate member of the new church had its own ideas on almost every subject. To be sure, there were some things which were demonstrated by the early preachers as "First Principles," on which all agreed; but, on almost everything else, there were liable to be as many ideas as there were individual members.

Among these early Disciple preachers was one noted for his elegance of diction and power of extemporaneous speech, whose name was Sidney Rigdon.
When it was announced that Rigdon was to address a grove meeting or was to hold a revival the people would turn out for many miles around. Tall, handsome, brilliant, Sidney Rigdon had all the elements of a leader, save one, and that was sincerity. He was like Caesar, ambitious, and not like Caesar's wife, virtuous. He was not satisfied to take second place in the Disciple movement, and soon decided to start a movement of his own.

In a previous article published some days since I gave the Mormon account of the origin of the Mormon Bible. I now propose to relate the evidence that points conclusively to the fact that said book was written by a visionary novelist by the name of Solomon Spalding, living at Conneaut, Ohio, and that Sidney Rigdon conceived the idea of making it a religious book and bringing it before the world by the agency of Joe Smith, jr., as a prophet.

About the year 1840 Mr. E. D. Howe, who is now living at an advanced age in Painesville, Ohio, published a book called History of Mormonism, in which much valuable evidence was produced bearing on this subject. The book had but a limited circulation, and is now very hard to find. I think a copy of it, however, is in the possession of the Western Reserve Historical Society, of this city.

The two letters given below, which were obtained by Mr. Howe from the parties themselves, fix beyond question the authorship of the Book of Mormon, and satisfy any candid investigator that the "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon were one and the same.

The following is the letter of John Spalding, brother of Solomon:
"Dear Sir: You ask for some facts in regard to my brother, and I take the first opportunity to comply with your request. Solomon was born in Connecticut in 1761. He graduated at Dartmouth, and, after trying one or two of the professions, went into mercantile pursuits, and, failing in this, removed to Conneaut, Ashtabula County, O., in 1809. At this place I visited him in 1812. He then told me that he had been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled 'Manuscript Found,' of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites; cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view in order to account for all the curious antiquities, found in various parts of North and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and was greatly surprised to find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as there were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'and it came to pass,' or 'now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon, and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, jr., I am unable to determine.
"JOHN SPALDING."          
The second letter was dated at Conneaut and reads as follows:
"I left the State of New York late in the year 1810, and arrived at this place, about the 1st of January following. Soon after my arrival I formed a co-partnership with Solomon Spalding for the purpose of rebuilding a forge which he had commenced a year or two before. He very frequently read to me from a manuscript which he was writing, which he entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' and which he represented as being found in this town. I spent many hours in hearing him read said writing, and became well acquainted with its contents. He wished me to assist him in getting his production printed, alleging that a book of that kind would meet with a rapid sale. I designed doing so, but, the forge not meeting our anticipation, we failed in business, and I declined having anything to do with the publication of the book. This book represented the American Indians as the descendants of the lost tribes, gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contention and wars, which were many and great. One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct, but, by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise that it stands there just as he read it to me then. Some months ago I borrowed the Golden Bible, put it into my pocket, carried it home, and thought no more of it. About a week after, my wife found the book in my coat-pocket, as it hung up, and commenced reading it aloud as I lay upon the bed. She had not read twenty minutes till I was astonished to find the same passages in it that Spalding had read to me more, than twenty years before from his 'Manuscript Found.' Since that I have more fully examined the Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part is principally if not wholly taken from the 'Manuscript Found.' I well recollect telling Mr. Spalding, that the so frequent use of the words 'and it came to pass," "now it came to pass," etc., rendered it ridiculous. Spalding left here in 1812, and I furnished him the means to carry him to Pittsburg, where he said he would get the book printed, and pay me. But I never heard anything more of him or his writings until I saw them in the Book of Mormon.
HENRY LAKE.          
It is not necessary to discuss this evidence with any degree of particularity. It is conclusive in every respect. The question left arising is how did Sidney Rigdon obtain possession of this curious document. Luckily the evidence is almost as conclusive on this point as on the others. Mr. Spalding entrusted his manuscript for publication with a firm that soon after failed and left this, with many other unpublished documents, as part of the assets. Mr. Rigdon is known to have been intimate with the senior [sic - junior?] member of the firm, and to have had free access to all his manuscripts and documents. Soon after the failure of the firm the "Manuscript Found" disappeared and has never been seen in its original form since. Rigdon and Smith together worked up the new dispensation, and when they were ready to promulgate it to the world invented the silly story of the golden plates and the Urim and Thummim to give it an air of mystery and superstition.

The principal field in which the seed of the new doctrine was sown at first was that of the newly organized Disciple Church. Alexander Campbell had in several instances converted whole churches from the Baptists. These churches had come over in a body and brought their church edifice with them. These recently converted people were reading the Bible with renewed vigor and in the light of what they conceived to be the new truth they had so recently embraced. When the human mind once breaks the barriers within which it has been confined for a long time, and perhaps from infancy, and goes a distance beyond, it is not, generally speaking, a difficult task to go still farther if the proper appliances are brought to bear; so at least reasoned that adept student of human nature, Sidney Rigdon. He quoted with great vehemence the following verses from the second chapter of acts:

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams and on my servants and on my handmaidens will I pour out in those days of my spirit and they shall prophesy."

Rigdon held that the time thus graphically foretold had now come and that a new revelation had come and that others were liable to come at any time; that the people should observe with great care the dreams and visions they were to have, as they all had a significance. At first the newly formed Disciple churches were considerably agitated by this preaching. They had great confidence in Rigdon, and he came to them as still a disciple preacher, saying that he had simply received new light. To the credit of the leaders and the good sense of the membership, be it said, very small secessions from the Disciple Church were made, however, and Rigdon was very much disappointed in this. He had carefully prepared the way for the new departure. My mother remembers one of his last sermons for the Disciples, when he used as a text that impressive language in which a curse is invoked upon any man, or angel from heaven, who should preach any other doctrine than that already promulgated.

And so the new church was inaugurated. Hon. A. G. Riddle gives a very striking picture of the appearance of Kirtland flats in those days of the church's incipiency, at the first stake of Zion:
"Twenty-three or four miles east of Cleveland, and six or seven south from Lake Erie, and within the township of Kirtland, lie Kirtland Flats, traversed north and south by the Chillicothe road, running over the old trail from the old Indian town of that name, to the lake.

"Through the flats, or rather valley, and one of the loveliest of its tame character, in a northwesternly direction, runs Kirtland Creek, on each side of which spreads out a rich alluvial, at this point nearly two miles in width, and of unsurpassed fertility.

"The latter part of the winter and spring of 1831, saw strange sights of the gathering of strange people on the flats, -- houses and shops, and huts and shanties and boxes, rudely extemporized, dropping and squatting here and there, and teams of horses and oxen, with every variety of vehicle and a motley assemblage of men, women, and children, in which the rough, rude, ignorant, squalid and poor were the prevailing type, until one wondered where they could have come from, with here and there a manly, intelligent face, and well-clad form, and occasionally a beautiful and refined woman, strangely out of place.

"And all this various assemblage of the odds and ends, with this sprinkling of the higher element of humanity, had one thing in common -- a cord of fanaticism that vibrated in all alike, and some evidences of which a thoughtful observer would have seen in their countenances.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

It was the first gathering of the Latter-day Saints, at the beginning of their marvellous pilgrimage. The voice of the Prophet had gone forth, calling the new elect to come out from the world, and they came. Lord, what a sight!
The Prophet had ordained twelve apostles and sent them forth to preach, and the results of their work was the motley crew above described at Kirtland.

Money must be had, houses built, and land secured. A bank was started and paper money after the John Law-Sam Carey style was issued. The surrounding gentiles were plundered in every way and finally the collapse came. A dispensation was secured, calling for a hasty removal and they got out of the place between two days. The troubles in Illinois, which subsequently occurred, are written down in our history. After the tragic death of Smith there was a general scramble for his shoes and mantle. Brigham Young got them and Sidney Rigdon thought he himself should have them and so was angered. He bade farewell to Mormonism and in no very enviable frame of mind returned to his old home in Western Pennsylvania. Here he lived for about forty years in a very quiet way, an outspoken atheist. He often remarked late in life that could he have twenty-five years more of vigorous manhood he could overthrow all the isms of Christendom. He was approached several times by those who were desirous of drawing him out in regard to the knowledge which he possessed concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon. But the subject seemed to give him pain and he immediately changed to something more pleasing.

And now a branch of the church proposes to come to the old stake of Zion, even as the children of Israel returned to Canaan after the Babylonian captivity. It is not probable that the same degree of excitement will prevail that existed there fifty-two years ago. The times and the generation are different, and the sect outside of Utah has an interest to the live people of to-day simply as a reminiscence of the past.   GARY.

Note 1: The Cleveland Leader correspondent "Gary" has yet to be identified. Possibly he was Captain Marco "Mark" Bozzaris Gary (1831-1909). This same "Gary" wrote numerous letters to newspapers in Cleveland and Chicago. He appeared to entertain a lively interest in Ohio Mormonism, President Garfield and the U.S. Civil War, all of which subjects were relevant to the life of Capt. M. B. Gary of Cleveland. -- For another interesting letter from "Gary" -- see the Cleveland Leader of April 2, 1883.

Note 2: The "parties'" letters supplied by "Gary" in 1883 are the same documents that he had published in the Chicago Tribune of Dec. 26, 1877. The texts of the letter transcriptions thus provided do not substantially disagree with the versions which Mr. Howe presented to his readers in 1834 (and again in 1840, in a limited reprinting of his book), except in the fact that John Spalding's statement in Howe's book is about 10% longer. The published version of 1877 (and 1883) represents a condensation of John's 1833 statement (as first printed by Howe in 1834). They differ primarily in the first few sentences. If "Gary's" transcripts were accurate, then it is possible that Howe added the extra Spalding matter from some other source (perhaps from a subsequent John Spalding letter). Also, if the Gary transcript of John's statement is authentic, it would appear that John Spalding first submitted his testimony in the form of a letter -- probably originally addressed to D. P. Hurlbut. If this is indeed the case, then past critics' speculation regarding Hurlbut's probable influence in the wording of John's 1833 statement might be somewhat meliorated by the deduction that Hurlbut was not necessarily present when John wrote out his statement in letter form.

Note 3: The picture presented by "Gary," of Elder Sidney Rigdon at the beginning of the 1830s, agrees substantially with information provided by various Campbellite writers. Although generally reluctant to link incipient Mormonism too closely with Alexander Campbell's "Reformed Baptists," such historians readily admit Rigdon's unique role as an intermediary religious figure who specialized in diverting gullible Campbellites into the new sect. The situation in 1830 has been succinctly summarized by Scott G. Kenney: "Mormons held several heterodox views in common with Reformed Baptists. Both decried sectarianism and disavowed creeds and a formal clergy. Both were restorationist and taught the formula of faith, repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost. Faith was considered to be an intellectual exercise. Both called on believers to come forward and have their sins immediately washed away. The similarities were so striking that one newspaper article carried the headline, 'The Golden Bible, or, Campbellism Improved.' --- There were differences, to be sure, but they tended to occur at points where Mormons agreed with the Rigdonite critique of Campbellitism. Both Rigdon and Smith believed in a literal and far-ranging restoration that would include prophecy, priesthood authority, and gifts of the Spirit. Smith too believed that the ancient patriarchs and prophets were Christians who were called to prepare the way for Jesus, that the current age was a short preparatory period to prepare for Christ’s millennial reign."


Vol. XXXVI.                   Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, April 2, 1883.                   No. 92.


The Approaching Reunion of the Brethren of Kirtland.

The Four Elements and the Four Men Whose
Union Made the Delusion Possible.

Pen Pictures of the Founders of the Church and
How the Divergent Elements Come Together.

Special Correspondence to the Leader.

...It is fifty-three years come next Friday since the Mormon Church was organized by its first baptism in the little town of Harmony on the Susquehanna River, in Pennsylvania. About a year later the gathering was made at the first stake of Zion -- Kirtland. It is proposed on the recurrence of the fifty-third anniversary next Friday to revive this first stake by means of a grand reunion. From all that can be ascertained it would seem that the crowds that are likely to come to Kirtland next Friday will be about as badly accommodated as those who stayed in dog kennels and barns and fence corners at the first gathering there. Kirtland itself has stood nearly still in its growth during the fifty-three years that the Mormon Church has been growing from a handful to a formidable communion.

As a new generation or two have come upon the scene of action in Northern Ohio since the remarkable events early in the thirties were enacted, I propose in an article or two to recall some of them.

Some years ago, Mr. Pomeroy Tucker published a very valuable history of Mormonism. The book is now out of print, but I have in my possession some essays written by Superintendent Hinsdale, of this city, at that time one of the editors of the Christian Standard, in which somewhat liberal reference is made to the work. Mr. Tucker corrected the proof of the first edition of the Mormon Bible and possessed much information in regard to the delusion.

At the threshold of the Mormon movement we find a confluence of four distinct elements, represented by four men as different as men can easily be imagined. Without this confluence it would seem that Mormonism would have been out of the question.

The four men were Solomon Spalding, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, jr., and Martin Harris.

Solomon Spalding furnished the "Manuscript Found," an unsuccessful novel which gave the basis and filling-in of the Mormon Bible. Rigdon obtained this manuscript and amended it by inserting the religious parts of the work, Smith was the prophet who brought the book to the knowledge of the world, and Martin Harris was an ignorant, superstitious farmer of Palmyra, N. Y., who furnished the filthy lucre to publish the first edition of the Golden Bible and put the movement on its feet.

Solomon Spalding, notwithstanding he died eleven years before the movement began, did unconsciously more than anyone else towards starting it. He invented the names Mormon, Moroni, Nephi, and many others that constantly occur in the book.

The following is a brief summary of the contents of the Book of Mormon. It contains the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, who were a branch of the house of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph, of whom the Indians are still a remnant; but the principal nation of them having fallen battle in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Mormon, saw fit to make an abridgement of their history, their prophecies, and their doctrines, which he engraved on plates, and afterwards being slain, the record fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit the record safely in the earth, with a promise from God that it should be preserved, and should be brought to light in the latter days by means of a Gentile nation, who should possess the land. The deposit was made about the year 420 in a hill then called Cumora, now in Ontario county, New York, where it was preserved in safety until it was brought to light by no less than the ministry of angels and translated by inspiration.

Many witnesses who saw and heard the "Manuscript Found" read by its author, have given testimony that it and the Mormon Bible are almost identical.

Sidney Rigdon was the owner of nearly all the active brains of the firm of which he was the junior member. He was a Baptist minister at the time when Alexander Campbell started the Disciple movement. In the early days of the movement he was a most eloquent preacher, ranking only second or third to Mr. Campbell himself. He was exceedingly ambitious, and at times seemed jealous that he was not considered at the head of the Disciples. Elder Matthew Clapp, who resided many years at Mentor, and who was well acquainted with Rigdon, thus describes him in a private letter:
"Mr. Rigdon was a man of impassioned eloquence, as a public speaker, with a wonderful memory, a brilliant but unchastened imagination, excessively indolent, with but little education, wholly undisciplined in all the powers of his mind, averse to study or reflection, was often brilliant, but never profound. He was without discipline morally as well as mentally -- man of ungoverned temper, subject to terrific bursts of passion -- but the world worships success, and so does the church, and his brilliant success won him hosts of friends, and blinded their eyes to the terrible defects of his character."
It is easy enough to see from this description that Rigdon was not the proper material for a prophet. He was shrewd and cunning, and people would immediately say that he was an impostor. There is plenty of evidence on record to identify Rigdon with the incipiency of the Mormon movement. He had been preaching for some time before the Mormon Bible was announced, that something remarkable was about to come. He was a strong advocate of Christian communism; and at a yearly meeting at Austintown, Trumbull county, had preached a powerful sermon advocating a community of goods, basing his remarks on that passage in Acts where it says that "the disciples had all things common." Mr. Campbell was present at the meeting, and immediately sat down on the innovations by showing that communism was never practiced, except at Jerusalem, and that it was not practicable in later days. Rigdon was very much annoyed by this, and began to preach his new doctrines more vigorously than before. Long before this he had discovered Joseph Smith and had started him in the work of getting up the new Bible. Only two months later the first missionaries to the Lamanites come to his house in Mentor with their carpet-bags full of the new Bible. Why should these emissaries have come to Rigdon's house first of any in the West? Why should he have been converted almost in a night?

Joseph Smith, sr., was a well-digger by profession. His elder sons worked with him, but young Joe almost never. The young man is thus described by Mr. Tucker, who knew him well.
"From the age of twelve to twenty years he is distinctly remembered as a dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, prevaricating boy, noted only for his indolent and vagabond character. He nevertheless evidenced the rapid development of a thinking, plodding, evil-brewing mental composition, largely given to the invention of low cunning, schemes of mischief and deception, and false and mysterious pretensions. * * * He was, however, proverbially good natured, very rarely if ever indulged in any combative spirit towards any one, whatever might be the provocation, and yet was never known to laugh. Albeit, he seemed to be the pride of his indulgent father, who has been heard to boast of him as the 'genus' of the family."
In the year 1819 old man Smith and his two older boys were digging a well. Young Joe as usual was loafing about the place. A stone of peculiar shape and color was thrown out and he took possession of it, carrying it off much to the sorrow of the children of the propritor of the well. By means of this stone Joe began, very soon, to claim great power. He set up as a fortune teller. He pretended to be able to find property that had been lost or stolen. He found where large sums of money were buried in the earth. These absurd pretentions had no effect at first, but as they were very strongly insisted on, they at last began to make some impression, and Joe got some of the ignorant and superstitious to follow him. In 1820 several of these proceeded with him at the dead of night and began to dig for treasure. Silence was strictly enjoined. After two hours of digging, the youthful seer placed his wand over the spot where the treasure was to be found. Just as the box was to be uncovered some one forgot and spoke and the spell was broken. This kind of tom-foolery continued till 1827, a period of some seven years, so strongly did Joe hold the power over these ignorant natures. Indications of these diggings are still to be seen in and about Palmyra. Always, however, something happened at the last minute to defeat success. In this way the coming prophet managed to pick up a precarious living from his dupes and at the same time gratified, in a small way, his lust for power.

The reports of these fanatical diggings were largely published in the newspapers of the time. At length, in 1827, a mysterious stranger appeared several times on the scene, always holding secret interviews with the money-digger. When Rigdon came, in 1830, to Palmyra to be ordained as an apostle, he was immediately recognized as the mysterious stranger of three years before.

We have thus traced the connection of Solomon Spalding, the novelist, Sidney Rigdon, the preacher, and Joseph Smith, the fortune-teller and money-digger. It now remains to say something of Martin Harris.

Martin Harris was the only one of the four creators of Mormonism who was a believer. He was a plain, simple-hearted farmer, living in the vicinity of the Smiths, and had gathered together a considerable amount of property. "He was," says Mr. Tucker, "a religious monomaniac, reading the Scriptures intently, and could probably repeat from memory nearly every text in the Bible, from beginning to end, giving the chapter and verse in each case." He was a very covetous, money-loving man, but honest, so far as can be learned. He was the "Solid Muldoon" of the early days of the new church. He was led to advance the money for the publication of the new Bible on two grounds. First, it was held out to him that he would thus be doing a great thing for the church. Second, he was persuaded that there was money in the venture. It is Mr. Tucker's opinion that without him the new Bible would have remained an unpublished romance. It is only necessary to say that the venture cost poor Harris his fortune and that he died under the maledictions of the ungrateful and vindictive Smith. In the days of his power he thus refers to him:
"There are negroes who wear white skins as well as black ones -- Grames [sic] Parish, who acted as lackeys, such as Martin Harris; but they are so far beneath contempt, that a notice of them would be too great a sacrifice for a gentleman to make."
One of the absolute requisites of the heavenly messenger that visited the prophet was that no one should look upon the plates. It was asserted that just one look would kill the gazer. Smith very considerately, therefore, read the book from behind a blanket to Oliver Cowdry, a broken-down school master, who made the copy for the press.

After a considerable portion of the translation had been made, Harris visited New York city, and laid what purported to be some of the original, as well as the translation, before several learned men, notably Professor Charles Anthon and Doctor Mitchell. These men told him that he was being imposed upon, and advised him to have nothing to do with it. So strong was the grip of superstition upon him, however, that he returned home determined to invest. He gave the translation to his wife, evidently a sensible woman, for safe-keeping. She burned it, and as she greatly opposed Mr. Harris going into the scheme, a separation soon took place between them. Mrs. Harris going into the scheme, a separation soon took place between them. Mrs. Harris did not tell that she had burned the manuscript and thus a great deal of trouble was caused. The prophet hesitated about making a second translation for fear that it might turn up some time and cause confusion. A great deal of mystery and superstition had to be indulged in obtaining permission for another translation, but it was finally obtained and the work proceeded.

Joe was at this time twenty-two years old. He frequently told his young associates that the story of the visions was all a sham. To one he said that "the whole affair was a hoax; that he had no such metallic book; that he did not believe there was such a book in existence. But as I've got the d___d fools fixed, I shall carry out the fun!"

Thus the four elements were united. "The cunning of Smith, the ambition of Rigdon, the fanaticism and greed of Harris, the folly of Spalding."   GARY.

Note 1: The comments regarding Sidney Rigdon, provided by Matthew S. Clapp (1808-1872), and quoted by "Gary," were evidently written especially for publication in an early 1868 issue of the Christian Standard, and, except for a single reprint in the The British Harbinger, are not known to have otherwise been reproduced in any subsequent article or book. The Christian Standard,article (upon which "Gary" appears to mainly rely for his Mormon history) shows some dependence upon the essay "History of the Mormons," featured in Vol. VI, No. 46 of Chambers' Miscellany. Compiled editions of that periodical were published in 1869 and 1870, but its Mormon history text appears to have circulated independently as a tract at least as early as 1868. Among other unique tidbits, the Miscellany stated: "Smith told me [Peter Ingersoll] the whole affair was a hoax, that he had no such book, and did not believe there was such a book in existence..."

Note 2: For what reads like a companion article (also from the Cleveland correspondent, "Gary") see the Leader of Feb. 26, 1883.


Vol. XXXVI.                   Cleveland, Ohio, Thursday, April 5, 1883.                   No. 95.


The Turning Point in Favor of
This Great Modern Delusion.

How Smith and Sidney Rigdon Were
Tarred and Feathered at Hiram.

Scenes of Frantic and Horrible Fanaticism
That Followed in Lake County,

What the Lord Was Alleged to Have Told
Smith About the Word Mormon.

Special Correspondence to the Leader.

...Superintendent Hinsdale tells me that he once heard General Garfield say that he had examined a large history of Mormonism, written in French, a copy of which is to be found in the Library of Congress. This author, who is quite a philosopher in his way, says that the turning point in Mormonism was the tarring and feathering of Joe Smith and Rigdon at Hiram. Up to that time the new doctrine had taken very little root. The converts had been very few. But here was a case of violence. It ws the same old story of persecution over again. The gentiles could not stand argument, but must resort to ruffianism. It is said that this deed was in reality the cause of two deaths. A pair of twins in Smith's house, some eleven months old, were suffering from the measles, and being exposed by the crowd rushing in, they took cold and died. Rigdon was very roughly handled. He was dragged by his heels, and his head was terribly bruised on the rough, frozen ground. He was crazy for some time after, and nearly died. The prophet and Rigdon, as soon as they sufficiently recovered, began to give exaggerated accounts of the affair and not only cemented the faith of their former converts, but used it as a strong means for gaining new ones. There are men still living in and about Hiram who were once tinctured to a certain extent with Mormonism, and there are others who helped to do this tarring and feathering....

A new religion cannot be established on anything like a firm basis without persecution and martyrdom. The new religion immediately began to "boom" after the Hiram violence was exercised upon its prophet, and the final martyrdom of the same individual has done more to convince the faithful of the truth of their cause than any amount of preaching would have done.

A part of the great scheme had been to transplant the Mormon Church to Northern Ohio. Rigdon had been busily at work announcing and preaching to the church at Kirtland that something new and wonderful was about to come. This took great root in the Kirtland church, but was not so successful in Mentor. Pratt, Cowdery, Harris [sic], and Whitmer were the four apostles to the Lamanites who first came to Mentor and so readily converted Rigdon. They filled his pulpit for him, and very soon had created a considerable excitement in the community. Those who were converted were baptized again. A writer who lived in Lake county at the time thus describes what took place:
"Scenes of the most wild, frantic and horrible fanaticism ensued. They pretended that the power of miracles was about to be given to all who embraced the new faith; and commenced communicating the Holy Spirit, by laying their hands on the heads of the converts, which operation, at first, produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time, apparently lifeless. The fits usually came on during, or after, their prayer-meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium. They would exhibit all the apish actions imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and feet, rolling upon the frozen ground, going through all the Indian modes of warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, etc. At other times they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations, enter the water and perform the ceremony of baptizing. Many would have fits of speaking in all the Indian dialects, which none could understand. Again, at the dead hour of night, young men might be seen running over the fields and hills, in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, lights, etc., which they saw moving through the atmosphere."
Mormonism now immediately assumed an agressive attitude. Special efforts were made almost everywhere to sow the new seed among the recently organized disciple churches. The degree of ignorance which was displayed by the converts and in many instances by the preachers themselves, has never been paralleled, perhaps, except in the herds that were incited by the fanatical Peter the Hermit, to go on a crusade to the Holy Land.

Elder Simonds Ryder, of Hiram, who at first thought there might be something in the new doctrines, renounced them, as did also Rev. Ezra Booth of Mantua, a Methodist minister who had joined the prophet a few months before. By the united efforts of these men the delusion was largely curtailed in Portage county, though some always remained firm in their faith. Only three Disciple preachers joined the Mormon faith, viz: Rigdon, Pratt and Orson Hyde. Elder William Collins did not permit it to gain any foothold at Chardon, and young men, such as the Clapps at Mentor, and J. J. Moss, arose to give the new doctrine battle.

The whole tribe of Smiths, which had become well settled at Kirtland, was now in clover. Joe, jr., was constantly having visions to suit the emergencies of the hour and was showing that no one else had any right to have visions.

God revealed that no one should see the golden plates; that Joseph should be well supported without work in order that he might translate; that the proper place for the church was somewhere in the great West, and that Kirtland should simply be a stake or support of the real Zion, which was to be in Missouri. Missouri was the promised land; Missouri was the place where the Garden of Eden had once been located; Missouri was the place where Adam had died; and Missouri was the place where the Latter-day Saints should finally locate.

The original cost of the temple was considerable, but this sum was raised from tithing of the common fund. Smith started a bank and began some manufactures and made great promises of what would be done in the future. But it became more and more evident as the days went by that Ohio was not congenial soil for the Mormon plant; the people began to see the tendencies of its teachings and a preparation was made for removal. As the bank collapsed and many lost thereby, the departure was hastened. It would seem that the soil could be little better for the propagation of the faith now. If the saints are to return as on a pilgrimage to the holy land, it may be well enough, but they will find proselyting exceedingly slow here.

Few people probably know what the word Mormon means. Solomon Spalding, who invented the word, probably did not know. But the Lord revealed in one of his convenient Joe Smith visions what the word actually means. Joseph said in his translation that the original plates were written in reformed Egyptian characters. The following is an extract from one of Joe's revelations:
"The word Mormon stands independent of the wisdom and learning of this generation. * * * the Bible in its widest sense, means good; for the Savior says, 'I am the good shepherd;' and it will not be beyond the common use of terms, to say that good is amongst the most important in use, and though known by various names in different languages, still its meaning is the same, and is ever in opposition to bad. We say from the Saxon, good; the Dane, god; the Goth, goda; the German, gut; the Dutch, goed; the Latin, bonus; the Greek, kalos; the Hebrew, tob; and the Egyptian, mon. Hence, with the addition of more, or the contraction, mor, we have the word Mormon; which means, literally, more good."
So that settles it. What God revealed to Joe Smith is "more good" (note the grammar) than anything he had ever revealed before. Carrying along the same idea the reformed branch of the church that is about to assemble at Kirtland must be "more gooder" yet.

Note: See also the contributions from "Gary," published in the Leader of Feb. 26 and Apr. 2, 1883.


Vol. 50.                             Cleveland, Thursday, April 7, 1883.                             No. 91.


Open Sessions in the Ancient Mormon Temple at Kirtland.


Of patriarchs in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ --
Addresses by President Joseph Smith, Jr., and Others.

Special to The Cleveland Herald.

Kirtland, April 6. -- The flood-gates were lifted this morning, and the deluge of praise and thanksgiving, of reminiscence and story that for ten days is to envelope Kirtland came down in full force... Of course the event of most signal import will be the memory of Joseph Smith. The stately mansion once occupied by him stands just below the Temple on the side of the hill, and to the thousands who have hitherto journeyed here, has been almost as much an object of curiosity as has the temple itself....

Opponents of Mormonism, from investigations made soon after the "Book of Mormon" appeared, claim to have proven the fact that the real author of the book was Solomon Spaulding, who was born at Ashford, Conn., in 1761. During his residence in Conneaut, O., in 1810-12, he wrote a romance to account for the peopling of America by deriving the Indians from the Hebrews in accordance with a notion then prevailing in some parts of the country that the American Indian was descended from the lost tribes of Israel. In 1813 this work was announced as forthcoming, and as containing a translation of the "Book of Mormons." Spaulding entitled his work, "Manuscript Found," and intended to publish by way of preface a fictitious account of its discovery in a cave in Ohio. His widow published a statement in the Boston Journal of May 18th, 1839, a yellow but treasured copy of which was shown me, declaring that in 1812 he placed his manuscript in a printing office at Pittsburgh, with which Sidney Rigdon was connected. Rigdon, she says, copied the manuscript and his possession of a copy was well known. Mr. Spaulding soon after died. His widow preserved the manuscript which was afterwards sent to a public meeting at Conneaut to be compared with the "Book of Mormon."...

Smith and Rigdon seem at first to have had somewhat vague and confused ideas of the church they were about to establish. Both were inclined to teach millenarianism, which at that time was beginning to attract attention in Western new York. They at last settled into the doctrine that the millennium was close at hand, that the Indians were to be converted and that America was to be the final gathering place of the saints who were to assemble at New Zion or New Jerusalem, somewhere in the interior of the continent. With the "Book of Mormon" as their text and authority they began to teach the new gospel....

It was in January, 1831, that Joseph Smith, directed, as he said, by revelation, led the whole body of believers to this place which was to be the seat of the New Jerusalem. Converts were quite rapidly made, but Smith and Rigdon, desiring a wider field for the growth of the church travelled westward and found it in Missouri. They came back to Kirtland, and decided to stay here five years. They set up a mill and a store and established a bank without a charter. The neighboring country was flooded with notes of a somewhat questionable value. Smith was president and Rigdon cashier. On account of the prejudice existing against them (Smith and Rigdon) they were dragged from their beds by a mob on the night of March 22d, [sic] 1832, and tarred and feathered....

Note: Like many other newspaper reports on early Mormon history, published diring the mid-1800s, the above article obviously relied too heavily on the problematic New American Cyclopedia of 1861.


Plain  [     ]  Dealer.

Vol. XXXIX.                         Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday, April 7, 1883.                         No. 84.



A Slim Crowd and a Poor Show...

Kirtland, April 7. -- This is the second day of the reunion conference of the Latter Day Saints. A large number of delegates arrived this morning from the Western and Southwestern States. William B. Smith, surviving brother of Joseph Smith, held prayer this morning at eight o'clook in the temple. The conference reconvened at 10:80. The Committee on credentials made their report. A permanent organization is now being effected. Reports of foreign missions will be the first business this afternoon.

The fact about the Mormon gathering here is that it is a small affair. The newspapers that have a great deal of empty space that has to be filled up have been making a great deal more out of it than the facts warrant. The correspondents have been writing up the whole history of Mormonism from Joe Smith the first to Joe Smith the last, but it is an old story that has been told many times and that is tolerably familiar to everybody. Some of them in order to fill up have been sending to their papers chapters of the Mormon bible. The thing has been written up as a great gathering of the Mormon church, whereas it is no more than a small meeting of a small dissenting branch of that church and the Mormon Church proper has nothing to do with it. There are not more than a hundred visitors here and the Mormons in attendance are with one or two exceptions obscure personages that nobody ever heard of before, and nobody will ever hear of again, The Mormons when they were here flfty years ago built a great ugly barn-like structure on top of a big hill and called it a temple. When the people here couldn't stand the nonsense of the Mormons they got up a mob and run them out and the big temple has been shut up ever since. Now Joe Smith, Jr. and sundry others who refused to go in with Brigham Young, and who never were in Utah at all, got together, set up a little church of their own, and thought it would give them a boom to come back here and and hold a reunion in the old temple. Accordingly there are two or three dozen of them, including Joe Smith, the prophet's son, and William Smith, the only surviving brother of the prophet. They are a devout set in their way and evidently sincere in their belief, but their performances are dreary and uninteresting. They preach and pray and sing very much like other sects do and profess to be good Christians, believing all that Christians believe with the visionary notions of Joe Swith added. The people here take no stock in the performance and, although the correspondents have exhausted the encyclopedias in writing it up, it is a one-horse affair. Joe Smith, jr. runs a newspaper out in Illinois, and most of the sect live in that state, where they have a number of societies. They hate the Salt Lake Mormons with a deadly hatred, and are loud in calling upon the government to stamp them out. They are a decent lot, abhor polygamy and the abominations introduced by Brigham Young and barring their credulity on the matter of Joe Smith's revelations, are as sensible and intelligent as other people. Perhaps after all their credulity is not any worse than other peoples', it all depends upon the standpoint from which you look at it. They claim, these "Josephites" do, that there are 30,000 of them, that they are the chosen people of the Lord and that their faith is spreading rapidly. The last claim is doubtful but they probably make some converts. It is a peculiarity of the human mind to run after some delusion and this is no worse than many others that have attracted followings. The preaching and praying and singing goes on with no well defined order and will wind up next Tuesday. It is the intention to institute a church here if the thing can be done. As for the talk about a Mormon college in the old temple that is all stuff.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Newark, Ohio, Tuesday, April 10, 1883.                            No. 14.


Nearly Every State in the Union Represented by Delegates at Kirtland.

KIRTLAND, O., April 9. -- The great Mormon Conference is being held here. Nearly every State in the Union is represented by delegates, and England, Scotland and Wales by letter. William Smith, brother of the founder, one of the original twelve apostles, and the oldest Mormon now living is here.

The reports from the different missionary fields have been submitted. They show that nearly four hundred converts were made in the United States and Canada during the past year. The officials are much pleased. They say that opposition and persecution are things of the past. The missionary delegates will ask for help in the shape of men ordained by the Church. They claim that there never was a more auspicious time in the history of Mormonism than the present, and that lack of ministers alone prevents great accessions to the Church. They assert that men and women are becoming intensely interested in the subject. Social ostracism, which exists in some localities, is fast wearing off.

Joseph Smith preached last Sunday and hundreds came to hear him. A memorial will be presented to Congress, expressing the earnest desire of these Mormons that it use every possible means to crush out polygamy in Congress. It is understood that ostensibly the gathering is for the interchange and exposition of Mormon doctrine and the more perfect organization of the Church. The chief motive is the establishment of a Mormon college at Kirtland.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Plain  [     ]  Dealer.

Vol. ?                             Cleveland, Ohio, Friday, April 13, 1883.                             No. ?


Cursing the Newspapers and Making
It Warm for the Reporters.

The Saints of the Latter Day Mormon Church are a queer lot. They have been persecuted and abused to an alarming extent perhaps and claim the newspapers have never represented them truthfully. When four reporters mingled with the Saints at Kirtland last week there were numerous small specks of gore on the face of the Mormon moon. When a Leader correspondent was skirmishing around the Kirtland hotel looking for a Mormon Bible to slip into his pistol pocket and carry it away as a memento, Joe Smith, the soon of his father and the leader of the reorganized church, cornered him and took him to task for printing numerous falsehoods. A crowd gathered and the afflicted reporter was compelled to hold his own as best he could for an hour or more.

Prior to the Mormon reunion the Herald printed several letters purporting to come from Kirtland but which in reality were written on Bank street. These letters were filled with glowing errors. One of the false statements was to the effect that the old Mormon temple was embellished with Greek characters and symbols of the Greek church. When the Herald man first made his appearance in Kirtland he was captured by an indignant Mormon, led all over the temple and about and around it. He was asked again and again to point out the location of the Greek inscription but was unable to do so.

Then a correspondent who writes under the name of "Gary" penned a letter stating that accomodations were limited in Kirtland and visitors would be compelled to seek dog kennels and fence corners for shelter. This statement not only aroused the ire of the Mormons but of Kirtland villagers as well. When "Gary" put in his appearance he was asked if he had found his dog kennel yet, and if he had hired a fence corner for the night.

"Gol durn it," said an antiquated saint to a trio of reporters one night last week, "I don't care a cent about our bein' reported in the papers if it's nothin' but the truth. But they will misrepresent us, in spite of anything we can do. It must be that these newspaper fellers are in the hands of the devil and I swan I'd rather a durn sight deal with the devil himself than with his agents."

Several papers spoke of old Mother Stratton, the keeper of the temple, as a "witch." The anti-polygamists were exceedingly hot at this and felt like fighting the man who called their "dear good sister" a witch.

A New York paper spoke of "Joe Smith" and a young Mormon with a freckled face and a crooked nose jumped clean out of his boots when he read it.

"In Heaven's name," said he," if they will use Brother Smith's name why can't they use his full name, Joseph. What a terrible howl would be raised if a reporter would attend a Methodist conference and speak of 'Jack" Wesley or 'Mat" Simpson."

Not a reporter visited Kirtland during the reunion who did not have to back up against the hotel opposite the temple and stand the fire from the mouths of a dozen he-Mormons, and after they had spent their breath the reporters were turned over one by one to the women of the church, who, true to the sisterhood of the Saints, either continued the torrent of wrath or else endeavored to convert the wicked reporters to the Mormon faith. Reporters who visited Kirtland can carry away with them but one pleasant memory of the Mormons and their reunion, and that is that Mormon dinners are rather good eating and Mormon girls make very passable waiters at the table. Further than this deponent sayeth not.

Note: The 1887 edition of Henry Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio provides this snapshot in time: "This new [RLDS] body is aggressive, dogmatical, earnest. Its missionaries go forth into all regions and preach the gospel to the lowly. They returned four years ago [1883] and laid claim to the old deserted temple. Mrs. Electa Stratton still held the key. A few dollars expended in renovating made the old building a presentable structure, as good or better than the ordinary country church. The 'Reorganized' branch laid claim to the property and have obtained at length a clear title to it. Kirtland, which for fifty years has been stranded away from the beaten routes of travel, is again having a 'boom.' It is the Mecca of a church. It is the centre of a conference, and here resides one of the principal bishops. --- The [1887] conference which has just closed its sessions here is the largest ever held by the denomination. Its deliberations were participated in by all the prominent men of the church, and near its close Joseph Smith II., the son and heir of the prophet, on whom the prophetic mantle fell, delivered an important revelation from the spirit. --- These anti-polygamous Mormons are growing in the estimation of the public. Barring their alleged fanaticism and their faithful belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet, they do not differ materially from other Christian sects. They very strenuously oppose the use of liquor or tobacco, and are particular about the observance ordinances of the New Testament as they understand them. They are certain to take no mean place, so far as membership goes, in the denominations of the world."


Journal And Messenger.

Vol. ?                           Cincinnati, Ohio, Wednesday, April 18, 1883.                           No. ?

At a Mormon conference at Kirtland, O., on the 12th inst., a letter was received from Secretary of State Frelinghuysen in response to a request to make a distinction between polygamous and monogamous Mormons, as Secretary Evarts sent circulars abroad, warning emigrants coming here to join polygamous communities, that they thereby expose themselves to the operation of penal laws of the United States. Secretary Frelinghuysen replied: "It is contrary to the practice of this Government to give, by circular, as is proposed, any sanction or indorsement of a specific form of belief. It is for agents of any religion to make their character. Law-abiding emigrants are secure against interference."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 50.                             Cleveland, Wednesday, June 20, 1883.                             No. 165.

Death  of  C. J. Ryder.

A sad accident occurred in the Cuyahoga River, near Mud Mills, in Mantua, about 10 o'clock yesterday. Charles J. [sic - H.] Ryder and his brother Eddie were drowned while washing sheep. The latter, a lad of about fourteen, getting beyond his depth, his brother tried to save him, and both were lost. C. J. Ryder was well known. He was the son of Hartwell Ryder, a prominent citizen of Mantua, and was one of the trustees of Hiram College. He leaves a wife and two children.


In the Cuyahoga River Near Garrettsville -- A Sad Event.

Special to The Cleveland Herald.

GARRETTSVILLE, June 19. -- Soon after noon to-day the startling report reached this place that Charley Ryder and his brother Eddie were drowned in the Cuyahoga River, at Mud Mills. A great black cloud lay to the westward, and the lightning and thunder all combined to give assurance that a great storm was just at hand, yet hald a score of carriages were quickly on the road to Mud Mills, five miles away to the northwest, on the old Cleveland Warren State road. The wind blew furiously and the rain fell in torrents, but your correspondent, with the others, pushed on to the fatal spot. Just before the mills were reached the party were told that the bodies were found. They were stretched upon the green grass, surrounded by a great company of men who had recovered them. These are the facts: Hartwell Ryder, his two sons, Charles H. and Eddie, the former a man of twenty-five or thirty years, married and leaving two children, the latter a young man about sixteen years of age, and their hired man went to the river to wash sheep. At nearly 11 o'clock the sheep were washed, and Eddie thought he would swim out into the river. This is an old resort for sheep-washing. It is just below the old dam at what has been familairly known for three-quarters of a century as "Mud Mills." The water pouring over the dam has dug away the earth to a great depth. The rapid current of the river, owing to obstructions in the old dam, is pretty well to the north side of the river, so that there was quite a surface of comparatively still water on the south side, where they were. When Eddie had reached out to where the water wasabout ten feet deep, his brother saw that he was in trouble, and started to rescue him, and he inturn became involved. The father then went into the river and reached a pole, but they did not get it. They sank, and there remained until about 3 o'clock, P.M., when their bodies were recovered.

Note 1: See also "Death of Charles H. and Eddie Ryder by Drowning" in the Garrettsville Journal of June 21, 1883.

Note 2: Susan Easton Black ascribes Mr. Ryder's historical writings to as early a period as 1846. Charles H. Ryder (1853-1883) was the grandson of Symonds Ryder of Hiram. His writings on Hiram, Portage Co., etc. (preserved at Hiram College and at the Portage Co. Historical Society) are typically mis-dated.

Note 3: Charles H. Ryder's 1874 history, "Early Settlement of Hiram" contains very little on the local Mormons -- an oversight that Charles compensated for three years later in his 1877 article, "A Hill of Zion," which parallels the text of his father's five-page manuscript in the Archives of Hiram College, entitled "Short History of the Foundation of the Mormon Church, Based on Personal Memories and Facts Collected by Hartwell Ryder..." (one version of which is on file in box 247 of the H. Michael Marquardt Papers, at the University of Utah's Marriott Library). For a similar manuscript history in the Hiram College Archives, see James Abram Garfield's 1934, 38-page document, "An Episode in the Thirties," preserved in the (Mildred Bennett Memorial Collection, box 3-c1, fd. 3).



Vol. ?                             Cincinnati, Ohio,  October 26?, 1883.                             No. ?


This Kind of a Man the Founder of
the Mormon Church Seems to Have
Been -- Interesting Reminiscences of
a Famous Character -- His Early Life.

Susquehanna, Pa., October 2, 1883.        
Long before the Erie road was built there was a little settlement on the north bank of the river near Susquehanna, Penn., called Harmony, and just west of it Joe Smith, the afterward founder of Mormonism, lived from 1821 to 1829, and here he married his first wife. Emma Hale. From all accounts he was a lazy, idle, shrewd, plausible, schemer and pretender. who made a precarious living by his wits, was a general favorite with the women and had considerable influence over certain of the men. When he first came to the county he engaged in timbering, but it was too laborious work for a man of his disposition to follow with good will, and he began to look around for an easier means of livelihood. About this time a resident of Susquehanna county named Jack Belcher, while employed at the salt works near Celina, became possessed of a "seeing stone" that, it was alleged, had the miraculous power of enabling those who looked into it to see the whereabouts, of lost articles and hidden treasure. It was a green stone, with brown, irregular-shaped spots on it, and was in size about as large as a goose egg. When he brought it home and covered it with a hat, Belcher's little boy was the first to look at it in the hat, and as he did so be said be saw a candle. The next time he looked into it he exclaimed. "I've found my hatchet" (which had been lost two years), and he immediately ran to the place shown him in the stone, and sure enough there was the hatchet, though heavily rusted by exposure to the weather. The boy was soon beset by neighbors far and near, who desired him to reveal to them hidden things, and tradition says he succeeded wonderfully. The fame of the seeing-stone soon reached Joe Smith's ears, and he quickly saw how its possession would enable him to make money rapidly and with ease. He bought the stone of Belcher, and at once set up for a "seer" on his own hook. A straggling Indian told him there was treasure buried in Turkey Hill, and Smith got him to indicate as nearly as possible the exact locality. He then gave out that he had seen in the stone an immense amount of buried treasure, and great was the excitement in the little community at the information. Joe induced a moderately well-to-do farmer named Harper, who lived near by in New York state, to go in with him and furnish the capital needed to dig for the buried wealth. They hired a number of men and began digging on what is now the farm of Jacob I. Skinner. After digging the depth indicated by Smith no trace of the treasure was discovered, whereupon Mr. Harper became discouraged. Smith, who was as tricky as a snake, then pretended that there was an enchantment about the place that was removing the treasure further and further away, and said that Harper must get a perfectly white dog and sprinkle its blood over the ground, and that would dispel the obnoxious charm. Work was suspended and a search for a perfectly white dog was begun. None perfectly white could be found in the neighborhood. Smith said perhaps a perfectly white sheep would answer. One was procured, killed and its blood sprinkled over the around and the work of excavation was resumed. No trace of the treasure was found, though six holes, one of them fifty feet in diameter and twenty feet deep, were dug. After expending over $2000 in this fruitless labor Mr. Harper refused to put up any more money and the digging ceased. Smith said that God Almighty was angry at them for attempting to palm off the blood of a white sheep on him for that of a white dog and so had allowed the enchantment to remove the treasure which was there when they began operations. Notwithstanding this failure, Smith audaciously assumed to be possessed of supernatural power, and was in the habit of "blessing" his neighbors' crops for a monetary consideration. On one occasion a fanner, who had a piece of corn that was planted late and on a moist piece of ground, felt a little dubious about its ripening, and paid Smith to bless it. It happened that it was the only piece of corn in the neighborhood that was killed by the frost. When Smith was twitted about this fact he got out of it by saying that he had made a mistake, and had put a curse instead of a blessing on the grain. He didn't return the farmer the money he had paid for a blessing, however.

After Smith had started the Mormon church, and while he was at Kirtland, in Ohio, a gentleman named Hurlbut, who lived near there, wrote to Joe's father-in-law to find out what he knew about him and his character. Here is an excerpt from the statement that Mr. Hale swore to before Squire Denion, March 20, 1834. The good character and standing of Mr. Hale was attested the next day by Judge William Thompson and D. Demock. Said Mr. Hale:

"I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, jr., in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were termed 'money-diggers,' and his occupation was that of seeing or pretending to see, by means of a stone placed in his hat and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure. His appearance at this time was that of a careless young man, not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father. Smith and his father, with several other money-diggers, boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards many years before. Young Smith gave the money-diggers great encouragement at first, but when they arrived in digging to near the place he had stated an immense treasure would be found, he said the enchantment was so powerful he could not see. They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed. This took place about the 17th of November, 1825.

"After these occurrences young Smith made several visits to my house, and at length asked my consent to his marrying my daughter Emma. This I refused, and gave him my reasons for so doing, some of which were that he was a stranger and following a business that I could not approve. He then left the place. Not long after he returned, and, while I was absent from home, carried off my daughter into the state of New York, where they were married (February, 1826) without my approbation or consent. After they had arrived in Palmyra, N. Y., Emma wrote to me inquiring whether she could have her property, consisting of clothing, furniture, cows, etc. I replied that her property was safe, and at her disposal. In a short time they returned, and subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out and reside on a place near my residence. Smith stated that he had given up what he called 'glass-looking,' and that he expected and was willing to work hard for a living. He made arrangements with my son, Alva Hale, to go to Palmyra and move his (Smith's) furniture to this place. He then returned to Palmyra, and soon after Alva, agreeable to the arrangement, went up and returned with Smith and his family.

"Soon after this I was informed they had brought a wonderful book of plates with them. I was shown a box in which it was said they were contained, which had, to all appearances been used as a glass box of the common sized window-glass. I was allowed to feel the weight of the box, and they gave me to understand that the book of plates was then in the box, into which, however, I was not allowed to look. I inquired of Joseph Smith, jr., who was to be the first who would be allowed to see the book of plates. He said it was a young child. After this I became dissatisfied and informed him if there was anything in my house of that description which I could not be allowed to see he must take it away; if he did not, I was determined to see it. After that the plates were said to be hid in the woods.

"About this time Martin Harris made his appearance upon the stage, and Smith began to interpret the characters and hieroglyphics which he said were engraved on the plates, while Harris wrote down the interpretation. * * * I told them then that I considered the whole of it a delusion, and advised them to abandon it. The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret was the same as when he looked for the money diggers -- with the stone in his hat and his hat over his face, while the book of plates was at the same time hid in the woods.

"After this Martin Harris went away and Oliver Cowdry came and wrote for Smith, while he interpreted, as above described. This is the Oliver Cowdry whose name may be found in the Book of Mormon. Cowdry continued to scribe for Smith until the Book of Mormon was completed, as I supposed and understand.

"Joseph Smith, jr., resided near me for some time after this, and I had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him and somewhat acquainted with his associates, and I conscientiously believe, from the facts I have detailed and from many other circumstances which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that the whole Book of Mormon (so called) is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, gotten up for speculation and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary, and in order that its fabricators may live upon the spoils of those who swallowed the deception.  ISAAC HALE."

That Joe Smith was never a victim of mania or superstition is abundantly shown by the fact that he often told his immediate relatives that his "sight-seeing" was all "d___d nonsense." Then, again, he would claim that he was the "anointed of God and his especial prophet." Certain it is that he was a royal liar.

Last Sunday, in company with the Hon. George A. Post, member of Congress elect from the fifteenth Pennsylvania district, I paid a visit to the old home of Joe Smith, and saw the room in which the Book of Mormon was written, at Smith's dictation, by Harris and Cowdry. The house stands on the north bank of the Susquehanna, two miles west of the Twin River, and is distant about sixty feet from the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad. The old house is one story high, and, with its kitchen, is about twenty-four by fourteen feet. At present it is occupied by ex-Sheriff McCune, who was born in the room in which the Book of Mormon was transcribed, "though I ain't much of a Mormon," said he, "for one wife is enough for me." Mr. McCune's father bought the house and farm from Joe Smith, and to the former he built a two-story addition. The buildings are very rickety at present, and look as though they would tumble down from rot and age in a few years. They are often visited by tourists from abroad, who generally ask Mr. McCune for a small bit of wood or shingle as a momento of their visit. The "money holes" Smith had made in his search for the buried treasure are about a half mile from the house. Though their sides are caved in, they are still visible, and one of them is filled with water, an endless spring having been tapped during its excavation.

Not many rods from the house is a country graveyard, in which are interred the remains of one of Joe Smith's children. No slab or headstone marks the spot, and its precise location is known to only a few of the older people. Many of Smith's wife's kinfolk still reside in and about this country.

Note 1: This article's exact date and contents have not yet determined -- possibly it appeared in the Oct. 27th issue of the Enquirer. The text is taken from a reprint published in the Atlanta Constitution of Oct. 28, 1883.

Note 2: See also the Syracuse Sunday Herald of June 6, 1909, as well as Blackman's History of Susquehanna Co. page 577.


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Thursday, February 14, 1884.                             No. 45.



By a Mormon Elder and a Disciple Minister --
Interviews with the Disputants.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 13. -- (Special.) -- An elder of the Mormon Church and a Disciple minister stood before a small audience in the Town Hall last evening and inaugurated a sixteen days' battle of words on the question of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. Kirtland is famous as one of the original stamping grounds of Mormonism. Here stands the famous Mormon Temple, and here Rigdon and Joe Smith and Brigham Young and Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery, Momon apostles, taught Mormon religion and pretended to perform Divine miracles. Kirtland was then a hot bed of Mormonism, and for that reason the distinguished disputants selected this place for their debate. It is intended before the discussion closes to hold the sessions in the old temple, but the opening meeting was in the midst of a fearful storm and attended by few people.


Elder E. L. Kelly, who defends the Book of Mormon, is a lawyer of Glenwood, Ia., but for the last two years has been giving his time and attention to the study of the doctrines of his church. He is also a traveling Latter Day Saint minister, and a counsellor of the bishopric of the church. "The line of my argument," said he, "on the first proposition will be to prove that the teachings of the Book of Mormon do not differ from those of the New Testament. My argument shall be to inquire into the book and prove its inspired authenticity. One line of my argument will be the citations from scientific authors with regard to archaeological discoveries on the American continent since the time of the publication of the book, and which the book specifically points out and treats." In opening his argument last night on the question of this inspired authorship, he said to his auditors:

"The question you ought to be able to answer, as you are to pass upon it from day to day and pass upon the society that believes that that work is a work of Divine origin and contains teachings calculated to elevate the human family, and to make them better here and better hereafter. It contains as high teachings as may be found upon the globe in any age, Now this book," he continued slowly, "claims to be a record of the people people who at one time inhabited this continent; the record of a people almost wholly in the pales of the past; a record also that, together with a history of that people, claims to contain certain facts that were revealed to them with reference to the will of Heaven, similar to the old and new Testament that was delivered to the people on the Eastern Continent. It has been said that the Book has been changed since the original publication. This I deny. I will show you that there has been no political change since that book was published. The only change claimed for it is on the title page. The first copy read 'Joseph Smith, author and proprietor;' whereas, in copies afterward, it read that he was simply the translator." Elder Kelly is a slight built man and wears a full beard. He is a forcible but not eloquent speaker, and understands the rules of logic. He frequently informs his auditors that he will prove beyond a doubt that he is on the right side.


But in Rev. Clark Braden, Elder Kelly finds an able and persistent debator, a man who has debated from his cradle. Professor Braden is a minister of the Disciple Church, was born in Gustavus, Trumbull county, Ohio, and lived, taught school and preached on the Western Reserve until he was thirty. He taught mathematics at Hiram, was associated with Garfield and was a schoolmate of Superintendent Hinsdale. J.H. Rhodes, Andrew J. Marvin and other Clevelanders. Professor Braden has written several works, one of which is a criticism of Darwinism and the other unmasks the character of R. G. Ingersoll. For two years he lectured against infidelity in Texas and other States. He is a resident of Galva, Ill. In appearance he is rather striking. Short and rather clumsy, his immense head sets on a very short neck, and is covered with a profusion of black hair parted in the middle and thrown back in two rolls. He is a natural debator and is a strong antagonist on religious questions. I asked him to outline his argument.


"I shall claim," he replied, "first, that revelation was perfected in the New Testament, was completed in a law of universally applicable truths and principles that humanity will never outgrow, and no new revelation is needed. Second, that the Bible teaches that all revelation and supernatural power ceased with the work of the Apostles. Then," said he, "I will show that the 'Book of Mormon' had a human origin, and I shall trace its human origin completely; I will show that the historical part was written by Solomon Spaulding, in Conneaut. This manuscript was stolen by Sidney Rigdon and rewritten by him, the religious portion being concocted and inserted by Rigdon himself. The he used Joseph Smith, Jr., with his "peep stone," to give it to the world as a religious revelation."...


"Then be sure I will show the character of Joe Smith and the otehr founders of the system, and the errors, fanaticisms and extravagances that have been exhibited in its career, and the fruits of the system in its fanaticism and crimes. Why, I just returned from the birthplace of Mormonism, and interviewed many of Joe Smith's acquaintances and neighbors. Dr. John Stafford told me that 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. The character of Smith was as low as any of the witnesses in Howe's History of Mormonism describe it to be."

In explanation of their choosing Kirtland Professor Braden said he was invited by Mr. Kelly in November last to meet him in Wilber, Neb., in public debate. The debate was reported for publication. Mr. Kelly objected to the report made by the reporter, and invited Mr. Braden to come to Cleveland, Kirtland, Mentor, Painesville, Conneaut or Palmyra, and repeat the debate, concluding the invitation by saying they could use the Temple in Kirtland, believing that this fact would be of benefit when I publish a book including this discussion as I intend doing."   H. H. B.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Saturday, February 16, 1884.                             No. 47.


Continuation of the Discussion at Kirtland.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 15. -- (Special.) -- A change in the weather and better roads brought out a large audience last night. Some were in the audience from Cleveland. The discussion commenced promptly at the appointed hour, Mr. Kelley making the introductory speech....

Rev. Mr. Braden replied to the criticism made on his position that all inspiration was confined to the apostolic age; that the Holy Ghost did its work in that age, since which time we have the word of God, the Bible, as the Christian's guide. He said there was but one baptism -- that of the water. He divided the Holy Ghost into four parts; first, the Holy Ghost as manifest in miracles; second, as manifest in conviction, which took place by hearing the word; the "indwelling" of the Holy Ghost, by the word of God, in the heart; and fourth, the Holy Ghost that moves on bad men, beasts, etc., such as Balaam's ass, when she rebuked the madness of the prophet. This was followed by quotations showing what different parties in various places said and talked about, which, when put together, the speaker claimed, would show that Sidney Rigdon was the author of the Book of Mormon; that he (Rigdon) stole one manuscript and Smith stole two of the same kind from one Spaulding, and they together got up the Book of Mormon. Then Smith stole a peepstone from one of his neighbor's children, by which inspirations the Book of Mormon was to be given to the world and a new religion started. The Book of Mormon was criticized by reason of the frequent use of the phrase "Came to pass," and the further use of much bad English. A number of statements said to have been made by various parties were read at length, affirming that Smith was morally not a man likely to formulate a Bible of any kind, except for the purpose of making money out of it....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Sunday, February 17, 1884.                             No. 48.


Continuation of the Discussion at Kirtland.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 16. -- (Special.) -- The audience and disputants were present on tme last evening, and the discussion opened under favorable circumstances, with a large crowd in attendance. Mr. Kelley introduced a legal argument to show that he had made out a prima facie case, and that his opponent had not attempted to break the chain of evdience, but had gone off to endeavor to prove an alibi under the claim of the Spaulding statements, that by doing so the negative conceded that the positions of the affirmative were invulnerable, and upon that hypothesis he would notice that Spaulding story itself, which he denounced as entirely false. ["]It never made its appearance in any shape until years after the publication of the Book of Mormon."

The speaker proceeded with his legal argument... He then asked that two of the witnesses cited, Mr. Rudolph of Mentor, and Mr. E. D. Howe of Painesville, the last being the author of "Mormonism Unveiled," be brought and put upon the stand for examination, and if they knew anything, let the world have the benefit of it. "I have myself," said he, "held conversations with both of them on the subject, and state without fear of contradiction that neither of them know a single fact to support the assertions made by the negative."

Mr. Braden, of the negative, seemed to be in good health, and led off in a brilliant manner in the presentation of statements to sustain the Spaulding claim, alleging that Sidney Rigdon stole a copy of Spaulding's manuscript while in Pittsburgh, and that Joseph Smith stole two others from a trunk in Pennsylvania; that Smith stole a peepstone in the shape of a baby's foot, from one of his neighbors, which was the means of bringing about the interpretation: that [Martin] Harris' wife burnt the first manuscript that was translated, and that Sidney Rigdon was sent for to reproduce it. This was about the time that Smith was married to Isaac Hale's daughter. He then showed up Smith as a prophet and general banker, and gave a graphic account of the building of the Temple in Kirtland; the move of the people to Missouri, thence to Salt Lake; recounted the divisions into Cutlerites, Banemyites etc.; Smith's character as associated with Brigham Young; O.P. Rockwell and the Pratts were presented; connection with the sisters of white and black veil; the giving of the polygamist revelation, and his death at Carthage, Ill. The speaker also referred to the inauguration of the reorganization in 1852, which raised a protest against polygamy; and the coming forth of Joseph Smith, the son of Joseph Smith, in 1860 to take his father's place as prophet. He cited some statements of Alexander Campbell, Adamson Bentley and D. Atwater, claiming that Sidney Rigdon said two years before the Book of Mormon appeared, that there would be a "most wonderful book published some day," that Sidney Rigdon left the association in 1830, because he was jealous of Campbell, Scott and Bently....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Tuesday, February 19, 1884.                             No. 50.


Discrepancies in the Book of Mormon Forcibly Illustrated.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 17. -- (Special Correspondence.) -- There was a large attendance at the discussions last evening, which were held in the Temple... The question of the evening was the "Divinr Authenticity of the Book of Mormon."

The Rev. Mr.Kelley led in the debate, taking the ground that men's lives and actions are not just rules by which to test the truth or falsity of a system of any kind, or the merited claims of any church.... "I have uniformly read the statements of themselves when referring to what others have said, but my opponent meets this with assertions only. He bases everything upon the Spaulding romance as to the origin of the Book of Mormon, but I will drive him from that position ere this discussion closes. Remember that."

Rev. Mr. Braden replied: Rigdon was a chum with Lambdin in Pittsburgh, Pa., and stole the Spaulding manuscript from Patterson's office. Hulbert [sic] received the Roman manuscript from Mrs. Davison, Spalding's widow, but not the Manuscript Found. The Roman manuscript contained forty or fifty pages. It was noticed that about two years before the publication of the Book of Mormon that Rigdon was absent from home frequently. No one knew where he was. He was seen at Palmyra, N.Y....

The meeting then adjourned to meet in the town hall on Monday evening next.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Wednesday, February 20, 1884.                             No. 51.


Discrepancies in the Book of Mormon Forcibly Illustrated.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 19. -- (Special Correspondence.) -- The discussion grows more interesting and exciting as the disputants advance along the line of argument. There was a large attendance last evening, notwithstanding the muddy roads and the dark nights. It proved one of the most interesting sessions that has been held.

Mr. Kelley, for the affirmative, led off by continuing the comparison of E. D. Howe's extracts as published in "Momonism Unveiled," with the record from which the statements claim to have been taken, in order to show that the text had been garbled in every case....

He then went on to show that the statements in Howe's book, which was relied upon as evdience to support the claims of Spaulding, was not evidence at all. They do not even pretend to be affidavits....

He... attempted to prove that the "manuscript found" was put into the hands of Mrs. Matilda Davidson, Solomon Spaulding's widow, in 1816, citing her testimony as found in Charles Mackey's History of the Latter Day Saints, published at London in 1851, which contained the statement that one Dr. P. Hulbert came to her house and procured the "manuscript found" with the view of getting it published, and that an agreement was made to that effect. Hulbert took the manuscript away, but did not publish it, as it "did not read as he expected;" and that he never returned it. It was destroyed. It contained about forty of fifty pages of manuscript.

Rev. Mr. Braden replied by continuing the claims of the Spaulding manuscript to be the basis from which the Book of Mormon was made. That it was remodled by Smith and Rigdon. He then went on to read passages from the Book of Mormon, claiming that they were introduced by Sidney Rigdon into the book; that Sidney's idea of the resurrection was the same as found in the Book of Mormon, when he belonged to the Disciples, that Sidney never did anything by halves; when he mounted Ahasuerus' horse he out-did everybody else; that God's inspiration on this continent, according to Nephi (otherwise Sidney), was far ahead of anything that occurred on the Eastern Contenent; that the Bible said their were three hours of darkness at the time of the crucifixionm but Sidney outstripped all of this and had it three days over in America. That Doubting Thomas put his fingers in the prints if the nails that pierced the Savior, but this was not large enough for Sidney; for he had the Savior appear over on this continent and stand in the midst of the multitude, and the whole multitude thrust their fingers in the prints of the nails -- thiusands of them in a few minutes. This, the speaker said, was worse than Grant shaking hands with the thousands of Americans....

"The Book of Mormon has Sidney's formula for baptism: 'Having authority, I baptise,' etc...." here time was called and the discussion was adjourned until Tuesday evening, at 7 o'clock.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Thursday, February 21, 1884.                             No. 52.


Joe Smith's Bible Vigorously Attacked and as Valiantly Defended.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 20. -- (Special Correspondence.) -- The inclement weather thinned out the audience last evening so that there was not more than two-thirds the usual number in attendance at the discussion. Elder Kelley continued his affirmative argument and answered the negative's objections to the Book of Mormon, being the stick of Ephraim...

The Rev. Mr. Braden then went on to maintain that the knowledge of steel was not known to the Israelites, neither the writing or engraving on metals; that they wrote upon parchment; that many things found in the Book of Mormon were plagiarisms from the Bible; that it had a great many of Rigdon's revival phrases in it, such as he used when he was among the Disciples. he again repeated that Rigdon stole the Spaulding manuscript at Pittsburgh in 1816, while he was learning the tannery trade -- stole it out of Patterson's office. He then went on to state that the account of the great battle between the Jaredites over in York State was the most astounding event that ever occurred. All of the people were gathered from north to south, from east to west, from all over the land -- men, women and children -- all were armed with bows and slings -- men and women and babes (what a fight those babies must have made); they met and "fought and fought, and fit and fit and fit till they came out like the Kilkenny cats,"all destroyed -- not one left. Afterwards another great nation gathered at the same place, and they "fit and fit and fit" until they were all destroyed. This all took place in York State, so Joe Smith could find their records and translate them.

Here the speaker repeated the account of the tight canoes with a hole in the top and a hole in the bottom. That when the water came in on them while in the canoe they were to stop the hole; "that is, stop the hole in the water." It reminded him of the story that birds build on the side of a rock in a certain place until the hole stands out thirty feet over the water. He criticised the prophecies relating to Christ found in the Book of Mormon having been given before the Savior's time, stating that they were the work of Rigdon, taken from the New Testament and introduced into the Book of Mormon, and repeated the enigma of finding the ox in a wild state on the continent when the people first made their appearance.

The negative asked for an extention of time of two evenings in order that he might get in his evidence. This was granted and the discussion was adjourned until 7 p.m. to-morrow.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Friday, February 22, 1884.                             No. 53.


The Origin of the Book of Mormon Still Under Discussion.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 21. -- (Special Correspondence.) -- A large audience greeted the discussers at the town hall last evening. Mr. Kelley went on to answer the objections urged by the negative the previous evening against the Book of Mormon.... He said that Mrs. Spaulding gave D.P. Hurlburt the "Manuscript Found," consisting of forty or fifty pages, and he gave it to E.D. Howe. It was burnt while in Howe's possession,and no part of it was ever published. This was the "Manuscript Found" -- found in a cave.

Rev. Braden took the stand and stated that Mrs. Davidson did not give Hulbert the "Manuscript Found," but gave him and order to get it out of a trunk. Patterson, the printer, says that he knew but little about what was going on in the office. His statement that there was no such manuscript about the office amounted to nothing. How could a star be seen in the in the day time, as claimed by the Book of Mormon?...

Spaulding has been overestimated. He was a monomaniac and not learned. His idiosyncracies gave him the cognomen of "Old Come to Pass." Rigdon was illiterate. He had a high, spread-eagle style about him, but he was not learned. The prosey part of the Book of Mormon was Spaulding's; the blunders, the blacksmiths, were [Cowdery's]; the fanaticism, was Harris'; the religious part, Rigdon's; the stupid and ignorant part, Smith's. It was gotten up by this "gang" for speculation and to make money. The word immerse" in it was known previous to Christ...

After some excited discussion between Messrs. Braden and Kelley, in which an old man in the audience joined, the meeting was closed for the evening.

Note: See the 1884 publication of this debate, p. 202f.


Vol. 51.                             Cleveland, Tuesday, February 26, 1884.                             No. 57.



Continuation of the Interesting Discussion
Between Elder Kelly and Rev. Braden.

Kirtland, O., Feb. 15. -- (Special.) -- The discussion of the question, "Is the Book of Mormon of Divine Origin, and its Teachings Entitled to the Belief and Respect of all people?" after ten evenings' sessions, of two hours each, has come to a close, as per announcement.

At the final discussion Elder E. L. Kelly, the affirmative, went on to prove that Palestine was being turned from its sterility to a fruitful land... Mr. Kelly here took up the statements offered by the negative to prove the Spaulding claim, and argued that the entire list, except Reverends Alex. Campbell and Zebulon Rudolph, had been picked from Howe's History of Mormonism and that he had already shown that that work contained at least 500 garbled extracts and perverted readings of the Book of Mormon, and if the author would change the reading in the book in order to make a case against it, no dependence could be put in the purported statements of witnesses it contained, and especially since the author of that work burned the Spaulding manuscript, which he had in his hands, and then the originals of the statements and affidavits of witnesses, as soon as his book was in print. That the original manuscript of Spaulding (that was, the Manuscript Found), was in Howe's hands and he deliberately burned it lest it destroy his story. Ten words of the manuscript, if in Spaulding's handwriting, would have been sufficient to have maintained their story, if true, and yet it is destroyed and the statements published of what was in it, and this proves that what was in the statements resembling the language of the Book of Mormon was taken from it, for it had up to this time been published four years. This agrees with the private letter of Howe & Hurlburt to Mrs. (Davidson) Spaulding, "that the (MS) did not read like we thought it did, and we did not use it."...

This ended the discussion of the first proposition. The discussion of the second question is to commence on Monday... The Rev. Mr. Braden lectured in the Baptist church in the afternoon on the subject, "What Christianity has done for the world."

Note: See the 1884 publication of this debate, p. 207f.


Vol. XXXIV.                   Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, March 24, 1884.                   No. 84.

The  Lost  Manuscript.

To the Editor of the Leader.

Few people, perhaps, about Cleveland or in Northern Ohio but have heard of Mormonism and the work known as the Spalding "Manuscript Found." It is also well known that the found manuscript has been lost and cannot be found again. The case is a curious one, and presents some remarkable phases of human conduct and character. The manuscript itself is said to have been the basis of the Book of Mormon; that it was written as a romance by Rev. Solomon Spalding, residing in what was then Conneaut, and that he died in 1816 at Amity, Washington county, Pa., leaving the work in manuscript in possession of his heirs. The work is said to have been not near as voluminous as the Book of Mormon, but was latered and added to to suit the purposes of the prophet Smith and his co-laborers.

It is not my purpose herein to inquire how or when, if at all, that work got into the prophet's hands; that is being done thoroughly and elsewhere. But there is another chapter in this curious history that needs investigating a little more fully than has heretofore been done. In 1833-4, the little band of Mormons was located at Kirtland. Among its proselytes there, was one Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, who soon after quarreled with the leaders and seceded. Mr. Howe, of Painesville, in conjunction with the seceding doctor, undertook to publish an expose of Mormonism, and in furtherance of this purpose, Dr. H. was sent East to procure this "Manuscript Found" from the Spalding widow, who resided in Massachusetts. In due time he returned, and the Howe expose was published, and though now out of print, a copy now lies before me. After all this effort and the necessity that existed for a clear and satisfactory expose of the fraud, was it not reasonable to expect that the manuscript would be published, or a good reason given why it was not? Neither of these things was done. The book contains not a word purporting to be from the Spalding romance, but instead we find a number of statements and affidavits by neighbors and friends of Spalding confirming and, indeed, strongly establishing the fact of the fraud. It is hard to see how human testimony can be made stronger than that in support of the theory that Rev. Solomon Spalding did write a romance of the character of much of the matter contained in the "Book of Mormon," that in it frequently occurred many of the names there used, that its style was similar, and that at his death it was left in manuscript.

But Howe says in his book that he sent an agent for the manuscript, that he brought him one, which on examination proved to be something else, and he adds this remarkable and uncalled-for fling at Mr. Spalding: "We have fully shown that the 'Book of Mormon' is the joint production of Solomon Spalding and some other designing knave." Both these gentlemen -- Howe and Hurlbut -- are supposed to be still living, the former at Painesville, and the latter at Gibsonburgh, O. They have both been interviewed more than once about these matters lately, and their several statements conflict with each other and with themselves. Whatever may be the result, it is apparent that these gentlemen have not done their whole duty, and that they owe it to their own fair fame to yet make full, clear, and explicit explanation of the whole matter. At this late day it can hardly be expected that the "Manuscript Found" can ever be found again; but everything that can be known about it the people have a right to demand.     Yours truly.    INQUIRER.
       Hamilton, Ill., March 19.

Note 1: Hamilton, Illinois is located in Hancock County, between Warsaw and Nauvoo. It is ten miles west of Carthage. At this time Thomas Gregg was editing a newspaper in Carthage. The letter inquiring about Howe and Hurlbut may have come from Mr. Gregg.

Note 2: Eber D. Howe is known to have been interviewed by Ellen E. Dickinson in 1880; by Elder T. W. Smith in 1881; (probably) by both parties for the Braden-Kelley debate of 1884, and lastly by Arthur B. Deming in 1885. D. P. Hurlbut was interviewed by Ellen E. Dickinson and by Robert Patterson, Jr.


Vol. ?                             Cleveland, Monday, October 19, 1885.                             No. ?


How It Came to be Written and Something
About the Man Who Wrote It.

Joe Smith the Prophet and His Alleged
Discovery of the Golden Plates.

PLAIN DEALER Special Correspondence.

WASHINGTON, D. C., Oct. 18. -- So long as men exist upon the earth and are possessed of curiosity, wonder and speculation will not cease in regard to the remarkable mounds that exist in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. They are called Indian mounds in common parlance, and many ingenious theories have prevailed in regard to the mound builders and their work. It is pretty generally believed that they are very ancient and that they belong to a race now extinct and that that extinct race was much more civilized than the American Indians when they were found by the discoverers of this country.

Among the early settlers of the Western Reserve was Solomon Spalding of Conneaut, O. Spalding was a dreamer. He had taken degrees at Bowdoin [sic] college. He had studied as a minister, but had become skeptical. Finally he came west, to grow up with the new country. The mounds in the vicinity of Conneat of course attracted his attention and his imagination was naturally kindled to a remarkable degree. He had left many debts behind in the east and had contracted others in the new country. He would write a novel which would pretend to solve the mystery of the mounds and, pay his debts at the same time. Being a loquacious gentleman, Spalding talked much of his proposed book and his enthusiasm kindled some hope in his creditors.

Spalding's book in short was called "The Manuscript Found." It was alleged by the author that he had been digging in the mound and had discoverod a wonderful document which by means of a key he had been able to translate. The manuscript told of the wanderings of the ten lost tribes of Israel who are mentioned in the Bible. These tribes, after wandering across Asia, at length reached Behring Straits and crossed to America and peopled it. The book was intended simply as a novel. It was tedious in construction and written in a labored style in which the old form of composition was imitated; and "it came to pass," and other Biblical forms were employed. Spalding went with high hopes to Pittsburg, where his MS. was given into the hands of a book printer, who soon after failed. Spalding in a short time died. Sidney Rigdon, an ambitious Disciple preacher who had not for some time been pleased with the honors he received in the new denomination, was an intimate friend of the insolvent book printer and had access to his documents. The novel of Spalding created in Rigdon the notion of forming a new sect with this curious book as a revelation. He accordingly hunted out the ignorant astrologer Joe Smith and utilizing him as a prophet incorporated a degree of religion into the manuscript novel and brought it out as a new Bible. It would scarcely seem possible that so silly a fabrication could cut so much figure in the world as the Mormon Bible has done, but such is the fact.

Rigdon did not get to the head of the new sect. The ignorant prophet Smith was almost deified by the new converts, while Rigdon, the brain of the movement, who pulled the string that made the puppet jump, was neglected. Rigdon saw when too late his fatal mistake. He should have combined in himself both the prophet and the priest of the new dispensation. When Joe Smith met a violent death Rigdon made a last effort to get to the head, but the people clamored for another ignoramus to worship and the Vermont carpenter, Brigham Young, was chosen to succeed the prophet.

Rigdon returned to his quiet Pennsylvania home in disgust. He passed the closing years of his life as an atheist in belief. He used frequently to say that could he have twenty-five years more of youthful life he could overturn all religions.

I have written the above largely by way of preface to the announcement that Professor Campbell of Montreal has just propounded another theory of the origin of the mounds. He claims they are not the work of the Indians. In this he advances no new theory. But in what follows he is at least entitled to the credit of originality. He holds that the mounds are the work of the Hittites of the holy scriptures, and, mind you, the professor is not fooling. He is writing no novel. He claims that these Hittites emigrated from China to America, and that the American Indians are the lineal descendants of these people.... About the only thing that the ordinary man of science has been able to do is to say that some race of men made the mounds, and whether they were made by the lost tribes as the dreamer Spalding playfully suggested and the Mormons honestly believe, or they are the production of the Hittites, does not matter to the everyday individual of today.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Forty-third Year           Cleveland, Thursday, November 12, 1885.  Sixteen Pages.           Price 5 cents.

The Former Editor of the Cleveland Herald
Dies at His Home in Painesville,

Plain Dealer Special.
Painesville, O., Nov. 11. -- Eber D. Howe, aged 87 years, a pioneer printer and publisher, died at his home on Bank street at about 9 o'clock last night. Deceased was born at Clifton Park, Saratoga county, N.Y., June 9, 1798, and was a soldier in the war of 1812, and after a lapse of sixty years was placed upon the pension roll of survivors. At the close of that war he struck the then small town of Buffalo with 2 shillings in his pocket and commenced his apprenticeship in the office of the Buffalo Gazette. In March, 1817, he was employed on the Chautauqua Gazette, where Fedonia now stands, and afterward assisted in the publication of the Erie Gazette, setting most of the type for the initial number.He afterward journeyed to Cleveland on horseback, his earthly possessions consisting of his horse, valise and $25 in cash. His last night on the road was spent in an inn kept by Daniel Olds, four miles east of Painesville, which then contained but a few houses and was called by some "the openings."

He arrived in the village of Cleveland -- which then contained about 200 inhabitants -- the same evening.There were then three warehouses on the river and on Superior street three hotels -- one kept by Noble H. Merwin, on the south side, near the foot of the street; one where the Forest City house now stands, kept by Dr. Don McIntosh and the other kept by Captain Philo Taylor, on the north side, between Bank and Seneca streets. The merchants were Orlando Cutter, foot of Superior street; Nathan Perry, in a small wooden building a few rods east of Water street; Irad Kelley, head of Bank street, and S. S. Dudley, a little further up. In a one-story 8x10 building, near the corner of what is now Seneca street, he found the office of the Cleveland Register, published by Andrew Loyan.

In June following, Mr.Howe determined upon publishing a paper to be called the Cleveland Herald, but an empty pocketbook caused some delay. His friend Wiles of the Eroe Gazette finally agreed to remove his press and type to Cleveland, and on the 19th of October, 1819, the first number of the Cleveland Herald appeared, without a single subscriber. Two years later Mr. Howe severed his connection with the paper, and his partner, Ziba Wiles, continued its publication.

In the spring of 1822 Mr. Howe established the Painesville Telegraph, which is still published.After successfully conducting the Telegraph for many long years he retired from active life and has since been a resident of this place. Deceased was possessed of a high degree of intelligence, was a good citizen and an honorable, upright man. In his death the pioneer printer and publisher of the Western Reserve has passed away.

Note: See also Howe's 1878 autobiography and H. T. Upton's brief sketch of Howe's life on page 966 in Vol 2 of her 1910 History of the Western Reserve.


Vol. 39.                     Cleveland,  Tuesday Morning,   January 26, 1886.                     No. 28.


The Book of Mormon Founded Upon the Writings of the Old Conneaut Preacher.
President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, Reads a Very Interesting Paper on the Subject.
The Cleveland Congregational Club Hold Their Annual Meeting -- Election of Officers.


The Congregational Club of Cleveland and vicinity held their annual meeting last evening at the rooms of the Y. M. C. A., which have been secured as a general headquarters for Congregationalism in this locality...

President J. H. Fairchild, of Oberlin opened the first discussion of the evening on "The Spaulding Manuscript and the Book of Mormon." He said: "The accepted theory of the origin of the 'Book of Mormon' is that it was based upon a manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding, purporting to set forth the origin and civilization of the American Indians, and to account for the ancient mounds, earthworks, and other remains of the early inhabitants, which are scattered over the land. The first publication of this idea seems to have been made by the late E. D. Howe, of Painesville, O., in a volume written, printed, and published by him at Painesville in 1834, entitled 'Mormonism Unvailed.' He seems to have been the first to gather evidence upon the subject.


and most that have written on the subject have depended essentially upon the material furnished by him. The theory has become traditional, and has found its way into all the anti-Mormon literature, and into the general cyclopaedias. Professor George P. Fisher, in his book on general history, just published, adopts the theory. The question is intrinsically of slight importance, whether or not the Book of Mormon is based upon a manuscript of Spaulding's. It required only a very moderate degree of literary ability and investigation to produce the book; and several of the original leaders of the fanaticism must have been adequate to the work. It is perhaps impossible, at this day, to prove or disprove the Spaulding theory.

"The unquestionable facts in the case are as follows: Solomon Spaulding was born in Connecticut in 1761, graduated at Dartmouth College in 1785, was ordained to the ministry, preached in New England a few years, taught an academy in Cherry Valley, N. Y., for a time, or undertook there mercantile business and failed, and in 1809 removed to New Salem, now Conneaut, in Ohio, where, in company with one Henry Lake, he established an iron foundry. His business not prospering, he removed to Pittsburg or its vicinity in 1812, and a year or two later to Amity, Pa., where he died in 1816, at the age of fifty-five years. He had a literary tendency, and while living at Conneaut he entertained himself with writing a story which purported to be an account of the original inhabitants of the country, their habits, customs, and civilization, their migrations and their conflicts. From time to time, as his work went on, he would call in his neighbors and read to them portions of his manuscript, so that they became familiar with his undertaking. He talked with some of them about publishing his book, in the hope of retrieving his fortune financially, and this appears to have been his purpose when he went to Pittsburg. There is evidence that he conferred with a printer there by the name of Patterson in reference to the publication, but the book never appeared. In 1830-32, twenty years after Spaulding left Conneaut, Mormon preachers appeared in considerable numbers in Northern Ohio, and aroused much attention in the neighborhood of Conneaut. When the Mormon Bible was read on one occasion persons were present who had heard the Spaulding manuscript, and it is said were struck with the resemblance between the two. Thus the opinion arose and was propagated from that point and time that the Mormon Bible was


It was the proper place for the theory to be tested, and the fact that it obtained a foothold there affords a presumption in favor of the idea, and the testimony of parties on the ground, if fully trustworthy, establishes the fact beyond question. These testimonies were gathered in 1833, apparently with reference to their publication in Howe's book."

President Fairchild here brought forward and read the statements of several persons in regard to the book, and afterward proceeded to consider the claims made for it. From remarks made during the course of his essay and in answer to questions asked after the reading of the paper it was evident that the essayist did not believe the book to be what its friends claimed for it, viz., a book which Sidney Rigdon and other Mormon lights had taken and by adding or rewriting into it certain religious ideas had made out of it what was now the Book of Mormon. President Fairchild was of the opinion that instead of this being the case it was more probable that Joe Smith wrote the above-named book.

The second paper of the evening was presented by Professor J. M. Ellis, of Oberlin, on "Congregational Union and the Church Congress of England," ...

Note: A very similar article, which may have come from a later edition of this issue of the Cleveland Leader, was reprinted in the Mar. 27, 1886 issue of the Cincinnati Christian Standard.


Vol. 44.                             Cleveland, Sunday, February 7, 1886.                             No. ?


How Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet,
Once Led a Mormon Army Across Ohio.

The Memorable But Bloodless Raid of the Prophet
and his Followers to the westward.

Mr. J. H. Kennedy of this city writes in the Chicago News an account of how a Mormon army once marched across Ohio and made its way westward to the Mississippi:

How many people of this generation know that a Mormon army once marched across Ohio, Indiana and Illinois? That it set forth in the fanaticism of the crusader, breathing vengeance and the punishment of the sword against its enemies? That it came to an inglorious halt and calmly crawled out of action through a timely "revelation" of its leader? Yet all of this was fact half a century ago.

It was a motley collection, In arms, dress, military skill and generalship it was a Falstaffian army, except that its rank and file were terribly in earnest and ready to go anywhere and do anything that its leaders commanded.


In 1830, while Mormonism was growing a little toward its after strength in New York state and at Kirtland, four missionaries, led by Parley Pratt and O. Cowdry, were sent, under a special revelation had by Joseph Smith, to preach to the Indians of the west. On the road between Ohio and Missouri they tried their hands on several Indian tribes, but with such poor success that they did not long tarry by the way. Late in the fall they reached the western line of the state of Missouri, with the intention of proceeding into the Indian country but were stopped by the agents of the general government under the national law preventing the whites from trading or settling in the Indian country.

They settled in the town of Independence, where they remained during the winter, preaching Mormonism and paying especial attention to the fair sex. In the spring one of them returned to Kirtland with a flattering account of the country to which they had been led. One June 1 Smith assembled all his followers and told them that the Lord had shown him the promised land. He then designated a number who should go down and possess it. In two weeks they were to start, and no matter what their private desires or engagements might be Joseph made a point of seeing that they started.

When they reached Independence, after walking from St. Louis, Zion was located and laid out. All the ceremonies of that occasion, with Smith's attendant juggleries, have been fully given in the various books on Mormonism and need not be repeated here. When it was well under way, Smith, who found life easier in Ohio than in Missouri, conveniently had a revelation ordering him to go home, leaving his dupes to do the rude pioneering portion of the scheme alone. On his return he was escorted by ten elders. Unless one of the latter, W. W. Phelps was a prevaricator of the deepest dye; he was given a close view of the devil himself -- a closer view than most Mormons would relish. That august personage was displaying himself in a lively manner on the waters of the Missouri river in a section of the country where he has been "raised" a great many times since.

It was while on that run down the river that Smith's overwhelming desire to manage everything got him into trouble. He insisted on managing the boat himself and ran "foul of a sawyer" and gave his companions and himself a severe ducking.


When they reached the shore a general quarrel ensued. Names were called. Cowdry was called a fop; Smith and Rigdon were charged with being a couple of cowards. Smith hinted that he was ready to hurl a "revelation" at them, but on a grim hint from some of the leaders that he might overdo that part of the business he discreetly fell back upon his own tongue and made that his only weapon. During the night a reconciliation was effected. On the following morning the prophet formally cursed the stream and gave it the name of "The River of Destruction." He also fitted himself out with a new revelation to the effect that none of the saints should henceforth sail upon its waters. The main body of the escort were given orders to go back to Ohio on foot, while Smith, Rigdon and Cowdry went by stage. They took what moneu there was in the party to pay their passage home, and directed the rest to beg their way onward.

In 1833 the people of Missouri drove the Mormons out of the state [sic - county?] Smith, who was still in Kirtland, saw that he must do something or lose his hold on his followers. He accordingly gave himself another revelation, to the effect that he must raise five hundred men and go down to the rescue of Zion.

This was on February 24, 1834. On the day following he set out in search of troops.

The manner in which he preached the


may be imagined from the following, extracted from a revelation of which he has delivered at that time:
"Therefore get ye straightway unto my land; break down the walls of mine enemies, throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen; and inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of my house and possess the land."

It is needless to say that a demand for money was also a portion of this document.

He preached to the various churches. The priests took up the cry and repeated it everywhere. Mormons old and young responded. On May 5 he betook himself to the journey westward. Northeastern Ohio never saw a more grotesque sight than was furnished when this army marched out of Kirtland. The members thereof had come in from various eastern and northern states to the number of 150, which was swollen to 220 by the addition of others picked up farther west.


The men were a rather beggarly lot. Some who had offered themselves were refused because they could not furnish weapons and show themselves in possession of $5. Their arms were of a mixed character. Some had rifles, some pistols, and others old muskets; a few had swords and a number butcher knoves. Many weapons were borrowed; others bought on time and never paid for, and a few made for the purpose in the Mormon blacksmith shops.

They marched down toward Summit county, and on the second night encamped at New Portage, forty miles from Kirtland and just below Akron. Here they were joined by more men. Smith organized them into bands of fourteen each, and assigned to each band a captain, baggage wagon, and a tent.

Smith was true to his old self. Before they left New Portage he said to his men: "I have this to propose: That you shall appoint a treasurer to take charge of whatever money you may have with you, and to pay it out as our general necessities may require."

They agreed. Smith was, of course, named as treasurer, and elected. He pocketed the cash, and ordered the army to move on. Their flag was of white, with the word "peace" upon it in letters of red.

Smith made his men behave themselves on the line of march, and molest none of the people of the country through which they traveled. They tramped by day and camped at night. There were twenty baggage wagons in all, carrying food, clothing, and goods for the use of the destitute brethren in the West. Each of the bands above mentioned had its own cook, two firemen, two tentmakers, two watermen, one commissary, and two wagoners. At night there was a blast on the trumpet, at which sound, worship was held in every tent. In the morning this order of exercise was repeated. They crossed Ohio and Indiana and the first halting place of which special mention is made was at Salt Creek, Ill., where Lyman Wight and the prophet's brother, Hyrum Smith, joined them with a reinforcement of twenty men.


Those who know anything of the character of Smith, need not be told that he "played" it, so to speak, on his dupes at every possible turn and feature of the campaign. While the majority tramped through mud and sand, he had four fine horses for his special use. He carried an elegant brace of pistols, that had been purchased on credit, a rifle, and a sword, in the use of which he became quite expert. He had the usual number of revelations. In speaking of his army, he afterward said: "Their enemies were continually breathing threats of violence; the saints did not fear, neither did they hesitate to prosecute their journey, for God was with them, and His angels were before them, and the faith of the little band was unwavering. We knew that the angels were our companions, for we saw them!" On reaching the borders of Illinois, a large mound or tumulus was discovered, and Smith, who had always been a searcher for buried money, ordered it to be opened. A foot from the top the bones of


were discovered, and taken out and laid upon a board.

This gave the theatrical Smith a chance to "show himself," so to speak. He gathered his men about him and made a speech. He told them all about the old settler who had been thus brought to the light of day.

"He was," said Joseph, "a Lamanite, a large, thickset man and a man of God. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Omandagus, who was known from the hill Cumorah, or Eastern Sea to the Rocky mountains. His name was Selph. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites."

One cannot but admire the wonderful power of Smith as a wholesale liar. No season ever found him unprepared. No circumstance was too large to take advantage of him. No truth was so mighty that it could unhorse him or put his imagination to shame.


the army remained in camp three days. The men were drilled in the use of the gun and sword. Their arms were inspected and put in repair. Lyman Wight was made second in command, with the title of "fighting general." Smith and Wight each had an "armor bearer," who was expected to be in constant attendance on his chief. Two companies of rangers or sharpshooters were organized, who were to act as scouts or flankers when they should arrive upon the field of battle. Hyrum Smith was given charge of the battle flag, which he kept constantly unfurled.

Smith's army did not go "up" Salt creek, as subsequent events showed would have been more appropriate, but marched on toward Missouri. At the end of several days a halt was taken and the soldiers ordered to go through a sham battle in order to learn more fully the art of war before engaging the enemy. Four divisions were formed, and assigned to positions. The battle opened on true scientific principles, but as the men came to close quarters they began to do their work on a personal plan, and each fought as was the bent of his mind and his previous training. Some dodged behind trees and fought Indian fashion. Some ran away. Some dropped their guns and went back to the old fashioned fist fashion. Some noses were tapped and one or two men wounded, while a number of guns and swords were broken. Smith warmly complimented his men on their courage and skill, and everybody was full of happiness and pride.

The Mississippi was reached, and here some of "the enemy" came in sight. They were certain people of Missouri who wanted no more Mormonism over there. But Smith determined to push ahead. As the river was a mile and a half wide and the army possessed of one ferryboat, it took two days to get everybody across. Once over, the army was placed on a war footing; spies on horseback kept a lookout several miles in advance. Smith, who knew how to take care of himself as well as any man alive, dressed in disguise, changing his disguises frequently, riding a great deal of the time in the baggage wagons, and, as one of the men has since said, "looking as though he expected every moment to be his last." One night they approached a large prairie on which could be seen no sign of a habitation. Smith insisted that they must move on, or the enemy would attack them where they were. Wight refused to enter the prairie, as the men were tired, and no water or wood could be found for miles ahead.


"Well," said Smith, "if we can cook nothing I will show the men how to eat raw pork."

"I will not go ahead," said Wight.

"We must go on," said Hyrum Smith, the standard. bearer. "I know by the spirit that it is dangerous to remain here."

"But I will not go on," said Wight. This is the place where we should remain."

Finally Joseph fell back on his weapon of last resort. He had a revelation, and exclaimed: "Thus saith the Lord God, march on!" And on they marched.

They tramped for fifteen miles, which brought them near the middle of the prairie, and encamped beside a muddy pool. Here the squabble broke out afresh, and Smith became especially arrogant. He declared: "I know exactly when to pray, when to sing, and when to laugh, by the Spirit of God,"

Wight and his supporters retorted, and before morning broke there was serious danger of mutiny in the camp.

Smith, as another safeguard to his person, kept an ugly bull dog that was especially cross at night, and had attempted to bite a number of people. One of the captains, who was also high priest, said to Smith: "If that dog ever attempts to bite me, I will shoot him on the instant."

"If you continue in that spirit," was the retort, "and do not repent, the dog will yet eat your flesh off your bones, and you will not have power to resist."

The row between the two was continued for some time, and, in fact, was not settled until after the return to Kirtland, when charges of various kinds were made against Smith. He underwent a trial at the hands of his priests, was artistically whitewashed and allowed to go free. The high priest was also tried and found guilty, and in order to hold his own in the church was compelled to acknowledge that for many weeks he had been possessed of several devils. The dog, it may be remarked, became too attentive to a sentinel a few nights after the discussion between prophet and priest and recieved a shot that ended its earthly career.


were just ahead. The people were aroused, and made preparations to meet the invaders. "Guns were fired in almost all directions through the night," says one of the party, "and Brother Joseph did not sleep much, if any." When within a few miles of Liberty, Clay county, a deputation of two from the main body of citizens called on Smith and asked him the meaning of his warlike army. On his response they very decidedly warned him that any overt act would get himself and his followers into trouble. They showed him that the people of several counties were acting in concert, and that the consequences of any action on the part of his followers would be upon his own head.

The Prophet saw that the time had come to fight or back down, and that the former course would give him more risk and danger than he had bargained for. But another course would lay him open to the charge from his followers that he had disobeyed the heavenly orders under which they had come forth. He wriggled out of the usual small end of the horn. He had an "annex" to his first revelation, soon after the deputation left, which declared that they "had been tried even as Abraham was tried, and the offering was accepted by the Lord; and when Abraham received his reward they would receive theirs." In short, the war was at an end, and the promise of spoliation of their enemies was postponed until such time as the case of Abraham was taken up for consideration. The army of Zion, as Joseph had called his troops, was disbanded. Each received a formal discharge from General Wight, and that was all he did receive from Smith or any one else. Not a cent of the money that had been given the Prophet as treasurer ever saw its way back to the pockets of the men who gave it.

On July 9 Smith and a few of his immediate chums started back for to Kirtland, going by stage, and having no lack of means. It would be a choice matter of history if some one had preserved a full and truthful account of the stories he told on reaching home.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 44.                             Cleveland, Monday, February 8, 1886.                             No. ?


The old dispute about who wrote the Mormon Bible has broken out again, and the theory of those who contend that Joe Smith adapted or someone adapted his Bible from the "Manuscript Found of Solomon Spalding has been very greatly weakened by some recently ascertained facts. Joe Smith claimed, as is generally known and his followers to this day claim, that the book was made up of translations of mysterious writing on golden plates that Joe got out of the ground in Ontario county, New York. Joe, according to his own account, was the only man who could read the writing on these plates, and that he was enabled to do so only by means of an arrangement called the "urim and thummim," miraculously provided.

The prevailing belief, outside of Mormondom, has always been, however, that Joe Smith, who was an illiterate fellow, had very little to do with the construction of his Bible except to contrive the plan whereby his followers were duped by it. It is held that the original of it was a sort of a historical romance written by Solomon Spalding and copied from manuscript by Sidney Rigdon, an ex-Baptist minister, after the manuscript had been placed in a printing office in Pittsburg. Rigdon was a man of ability and did most of the brain, work in getting Smith's new religion started. It is claimed that he wrote the Mormon Bible, using Spalding's story as a baisis.

About the only facts that this theory has had to rest upon were that Spalding's romance gave an account of the alleged settling of America by immigrants, who came over the ocean in prehistoric times, and that the groundwork of the Mormon Bible is the same story. And, also, that Spalding's widow,after the death of her husband; made a statment to the effect that Sidney Rigdon did copy the manuscript. But that Rigdon used this as the basis for the Mormon Bible, or that Rigdon ever wrote the Bible, no one has ever been able certainly to say. All that is certainly known is that Joe Smith sat behind a blanket and pretended to be translating the golden plates, his words being taken down by his amanuensis, Oliver Cowdrey. Whether he had Spalding's story there finished and revised by Sidney Rigdon is it mere speculation.

But recently it appears that the original manuscript of Spalding's romance has been discovered, curiously enough, in the Sandwich islands. An examination of it, and a comparison with the Mormon Bible, reveals the fact that there is not the least similarity. between the two, the very groundwork of the story being different, so as to afford no warrant whatever for supposing that Spalding's story was or could have been made over into the Book of Mormon.

It may be remarked, further, that if Sidney Rigdon wrote the book from this old manuscript it is likely that he would subsequently have made that fact known, as he quarreled with the Mormon leaders, left the church and was all the rest of his life very bitter against the whole business. But to the end of his life he never admitted that he wrote the Mormon Bible, or that he had anything to do with it.

There is another curious circumstance in connection with this. Upon the fly leaf of the Mormon Bible as usually printed is a statement signed by Oliver Cowdrey, David Whitmer and Martin Harris, to the effect that they saw the very golden plates with the writing thereon in mysterious characters that Smith dug up in New York, and which writing being translated makes up the Book of Mormon. They solemnly aver that they saw and "hefted" this wonderful plate of gold, and that the whole business was fair and square. This statement is called the "testimony of the three witnesses."

Now, a short time ago the last survivor of these "three witnesses," David Whitmer, died in Missouri, where he had lived ever since the Mormon exodus. He had long since renounced all fellowship in the church as carried out in Utah, but to the very last day of his life he solemnly maintained that his testimony in regard to the golden plates was true, and that in fact he did see them and felt them, and that he witnessed all the miraculous business connected with them by Smith.

Without any reason or inducement for persisting in a lie about this it can hardly seem probable tlhat the witness did not tell the truth so far as he knew it. He must have seen something that Smith imposed upon him as the golden plates and if so the other two of the "three witnesses" must have seen the same thing. And if so, what was it? If Smith had plates apparently gold with writing on them, what were they and where did he get them? And what becomes of the theory that traces this whole delusion back to the manuscript romance of Solomon Spalding?

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 39.                                Cleveland,  Ohio, Tuesday  March 9, 1886.                                No. ?


An Interesting Lecture by President Fairchild of Oberlin.

Evidence  That  the  Book  of  MORMON
Was  Not  Compiled  From  the
Spalding  Manuscript.


The fortnightly entertainments given in the assembly rooms of the Board of Education are becoming famous. Last evening a large audience was entertained by President Fairchild of Oberlin, who delivered an interesting lecture on the "Manuscript Found" and its relation to the Book of Mormon. President Fairchild said that it was the accepted tradition of the Book of Mormon that it was from a book written by Solomon Spalding who formerly resided at Conneaut, O. The tradition, as said, has become general, and is accepted by anti-Mormon writers, and has found its way into the encyclopedias. The speaker gave a history of the life of Spalding, who was born in Connecticut, but lived for many years on the Western Reserve. He had a literary tendency, and wrote a manuscript on the early inhabitants, and it was said that he consulted with a Pittsburg printer named Patterson with reference to having it published, but it never appeared. Spalding was in the habit of reading his manuscript to his neighbors and became familiar with it. The name of the manuscript was "The Manuscript Found; a Historical Romance of the American Indians." Twenty years after this Mormon preachers appeared at Conneaut with the Mormon Bible, and the people said that it had been written by Spaulding. The lecturer read from "The History of Mormonism," a book published by E. D. Howe, of Painesville, the testimony of eight witnesses who were positive that the essential portions of the Book of Mormon and the manuscript were identical. They are both in obsolete style, and the phrases "It came to pass," are the same. In 1834 a messenger


but she knew nothing of the manuscript, but in 1839 a statement was published, purporting to be from her, fully describing it. "This," said the lecturer," seems to be an enlargement of memory, and is evidence that Mrs. Spaulding had nothing to do with it. President Fairchild described this famous manuscript, and said: "The manuscript, lost sight of for so long, turned up at Honolulu last year, when it was found among a lot of old papers by L. L. Rice, formerly State Printer at Columbus." The antiquated story was shown to the audience. It was composed of 170 pages closely written, and contains about 45,000 words. It is yellow with age, and has been published in book form by the Josephite Mormons since it came into the possession of Mr. Fairchild. Continuing his address he said: "The manuscript has no resemblance to the Book of Mormon, and is a story of a ship coming to this country from Rome in the days of Constantine." He then read a selection from the manuscript, showing the scope of the work, and said: "The only question is, what light does this manuscript throw on the Book of Mormon, and was there another manuscript which Spaulding read to the neighbors and which resembled this book? The Book of Mormon is permeated with Christian ideas, and Spalding's writings show that he was ignorant of the Bible, and it does not seem possible that he could have written the Book of Mormon, which is based on orthodox principles, and is not the book of the latter day Mormons. We must remember in regard to the history of these witnesses that the Book of Mormon was fresh in their minds, they gave their testimony, while the remembrance of the manuscript was obscure. There has been an


by the Conneaut witnesses from Patterson's office to Sidney Rigden [sic], who they say, was a printer. But it has been proven that he never was a printer, and never was in Pittsburg until after the Book of Mormon appeared. The blunt syntax of the Book of Mormon could not have come from Rigden's hand, but is more liable to have come from Joe Smith, who was not so well educated." The lecturer read from Howe's book the account of Rigden's conversion to Mormonism, which occurred near Mentor. Soon after his baptism in 1831 [sic] he visited Joe Smith at Palmyra [sic], N. Y., and was thereafter a shining light in Mormonism. "Mrs. Dickinson maintains in her book," said President Fairchild, "that two manuscripts were found, and that one was treacherously sold to the Mormons, and the other to Howe, but this has not been proven. Howe scouts at any such idea or belief, and exculpates Hurlbut, who procured the manuscript for him from double dealing. Some think that the manuscript is still in existence, and think that it will be brought to light at some future day." Mr. Fairchild has not made up his mind that there is not another manuscript. He says that Mormonism and the Book of Mormon are different things, and that Rigden had much to do with Mormonism. Professor Wright, Mr. Younger, Rev. Lathrop Cooley, and Superintendent Hinsdale spoke on the subject, and their remarks were very interesting. A vote of thanks was tendered President Fairchild.

Note 1: This March 9th article appears to be something of a follow-up to the report featured in the Leader's issue for Jan. 26, 1886. Dr. Fairchild evidently gave a lecture in the Cleveland area on March 8th (according to Charles Eugene Henry's letter of Mar. 9, 1886). The above article was reprinted in Christian Standard on Mar. 27, 1886.

Note 2: President Fairchild published two professional papers concerning the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. The first of these was his "Mormonism and the Spaulding Manuscript," featured in the Jan. 1886 issue of Oberlin College's Biblotheca Sacra. The second paper was published in the spring of 1886 as Tract No. 77 of the Cleveland-based Western Reserve Historical Society. In terms of its reported content, the lecture given by President Fairchild, before the Congregational Club of Cleveland on Jan. 25, 1886 appears to overlap and summarize parts of these two papers. Although he words a few of his ideas in slightly different language in the Jan. 25, 1886 lecture, he says little there that is not presented in greater detail in his two other 1886 papers. However, for purposes of chronicling the evolution of Fairchild's published views on the Spalding authorship claims, his Jan. 25, 1886 discourse has been partially reconstructed and placed on-line with transcriber's comments as "Fairchild's 1886 Congregational Club Lecture."


Vol. 44.                             Cleveland, Tuesday, March 9, 1886.                             No. ?


An Interesting Meeting of the Western Reserve Historical Sociey.

The subject discussed at the Westorn Reserve historical society meeting last evening was Spaulding's manuscript in relation to the origin of the Book of Mormon. President Fairchild of Oberlin read a paper on the subject, of which he has made a thorough investigation. The theory that the book of the Mormon is simply an enlargement of Solomon Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" was first promulgated by Howe, and is now established and found its way into all the encyclopedias. Dr, Fairchlld said that it was probably impossible to utterly disprove the Spaulding thory, and devoted his time to weighing the evidence pro and con.

In 1830 the Mormon ministers appeared in Ohio, in Lake county, the very, place where Spaulding lived. The opinion arose, shortly afterward that the Mormon bible was written by him, and effort has been made to support this theory by the testimony of persons living at that time. The testimony of eight of these is given in Howe's book. They all speak about a manuscript, that Spaulding used to read to them in his leisure hours. All say that there is a great similarity in its style and phrases to those of the Mormon bible. Of these eight witnesses five say that the religious material of the Mormon book was not in Spaulding's manuscript, while the other three say that they have the same historical matter.

The only manuscript of Mr. Spaulding which has comee down to us is the one found in August, 1884 at the Sandwich islands by Mr. Rice and now in the possession of President Fairchild. This contains about 4,500 words and has been printed by the Josephite Mormons. It is about one sixth the Size of the Mormon book. The date on the book is January, 1812, and it bears no resemblance to the Book of Mormon. It is the history of the early settlers of America and opens with a scene near the Conneaut valley. But the only important question is, What light does this book throw on the origin of the Book of Mormon? This evidently is not the original of the manuscript. The testimony of the eight witnesses would indicate that there was another.

Some attention was then paid to the possibility of Sidney Rigdon's having enlarged the manuscript of Spaulding into the Mormon bible; But the speaker held that the bible was written before Rigdon met Joseph Smith and bacame a convert to the faith. Hence he discredited all ideas that Rigdon had anything to do with it. And, the fact that the Mormon book is full of religious ideas, while Spaulding's manuscript contained none, and he didn't believe in religion and the divine origin of the scriptures, seems to indicate that Spaulding could never have had such a book as a Mormon bible in mind. Several questions were asked as to the authorship of the Mormon bible. Dr. Fairchild thought that Joseph Smith was not incapable and it was quite possible that he was the author.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 39.                          Cleveland,  Ohio,   March 14, 1886.                          No. 73.


Other engagements prevented my hearing President Fairchild's lecture last evening upon the Book of Mormon and its relation to the Spalding manuscript. It has been the popular belief among the older citizens of the Reserve, and especially among those who had personal observation and contact with early Mormonism, that the Book of Mormon was compiled or rewritten, or at least made up in part from the Spalding document, and yet there was no direct or positive evidence to prove it. From some facts and incidents connected with the career of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon when they were in Geauga and Portage counties preaching their alleged new gospel I came to the conclusion some years ago that the Book of Mormon was the work of Sidney Rigdon, with perhaps some changes or additions by Smith or others. So far as I know these facts and circumstances have never been published. The truth or falsity of the Spalding matter in no way affects them, and they came to me in a way that leaves no doubt on my mind that the Book of Mormon, or a large part thereof, was written by Rigdon within two miles of the spot where I am now writing.

George Wilber, one of the early pioneers of Geauga County, taught school in the winter following the alliance of Smith and Rigdon, in a log schoolhouse a mile south of the centre of Bainbridge. Rigdon lived in a log house about two hundred yards from the schoolhouse, and young Wilber, who has heard Rigdon preach before his alliance with Smith, often called on him during the noon hour of recess and sometimes in the evening.

Rigdon had acquired the reputation of being something of a biblical scholar among the pioneers, and was also a very persuasive and eloquent preacher. Some of the keen-sighted people, however, had lost confidence in him. They discovered that he had a strong religious ambition that was not tempered by Christian grace and humility. For a year or more before the advent of Smith they saw that Rigdon was bent on devising some new dogma; in short, to start a new church or sect that he could call his own or whose leadership he would share with only a few.

It may be proper to state that George Wilber was at that time a young man of high character and good education, and for more than forty years no one in Geauga or Portage had a better reputation for truth and moderation. He was the father of Prof. C. D. Wilber, now of Nebraska, who was a room-mate of General Garfield at Williams College. He died about four years ago at Aurora, Ill.

Wilber's statement, moreover, of the work and conduct of Rigdon that winter, was corroborated by some of the neighbors in the school district.

Rigdon did not preach that winter, but was almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising. Wilber noticed that towards the close of the term there was much more of it than there was the first time he saw it. Rigdon had before that time been free and communicative, especially upon religious topics; he now appeared reserved and at times reticent. Whenever any reference about his manuscript he seemed disposed to parry inquiry by some general explanation that he was making notes or preparing some papers to throw light upon some portions of the Gospel.

The following spring Smith appeared and he and Rigdon went off together and were gone some months. It was reported that they had gone to Pittsburgh, but whether true or not no one could say. It was generally believed, however, that Smith at least visited Western New York before either returned to Ohio. Soon after their return the Book of Mormon was announced. Smith was mysterious and silent, assuming familiarity with the supernatural. It was difficult to measure or discover his powers or qualities, because of his silence and professions as a prophet. Those who were not awed by the glamour of mystery became convinced of one thing, that he was a man of little or no education, while Rigdon was a fine orator, a fair writer, and among the men of that day a good scholar. Rigdon believed that his own attainments would put him at the head of the new church. It did not take long, however, to see that he had failed to measure properly those masterly powers of his companion in acting the part of the prophet. In a few months he saw that he must take a subordinate part and from that time onward his zeal flagged. He drifted along, though still a leader, until the death of Smith, when he found that Brigham Young, a natural leader of the class of men who composed their followers, held the reins of power with a strong hand. Rigdon became disgusted and disheartened. He soon left them forever, and died some years ago in Pennsylvania.

Ten years ago this winter I spent two weeks in Salt Lake City. Elder Orson Pratt had been for many years the historian [sic - theologian?] of the Mormon Church. As my father had been acquainted with him in his younger days, I called upon him and made myself known. He was then an old man of about eighty years. During our conversation I inquired of him why it was that his people crossed what was called the Great Desert and settled at Salt Lake. He replied that they had Fremont's narrative, and that he carried a copy during their journey over the plains and mountains.

In the history of the Mormon Church it is stated that Pratt was with the advance guard, and on their arrival at Salt Lake Pratt made observations, and found the latitude and longitude. Soon after the interview I examined a copy of Fremont's narrative, and found the latitude and longitude given. Now, Pratt was not scholar enough to take an observation of that kind, so he must have announced their locality from the information given by Fremont. It is due to Elder Pratt to say that I do not believe he wrote this statement. He was more of a custodian of Mormon records than a historian, and probably permitted the statement to be made.

The Book of Mormon contains many internal evidences that Sidney Rigdon was the author of at least a good portion of it.

How many others had a hand in it, or what other manuscripts, if any, assisted in the work, it would be difficult now to determine.   C. E. HENRY.
Geauga Lake, O., March 9.

Note 1: The above letter was reprinted into various other papers, including the Chicago Tribune of Mar. 27th and the Apr. 11th issue of the Salt Lake Tribune. The above text was also reprinted on pages 50-52 of Frederick A. Henry's 1942 biography of his father, Captain Henry of Geauga. This Captain Henry" or "Marshal Henry" name was Charles Eugene Henry (1835-1906), a notable Ohio figure and an occasional correspondent of the Cleveland Leader, who signed his reports as "C. E. Henry." In 1886 C. E. Henry was staying near the Geauga Lake train station in the southwest corner of Bainbridge township, Geauga Co., Ohio -- about twenty miles from Cleveland (where he maintained his legal residence). The father he speaks of (as having known Orson Pratt) was John Henry (1796-1869) of Bainbridge.

Note 2: Oberlin College President James H. Fairchild lectured in Cleveland on the Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship in January of 1886, as well as on Mar. 8, 23, and 25, 1886. In the wake of the publicity stirred by up Fairchild's lectures, C. E. Henry was prompted to write his letter, conveying the recollections of George Wilber (1805-1881). Wilber was a long-time resident of adjacent Auburn twp. On Sept. 27, 1826 he married Rachel Smith in Portage County's Aurora twp. (the township adjoining Bainbridge on the south). Mr. Wilber is only mentioned in passing in Geauga Co. histories, and his winter 1825-26 teaching stint, in the neighborhood of Rigdon's cabin, south of Bainbridge Centre, may have been a short one.

Note 3: C. E. Henry's paternal aunt, Mrs. Dencey Adeline Thompson Henry (1805-1887), also passed along personal recollections concerning Sidney Rigdon's stay at Bainbridge: she was evidently a nursemaid in the Rigdon family, prior to her 1827 marriage to Orrin P. Henry, Sr. -- see the letter of her son, Orrin P. Henry, Jr., as summarized in the Portland, Oregon New Northwest of Sept. 9, 1880.

Note 4: Unfortunately C. E. Henry provides no date for his allegations regarding Sidney Rigdon's being "almost constantly engaged upon a manuscript that he was writing or revising" at Bainbridge, Ohio. Nor does Henry supply dates for George Wilber's recollections of the first and second appearances of Joseph Smith, Jr. upon the Western Reserve of Ohio. Rigdon moved from his home in Bainbridge early in 1827 and relocated his family at Mentor. Thus, if George Wilber conversed with Sidney Rigdon during a winter school term in Bainbridge, it must have either been in the first weeks of 1826, or else at just prior to Rigdon's leaving that place, early the next year. Since Rigdon's writing of the "manuscript" recalled by Wilber occured during a "winter" when "Rigdon did not preach," the only logical time period for the clergyman's secretive activity would have been during the winter of 1825-26, four years before Sidney Rigdon had any documented contact with Joseph Smith, Jr. By the time he publicly met Smith (during the last days of 1830), the Book of Mormon had already been circulating in Ohio for several weeks. It is by no means impossible that Joseph Smith, Jr. paid one or more unrecorded visits to Rigdon's home in Ohio as early as 1826-27. However, there is no known historical evidence for such a meeting between the two men, and it is also possible that Mr. Henry's implied Sidney Rigdon chronology is a conflation of events, from both before and after Rigdon's Nov. 1830 conversion to Mormonism. For one dubious account of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s travels in the direction of Ohio, in search of a "luminous stone," see the report of his March, 1826 hearing before Justice of the Peace Albert Neely, in the Norwich, N. Y. Chenango Union of May 3, 1877. That account reports Smith visiting an area on the "South side of Lake Erie, not far from the New York and Pennsylvania line." From the NY/PA border, the distance to the eastern limits of Ashtabula Co., Ohio is anout 40 miles. See Clark Braden's report of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. having met secretly in Ashtabula, before 1830, in the June 18, 1891 Lamoni, IA Independent Patriot. See also Rigdon's 1830 notice of his visit to Ashtabula, a few days prior to the "four missionaries to the Lamanites" arrival at Rigdon's home in nearby Mentor, Ohio.

Note 5: George Wilber and Dencey Adeline Thompson were not the only persons who recalled that Sidney Rigdon's attention being greatly occupied with a mysterious manuscript, while he lived at Bainbridge -- see also the 1879 statement of Rigdon's neice (on his wife's side of the family), Mrs. Amarilla (or Amorilla) Brooks Dunlap. This lady's statement was supplemented a little by information relayed in the columns of the Salt Lake Tribune on Apr. 7, 1881. Of course, testimony to the effect that Rigdon did much private writing while living at Bainbridge, is of limited usefulness, unless it can be ascertained exactly what it was that he was writing. For this reason, the less informative recollections of old Rigdon acquaintances, such as Harvey Baldwin and Deacon Clapp, add but little to the modern investigator's knowledge of what Sidney Rigdon's activities were during the late 1820s.

Note 6: Mr. Henry's article (as reprint in the Chicago Tribune) came to the attention of the RLDS elder, M. T. Short, who offered a rebuttal in the Sept. 1886 ossue of the Okland, CA Expositor. Short's reply added no new information to the topic, however.


The  Massillon  Independent.
Vol. XXIII.                               Massillon, Ohio,  March 26, 1886.                               No. 40.


First Settlement of Mormons in Ohio --
Brigham's First Marriage.

A Chardon, O., correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette writes:

Learning that there were in the office of the probate judge of Geauga county some interesting facts to be obtained in regard to the early life of Brigham Young, the great Mormon, your correspondent paid that office a visit, and by the courtesy of Judge Smith was enabled to obtain the following facts, never before published. It will be remembered that the little town of Kirtland, at that time part of Geauga county, was the first "gathering place" of the Mormons. Brigham Young was one of the earliest of them to come to Kirtland, and soon after coming to the place he met and soon married Miss Mary Ann Angel. This was his first and legal marriage. In the old records of the probate court may still be seen the original application of Brigham for the necessary license for this marriage and the certificate of the marriage by Sidney Rigdon, another prominent Mormon. By the way, this Sidney Rigdon was at one time a Baptist preacher, afterward joined the Disciples, or, as they were then called, Campbellites, and finally became a Mormon, and soon was among the greatest of that sect. He was at one time after he joined the Mormons, indicted for solemnizing the marriage of Orson Hyde, another prominent Mormon, without legal authority. The copies of the application for license and the certificate of marriage are as follows:

"The State of Ohio, Geauga County, ss.:

Personally appeared Brigham Young and made application for a marriage license for himself and Mary Ann Angel, of the township of Kirtland, in said county, and made solemn oath that he, the said Brigham Young is of the age of twenty-one years, and the said Mary Ann Angel is of the age of eighteen years; that they are both single, and not [nearer] of kin than first cousins; that he knows of no legal impediment against their being joined in marriage.   BRIKHAM YOUNG.
  Sworn and subscribed this 10th day of February, 1834 before me,
              RALPH COWLES, Dep. Clerk."

"Be it remembered, that on the thirty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and thirty-four, Brigham Young and Mary Ann Angel, of the county of Geauga, were leaglly joined in marriage by competent authority, in conformity to the provisions of the [statutes] of the state of Ohio, in such cases made and provided, and a certificate of the said marriage, signed by Sidney Rigdon, a minister who solemnized the same, has been filed in the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas for the said county of Geauga, this third day of April, Anno Domini, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-four....
The signature of Brigham Young to the application above is a fac-simile of the original signature on the record. It will be noticed as evidence of Brigham's illiteracy that he spells his name Brickham Young, and spells the last name with a small or lower-case "y." How such a man could obtain such a control over the people as he did can only be explained upon the hypothesis that they were either very ignorant or very vicious, and his great personal magnetism and insight into human nature and faculty of adapting himself to the different natures, showed them he was a born leader.

There still live in Kirtland and in Munson, in this country, nephews of Mary Ann Angel, and they confirm all the foregoing statements. There is still living in Kirtland a small band of Mormons who can not swallow the polygamous portion of the religion. They still hold meetings occasionally in the old Mormon temple in that place, and crowds of curious people come from the neighboring towns to see their proceedings.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXI.                     Cincinnati, Ohio, Saturday, March 27, 1886.                     No. 13.

(Cleveland Leader)


An Interesting Lecture by President Fairchild of Oberlin.



(see original article in c. March 9th paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. IX.                     Canton, Ohio, Wednesday, October 6, 1886.                     No. 194.



Joe Smith and His Bible -- Dictating to an Amanuensis --
One of the Dupes -- Cave on Miner's Hill -- Bringing Out the Book.

On returning to the village of Palmyra we visited another hill which is celebrated in the annals of Mormon history. In order that the reader may understand the significance of this hill we must go back to Joe Smith and his bible. The book, which, by the way, no one ever saw, was said to consist of metal plates, pierced on one edge, and fastened together by rings which passed through the holes. With the book was also found, or so pretended, a huge pair of spectacles, too large for any mortal eyes, which had the remarkable quality of turning the hieroglyphics on the metal plates into plain English.

Smith's scheme required the publication of his bible. How was he to accomplish this? No one was allowed to see the metal plates, and yet Smith could not write a legible hand. An accomplice was necessary. But Smith was equal to the occasion. He engaged one Oliver Cowdery a school-teacher, to be his scribe, promising him part of the proceeds of the book. The Smiths were then living in a little, one-story log house. There were only two rooms on the ground floor, with a pointed garret in the roof. Across one corner of this garret Smith had a blanket-screen stretched. Behind this screen he ensconced himself with his magic spectacles and his golden book (or, as Hussey affirms, his tile brick). Cowdery sat on the other side of the blanket and wrote from Smith's dictation.


Martin Harris, a wealthy farmer, was induced to bear the expense of printing the manuscript. But Harris' wife was a woman of too much good sense to be Smith's dupe. So in the absence of her husband she pat the manuscript in the stove and burnt it up. Here was a check in the proceeding, and one, too, that filled Smith with dismay. He and Harris were morally certain that Mrs. Harris had taken the manuscript, but they did not know it was burned. Smith was unable to reproduce the book exactly, and he feared that the first manuscript would be produced to confound him. However, it wasn't a time to give up. He and his friends repaired to Miner's hill by night, and there dug a sort of cave on the east side of the hill. The dimensions of this cave were forty feet deep, sixteen feet wide, and seven feet high. The entrance was secured by a substantial door of two-inch oak plank. In this dark cave Smith set about producing a new manuscript, Cowdery still acting as an amanuensis. This copy was more securely guarded; it is that from which the Mormon bible was printed in 1829.

Miner's hill is about two and a half miles south of Palmyra. In appearance it is similar to Mormon hill, and like it runs off to the south in a ridge. In the days of Smith it was heavily wooded. When we visited the hill the timber had been cut down, and the whole was a slashing filled with stumps, briers and burrs. We had little difficulty in finding what used to be the cave. It is situated just below the brow of the hill. Fifty-six years, however, have left their ravages. Instead of a cave we found quite a depression where the earth had given way and fallen in. The door had long since disappeared. The door-frame, however, still stands there, buried more than half the way up in the earth. The frame is roughly made, the sides not being mortised into the top, but simply secured by three large spikes driven through each end of the top piece. We took our knife and cut off a piece of the wood. It was as sound as when the frame was first made. Hundreds of people, we were told, annually visit Mormon hill; but few ever wend their way through the burrs and briers of Miner's hill.


After a good deal of demurring Mr. Egbert B. Grandin, the publisher of The Wayne Sentinel, contracted to do the printing. An edition of 5,000 copies was ordered. The price agreed upon was $8,000. Harris pledging himself to pay the money. It happened that at that time the leading compositor in Mr. Grandin's office was Mr. John H. Gilbert. Mr. Gilbert, or, as he is now called, Maj. Gilbert, is to-day a hale man of 85 years. It was our good fortune to meet him and have a long talk about the early days of Mormonism. He had the chief operative trust of the typesetting and presswork. He got out the first form. There were in all 568 pages of the bible, and of these Gilbert set up with his own hands over 500. The original instructions were that no alterations whatever from the copy were to be made. But under Gilbert's earnest protestations these instructions were rescinded. Cowdery, though a tolerable penman, was poor in syntax, orthography, punctuation. etc. The copy furnished him, Mr. Gilbert assured us, was a solid mass. There was no punctuation, very few capitals, no paragraphs.

Joe Smith kept in the background. Gilbert only saw him twice -- once in the office for a few minutes and once on the street. Hyrum Smith, his brother, brought the copv to the office every morning, in installments of twenty-four pages, buttoned up in his vest, and came for them at night. But after much friendly expostulation Smith in about ten days relaxed his vigilance, and permitted Gilbert to take the manuscript home to correct and punctuate. This was on Gilbert's word that he would be responsible for the copy. Grandin read most of the proof; Gilbert read the rest. The contract price of the printing was faithfully paid by Harris. David Whitmer, who now lives in Richmond, Mo., has the original manuscript. A man living in Williamson, Wayne county, N. Y., has the press on which the book was printed. The book was seven months in printing -- that is, from August, 1829, to March, 1830.

Mr. Gilbert has one copy of the original edition of the Mormon Bible. It has never been bound, but is in loose leaves. He has been offered $100 for it, but wants $500. He thinks it ought to be procured for the library at Washington. In the Mormon Bibles now published Joe Smith is styled the "Translator." But the first edition bore on the title page, "By Joseph Smith, Jr., author and proprietor." -- F. W. Morton in Chicago Times.

Note 1: The exact date and content of this Chicago Times article has not yet been determined. Morton evidently wrote an earlier piece for the Times, entitled "Visit to Mormon Hill," which was not so widely reprinted as the above article.

Note 2: For more on the cave in Miner's Hill, see the Wayne Sentinel of July 27, 1898 and the Rochester Times-Union of April 25, 1974.


Vol. 39.                       Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, October 17, 1886.                       No. ?


Testimony That the Rev. Sidney Rigdon
"Got Up" the Mormon Bible.

Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" the
Basis of its Historical Portion.

Rigdon and Joe Smith --
Interesting Connecting Links.

Editor New York Watchman.

In the year 1833-'34 I was one of a self-appointed committee that met in the home of Mr. W. Coming, Mentor, O., for the purpose of investigating the origin of the Book of Mormon. Dr. D. P. Hurlburt had been in New York and Massachusetts looking up testimony; we had the manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding before us, that we compared with the Mormon Bible, and we had no doubt that from Spaulding's writings the Rev. Sidney Rigdon got up the Mormon Bible. I am convinced of it now. Here are some of the reasons:

The "Manuscript Found," written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding in Conneaut, Ashtabula county, O., in 1809-'12, was the basis of the historical portions of the Mormon Bible, if any credibility is to be given to positive human testimony. Now what is this testimony? John Spaulding, a brother of Solomon, of Conneaut, says:
"I visited my brother, and he told me he had been writing a book; it was entitled 'Manuscript Found,' of which he had read to me many pages. It was a historical romance, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the Lost tribes. It detailed their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi * * *I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and, to my great surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's writings * * *He commenced about every sentence with 'and it came to pass' or 'now it came to pass,' the same as in the Book of Mormon, and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious part."
Mrs. Martha Spaulding, wife of John Spaulding, says: "I have read the Book of Mormon, which has brought to my recollection the writings of Solomon Spaulding, and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it is the same that I read and heard read more than twenty years ago. The old obsolete style, and the phrases of 'and it came to pass,' &c. are the same."

Henry Lake, the partner of Spaulding, from Conneaut in September, 1834 [sic.]: "He, Spaulding, frequently read [to] me from a manuscript which he was writing, which he entitled 'Manuscript Found.' * * * I spent many hours in hearing him read said writings, and became well acquainted with its contents. * * * One time when he reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I find to my surprise that it stands just as he read it to me then. * * * I have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of the Golden Bible is principally if not wholly taken from the 'Manuscript Found.'

In the story of Laban in the first book of Nephi, where Nephi says, "They did speak many hard words unto us their younger brothers, and they did smite us even with a rod," whereupon an angel appears and says: "Why do ye smite your younger brother with a rod?" consistency would require that the number, whether plural or singular, should in both cases be the same. The oversight is in itself a trifle, but its occurrence in both the Spaulding Manuscript and the Book of Mormon is an unanswerable proof of identity.

John N. Miller in 1833 says:"In the year 1811 I was in the employ of Henry Lake and Solomon Spaulding at Conneaut, engaged in rebuilding a forge. While there I boarded in the family of said Spaulding several months. I was soon introduced to the manuscript of Spaulding and perused it as often as I had leisure. He had written two or three books or pamphlets on different subjects, but that which more particularly drew my attention was one which he called the "Manuscript Found.' * * * I have recently examined the Book of Mormon, and find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and other religious matter. * * * Many of the passages of the Mormon Book are verbatim from Spaulding, and others in part. The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, * * * are brought to my recollection by the Golden Bible.

Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith and Nahum A. Ward [sic - Howard?] of Conneaut testify in the same manner and to the same things as being in the "Manuscript" as in the Mormon Bible. Some eight or ten other persons of irreproachable character testify as to the identity of the "Manuscript Found," as they had read it and heard it read, with the Mormon Bible. And their testimony has never been impeached or denied

I have believed since the spring of 1834 that Rigdon got up the Mormon Bible out of the "Manuscript Found," and there are many persons who have testified to Rigdon's connection with the manuscript. They have testified to the intimate acquaintance of Rigdon with Lambdin of Pittsburg, the partner of Patterson, printer, with whom Spaulding left his manuscript. The Rev. John Winter, D. D., says in 1822 and 1823, upon one occasion he was in Rigdon's study, when he (Rigdon) took from his desk a large manuscript, and said in substance: "A Presbyterian minister, Spaulding, whose health had failed, brought this to the printer to see if it would pay to publish it. It is a romance of the Bible."

Mary W. Sevine [sic - Irvine?] a daughter of Dr. Winter, writes: "I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon having Spaulding's manuscript, and that he got it from the printers to read as a curiosity; as such he showed it to father; and at that time Rigdon had no intention of using it as he afterwards did; for father always said Rigdon helped Smith in his scheme by revising and making the Mormon Bible out of the Rev. Spaulding's manuscript." The Rev. J. A. Bonsall of Rochester, Pa., a stepson of Dr. Winter, says he "repeatedly heard Dr. Winter say that Rigdon had shown him the Spaulding manuscript romance, * * * which manuscript he had received from the printers."

Mrs. Amos Dunlap of Warren, O., writes: "When I was quite a child I visited in Mr. Rigdon's family. He married my aunt. During my visit he went into his bedroom and came out with a certain manuscript, seated himself by the fire, and commenced reading it. His wife came into the room and exclaimed 'What! you studying that thing again? I mean to burn that paper.' 'No! indeed, you will not. This will be a great thing someday.'"

Mr. Z. Rudolph, father of Mrs. Gen. Garfield, knew Sidney Rigdon very well, and says: "During the winter previous to the appearance of the Book of Mormon Rigdon was in the habit of spending weeks away from his home, going no one knew where. * * * When the Book of Mormon appeared Rigdon joined in the advocacy of the new religion, and suspicion was at once aroused that he was not ignorant of the authorship of the Book of Mormon."

The Rev. Adamson Bentley, a very intimate friend of Rigdon, their wives were sisters, writing to the Rev. W. Scott, another friend of Rigdon of many years, says that "Rigdon told me there was a book coming out, the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates, as much as two years before the Mormon book made its appearance." The Rev. Alexander Campbell, one of the strong and learned men of his time, known all over the land, confirms the truth of the conversation between "Father Bentley," as he was well known on the "Western Reserve," and Sidney Rigdon. These witnesses prove that Rigdon had the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding, without any doubt. Now as to Rigdon's acquaintance with Joe Smith, "the Prophet."

Mrs. D. Horace Eaton of Palmyra, N.Y, in a sketch on the "Origin of Mormonism," says: "Early in the summer of 1827 a 'mysterious stranger' seeks admittance to Joe Smith's cabin. The conference of the two is most private. This person, whose coming immediately preceded a new departure in the faith, was Sidney Rigdon, of Mentor, O." Mrs. Eaton is confirmed in her statement by P. Tucker, Esq., of Palmyra. Rigdon was the first Mormon preacher in Palmyra.

Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Ia., has sent me a copy of the "manuscript" found by Mr. L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, and published by the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. This is not a copy of the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Joseph Smith, of Lamoni, assumes too much when he says: "This newly-found 'missing-link' completes the chain of evidence that the 'Manuscript Found' never was and never could be made the occasion, cause, or germ of the 'Book of Mormon.'"

The "manuscript" published at Lamoni is another one of Spaulding's, and has no more to do with the authorship of the Book of Mormon than it has with the authorship of that most wonderful of all poems, the Book of Job, or the authorship of Junius' Letters. It proves nothing.

At the meeting at Mr. J. Corning's in Mentor, in 1834, I have no doubt we had this very identical "manuscript" now published among the papers submitted by Dr. Hurlburt. We also had a copy of the "Manuscript Found," that was compared with the Mormon Bible and satisfied the committee that it was the basis of the Mormon Bible. I have said and believed since 1834 that I had seen and examined the original "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding, out of which Sidney Rigdon got up the Mormon Bible. I believe, as Dr. Hurlburt stated, that he "sold the manuscript for $400." It is certain that he had it, and who but the Mormons would buy it? Three years ago I wrote to Hurlburt and asked him about the "Manuscript Found." He did not answer my letter. He is now dead. He was once a Mormon.

For some reason in 1833 he had some difficulty with "the Saints" in Kirtland. The last known of the "Manuscript Found" it was in Hurlburt's hands. It was not given to Mr. Howe of Painesville, O.

Now there is no doubt that the Rev. Solomon Spaulding wrote the "Manuscript Found": that the historical part of the Book of Mormon was taken from that manuscript, if human testimony is to be relied on as of any validity. That Sidney Rigdon had the original manuscript in his possession, read it first as a curiosity, and then used it to get up the Book of Mormon, a sham, a fraud, and a deception, and that he was the first to preach the delusion, are facts. This fact should not be lost sight of -- that Solomon Spaulding wrote two or more pamphlets on different subjects.
JAMES A. BRIGGS.           
            No. 177 Washington street, Brooklyn, 1886.

(The The writer of the above, Mr. Briggs, is a leading and influential citizen of Brooklyn, N. Y. For a number of years he was in the internal revenue service, having been appointed by President Lincoln. Previous to that time he lived in Cleveland, O., where he was an extensive real-estate dealer. He is a man of standing, veracity, and intelligence, and is now about seventy or seventy-five years of age. -- Editor Tribune.)

Note: This letter by James A. Briggs was apparently written to the Editor of the New York Watchman on or about September 5th. It was reprinted in the Chicago Daily Tribune on Oct. 2, 1886. See comments appended to the Tribune reprint for details.


Forty-Fifth Year          Cleveland, Ohio, Tuesday, April 12, 1887.          Price 5 cents.


The Latter Day Saints Defend the Founder of Their Church.

Many of Joseph Smith's Prophecies Have Been Fulfilled and
the Others Will Be -- Why Be Should Not he Placed
in the Category of False Prophets -- A Sermon on
the Resurrection -- Other Proceedings at Kirtland.

KIRTLAND, O., April 11. -- (Special.) -- There were still some visitors left in town Sunday night and the temple was well filled. Elder Joseph Luff of Independence, Mo., spoke:

"The saints at Independence" said Mr. Luff, "are thinking of building a $15,000 church and I had thought of addressing you on the subject of subscriptions, but will not do so tonight. 'Beware of false prophets that come to you in sheeps' clothing, for inwardly they are roaring wolves,' will be my text. Josh Biilings once wrote that when a man entered a conflict he should be careful not to take his weapon by the blade. I once preached in a certain church and as I passed out I heard one of the outsiders say, that man should have read a little more scripture and he would have seen that it said beware of false prophets. I once listened to an orthodox minister preach, and he looked me straight in the eye and repeated that quotation. I thought these people were making the mistake Josh Billings referred to -- taking the weapon by the blade. Ever since Joseph started this religion we have heard this cry hounded into our ears. In one town where I was preaching with a brother, some parents posted their little boys on top of a shed beside the road and instructed them to cry this portion of scripture as we passed. We admit that this caution has been needed, but it has been used against those who least of all deserved it, by those who did deserve it.

"There was a prophecy in Bible days that told of a man coming who should be called


and whose influence shouid be great both for evil and for good all over the land." The speaker here related the manner of Joseph's conversion, the discovery of the plates and the translation of them into the Book of Mormon. The keynote of the Book of Mormon was that the gospel of Christ should be founded and organized as of old, and that a gospel should go forth to the world as deep and far reaching as the love of God; that Israel should be gathered and Judea rebuilt. It exploded the theory that mail's probation ceased with life no matter how adverse were his circumstances, and taught that Christ should preach to the spirits of the departed who had no opportunity of hearing the gospel. The book also holds that the object of this work is to prepare the people for the second coming of Christ.

"Jesus knew that one of the first evils to assail this work would be false prophets; he gave the spirit of prophecy, gift of healing and the discernment of spirits, and he knew these things would be counterfeited, hence the warning, 'Beware of false prophets.' When this young man began his work no sect believed in revelation, so he could not have taken advantage of their credulity. Did he fill the bill as a false prophet? Let us see. 'Beware of false prophets that come to you in sheeps' clothing.' Where was the sheep's clothing that Joseph used? Did he ever bleat like a Methodist, or like a Baptist or any of the others? No. He said they were all wrong. If he had put on their garb and joined them they


As a wearer of sheep's clothing he didn't come up to the standard.

"Again, he taught baptism of water and of the spirit. The serpent told Eve to eat the fruit and she would not be harmed; that was a prophecy, although in a negative form it told of something that would come to pass in the future. It took time to determine whether the prophecy was false or not. But it was a contradiction of God's plain word, and we know it was a lie. If in the garden of Eden it was a lie to contradict God's word, is it not a plain lie now to say that baptism is not necessary when God says it is? Ah! that is a hard statement, you say, for it says a great many men are standing in the pulpit today and lying in God's name. Now, I never knew that the serpent knew he was lying when he told Adam and Eve they should not be harmed if they partook of the forbidden fruit -- the Bible doesn't say so; he may have been persuaded by the devil that lie was telling the truth. So it is with these orthodox ministers; but the harm done is just as great if they realized what they were doing. These, then, are the things Joseph taught, and I ask you what one of them can be dropped when God has commanded that they all should be observed. If Christ says these things should be done, I regard that man as a false prophet who says they need not be done. We pass from this to the latter part of the text, 'by their fruits ye shall know them.' Solomon the wise made mistakes -- everyone does; but take Joseph's sayings and writings when he claimed to have the spirit of prophecy and if they fail to come to pass call him a false prophet, and if they have come to pass call him


Take the prophecy concerning the civil war, earthquakes, etc. Did they not come true? What is it that made men begin to inquire if Christ's second coming would be literal and bring about a prophetic convention in Chicago? It is because this man's prophesies have been coming to pass. Fifty years ago Josepf announced that the Jews would be reinstated in Judea, and the idea was ridiculed. Today that prophecy is being fulfilled in a wonderful manner. So it will be with all these prophecies, until the truth is pushed home to their very thresholds.

"When Joseph promulgated the doctrine of probation after death he was laughed at by everybody, but such men as Beecher, Dr. Thompson of Chicago and Canon Farrar have now announced their belief in it. I thank God that such a man as Canon Farrar was honest enough to come out and stand for the truth in spite of prejudice. Why, so great has been the agitation of this question that the Methodist church is threatened with a division on that ground.

"Some years ago the doctrine of healing by faith was called jugglery, but now we see cards stuck up in many windows announcing that reverend ministers of the orthodox creeds will teach the science of healing by faith. Was this any the less true fifty years ago, when Joseph Smith taught it? We see that Joseph Smith did not come in sheep's clothing -- he had some of his own, and men like Canon Farrar and Beecher have picked little bits of wool off and pasted it on their own coats.

"'Beware of false prophets,' but don't take every man for a false prophet because society labels him as such."

J. S. Roth of Iowa spoke in the temple Monday on the subject of


"Faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands and the resurrection of the dead are all interesting subjects to me, but the resurrection is of paramount interest. In life we suffer and toil because we have faith in the resurrection; and yet there are many who do not believe in a resurrection. One says, Why should I bother myself with religion? There is no hereafter. Others say that for those who sin there is complete annihilation. 'If a man die, shall he live again?' is a most important question. Heading a little farther in the scriptures we find that 'like as Christ was raised up from the dead so we shall be, also;' again, when Christ appeared to his disciples 'he showed them his hands and his side.' Why did he do this? To prove that the body they had been laid in the tomb was resurrected, and when Thomas Didymus didn't believe he bade him thrust forth his hand and put his fingers into his side, when Thomas cried: 'My Lord and my God!' Then said Christ: 'Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.' In Luke we learn that his disciples gathered together and said: 'The Lord has risen again,' and Christ appeared to them and showed them his hands and his feet and told them to touch him that they might be convinced he was in the flesh: Then he ate with them as he did before his death.

"In Acts his disciples say he appeared, even to us who did eat and drink with him after he


Christ said, in the 22d chapter of Matthew, 'For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.' Now, if we are to live as the angels after death, let us see if we can get a clue to what the angels are like. In my youth I thought angels had wings, and it was a matter of much speculation to me how they could manage them, but we learn that angels appeared to the Sodomites and they could not distinguish them from men. Angels are like men in body. A stranger asked food of a lady and upon her refusing it, he told her that she might some day refuse unawares to entertain an angel. 'Yes,' replied the lady, but he would not have a quid of tobacco in his mouth.'

"The Lord says is the 'God of the living.' Our ideas of death mean that it is annihilation, but in order to be with God in heaven we must become alive again. When a man dies his breath, warmth and flesh go back to the elements from which they sprung -- not an iota is annihilated. Job says, 'in my flesh shall I see God.' Ezekiel, in the valley filled with bones, was asked by the Lord, 'Shall these bones live again?' and he answered and said, 'Thou knowest.' Then God made the bones to come together, and sinew and flesh be added, when, lo, there was a mighty army of them. Then the Lord added breath and they lived. 'The whole house of Israel shall live again,' said the Lord. The whole house of Israel is not dead yet. So we see that everything but blood was added to these resurrected bodies -- therein lies the difference between us and angels.

"Again we read, if the dead do not rise, then has Christ not risen; but Christ is risen and


Paul says there is a natural body and a spiritual body. This may seem to contra- dict my statements, but it does not. He also says flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; but he does not say that flesh and bone may not. There is a difference between natural and spiritual bodies, one is animated by blood and the other is not.

"And I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.' This is the lot of those who are resurrected as angels. Let us so live that we may enjoy the glorious privilege of reigning a thousand years with Christ and the angels."

Several of the saints have departed from Kirtland, but the majority are still here.


At the business session of the Kirtland conference Monday afternoon it was decided that the next annual conference should be held at Independence, Mo. The committee appointed to look into the report of the board of publication made their report and said they found everything in a satisfactory condition. A mistake had been made in adding up a column of figures which increased the net gain $11. The committee also suggested the propriety of annually examining the books of this department and the following gentlemen were appointed to constitute such a committee: J. H. Peters, W. C. Cadwell and Joseph Luff.

The present officials of the church were sustained in their positions for the ensuing year.

A discussion occupied a large portion of the business session on the subject of allowing the publishers of the Saints' Herald more liberty in the publication of matter.

President Joseph Smith has received a revelation in regard to the filling of offices in the church, but has not yet made it public.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.               Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, April 17, 1887.               No. 107.


The Creed to Which the Latter Day
Saints Pin Their Faith.

An Old Resident of Willoughby Relates
Reminiscences of the Early
Days at Kirtland.

How People Suffered for Rigdon
and Smith -- The Rough Elements.

Special Dispatch to the Leader.

Kirtland, O., April 16. -- A break has occurred in the beautiful weather which has prevailed thus far during the annual conference of the saints and this morning dawned with a cold, drizzling rain falling from a leaden colored sky. The streets are deserted and the somber looking temple on Zion Hill is without an occupant. The last night's discourse was delivered by Apostle J. H. Lake, from the words: "Get Religion." It was an interesting discourse. So much has been said and so little is really known of the belief of the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints, that the following epitome of its faith and doctrine will be of interest. --

[RLDS Epitome of Faith follows]

During the progress of the conference a large number of copies of the "Manuscript Found" have been sold. This document, it will be remembered, had been generally considered to be the ground work of the celebrated "Book of Mormon." The original copy of the "Manuscript Found" is now in the library of Oberlin College, in charge of President James H. Fairchild, who furnished a copy of the same for publication, and from this the volume under discussion is printed. Its authorship is ascribed to Rev. Solomon Spaulding, formerly of Conneaut, O., who it is said, was a gentleman of considerable literary ability, a statement which is not shown by the character of the "Manuscript Found." Of this work President Fairchild says: "There seems no reason to doubt that this is the long-lost story. Mr. Rice, myself and others compared it with the Book of Mormon and

Could Detect no Resemblance

between the two in general or in detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two. The only resemblance is in the fact that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes. Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if any explanation is required." The history of the traveIs of the Spaulding manuscript, the finding of it in the possesion of L. L. Rice, of Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands, and the other facts are interesting, but life is too short to undertake a reproduction here.

Last night at my hotel in Willoughby, I met Mr. William S. Smith, one of the old time settlers, yet hale and hearty at the age of sixty-six, who was a lad living on Waite hill when the Mormon Church was established here, and who is regarded with great esteem by President Smith. In a half hour's chat, I obtained a number of interesting facts regarding the early days of Mormondom at Kirtland, the substance of which is given below. "You want to know about the old church. Well, I was a young man then, and, as I mingled a good deal with them, I saw as much of their social life as anyone. When the Mormons began to come to Kirtland, my conscience but there was a rush! The writers who have attempted to describe it have been legion, but they have all fallen short of an accurate description. Rigdon and Smith came first, and soon came the mighty tide. I do not overestimate it when I say that from 600 to 700 families a year arrived at

The City of the Saints.

and the limited facilities for shelter caused much hardship during the winter months. Structures of all sizes and shape arose as if by magic until the hillsides along the river were covered with them. You would scarcely believe it were I to tell you what these people endured for the new faith they had expoused. In the families were many good looking girls, and as [many] young fellows often attended the paring bees and other social gatherings which were given at Kirtland. Later it became common to hold 'feast' and to meet the expense, the members 'chipped in.' The refreshments consisted of a cheap wine which was passed around in wooden pails, with a small gourd for a drinking utensil, and doughnuts -- not the kind we have now, which are crisp and tender -- but an unleavened variety, soft and expansive. They were quite elastic, and hard to digest. These feasts were held at the homes of the Saints, and usually after the first round, no restrictions were placed on the size of the drink of wine you took. 'Speaking meeting' would be held, in which certain ones would speak in an unknown tongue. I was a wild boy, and with a spirit of mischief I began to practice in the outlandish jargon, and I soon became an adept at it. It soon became noised about among the saints

That I possessed the Gift,

and not Iong afterward I attended a meeting where Sidney Rigdon was. I was called upon to speak, and I rattled off a string of meaningless sounds which were interpreted in part by Rigdon, who said that my Ianguage arose away above his powers of interpretation. I guess it did, for not a sound I made meant anything." -- And here Mr. Smith gave a specimen of oratory in the "unknown tongue," which was a cross between Choctaw and the classic language of the of greasy vendor of the "sweety banana." Mr. Smith continued: -- "This unknown tongue business is a farce. If they suppose they are endorsed, all right, but I have not the slightest faith in it. Of the people who came to Kirtland soon after the organization of the Mormon Chuch, I have only to say that it was a heterogeneous gathering. There were good people and there were the very worst elements of society. The proclamation was that all who believed in Joe Smith were welcome, and the community-in-common idea was sufficient to draw a class of lazy loafers who benefit any locality by staying away from it. Thieves and other dishonest people came and I could tell you of their acts and depredations if I cared to, but this is past. Dissensions arose in ranks of the church after awhile, and a split occurred. A number followed a leader named Strang. They attempted to form a colony in Michigan, but it was a failure. Then the grand breakup came [a portion of the article appears to me missing at this point]... The surrounding country arrayed itself against the Mormons by reason of this alleged overt act and a removal became necessary. The public is

Familiar With all that Followed.

of the temple, which cost in the aggregate some $10,000, was finally sold to a man named Newell for $150, and every one thought that Mormonism at Kirtland was a thing of the past. Of the present conference I have nothing to say. It is composed of gentlemen and the sessions are conducted with decorum and order. Anything I have said must not be understood as applying to the reorganized church of Latter Day Saints. The late conference was held here just after Genral Garfield was so foully murdered, and one day I was over at Kirtland, where I met Joseph Smith, Jr. We were always friends and I asked why it was that so many of his people were visiting General Garfield's old home. 'Are they Republicans?' I asked. He answered, 'Yes, first, last, and all the time, and they were Abolitionists, too.' I drove him down to see the farm, and we had a delightful visit on the way. I showed him many places which were familiar to his father, whom l remember well. He was a stalwart specimen of manhood, and he prided himself on his great strength. I remember well where the house stood on whichl Joseph Smith, Jr., first saw the light. It was at the foot of the hill north of the temple. The place where the house stood is occupied by a store buildding. Regarding the hard character of some of the first converts who came to Kirtland, I ought to say that nothing better could have been expected. The Apostles invited everybody who believed in the doctrine taught. They cast a net and the 'catch' included many worthless fish. It is always so. The floating 'nothings' of society always come to the surface when such occasions offer. It is their seed time and their harvest." J. H. S.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.               Cleveland,  Monday Morning,  April 18, 1887. - Ten Pages.               No. 108.


Many Vigorous Efforts to Defend its Peculiar Points -- Sunday Services.
Christian Churches Held Responsible for Infidelity -- The Prophecies of the Bible.
The Saints at Kirtland Keeping up the Interest in Spite of Bad Weather.


Special Dispatch to the Leader.
KIRTLAND. O., April 17. -- The sun peeped out a moment this morning from behind the clouds and then disappeared. The wind is blowing cold from the northeast, and the prospect of a large influx of visitors is not encouraging. The saints sit around the hotel fire and talk. They seem especially gifted that way, and their social qualities are remarkable. It was known yesterday afternoon that President Joseph Smith, Jr., would occupy the pulpit of the temple in the evening, and everybody was anxious to hear him and at the same time curious to know the theme of his discourse, for it is only on rare occasions that this gentleman announces his subject in advance, in fact that appears to be a characteristic of the preachers among the Latter Day Saints. I am informed that no time is devoted to the preparation of a sermon, and that reliance is placed on the Master they follow for a fitting theme for discussion. I inquired of one of the delegates who had just delivered an excellent discourse on a few minutes' notice, how it was accomplished, and he replied: "By a constant study of the Bible, which familiarizes me with all its parts, and by an implicit reliance upon the Divine Being, who helps those who ask in faith for a blessing." The faith of these people in a Supreme Being is certainly something remarkable....

After prayer and the singing of the hymn beginning, "The morning breaks, the shadows flee," Mr. Smith said: "The subject that will occupy the hour this afternoon is one of peculiar interest, especially to those who have accepted the Scriptures as of divine origin. While it may be said to be a discussion of the themes of the past, yet we feel that these issues should be revived...

Regarding the Book of Mormon, you can see the Spaulding story in Oberlin, where Professor Fairchild says there is little similarity between the two. Have you the authority to say that God himself cannot speak to the world at any time? If you believe what God has said concerning the promises to man, how can you deny that he can still further prophesy? ..."

A meeting is contemplated in the near future in Cleveland, which will be addressed by President Joseph Smith, Jr. His theme will doubtless be, "The Mormon Monster, Polygamy."     J. H. S.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 40.                 Cleveland,  Tuesday Morning,  April 19, 1887. - Ten Pages.                 No. 109.

James A. Briggs, of Brooklyn, N. Y., well-known as a former Cleveland journalist, writes to the Evening Star in reference to a communication in that paper about the Mormon Bible, published in that paper and telegraphed to the LEADER. The following is the communication of Mr. Briggs: --

The article in the Evening Star of a recent date, referred to by John Irvine, is full of errors. "The Manuscript Found," written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and from which the "Book of Mormon" or "Mormon Bible" was made, is not in the possession of Hiram College. "The Manuscript," found by the late Mr. L. L. Rice at Honolulu among his papers when President Fairchild of Oberlin College was there on a visit, and now in the library of Oberlin College, is not "The Manuscript Found" written by Mr. Spaulding. In a letter to me, written by Mr. Rice, a friend of fifty years, at Honolulu, February 26, 1886, says: "I should as soon think that the book of Revelations was written by the author of Don Quixote as that this manuscript and the book of Mormon were written by the same author. The package containing the manuscript was in my possession from 1839 to 1884 -- forty-five years -- without my having ever examined it.    *    *    *   At President Fairchild's request, I was overhauling my pamphlets and manuscripts to find anti-slavery documents for presentation to the Oberlin library, when, for the first time I examined the package. The words "manuscript found" do not occur on the wrapper, or in the manuscript at all. The wrapper was marked in pencil "manuscript story, -- Conneaut Creek." This manuscript story was printed by the Mormons at Lamoni, Ia., of which I have a copy, and it is no more like the Book of Mormon than it is like Homer's Iliad. Mr. Lewis L. Rice died at Honolulu, April 14, 1886. He was for many years publisher and editor of several papers on the Western Reserve, and when he bought the Painesville Telegraph in 1839, of Mr. E. D. Howe, the manuscript in question came into his possession, among other papers. Of this "manuscript" Mr. Rice in his letter to me wrote: "It is not of much importance except it may be useful to the Mormons to show that it is not the original of the book of Mormon. But that does not prove that some other writing of Spaulding was not used in getting up the Mormon Bible."     Yours truly,
                        JAMES A. BRIGGS.

Note: See also the Cleveland Leader of Jan. 29, 1883 and Oct. 17, 1886


Forty-Fifth Year           Cleveland, Sunday Morning, April 24, 1887.  Sixteen Pages.           Price 5 cents.


A Puritan Minister Partly Responsible for Its Production.

How a Congregational Clergyman in New England Elaborated His
Theories Regarding the Lost Tribes of Israel in a Book Which
was Never Published and Eventually Found Its Way Into the
Hands of Solomon Spaulding -- Rev. Ethan Smith's
Semi-Historical Romance Identified With the
Story as Told in the Book of Mormon.

The recent conference of the Josephites or monogamous Mormons at Kirtland, O., and the extended reports of their proceedings in the PLAIN DEALER has renewed public interest in the peculiar faith to which members of this church subscribe. The origin of the Book of Mormon has never been clearly established. The Latter Day Saints, of course, accept the statements of Joe Smith and believe it to be an inspired work. The general public, however, are hardly as credulous and regard the alleged Bible as a fraud -- the work of some clever romancist rather than the translation of hieroglyphics on golden plates by a nineteenth century prophet. The Spaulding theory, with which everyone at all acquainted with the subject is familiar, has the most advocates. They hold that Spaulding's manuscript of his romance "The Manuscript Found" fell into the hands of Joe Smith, Sidney Rigdon and others and from that fanciful work was constructed the Book of Mormon.

If this theory be true it will astonish orthodox church people to learn that a Congregational divine, one of the foremost of his time in New England, is responsible for the introduction of the "twin relic of barbarism" -- as the Utah church has been called -- in this country. Rev. Ethan Smith, who died at an advanced age in the early "forties," was one of the lights of the Congregational church in New England. A man of deep learning he was at once a preacher, author and philosopher, holding to many ideas far in advance of his time. One of his pet hobbies was the belief that the North American Indians were descended from the lost tribes of Israel, who came over to this continent several hundred years before Christ, built great cities and reached a very high state of civilization.

Rev. Dr. Smith wrote a work on this subject, which after completion, he decided not to publish, fearing that it might injure his reputation as a theological writer. This book was an elaboration of the theory Dr. Smith had so long maintained. Taking as its foundation the migration of the lost tribes of Israel to the western continent, it described the hegira from Palestine, the establishment of the Jews in what is now Central America and Mexico, the founding of a great empire and its gradual decline and fall. It told of magnificent cities inhabited by an enlightened and Christian people. The author claimed for them a civilization equal to that of Egypt or Jerusalem.

Hundreds of years passed and the history of the eastern Jews was repeated on the western continent. Quarrels between the various tribes sprang up, bloody wars were waged and the process of disintegration began. Gradually the people were scattered, their cities destroyed and all semblance to a nation was lost. Thousands perished by pestilence and the sword and the remnants of a once mighty nation relapsed into a state of barbarism. Their descendants, Dr. Smith claimed, were Indians of North America, and the Aztecs of Mexico. This is almost exactly similar to the story told in the Book of Mormon.

Solomon Spaulding was a warm admirer of Dr. Smith and when a young man studied under his tuition. He became interested in his theories regarding the settlement of America, and in return Dr. Smith took the young student into his confidence and granted him a perusal of his unpublished book. Spaulding was deeply impressed with the truth of this theory and pursued his investigations even farther than Dr. Smith had ventured. Taking the latter's views as expressed in his book Spaulding some years later wrote his famous "Manuscript Found," which afterward fell into the hands of Joe Smith and was reconstructed into the Book of Mormon. Indeed, it is not at all unlikely that Dr. Smith's original manuscript, which it is said Spaulding had in his possession, suffered a similar fate. At any rate it has never been seen since.

These facts are told to the PLAIN DEALER by a grandson of Dr. Smith, now residing in this city. He states that the Book of Mormon differs very slightly as far as its general outline is concerned, from the historical romance written by his grandfather sixty or seventy years ago, and he is quite certain that the Mormon faith is founded on the production of that worthy pastor's fertile imagination.

Note 1: Among other newspapers reprinting the above article was the Lamoni, Iowa Saints' Herald of July 30, 1887. See also the same paper on Aug. 2, 1887 for a follow-up piece.

Note 2: Ethan Sanford Smith (1839 - c.1900?) was the son of Carlos Sanford Smith and Susan Saxton. He was also the grandson of Ethan Smith (1762-1849) the noted New England Congregational Minister and author of View of the Hebrews. Ethan Sanford Smith grew up in Summit Co., OH and spent his later years in nearby Cleveland. He is almost certainly the source of the 1887 letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, as mentioned in the article.

Note 3: The above article was written by an anonymous journalist who probably knew little about the Mormons and their unique scriptures. The journalist apparently had only Ethan Sanford Smith's letter to consult for facts and background information relating to the alleged true authorship of the Book of Mormon. It is not surprising that the article writer garbled some of the information provided by Ethan S. Smith; and Smith himself may have not stated clearly some of the details he wished to relate. The article says that "Solomon Spaulding was a warm admirer of Dr. Smith and when a young man, studied under his tuition." This statement gives the impression that Solomon Spalding (1761-1816) was a student of the Rev. Ethan Smith. Such an idea is obviously wrong, since Solomon was older than Ethan and would have had no reason to study "under his tuition." More than likely, the "Dr. Smith" mentioned in the article is Dr. John Smith, a professor who taught at Dartmouth College (and its More Charity School) during the time period when both Ethan Smith (class of 1790) and Solomon Spalding (class of 1785) were students there. For additional speculation regarding the relationship between Ethan Smith and Solomon Spalding see David Persuitte's Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon.

Note 4:  Because of the probable conflation of facts relating to Dr. John Smith and Rev. Ethan Smith in the article, it is not clear whether Ethan S. Smith said that Solomon Spalding received a manuscript book from Dartmouth's Professor Smith, or from the Dartmouth student, and later Clergyman, Smith. However, most of the rest of the information in the article points to Rev. Ethan Smith as being Spalding's friend and fellow-writer of fictional histories of the pre-Columbian Americans. This 1887 article is the earliest known published statement linking Rev. Ethan Smith with the authorship of the Book of Mormon; the general idea of an Ethan Smith connection with the Book of Mormon text was later popularized in the book of I. Woodbridge Riley and Fawn M. Brodie.


Vol. 45.                             Cleveland, Sunday Morning, June 12, 1887.                             No. ?


Something More About Solomon Spaulding's Manuscript Story.

The Case of Spaulding's Manuscript and the Book of Mormon Summarized.

LAMONI, Ia., June 8. -- (Special Correspondence.) -- It may be unnecessary to apologize for placing any further information respecting the Spaulding manuscript story origin of the Book of Mormon before your readers, but as that remarkable story has been endowed with so great tenacity of life (or lives, for its name is legion), it is almost indispensible that the public should be in possession of all -- the whole variety of stories, from the one told by Dr. Philastus Hurlbut at the beginning to the latest from the PLAIN DEALER -- that the objector to the Book of Mormon may select which of them he chooses to rest his objection upon, and thus leave the rest free to be used in rebuttal.

There seems to have been a Smith in the original tale at least, the Rev. Ethan Smith, "who died at an advanced age in the early forties," and was "one of the lights of the Congregational church in New England." There is a show of fitness in this; for, as the "Andover heresy" that there is a probation after death for those who learn not the Lord's will while on earth, is making lodgment in that same Congregational fold, it would be hedging to some advantage to discover that Joseph Smith or Sidney Rigdon was indebted to the Rev. Dr. Smith, a Congregationalist, for the tenet taught by them upon their projecting the Book of Mormon upon the world. It must be so, for Dr. Smith's grandson told the PLAIN DEALER so; and he is "quite certain" that the Mormon faith is founded upon the production of his grandfather's "fertile imagination." It strikes me that the "fertile imagination" is "sixty or seventy years" this side of his grandfather's brain.

The following ought to be remembered by those who write upon the Spaulding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon:

1. That the first knowledge the world has that Solomon Spaulding wrote any manuscript of the character alleged -- a historical romance concerning the origin of the American Indians is the statement of Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, at one time a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, and who was dismissed from said church for gross immorality.

2. That no manuscript was produced as the one claimed to have been written by Mr. Spaulding, that a comparison of the Book of Mormon with it might be made.

3.That without attempting to show where the manuscript story from which it was alleged the Book of Mormon was plagiarized was at the time Mr. Hurlbut wrote his work, the statement of persons who said that they had heard some of Mr. Spaulding's stories read are introduced, alleging a remembrance of a similarity in names, etc.; and this was done after a lapse of over twenty years after such reading is said to have taken place.

4. That Sidney Rigdon was claimed to have been the originator of the fraud, Joseph Smith the tool used by him to make it a success.

5. That no connection or collusion between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon is shown until after the Book of Mormon was printed.

6. That the statements of Mrs. Davison, the wife and widow, and Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter of Solomon Spaulding show that the manuscript of the story, "Manuscript Found," was in the actual or constructive possession of Mr. Spaulding or his legal representatives, from the time it was written until 1834, being at no time out of the actual possession more than two months, and then at Pittsburg, and this is a supposition only.

7. That the manuscript was sent by Mrs. Davison to Mr. Jerome Clark, Monson [sic - Hartwick?], Mass., for safe keeping from her possession at the house of her brother, Mr. Sabine, about the time of her marriage to Mr. Davison; Mrs. McKinstry stating positively, that the said manuscript was in the trunk in which it had always been kept, and was sent to Mr. Clark in that identical trunk.

8. That Mr. Hurlbut went with Mr. Sabine, a relative of Mrs. Spaulding Davison, authorized by an order to Mr. Jerome Clark from Mrs. Davison to deliver the manuscript to Mr. Hurlbut; and that Mr. Clark did deliver to Mr. Hurlbut the only manuscript found in the trunk.

9. That Mr. Hurlbut turned this manuscript over to Mr. E. D. Howe of Painesville, O.

10. That Mr. E. D. Howe sold a printing office and material, including a lot of manuscripts of various descriptions, to Mr. L. L. Rice, a printer, formerly of Ravenna and Columbus, O., afterwards of Honolulu, Hawaii.

11. That Mr. L. L. Rice found among his miscellaneous lot of writings, pamphlets, articles, etc., purchased of Mr. E. D. Howe, a manuscript which was certified to as being such by three men whose names -- Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith and John N. Miller -- figure in Mr. E. D. Howe's "Expose of Mormonism," attached to affidavits affirming what they had heard read from a manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding, and this further certified to by the signature of D. P. Hurlbut himself. The certificate is in the following language: "The writings of Solomon Spaulding proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others. The Testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession. D. P. Hurlbut."

12. That this manuscript was given by Mr. L. L. Rice to President James H. Fairchild of Oberlin, O., in the original wrapper in which it came into his possession when purchased of E. D. Howe in 1839-40, and this wrapper bore the indorsement "Manuscript Story, Conneaut Creek," and was by him placed in the archives of the Oberlin college in 1885, where it now remains.

13. That a copy of it was procured by consent of President Fairchild by Elder E. L. Kelley of Kirtland, O., and was published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Lamoni, Ia., and is now on sale by them at their place of business in said town.

14. That D. P. Hurlbut nor E. D. Howe ever returned the manuscript obtained from Jerome Clark by Hurlbut to Mrs. Davison, Mr. Spaulding's widow, or to Mrs. McKinstry, his daughter, though the return of it was frequently asked for of Dr. Hurlbut, even as late as 1844.

15. That no proof has ever been presented to show that the manuscript, or any manuscript by Rev. Solomon Spaulding was ever in the hands of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon or any other Mormon or Latter Day Saint, and the statement that such manuscript was ever had in possession by the men named or of any person in their behalf rests solely upon conjecture, supposition and presumption by those inimical to the Latter Day Saints.

16. That there is not a particle of evidence to prove that the Mormons or anyone in their behalf ever bought or offered to buy of D. P. Hurlbut, E. D. Howe or any other person, dead or living, the "Manuscript Found," "Manuscript Story," or any other manuscript story, or writing of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, at any time, or in any place, or for any sum whatever.

17. That there are good and valid reasons for believing that the "Manuscript Story" found by L. L. Rice of Honolulu, Hawaii, among the papers and other properties purchased by him of E. D. Howe of Painesville, O., is the identical "Manuscript Found," so long and so persistently claimed by pulpit and press as being the origin of the Book of Mormon, under the skillful management of Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith. And that such manuscript was not and could not have been used by either of those men as such origin; Mr. Rice being correct when he states, "I should as soon think the Book of Revelation was written by the author of Don Quixote as that the writer of this manuscript was the author of the Book of Mormon."

Error may have many a rood the start of slow-footed truth, but the latter marches steadily, all times and seasons are hers, and all lands her home; she will in due course overtake her nimble predecessor, and when she does, exposure is sure and complete. The truth of Mormonism has waited long for vindication against this Spaulding error, and it is within the pales of the law of compensation that such vindication should come in the regions whence the falsehood had birth, and from evidences found almost in the hands of the men who first traduced such truth. J. S.

Note: In presenting his case, the RLDS President apparently forgot to address the issues raised by Ethan Smith's grandson. Certainly it would have been a reasonable choice to at least contact the grandson and solicit some clarifications of his assertions. But no: the RLDS leaders were not interested in that sort of logical investigation, when they had journalistic rhetoric available. Although this was the beginning of discussion of the "Ethan Smith theory for Book of Mormon origins," the actual initial rebuttal came from a Strangite, in the Saints' Herald of Aug. 2, 1887.


Vol. 45.                             Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, June 19, 1887.                             No. ?


Sidney Rigdon Could Not Have Been Its Author,

Because it was Written Before Rigdon Knew Anything About the
Mormons. -- The Advance Sheets of the Book Brought to Rigdon's
House by Two Mormon Missionaries.


The intelligent communication of "J. S." in last Sunday's Plain Dealer seems intended to state the truth on a subject that even intelligent and fair men have treated unfairly. The Mormons will never be changed by repeating ridiculous falsehoods about them. My wife was born within eight miles of Conneaut, well acquainted with Aaron Wright and all the witnesses to the Solomon Spaulding manucript story. To her and to the Hon. E. B. Woodbury, who knew all the parties, it seemed incredible that anyone could be misled by it. In 1876 Professor A. S. Hayden, the president of Hyram institute, now college, published a history of the rise or the disciples on the Western Reserve. On page 209 he gives the advent of Mormonism and says:

"This was in the fall of 1830. Before the first emissaries of the Mormon prophet came to Mentor, Parley P. Pratt, a young preacher of some promise from Lorain county, a disciple of the nonsectarian society under Rigdon's influence, passing through Palmyra, N. Y., the prophet's home, turned aside to see this great sight. He became an easy convert. Immediately an embassy was prepared composed of this same P. P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and two others. The next scene opens in Mentor. About the middle of November (note the date) there came two footmen with carpetbags filled with the Book of Mormon and stopped at Rigdon's. What passed that night between him and these young prophets no one can now reveal, but interpreting events came rapidly on. Next morning while Judge Clapp's family were at breakfast, in came Rigdon, who in an excited manner said: 'Two men came to my house last night on a curious mission.'"

This was the first time Rigdon ever saw any of the Mormon emissaries and they brought carpetbags filled with the Book of Mormon, which had been printed at Palmyra, N. Y., early in the previous summer. Rigdon had not yet seen Joe Smith, much less planned the Book of Mormon, which had been already printed and was brought to Rigdon. Professor Hayden says that about three weeks after Rigdon's adoption of the delusion he went to Palmyra, to see Smith. This was about December, 15, 1830, and the first time Rigdon ever saw Smith. The professor gives accounts of the falling into trances of converts and of their remaining unconscious for a time, similar to what was common fifty years ago among the Methodists and was called "the power" and supposed to be the holy spirit. On page 250 he gives an account of the healing of Mrs. Johnson's lame arm. The cure, he says, was well attested, and he could not explain it. The compsany was awe stricken at the infinite presumption of Smith, who said: "Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to be whole." At that time clairvoyance, Spiritualism and the many laws governing healing were unknown. Christian Science had not been thought of. All unusual events were ascribed to a special gIft of God. From the Davids to the Mormons the priests who live by religion have surrounded these divine laws of the spirit by mystery and called them miracles. G. F. LEWIS.

Note: See notes appended to the Cleveland Leader article of Sept. 15, 1876 for information regarding Gleason Fillmore Lewis, Sr. and his newspaper correspondence.


Vol. ?                             Cleveland, Sunday Morning, February 5, 1888.                             No. ?


David Whitmer and the Early Days of Mormonism.

The Last Survivor of the Three Witnesses Who Saw the Golden Plates
That Joe Smith Found and Testified to Their Miraculous Discovery
-- His Account of the Early Movements of Mormonism.

The recent death of David Whitmer, the last survivor of the "three witnesses," who testified to the truth of the book of Mormon, and to the alleged miraculous finding of the golden plates by Joseph Smith and their translation by him, revives speculation as to the origin of what most people agree to call a great delusion. And yet the fact must be faced that David Whitmer, who died the other say in Richmond, Mo., was not and had not been for years in the Mormon church as it exists in Utah;was not in accord with it, cordially hated it, was respected and honored by his neighbors as an honest, upright, intelligent and pious man, and died avowing with his last breath his belief that the book of Mormon was a revelation from God and that the story of the golden plates was true. A copy of the Richmond Democrat of Thursday, January 26, contains an account of the life and death of this man whose intimate connection with the early movements of Mormonism and the genesis of that faith give more than ordinary interest to the testimony he bears in regard to it. he was born in Harrisburg, Pa., January 7, 1805, and was in his 83d year when he died.


He possessed a remarkably robust constitution which, added to his habit of activity and temperate living, prolonged his life beyond four score. He lived in Richmond about half a century, and we can say that no man ever lived here, who had among our people, more friends and fewer enemies. Honest, conscientious and upright in all his dealings, just in his estimate of men, and open, manly and frank in his treatment of all, he made lasting friends who loved him to the end.

When a youth he moved to Ontario county, N. Y. He was married to Julia Ann Jolly, on January 9, 1831, in Seneca county, N. Y. In 1832 he moved from that place, to Kirtland, O. In 1834 he went to Jackson county, Mo., and in 1837 moved to Far West, Caldwell county, Mo., and from there to Richmond in 1838, where he resided to the day of his death. He leaves a wife and two children, two grandchildren, and several great grandchildren.

The peculiar interest, however, that attaches to the man consists in the fact that he was one of the "three witnesses" who claim to have seen the plates of gold from which Joseph Smith is said to have translated the book of Mormon through miraculous agency.

The other two were Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery, both of whom died before Whitmer did and who also declared to their dying day that their testimony in regard to that alleged miraculous performance was strictly true. Most people know that Joe Smith asserted that he was led by a vision to dig in a hill near Palmyra, N. Y., the Hill Cummorah, and having so discovered some golden plates inscribed with strange characters and that afterwards by means of a miraculous pair of spectacles called the Urim and Thummim, and still later by means of a clear stone or crystal he was enabled to translate the hieroglyphics into English. The result was the "record of the Nephites," otherwise known as the book of Mormon or Mormon bible. Whitmer, Harris and Cowdery in a statement signed by them and usually bound up in the Mormon bibles testify that they saw the plates of gold; that they also saw an angel come down from heaven and that they saw Joe Smith translate the writing on the plates and aided in the work....

The Richmond paper gives this account of the matter as obtained from David Whitmer, the last survivor of the "three witnesses," over the reported discovery by Joseph Smith of the gold plates from which the book of Mormon was translated. Oliver Cowdery, the village school teacher, mentioned the matter to him and announced his determination to visit Smith and investigate the matter for himself, promising Mr. Whitmer, at the latter's request, to advise him of the result. A few days later he received a letter from Cowdery, urging him to join him, which he did, being received by the "prophet" with open arms. After remaining long enough to satisfy himself of


the three returned to Whitmer's home, where it was agreed that the work of translation should be prosecuted.

Shortly after his return, and while he was plowing in the field one afternoon, he was visited by Smith and Cowdery, who requested that he should accompany them into the woods on a hill across the road for the purpose of witnessing a manifestation that should qualify he and Cowdery to bear witness to the divine authenticity of the book of Mormon, Smith explaining that such procedure was in accordance with explicit instructions he had received from


Repairing to the woods they engaged in prayer for a short time, when suddenly a great light shone round about them far brighter and more dazzling than the brilliancy of the noon day sun, seemingly enveloping the wood for a considerable distance. A spirit of elevation seized him as of joy indescribable and a strange influence stole over him which so entranced him that he felt that he was chained to the spot. A moment later and a divine personage clothed in white raiment appeared unto them, and immediately in front of the personage stood a table on which lay a number of gold plates, some brass plates, the "Urim and Thummim" and the "sword of Laban." All of these they were directed to examine carefully and after their examination they were told that the Lord would demand that


to all the world. These plates were engraved with characters termed in the book of Mormon "reformed Egyptian," characters unknown to the linguists of the present day, which is claimed as a fulfilment ofthe prophecy of Isaiah:

"And the word of the Lord has become unto them as the leaves of a book which are sealed, and which is delivered unto him that is learned, saying: Read this, I pray thee, and he sayeth, I cannot, for it is sealed," etc.

A slip of paper containing a fac simile of these characters, traced by Joseph Smith, was submitted to the celebrated Professor Anton and others and all confessed their inability to translate them, recognizing in them characteristics of several ancient alphabets. This slip is still in Mr. Whitmer's possession and is cherished with the same sacred care that he bestows on the original manuscript ofthe Book of Mormon, which he also retained.

All of this is sufficiently curious, but the local writer goes on to say that Whitmer narrated this story with such earnestness and candor that none who heard him ever had any doubt that he firmly believed it, and that in telling of the


he narrated what he honestly believed to be true. As Cowdery and Harris -- both of whom, like Whitmer, withdrew from the Mormon church -- also remained firm in their belief as to the reality of this angelic vision down to the last hour of their lives it is a matter of curious speculation how Smith deceived them, if he did deceive them, and if he not, what it was that the three witnesses saw. As for the matter of the Urim and Thummim, or the Spectacles Smith used in translating, this account is given.


When one hundred and sixteen pages were completed, Smith intrusted them to Martin Harris, to take to his home with a view to convert his family to the new faith. They were placed at night in a bureau drawer and next morning were missing, having been stolen. They were never found and never replaced, so that the Book of Mormon today is short that number of pages of the original matter. As a


The urim and thummim was taken from Smith. But by humbling himself, he again found favor with the Lord and was presented with a strange oval-shaped, chocolate colored stone, about the size of an egg but more flat, which it was promised should answer the same purpose. With this stone all the present book was translated. The prophet would place the stone in a hat, then put his face in the hat and read the words that appeared thereon. This stone is the only relic of the prophet's work in existence which is not in possession of Mr. Whitmer. It was confided to Oliver Cowdery and preserved by him until his death in 1852 [sic]. After that event Phineas Young succeeded in getting it from Cowdery's widow, and it is now among the sacred relics preserved at Salt Lake City.

It is related in the account of the local writer that Whitmer persisted in declaring all through his last illness and to his latest breath that the story of the three witnesses was true, and there can be no reasonable doubt that he firmly believed in its truth.


On Sunday evening at 5:30, January 22, 1888, Mr. Whitmer called his family and some friends to his bedside and addressing himself to the attending physician, said: "Dr. Buchanan I want you to say whether or not I am in my right mind, before I give my dying testimony."

The doctor answered: "Yes you are in your right mind, for I have just had a conversation with you."

He then addressed himself to all around his bedside, in these words: "Now you must be faithful in Christ. I want to say to you all the Bible and the record of the Nephites, (book of Mormon) is true, so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony on my deathbed. All be faithful in Christ and your reward will be according to your works. God bless you all. My trust is in Christ forever, world without end. Amen."

Upon one occasion, after awakening from a short slumber, he said he had seen beyond the veil and saw Christ on the other side. His friends who were constantly at his bedside claim that he had many manifestations of the truth of the great beyond, and which confirms their faith beyond all shadow of doubt.

Just before the breath left the body, he opened his eyes which glistened with the brightness of his early manhood. He then turned them toward heaven, and a wonderful light came over his countenance, which remained several moments, when the eyes gradually closed and David Whitmer was gone to his rest.


All this is curious and shows what consolation there is in a religion faithfully lived up to when the final summons comes, even though it be in some sense at least, a delusion.
A pamphlet issued by Whitmer last spring is in possession of this writer, in which much quaint and curious information is given about the early days of Mormonism and in which the religious views of Whitmer as distinguished from those of the Salt Lake Mormons are strongly set forth.

"We believe," he says in the beginning of his pamphlet, in the


as it is taught in the New Testament and the Book of Mormon, the same gospel being taught in both these books. The Bible being the sacred record of the Jews, who inhabited the eastern continent; the book of Mormon being the sacred record of the Nephites (descendants of Joseph, the son of Jacob), who inhabited the western continent, or this land of America. The Indians are the remnants of that people who drifted into unbelief and darkness about 350 years after Christ appeared to them and established his church among them."

He proceeds at length to explain how the Mormon doctrine was originally pure, but was perverted in later days when Joseph Smith was misled by lying spirits. He says that it having been recorded in the encyclopedia Britannica that he had denied his testimony as one of the three witnesses as to the divinity of the book of Mormon and that Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris also denied, he makes this statement:

I, David Whitmer * * * [say once more to all mankind], that I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof. I also testify to the world, that neither Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris ever at any time denied their testimony. * * * I was present at the death bed of Oliver Cowdery, and his last words were, Brother David, be true to your testimony to the Book of Mormon."

Whitmer gives some attention to the theory that the manuscript story of Solomon Spaulding was the original of the Mormon bible. he says in regard to that:


Besides other false statements that are in the two encyclopedias above mentioned is the old story of the Spaulding manuscript. That is that one Solomon Spaulding, who died in Amity, Pa., in 1816, had written a romance, the scene of which was among the ancient Indians who lived in this country. That Spaulding died before he published his romance, and that Sydney Rigdon got hold of the manuscript in a printing office and copied it, that subsequently the manuscript was returned to Solomon Spaulding; that thirteen years after the death of Spaulding, in 1829, Rigdon became associated with Joseph Smith, who read the Spaulding manuscript from behind a blanket to Oliver Cowdery, his amanuensis, who wrote it down. Hence the origin of the book of Mormon. This is what is claimed by the enemies of the book: Satan had to concoct some plan to account for the origin of that book. I will say that all who desire to investigate the Spaulding manuscript story will not be obliged to go very far before they will see the entire falsity of that claim. I testify to the world that I am an eye-witness to the translation of the greater part of the Book of Mormon. Part of it was translated in my father's house in Fayette, Seneca County, N.Y. Farther on I give a description of the manner in which the book was translated.

When the Spaulding story was made known to believers in the book they called for the Spaulding manuscript, but it could not be found, but recently, thanks to the Lord, the original manuscript has been found and identified. It has been placed in the library of Oberlin college, Oberlin, O., for public inspection. All who have doubts about it being the original Spaulding manuscript, can satisfy themselves by visiting Oberlin and examining the proofs. The manuscript is in the hands of those who are not believers in the Book of Mormon. They have kindly allowed the believers in the book to publish a copy of the manuscript, with the proofs that it is the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding. There is no similarity whatever between it and the book of Mormon. Any one who investigates this question will see that the Spaulding manuscript story is a fabrication concocted by the enemies of the book of Mormon, in order to account for the origin of that book. Neither Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris or myself ever met Sydney Rigdon until after the book of Mormon was in print. I know this of my own personal knowledge, being with Joseph Smith, in Seneca County, N. Y., in the winter of 1830, when Sydney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came from Kirtland, O., to see Joseph Smith, and where Rigdon and Partridge saw Joseph Smith for the first time in their lives.

The Spaulding manuscript story is a myth; there being no direct testimony on record in regard to Rigdon's connection with the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding.

I have in my possession the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery and others, also the original paper containing some of the characters transcribed from one of the golden plates, which paper Martin Harris took to Professor Anthon, of New York, for him to read "the words of a book that is sealed:" but the learned professor, although a great linguist could not read the language of the Nephites.

In June, 1825 [sic -1829], the book of Mormon was finished, after which time Whitmer thinks Joseph Smith was not so much guided by the spirit of God as by Satan. The subsequent "revelations" of the prophet he takes but little stock in, although some of them he thought would pass muster, and he had occasionally some revelations of his own. As long as Brother Joseph had the stone to put in his hat the visions were reliable, but when he didn't have it they were doubtful to say the least. But even the miraculous stone did not always work.

"At times," he quaintly says, "At times when Brother Joseph would attempt to translate, he would look into the hat in which the stone was placed, and find he was spiritually blind and could not translate. He told us that his mind dwelt too much on earthly things and various causes would make him incapable of proceeding with the translation. When in this condition he would go out and pray, and when he became sufficiently humble before God, he could then proceed with the translation. Now we see how very strict the Lord is."


One very curious incident of Satan's malevolent interference with Brother Joseph's revelations is given. It appears that when the bible was all transcribed from the plates, they had no money to get it printed.

The prophet suggested to Martin Harris to sell his farm to raise money. Martin did not like this, although he did not refuse, and was so slow about it that Brother Hyrum Smith was vexed with Brother Martin and thought that the money should be raised in some other way. So Brother Joseph got the stone, and putting it in his hat proceeded to have a revelation to the effect that if Hyrum Page and Oliver Cowdery should go to Toronto they would be able to sell the copyright and get money that way. This commandment Brother Joseph said was from the Lord. Hyrum Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto accordingly, but failed to get any money there and came back sore troubled. We asked Brother Joseph," Mr. Whitmer explains, "how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord that turned out so badly and why the brethren had failed in their undertaking? Joseph did not know how it was, so he inquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: 'Some revelations are of God; some revelations are of man; and some revelations are of the devil.' So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of God, but of the devil or the heart of man." This convenient explanation seems to have satisfied everybody and Martin Harris succeeded in raising the money on his farm. Whitmer enlarges on this occurrence and shows from it that the cause of the subsequent degeneracy of the church was the mixing up of


revelations by Brother Joseph. Early in 1830, he says the book of Mormon was finished and Joseph gave the wonderful stone to Oliver Cowdery, saying that he would need it no more; that thereafter Joseph was to be the "mouthpiece of the Lord" and would speak revelations. However, it seems that Satan also used Brother Joseph as a "mouthpiece" and hence came a variety of "revelations" that Whitmer sets down as abominable and contrary to the pure doctrine as translated from the golden plates. That accounts, he thinks, for the polygamous practices of the Utah Mormons and other evil ways into which the church subsequently fell.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XI.                     Canton, Ohio, Wednesday, June 21, 1888.                     No. ?



James Strang as a Methodist -- Turns Mormon -- Rivals Brigham Young --
Defeated, He Leads Off a Faction -- Founds St. James on Beaver Island.

(Special Correspondence.)

Milwaukee, Wis. June 18.      
The story of the rise and fall of a little Mormon kingdom on an isolated island in Lake Michigan is one of the most problematic in the picturesque history of the northwest. The other day I was shown a well preserved bible, which was presented to Capt. R.P. Fitzgerald, of Milwaukee, by James Strang, the head of the colony when in the very height of power.

Strang called himself King James I, of Beaver Island, and his church and colony were founded on "laws dug out of the earth." He claimed that in the presence of three witnesses he found in an earthen vessel, many feet below the surface, three brass plates on which the Mormon laws were written. These were discovered on the banks of the White river in Walworth county, Wis., Sept. 14, 1845. These were called the Voree plates, and the accompanying illustration is a facsimile of both sides of the three plates.

His first appearance hereabout was in the role of a local Methodist minister. He was next heard of among the Mormons at Nauvoo. After Jose Smith's death he appeared as a prominent candidate for the Mormon presidency.

His defeat led to a falling out with Young, and Strang with his followers came north, locating near Kanosha. He was not long in discovering that he was in an extremely unhealthful climate for Latter Day Saints, and soon began looking about for a more secure abiding place.

Upon the mouth of the straits just where the waters of Lake Michigan are compressed into the narrow channel that conducts them into Lakr Huron is an archipelago of nine islands, ranging in size from thirty miles square down to a few acres. The names bear a strong local flavor: Beaver, Garden, Front, Gull, Whisky, Squaw, Hat, Hog and High. The largest, Beaver, has a length of twelve miles and an average width of three, and gives its name to the group. The soil is sandy and sterile, and a more unpropitious place for settlement could hardly be conceived. At that time, 1850, it was occupied only by a few fishermen.

The prophet had a dispensation bidding the saints gather up their goods preparatory to a flight into the wilderness, where they were to found a state in which they could practice their creed undisturbed. So Strang and his followers sailed for Beaver Island. The hardships they had experienced they inflicted on the unfortunate fishermen, who were bundled into their boats and put off without compensation. Strang renamed the island St. James. He at once set his followers at work on the foundations of a capital for the colony, which was to be known as the City of St. James. It was located at the north end of the island, where a small bay formed a natural harbor, and where the government had built a lighthouse. In a short time quite a town was created. The principal buildings were the temple, a large one story building, and a substantial log palace for the prophet, who assumed the title of king. Here Strang lived with his three wives. Here also was the prison where Strang used to confine his rebellious subjects as well as his enemies. Here the prophet performed the duties of both judge and executioner.

The Mormons but dint of hard labor made quite productive farms of the sterile soil, but their principal occupation was fishing and "spoiling the Egyptians," or piracy in the terse Anglo-Saxon of the old settlers. Soon King Strang started out missionaries, and the community increased until the estimated Mormon population of Beaver and adjoining islands over which they spread was nearly two thousand. They soon became very arrogant, and fights with their neighbors were frequent.

With or wuthout the consent of the state authorities of Michigan, Strang organized the county of St. James, taking in a portion of the main land opposite. He was elected sheriff and the other county officials were his creatures. These and other irregular proceedings were winked at for a time, and the Mormon leader even went so far as to take his seat in the Michigan legislature as the member from his district, silencing objections by arraying himself on the side of the majority.

With the growth of the Mormon colony the brutalities of Strang's followers increased -- murder being added to their other crimes. Frequently persons obnoxious to Strang were summoned to sit on a grand jury at St. James. The selected victim generally made great haste to leave the country. This was all the Mormons wanted. A warrant was issued against him in due form and placed in the hands of Mormon deputies for service. If the victim was caught he had short shrift. Occasionally the deputies shot their victims without ceremony when found. Two fishermen named Sullivan were known to have been disposed of in this manner.

When the Mormon fishermen visited their nets they made it a point to rob any others that might be set in the vicinity. The fish were always stolen and generally the nets. In time St. James Island came to be a refuge for all sorts of rascals, who could there dispose of their plunder.

A Kentuckian making a midsummer trip up the lakes was one day leaning over the guards of the propeller as she laid moored to the dock. A team came up with a load of wood. Both horses were recognized by the Kentuckian as having been stolen from him a year before. "Those two horses belong to me," he said to an officer standing beside him. "For God's sake, don't say so on shore," was the reply. The horsemen had no intention of placing his head in a lion's mouth, and wisely kept silent.

The first attempt to arrest the Mormon prophet failed. Strang received notification, and when the government cruiser arrived at St. James he was floating in a small boat out in the fog. There he remained some days, sleeping at nights in remote parts of the island until the cruiser departed. The second attempt was more successful. Strang was arrested and taken to Detroit, but was acquitted. These incidents only served to advertise the colony, and draw to him many sentimentalists, especially women, among the latter being a lady of good family, high breeding and great intellectual attainments. An attempt was made to show she had been abducted by Strang's followers, but she went on the witness stand and testified in Strang's behalf. Her testimony, beauty and elegance secured the release of her adored prophet.

At this time he was on the shady side of 40, of medium height, thin and wiry and very dark, and his spare face was framed with a heavy beard which he wore long, giving him a patriarchal appearance. His upper lip was always kept clean shaven, which gave his sensual mouth undue prominence.

Very few fishermen got out of Strang's clutches whole in body, to say nothing of belongings, after war was declared, and a Mormon boat was their greatest terror. Among the ones who escaped alive from the Mormon king is James M______, an old fisherman, still living on the Beaver. He says:
"It was early in the spring of 1855, as near as I can recollect, when my partner and I started from Mackinac for Gull Island with $700 worth of supplies. It was storming when we started and we were glad enough to make the shank (local jargon for Wangoshance light) that night. We started early the next morning, but lost our course in the fog. After boating about all day we made Beaver Island. Hardly had we landed before we were surrounded by Mormons who made us walk up the beach. In a short time King Strang came down, issued a few orders, and twelve men separated from the rest. Six if them began to examine their guns in a manner that sent the cold chills galloping down my back. They had been appointed to kill us. The others were to bury us. Then Strang placed a double barreled shot gun to my breast, asked me more questions in regard to our intentions, issued new orders which proved to be to clear away the boat, remove all the sails and oars and cast us adrift. We did not wait for the expiration of the ten minutes which we were allowed to get away in. Luckily for us one of the crowd, more humane than the rest, had secretly thrown in some oars; but the boat was aground on a rock and we couldn't budge it. I then went back to the group and asked some of them to help us. One whispered in my ear to get away as soon as possible. There was no use, besides a storm had come up and I didn't believe any boat could live in the sea. I went to Strang and begged to be allowed to stay. He told me coldly that unless we went we would be in hell before daylight. On this we thought we might as well be drowned as shot and managed to get off. It was intensely cold and we were obliged to run for Mackinac, nearly forty miles away. Our chances were very slight and our sufferings were intense, but thanks to good constitutions we both recovered from the effects of the exposure, and had a pleasant year of later taking part in the banishment of the Mormons from the island."

Before this the Mormons and fishermen, who had banded together, had met in more than one pitched battle. One of the fuercest followed the departure of an expedition from King Strang's stronghold for the mainland. An alarm was at once given by the fishermen's patrol and chase was given. When the Mormons landed the parties met and the fishermen fired a volley that made the Mormons scurry back to their boats with a few wounded. As soon as the Mormons were clear of land they laid their course for the Beaver, twenty miles away. Close after followed the fisher boats. The wind almost died away, and a running fire was kept up all the time. Although the range was long, a number of Mormons were wounded. This left them short handed and their complete destruction seemed to be inevitable, when the bark Morgan, Capt. Stone, hove in sight. The Mormons headed for her and reached the bark in time to allow their occupants to clamber on board before the infuriated fishermen could come up. Once on deck they were safe and the pursuers gave up the chase. The Mormons were taken by Capt. Stone near the Beavers and cast adrift in their boats.

The worst blot on the page of the Mormon history of occupation was the murder of the entire crew of the brig Robert Willis, which disappeared in 1853. The last person to see the brig was Capt. John B. Merrill, of the city, who at the time was on Skillagalee (sailor for Aux Galets) Island, engaged in a wrecking expedition to the schooner Sovereign of the Seas. It was Thanksgiving afternoon, and a heavy snow storm was in progress. Stifled by the fetid atmosphere inside the lighthouse, the only building on the island, Mr. Merrill stepped outside. The island is barely an acre in extent, and as he closed the door almost on top of him he saw the cutwater of a brig which he recognized as the Willis. The storm had parted for an instant, leaving a patch of clear sky. The crew of the Willis seemed to ight the island at the same instant, and the brig at once went about on another tack and was lost to sight in the storm. That was the last ever seen of her or her crew. The brig was loaded with flour, pork, and provisions. Immediately after her disappearance Beaver Islanders were found to be well supplied with these articles. The report spread that the Willis had gone ashore on the Beaver and such of her crew as were not drowned were put out of the way by the Mormons. A short time ago, in a little hollow in the sandy beach at the north end of the island, seven bleached and moldy skeletons were discovered. Among the island residents it was an accepted belief that the seven skeletons were all that remained of the crew of the brig Willis. They were reverently removed and carefully interred in the little village cemetary.

This supposed crime, with constantly increasing depredations, so fanned the indignation against Strang and his followers that finally an organized effort was made to drive them off the island. The United States authorities took a hand, and the steamer Michigan was ordered to the island. About this time, too, Strang's tyranny aroused rebellion on the island. As his power increased the Mormon leader did not hesitate to select for his wives the fairest of the new arrivals, and the sealing process was at times very loosely performed. Through and by this he fell.

The fishermen arranged to move on the island when the Michigan should arrive. Coincident with this Strang became involved in a row with a young Mormon whose wife he had appropriated without ceremony. Bent on revenge, the wronged husband joined hands with the fishermen. Suddenly, one morning after the arrival of the Michigan, a force of fifty fishermen, armed with muskets and shotguns, made a descent on the island. There was little resistence made by the surprised Mormons. Strang was shot on the wood dock as he was about boarding the Michigan, by the husband whose wife he had stolen. With him fell Mormon power on Beaver Island. It was, with the exception of strang's case, a bloodless conquest. It was said afterwards that so demoralized were the Mormons that ten resolute men could have taken the island. Their unexpected success so stunned the victors that in turn there was very little display of lawlessness.

Terrified and thoroughly cowed, most of the Mormons hastily prepared for another exodus. Strang was carried to his house. His wounds were believed to be fatal. Still, in spite of the pain he was suffering, the Mormon king calmly directed his followers in their preparations for flight.

The most of them left on the propeller Sem and others on the Pittsburg, the next boat to arrive. Strang was taken to Kenosha, Wis., where he died and where his bones still rest. Those of his followers who still clung to the Mormon faith found their way to Salt Lake City. Many fell by the wayside and became farmers here and there throughout the west. Others continued to live on the island and are there yet. The invaders preempted the farms of the late owners and gradually King James and his colony were forgotten. And this tells the story of the rise and fall of the little kingdom.
                      George H. Yenowine.

Note: The original appearance of this article remains undetermined. Possibly it was first published in a mid-June issue of the Milwaukee Sentinel.


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  May 30, 1890.                               No. ?

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  July 11, 1890.                               No. ?

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  July 25, 1890.                               No. ?

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  August 1, 1890.                               No. ?

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

My recollections of Kirtland would not be complete without mentioning a few of the followers of Joseph Smith. -- Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, witnesses to the Mormon book, or rather, testified that they saw and "hefted" the plates from which the book was transcribed. I believe they all admitted that the plates were covered with a cloth, and they only saw them by the eye of faith. I do not recollect of ever seeing Whitmer, but believe that both he and Cowdery left Kirtland before the camp left, and did not follow Smith to Nauvoo or Missouri. Martin Harris remained in Kirtland twenty-five or thirty years after the Mormons left. His mind, always unbalanced on the subject of Mormonism, had become so demented that he thought himself a bigger man than Smith, or even Christ, and believed that most of the prophecies in the Old Testament referred directly to him. One day, when working for me, he handed me a leaflet that he had got printed, taken from some of the prophets, telling of a wonderful person that should appear and draw all men after him. I looked it over and returned it to him. He said, who do you think it refers to? I said, why, of course, it refers to you. He looked very much pleased, and said, I see you understand the scriptures. In 1867 or 1868, while acting as township trustee, complaint was made to me that Martin Harris was destitute of a home, poorly clothed, feeble, burdensome to friends, and that he ought to he taken to the poor-house. I went down to the flats to investigate, and found him at a house near the Temple, with a family lately moved in, strangers to me. He seemed to dread the poor-house very much. The lady of the house said she would take care of him while their means lasted -- and I was quite willing to postpone the unpleasant task of taking him to the poor-house. Everybody felt sympathy for him. He was willing to work and make himself useful as far as his age and debility would admit of. Soon after that he was sent for and taken to Salt Lake, which was the only act of sympathy I ever knew of the Mormons bestowing on any of their dupes who had been ruined by them.

One day I met John Tanner coming out of the bank. I saw that he was feeling bad, and spoke to him rather sympathizingly. He said he wanted to tell me how he had been used. We stepped to one side and he said that he had put all his money into the bank, and now, when he wanted to draw a few dollars to support his family, they refused to let him have a dollar, and abused and threatened and insulted him for asking. Subsequently he had some articles of property which he took into Portage county and traded for cheese; this he brought to Kirtland and traded for other provisions. This was violating Mormon rules -- that all marketing should be done through the market-master. He was brought up before the church. I happened down there and went into the Temple to hear the trial. The market-master stated his case, and Joseph Smith made a speech showing the necessity of strictly obeying the rules. He was convicted, but I do not recollect amount of fine. Yet John Tanner stuck to his faith and left for Missouri with the camp, though he was a man of good ability, strict integrity. and respected by all who knew him. It was marvelous to see with what tenacity they held to their faith in the prophet, when they knew they had been robbed, abused and insulted.

I will mention one more instance of strong faith. Oliver Snow was an old neighbor of both my father and father-in-law in Massachusetts. He was of more than ordinary ability and undoubted integrity. He removed to Mantua, Portage County, and with his family became followers of Alexander Campbell under Rigdon's preaching, and followed him into Mormonism. The sons stood high in the Mormon priesthood, and a daughter became infatuated with Smith, and was reported to have been sealed to him as his spiritual wife. She was quite a literary person with much poetic talent. Her poetry was superior to that of our early Kirtland poets. A poem of hers of some four or five verses, the last one only remembered, read thus --
We thank thee for a prophet's voice,
His people's steps to guide;
In him we do and will rejoice,
Though all the world deride.
Mr. Snow came to Kirtland in 1836, and purchased the farm at the Center now owned by David Traver. He decided not to go with the camp, but to remain in Kirtland. He was quite intimate at our house. I then lived with my father-in-law.

After the Mormons had got settled at Nauvoo, Joseph Smith had a revelation that Snow must turn out his farm to pay a debt that he [Smith] owed at the Geauga Bank and take an order on the bishop at Nauvoo, where the amount would be made up to him. The old man hesitated. He did not like to go, but as he had two sons and a daughter that stood high with Smith, they would not see him wronged -- and as it was the will of the Lord he felt it his duty to go. A few days before he left he came up to bid his old friends good bye. He had some fine blooded cattle of the Hereford breed, and wanted to make me a present of a calf three or four days old -- he should take the cow with him. I went down for the calf and had quite a talk with him -- told him I feared he would never realize anything from his order on the bishop. He said, If I don't it is the last they will ever get out of me; I have still a good farm in Mantua and enough besides to carry me through this world, and if the order is not paid I shall leave them. Some three or four years after he left I heard that he remained with them till they had robbed him of all that he had -- that he had sold the farm in Mantua and the church had got all of that but the last payment of $800, with which he intended to leave, and that was stolen from him, it was thought, by some of the brethren -- leaving him entirely destitute. He then gave the worthless order on the bishop to his son, and told him if he could find any one wishing to come to Nauvoo, to trade it to them for a farm. His son succeeded in trading the order for a farm, and the broken-down, feeble old man left Nauvoo for his new home.
C. G. C.    

Note: This series of articles by Christopher G. Crary (1806-aft 1893) were reprinted in 1893 in his Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences.


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  August 8, 1890.                               No. ?

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

I was reminded the other day by an old school teacher that in my reminiscences I had said nothing about common schools. I told her that common schools were invented since my day. She seemed to doubt my word. On collecting my thoughts together I found that I did remember some things about schools, but they were not very common. When I was five years of age I had learned to read, and thought myself quite proficient in that branch of education, and on reading a chapter in the Testament to my mother she confirmed me in my good opinion of myself. After we came to Ohio and settled in Kirtland there was not much chance for schooling in our part of the township. I think in 1813 a school was started at the Flats, in a private house and my sister hired to teach it. If remembered aright, her wages were fifty cents a week and board around -- that is, with each family, according to the number of scholars sent. My parents wishing to give me a good education hired me boarded at the Flats. I do not know the price of board, but if it corresponded with the quality, it should be low. We had for breakfast johnny-cake, boiled potatoes, fried pork, and the grease that was fried out of it -- which the lady of the house called sop -- and sometimes butter. For dinner it was cold johnny-cake, or cold boiled potatoes; and I will say that I never before or since ate potatoes that, equaled them; they were of an old English variety, large, dry and mealy. A little salt might have improved their flavor; but salt was scarce and high in those days. For supper, the best meal, it was johnny cake or potatoes and milk. I could have stood the fare well enough, for I was well seasoned to short commons and hard fare, if the lady had not been an intolerable scold. She did not scold at me, but at her son, who was about my age. He could do nothing right -- she scolded him for eating so much; scolded him for eating so much butter. Why don't you do as Christopher does? He eats sop on his bread and he don't eat half as much as you do -- eating so much will make you sick. I was very bashful, and of course let the butter alone, and did not quite satisfy the cravings of hunger. I became homesick in a week, and concluded that my education was sufficient.

About 1817 a school was started by Mrs. Aaron Metcalf, in their house, which stood a little above the residence of Mrs. Myers. Mrs. Metcalf was an excellent teacher, and all liked her. After my mother, I thought her the nicest woman I had ever seen. She taught two winter terms of three months each. I do not know what wages she had -- probably not much over a dollar a week. There was no public school fund in those days, and think there was none until about 1835 or 1836. The teachers were paid in different ways -- sometimes by subscription, and then sometimes the patrons signed for so many scholars; and after the township was settled so that there was no lack of scholars they paid according to the number of days sent.

Teachers were not required to understand grammar or teach it till about 1836, when the common school law went into effect. The wages of female teachers rose from 50 cents a week up to $1.50, and male teachers generally got $12.00 per month for the winter term and board around. I think Geo. A. Russell's father taught for two or three winters for $12.00 a month and boarded himself. Of school books we had but few, and hardly two of a kind, except the spelling book. Webster's spelling book was universally used for spelling and reading by all except the first class, or more advanced scholars. They had the Columbian Orator, the American Speaker, Morse's Geography, and the Testament. I think my father never paid more than two dollars for books for my use -- a Webster's Spelling Book, an American Reader, Gough's Arithmetic, and a slate, I believe was all. Pencils we made ourselves from soapstone. Now it costs a small fortune to supply a family with school books. New books have to be bought with every change of teachers, and prices have unreasonably advanced. A gentleman moved into Marshalltown, Iowa, a few years ago. His family was well supplied with school books, but not of the kind used in town, and it cost him $18.00 to furnish them with new books. Certainly reform is needed in the matter of school books.

In 1832, feeling the need of some knowledge of grammar, we hired a gentleman by the name of Moran to give us twenty-four evening lessons in that study. He taught principally by lectures. He was social and genial, a perfect master of grammar, and we anticipated much good from his labors; but in a week or so he did not appear for four or five days, but was found down at the still-house nearly dead drunk. When sufficiently sobered up he came back and tried to make light of his spree -- said that he was not drunk -- that he did not consider a man drunk so long as he could sit, stand or lie in a ten acre lot. Our temperance society was then in full blast, and we decided to live up to our principles in laboring for the reformation of the erring, and gave him another chance on promise that he would refrain from intoxicants -- but with the understanding that it would not be so easily overlooked. The second time, school went on for a week or so, when he went off on another bender, and we never saw him again. Thus our fond hopes of becoming grammarians were forever blasted.   C. G. C.

Note: This series of articles by Christopher G. Crary (1806-aft 1893) were reprinted in 1893 in his Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences.


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  August 15, 1890.                               No. 20.

"Pioneer Reminiscences Examined."

Editors Willoughby Independent:

The articles appearing of late in the columns of your paper as Pioneer Reminiscences and signed "C. G. C.," contain so many false and ridiculous statements concerning the Latter Day Saints, as to require a reply, lest the unsuspecting and casual reader be deceived thereby. Just why this C. G. C. should seek to reflect against the Saints of Lake county by sowing these tales of gossip and slander, is more surprising when we consider the confession made in his introductory to the Kirtland part of the so-called reminiscences, declaring that he knew nothing against the Latter Day Saints of Kirtland or their religion. The articles show that he knew no more about the early Saints of Kirtland or their religion than he does of those now residing here. But he seeks to discredit them. Has he been newly converted by the blood and thunder story of John D. Lee, and hence began this tirade upon a people whose acquaintance he has never made, and whose faith he has never examined, except through the corrupt stories of our bitterest foes, although living for a number of years within a few miles?

In the issues of May 30, July 11 and 25 and August 2d a wonderful attempt is made to discredit the honesty and honor of Joseph Smith by story and insinuation about things in general and the matter of the Kirtland bank in particular. Of this last he says:

"The bank soon collapsed and shut down, and the boxes that purported to contain specie were found to be filled with lead, pot metal, or sand, and the packages of bank bills were found to be strips of newspaper carefully done up -- so said by those who examined -- at any rate, the money was gone, and supposed to have been sent to Philadelphia and New York to buy goods, -- Smith having brought on a large stock of goods, and another karge stock owned by some of the dignitaries of the church."
Had C. G. C. been an investigator, but a few queries in his own mind upon the foregoing would have dispelled his suspicions, had nothing else been at hand. 1. -- If the money was sent to the east, it was to begin with in the bank, and why infer that the institution was founded without capital to defraud? 2. -- If the money was sent east to pay debts, where is the dishonesty, so insinuatingly urged? 3. -- If these men believed in dispoiling the Gentiles, as C. G. C. states, why did they take the money and send to pay debts to the Gentile merchants of Philadelphia and New York and leave their paper in the hands of their brethren at home with whom they must live? 4. -- If this was an anti-banking company, as he says the bills showed, how do we find a bank examiner taking charge to examine its vaults? 5. -- If no bank examiner took charge, how did C. G. C. find out that they had nothing but "pot metal and sand and strips of newspapers?"

It was with this, as most any other incident of its kind that has taken place in the country, when the bank failed there were certain true reasons for it, and any amount of false ones assigned by its enemies, although they may never had a dollar's interest in the concern; and it is these false theories that our friend has taken as correct, which the examination of his own statements fully shows. Does he or any one else desire to go into an examination of the question of the hinesty and truthfulness of the early Latter Day Saints in Kirtland, prominent among whom was Joseph Smith, we are quite satisfied to undertake to meet the issue and ask only an equal hearing with opponents.

The yarns spun and tales told about the Kirtland bank may do for those who know nothing of business or banking, or the care and custody of funds, or those who care not for justice so their little theories are promoted, but to none others. The facts are: 1. -- That Joseph Smith was not in the mercantile business at Kirtland, and did not bring on the stocks of goods asserted. 2. -- That he neither gave the money of the bank out to pay his owns debts or the debts of any others, "high dignitaries" of the church. 3. -- The reliance of the Kirtland bank was not held out by its officers and friends to be the coin in its vaults, but in real estate that backed it; and hence the absurdity of the stories of the "strips of newspapers" and boxes of sand" to any one who will but use his thinking power a little. There was about 175 stockholders in this institution who pledged their real estate as the reserve to holders of the paper.

Mr. Lyon, a general merchant of Cleveland, who was then in the country and had no sympathy so far as believing with the saints is concerned, says: "The Kirtland money was the best we had, because it was based upon real estate." This is the truth; the bank was compelled to close its doors in common with all other banks of Ohio then, with this difference -- the Kirtland bank had for its primary cause in the failure the underhanded and dishonest work of its enemies, while the hard times was the secondary or contributing cause; whereas, other banks, as a rule, fell simply from the condition of the times. The real estate of the Kirtland bank, however, was the pledge, and except for the great depreciation in values every dollar would have been redeemed at par. As it was, there was a loss to many of the last holders, but nothing in proportion to what the people suffered from other banks. And but for the assistant cashier's violation of his instructions during the absence of the cashier, Joseph Smith, to the New England states, it is quite probable that the Kirtland bank would have survived the terrible times of 1836 and '7. Benjamin Markell, a resident of Kirtland at the time -- not a Latter Day Saint -- a man of means and business, gave his evidence on November 29, 1884, upon this as follows:

"I was acquainted with old father Smith's whole family. Knew Joseph, Hyrum, Carlos, William, and all the rest who came here. There were two young women in the family. I was well acquainted with them. They were nice girls. Hyrum was, I always thought, a very exemplary man. William was more fond of fun and sport. I dealt with Joseph Smith when he lived here. At one time I loaned him about $200 in money. He paid me as he agreed. At different other times I loaned him small sums; he always paid me and acted honorably. I believe the Smith family would do right and deal honorably if they were treated properly. They were pitched into by others on account of their religion. The Kirtland bank, in my judgment, failed on account of mismanagement, trusting of incompetent men to do the business together with the hard times coming on. I did not attribute it to the dishonesty of the parties."
As before stated, in the absence of the cashier one Grandison Newell and his set of the baser sort got around the assistant cashier and pretended they would stand by him, and for him to send out the bank notes that he had been ordered to hold. Newell was a man of means but hated the Saints. The assistant believed him and put out the money, and Newell worked to break down instead of to sustain. Mr. Smith returned and took in the situation, and to prevent fraud upon the people at a distance at once gave notice to the press of the country in August, 1837, of this work and of the effort to send men by these parties to different parts of the country to enrich themselves, and bring in its train odium against the people, and thereby nipped the greater fraud of these enemies in its first stage. The act of the cashier in thus sending over the country so promptly the facts, shows him to have been honorable throughout.

Some of the best and cleanest men of the nation, from General Grant to the citizen of no rank and pretension, have through over-confidence in friends and the times, been thus made to feel the unrelenting grasp of business evolution; yet no honorable man tries to belittle their lives and usefulness by reason of the charge he makes against the early Saints of Kirtland being "ignorant, fanatical," and "ready to do anything, even to the taking of life," is so well answered by Mr. Bancroft, the historian, in his estimate of this same people, that I but insert his own statements: "There was some thieving among them, but they were no more immoral or dishonest than their persecutors who made war on them, and as they thought without a shadow of right." Again: "But when the testimony on both sides is carefully weighed, it must be admitted that the Mormons in Missouri and Illinois were, as a class, a more moral honest, temperate, hard-working, self-denying, and thrifty people than the gentiles by whom they were surrounded."

The assertion of C. G. C., "that they should not hesitate to take life, if the Lord commanded them" and "that they should suck the milk of the gentiles," are pure fabrications, gotten up by the enemies of the Saints and directly contrary to their belief and teaching. The Lord did say to them: "Thou shalt not kill." "Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm. Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures; he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out. B. of C. sec. 42. Again: "Let no man break the laws of the land, for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land." Ibid, sec. 58. Instead of teaching the taking of the property of others, as claimed by C. G. C., and their enemies, the paragraph reads as follows: "For it shall come to pass that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my gospel among the Gentiles unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel." Ibid. sec. 42, par. 11. The instruction is upon the rightfulness of those who are able to make voluntary contributions for the poor and the needy, and must be commended by any Christian people; but to find fault with the teaching of Mr. Smith his enemies deliberately and corruptly take out the words of the passage -- "those who embrace my gospel" -- and send forth this multilated thing as proving their positions. And singular enough, men are found who seem delighted to dwell upon and repeat this lie. -- They should remember that John's Revelations condemn alike those "who love" and those "who make a lie."

The early Saints taught the doctrine that the "meek shall inherit the earth." So did Jesus. They taught that "The kingdom and dominion under the whole heaven should be given to the saints of the Most High." So did Daniel and Jesus. The Saints taught that this would not take place till Jesus should come in person to reign over them. So did David, Daniel, Paul and John. Did their foes make war upon them because they feared they might be the chosen ones when the Lord should come? The unjust and cruel manner of the warfare against them at the time and the spirit of falsifying their doctrine and teaching since, fully justifies such confusion.

The way the tales and stories start and are enlarged upon is well illustrated in the statement told by our enemies and published over the country of what Rev. Z. Rudolph, father of Mrs. Garfield, had said about his knowledge of Sidney Rigdon and the Book of Mormon. On the 24th of July, 1885, I called upon Mr. Rudolph at his home in Mentor, with the statement, and he at once said that he had made no such statement. "I know nothing myself of Rigdon's whereabouts in 1827; all I got is second hand." "I knew he was away from home in March, 1828, longer than we expected when he went away. He went to Mantua to hold a meeting and was to have been back in about a week, but did not come for a longer time, and we found out that Walter Scott was to be at Warren, and he went down there to see and hear him. That was the time that Scott was stirring up such an excitement by his preaching." Well, we queried, what did you say to Clark Braden or any one else that made them publish you as one of the witnesses to their assertion that Rigdon and Smith were acquainted before the publication of the Book of Mormon? Ans.: "I said that Deacon Blish told me -- (he was a deacon in the Baptist church, that Rigdon left) -- after Smith and Rigdon got acquainted, that he was apprehensive that Smith and Rigdon were colloquing together."

This is a duplicate of the story of the "three black crows;" and yet thousands read the published lie and drink it down without question, because it suits them. Had not the Saints of Kirtland from 1831 to 1838, as now, ever been ready to compare their views with others, and all with the Bible, holding forth a readiness to abide its teachings and as it read, there might be left some excuse for calling them ignorant and fanatical. Do fanatics reason? or does the ignorant abide in the principles of the doctrine of Christ? In our warfare upon others let us be men, if we cannot be Christian men, and do justice to our fellow men, although our cherished idols be thereby demolished.

The early Latter Day Saints of Kirtland believed in and taught what the Saints of Kirtland do today. The Temple property was adjudged as belonging to the Saints of today,"The Reorganized Church," for the reason that they were in the faith of their brethren who sacrificed for and builded it; and all the talk about the Saints living here now being all right so far as citizens are concerned, and having a faith which none can successfully assail, but that the early Saints believed in and taught hidious and ridiculous things, is sheer nonsense. Neither party has ever believed in, practiced, or taught any principles of faith and doctrine but what was taught and believed by Jesus and the Apostles; and if our friends think differently, let them come forward with the proof.

What authority has C. G. C. for the assertion that the doctrine of the early Saints of Kirtland were -- "That the gentiles had no rights that they were bound to respect?" "That it was doing God service to despoil them of property and even life when it was thought necessary for the advancement of the Mormon Church?" "That the doctrine of celestial marriage was carefully and rather secretly advocated in Kirtland?" That Oliver Cowdery ever either in private or in public "renounced the whole thing privately" or any part of his testimony to the Book of Mormon? These are all on par with the statement that "a judgment was pending against Smith on which the Temple was sold at sheriff's sale sometime after they left." The records of the county, of easy access to all, will show just how much truth there is in the statement and if he wishes to be fair why doe he not inform himself and give the facts?

So with the other assertions; men stand ready right in Kirtland, and have for years with evidence that none can gainsay, and are willing to compare in private interview or go before the justices or common pleas courts of the county and honorably and justly attest these stories; but only one effort has been attempted to meet the facts, viz.: that before Justice Carpenter in March, 1884, when Rev. (?) Clark Braden raked the town and country to try to prove a dishonest and mean act against Joseph Smith, when not one even of his own selection of biased and prejudiced witnesses was able to make out a single instance. The evidence duly certified, sworn to and subscribed, is published and of easy access, and yet C. G. C. seems neber to have heard of it. But he has the purported confession of John D. Lee; and now, if he will get the publications of Jesse and Frank James, and the Cleveland Fur Robbers, they may prove another valuable addition to his theological library.

This John D. Lee book, so explicitly relied upon by C. G. C., does not sustain him in the assertions about the early Saints of Kirtland; why he suppressed the truth spoken in that to take up and publish the story of Lee with Brigham Young, we leave for his own explanation. Lee expressly states, if that book is to be accepted, that his acts done under Young were not according to the teachings of Joseph Smith. He says: "Joseph Smith taught the pure gospel of Christ." Not so with Young. Why [does] not C. G. C. stand by the statement of his own witness?

It would be just as reasonable to charge the bloody massacre of "Hauns' Mill," Mo. -- the darkest and most heartless in the annals of the United States -- not even the hellish work of the "Mountain Meadow" equalling it in the perfidity and betrayal of the confiding trust of women and children -- to the teaching of the President of the United States and John Knox and Alexander Campbell, as that of Mountain Meadow to Joseph Smith. At Hauns' Mill the pledge of protection was made by an officer of the U. S. army and bearer of the flag of the nation, to which these parties had a right to look for protection in the persons of Colonel Ashley and Capt. Nehemiah Compstock; and on the following day they returned and massacred the entire party of emigrants. The men who did it were zealots in the faith of their churches, and not one was ever brought to justice. Where does C. G. C. attach the blame?

The charge brought against Martin Harris, that he was poor and thought crazy on the subject of Mormonism, is about as good an objection as any other. It is very handy to call a man crazy when he lets his mind dwell upon a special theme that his neighbors do not see as he himself does.

Robert Fulton was thought crazy by his friends and neighbors when he wrought at steamboat construction. And so Prof. Morse, the inventor of telegraphy. The king thought Paul was "mad" on the subject of religion; and now Martin Harris is crazy because his soul is enwrapped in the Bible question. But what did Harris teach that was so bad and foolish? Oh, well, that is not remembered: but he applied something in the Bible to himself. How dreadful!

If our friend has anything said or done by Joseph Smith that will justify his assertions, let him quote and give chapter and verse. We shall be interested in evidence, but have nothing in common with gossip and slander. In the spirit of "charity for all and malice toward none," we are ready at all times to seek the truth and pursue it; but in our investigation and strife for the right we demand justice to the dead as well as the living.
                Respectfully,                         E. L. KELLEY.
Kirtland, O., August 9, 1890.

Note: RLDS Bishop Edmund Kelley's letter was reprinted in the Lamoni, Iowa Saints' Herald of Sept. 13, 1890.


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  August 22, 1890.                               No. 21.

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

Are we not a nation of grumblers? We grumble when it is too hot, too cold, too wet or too dry. We grumble at working ten hours for a day's work, and would do the same at eight hours. We grumble at $1.50 and $2.00 per day, because some get more. We grumble because some of our neighbors are getting rich faster than we are. We grumble at the extortions of railroads, bankers, manufacturers, merchants and professional men. We grumble at paying 5c. or 10c. a yard for calico sheeting and shirting, because there is a duty on the imported article. We grumble at paying 75c. for an axe, for the same reason. We grumble at paying $25 for a suit of clothes, because the same can be bought in Canada for $20. We grumble at paying three cents a mile railroad fare, and would grumble the same at two cents. We grumble at two cents letter postage, and want it reduced to one. Those that have to sell grumble at low prices -- at the low price of beef, pork and grain: and those that have to buy grumble at the high prices. In fact, we all have something to grumble about. I think we grumble ten times as much as we did sixty to eighty years ago, when we had ten times the cause for it than now.

I will mention a few of the inconveniences, hardships and privations that we endured without much grumbling. Lucifer matches were not invented, and we had to keep our fire alive the year around. In summer we buried a few brands in ashes to keep the fire alive during night if by any mishap it went out we had steel, flint and powder with which to start a fire. Breakfast would be delayed a half hour or more. But neither government or providence were to blame, and we had nobody to grumble at. We worked for 50c. a day of twelve hours and were satisfied, as it was the highest price. We sold wheat for 37c. a bushel, and bartered corn for whiskey, and were happy. We paid 25c. letter postage freely, because the P. O. department did not support itself. We paid $2.00 for an English axe, $1.50 for an English sickle, about the same for a scythe, 6c. to 8c. per pound for nails. We knew there was a tariff on all foreign goods -- tea, coffee, iron, cutlery, and most everything else -- but we paid it without grumbling because our government was poor and had about as close work to make the year ends meet as we had. The government had frequently to borrow to do it. Even as late as 1860 it had to borrow millions to meet its current expenses in a time of peace, and that at a ruinous rate of interest. We paid duty on the goods we bought and the merchants' profits more freely than any other part of the amount, as that remained in the country and entered into circulation, while the balance went to England never to return. We have paid to England in the last twenty five years about $300,000,000 for tin plate, which has taken that much money out of the country. In addition, we have paid about $78,000,000 duty, but that has been retained in the country and helped to furnish our circulating medium..

Axes in an early day came from England. They were an awkward looking tool and cost $2.00. Blacksmiths made some that looked not much better and cost about the same. As I considered myself A No. 1 in the use of an axe, I will relate how I obtained my first one. I gathered a load of black walnuts and bartered them off in Painsville, at 25c. a bushel. Took in part pay 1 1/4 lbs. of English blistor steel, the only kind then fit for edge tools. Took an old axe pole to Chatfield's blacksmith shop and had it jumped. The charge was only 75c., as I found the steel. I paid him at N. K. Whitney's store, and paid Whitney with wood at his ashery. It took two of us a day to grind the axe, and when finished it had cost me about seven days' work. I did not grumble but rather felt proud that I had obtained it so easy. I had plenty of days' work but little cash. It was a good axe, but I can now buy one just as good and much handsomer for seventy-five cents.     C. G. C.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  August 29, 1890.                               No. 22.


Editors Willoughby Independent:

I see by the last issue of your paper that E. L. Kelley has a long-winded article criticising my remembrances of Kirtland. I had made no allusion to the church of the Latter Day Saints who now occupy the Temple at Kirtland, and disclaimed any intention of doing so: but a wounded bird will flutter, and when a coat fits there is no objection to its being worn. I have written reminiscences mostly from memory, but intend to have all the matter stated to be substantially true -- and still believe they are so. I will only notice a few of his most prominent charges against me, leaving the most of his sophistry for future comment.

He says that the Mormon bank was not based on cash in the vaults, but on the pledge of real estate. I deny that there was any tangible pledge of real estate whatever. It was an unchartered institution, and therefore a violation of the laws of Ohio. But, says Kelley, there were one hundred and seventy-five stockholders whose real estate was pledged for the redemption of the bills. From what I knew of the Mormons at that time I think not one in ten owned unencumbered real estate; and whatever talk there may have been among themselves of pledging the half acre lots they had bargained for at $500 or $1,000, with but little if anything paid down, it amounted to nothing that holders of the bills could reap any benefit from whatever. The bank collapsed in a few weeks after the first issue of bills, and there was considerable clamor among the brethren, and the building was searched but nothing found except lead, etc. I had this from a Mormon, who then renounced his faith.

As for Smith's store, he certainly had one in the fall of 1836. It was reported to be his; he claimed it to be his. I saw him in it several times, apparently the owner of it -- Kelley to the contrary, notwithstanding. I never claimed that they sent money to New York or Pennsylvania to pay debts -- I think their credit would not enable them to make debts there. The story that Smith endeavored by publication of the press or otherwise to stop the circulation of Mormon money, is rather fishy. As men went out with pockets full of the stuff, signed by Joseph Smith, during the winter of '37 and' 38, to shove it off, mostly for horses. They were down in Central Ohio where my father and brother lived, trying to get rid of it.

Last April, a lady in Chardon found in grandfather's old desk in a secret drawer $85 Mormon money. It is quite probable that it was taken for a horse. Brother Kelley seems to draw some consolation from the fact that it was hard times, and that other banks with fictitious capital failed. All banks did suspend specie payments several months after the Mormon bank collapsed, but all honest banks based upon capital came through all right. I was living near there at the time and took much interest in the bank, hoping it would succeed and enable us to sell out and get away. I attended one or two meetings where bank business was talked up, and believe that I know more about the inside and outside workings of the bank than E. L. Kelley, who was probably not born at that time, and has obtained his knowledge second and third-handed and from a one-sided source,

I will notice but one other charge at this time that Kelley makes. That is, that I have quoted Lee against Joseph Smith, and omitted what he said in his favor. Lee was quite a strong believer in Joseph Smith, and never lost faith in him even to the last. He did not intent to say anything derogatory to Smith's character as a christian and a gentleman, and considered his practice and teaching polygamy corresponded with the scriptures of the Old Testament, and was the crowning glory of his doctrine, that doctrine that sanctioned him (Lee) in the enjoyment of the society of nineteen wives and fifty-four living children.

I am sorry to have any controversy with brother Kelley, and think it uncalled for. If anybody has reason to complain of my recollections it is the Salt Lake Mormons. I can see no difference in the doctrines promulgated by the early followers of Joseph Smith and those of the Salt Lake Mormons -- except as carried out by the cruel and blood-thirsty Brigham Young, the successor of Smith. But between the early Mormons of Kirtland and those residing there now there is a great difference. The present Mormons, if I am correctly informed, do not believe in celestial marriage -- do not claim to be the exclusive children of God and that all others will be destroyed, or the only saints that are to inherit the earth -- do not hold that it is right to despoil the Gentiles, as the Israelites did the Egyptians. In fact, are said to be a quiet, honest, law abiding, good sort of citizens, with but little in common with the early Mormons except the name -- and without the name would hardly be distinguishable from other religious denominations.     C. G. CRARY.

P. S. -- Grandison Newell was an open and bitter enemy of the Mormons of long standing, and the last man that would go near their assistant cashier, and he must have been a green one to listen. That story needs salt.
La Moille, Iowa, August 18, 1890.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  September 5, 1890.                               No. 23.

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

I am offered the names of people in Kirtland who have lived through the reign of Mormonism there, to substantiate what I have said about the followers of Joseph Smith in my history of Kirtland, which has so badly disturbed brother Kelley, but I think I can substantiate what I have written and possibly some more, without exposing my friends to his criticism or to the anger of the Danite band. In this article I propose to give a short sketch of Mormon history. Their first intention was to make their headquarters, their Zion, in Missouri. I think they purchased some land there. If they promulgated the same doctrines there that they afterwards did in Kirtland -- that the Gentiles were to be destroyed, and they, the Saints were to inherit the earth -- there is no wonder that the hot southern blood rose in anger and fired them out of the state. They then lit down in Kirtland upon a law-abiding and long-suffering people. To some of their proceedings there I have alluded in my recollections of that township, and will not repeat at this time; suffice it to say, that with God within call to advise and direct they saw themselves completely aground, and had to leave from the folly of their own acts without much outside pressure.

Feeling themselves now strong enough to assert their rights in Missouri, they went back again there, but soon got in difficulty with the Missourians and after considerable blood-shed were again driven out of Missouri. They then took refuge at Nauvoo, Ill.; here they quarreled among themselves and also with the Gentiles around them. According to Lee, the quarrel among themselves led to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum. Whether Mormons or Gentiles were guilty will probably never be known. I think no one was ever brought to justice for the crime. The death of Smith seemed to allay the trouble among themselves but the trouble with the Gentiles waxed hotter, until the Mormons had to leave for Salt Lake. On arriving there, where they considered themselves out of the reach of law, and felt safe in putting in practice the boasts and threats made in Kirtland, of living off the Gentiles, by robbing and murdering emigrants passing through their territory to California. Their crimes became so unbearable that in 1857 the government sent an army of soldiers to chastise them. Since then they have been a constant menace to the government, defying laws and devising means to escape punishment -- or receiving punishment and then committing the same offences.

Their religion is an aggressive one. They are the true Saints. The Gentiles are to be destroyed and the end justifies the means. After the removal of the Mormon Church to Salt Lake, several communities of Mormons gathered in different places -- one at Beaver Island in the upper lake region, led by one Strang, which had become quite numerous, but quarreled among themselves and murdered Strang; and the society has died out or has no quarrel on hand, as we hear nothing about them. They had quite a settlement at Edenville in Marshall county, Iowa, which died out -- probably for want of something inside or outside to quarrel about.

There are some other settlements of Mormons that I know nothing about, and I should not have known much about the Mormons of Kirtland if I had not in my history of that township made some allusion to Mormonism which enabled brother Kelley to display his sophistry and exhibit his pugnacious disposition. Kelley says, "If he (C. G. C.) will get the publications of Frank and Jesse James and the Cleveland fur robbers, they will prove another valuable addition to his theological library." The meaning of the sentence is to me rather obscure. I can see no theology in the crimes of Blinky Morgan, Frank and Jesse James. They were not committed under the cloak of religion -- did not throw the responsibility off upon God and claim him as a partner; and wherever the James boys and Blinky Morgan may be placed in the hereafter, it seems to me in justice that Rigdon, Smith, and Young should have assigned to them much the hottest corner.   C. G. C.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  September 19, 1890.                               No. 25.

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

I suppose it is a matter of history, or at least of record, but perhaps not generally known to the present generation, that the states of Ohio and Michigan once stood facing each other in battle array. The way it happened was this: When the states of Virginia, Connecticut, and others whose colonial charters from the British crown extended across the continent to the Pacific ocean, relinquished to Congress their western claims, it was decided by Congress to divide the north-west territory into five territories for admission as states, to be bounded as follows -- Ohio on the east, and south by Pennsylvania and the Ohio River, west by Indiana, and north by a line running due east from the south end of Lake Michigan to Lake Erie; thence by the Lake to the Pennsylvania line; Indiana north by an east and west line ten miles north of the south end of Lake Michigan; Illinois to extend on the west side of Lake Michigan, distance not recollected; and on the west by the Mississippi River, which was then our western boundary. The territory west of the Mississippi was afterward obtained by the Louisiana purchase. Wisconsin was bounded west by the Mississippi, north and east by Lake Superior, St. Mary's River, and Lake Michigan; Michigan by the lakes on the west, north and east, and by Ohio and Indiana on the south.

Ohio was the first to apply for admission to the Union. In her constitutional convention in 1802 it was found that her north line would not include the mouth of the Maumee River, then called the Mayme of the Lakes, a navigable stream for some distance. Ohio wanted control of it mouth, knowing that some day there must be a large city near its mouth. The convention fixed her northern boundary on a line running a little north of east from the south end of Lake Michigan to the north bank of the Maumee River at its mouth. She sent a commission to run and mark the line through and was thus admitted to the Union.

In 1834 Michigan applied for admission and claimed to the east and west line. Ohio, to prevent trouble, sent a commission to trace and re-mark the line. The commission consisted of Uri Seeley, of Painesville, a Mr. Taylor of Columbus, and Mr. Patterson of Cincinnati. Messrs. Hawkins and Fletcher were the surveyors, and Zophar Warner, lately of Willoughby but now of Kirtland, as an assistant. To Mr. W. am I indebted for many of the names, facts and circumstances. Governor Mason, the acting governor of Michigan -- (I think he was lieutenant under Cass, whom I believe was in General Jackson's cabinet) -- sent an officer by the name of Brown with a posse and arrested the commissioners and surveyors and marched them to Tecumseh. Governor Lucas of Ohio at once called for troops to release and protect the surveying party, and Governor Mason prepared to defend his officers.

At this stage of the proceedings Congress interfered. Ohio could not be dispossessed -- but to pacify Michigan, Congress gave to her a large territory from Wisconsin across the lakes. There were but few settlers in Wisconsin at that time to complain, but she lost a valuable portion of her territory, rich in mineral and timber. Lewis Cass had much influence in national affairs at that time, and managed to give Michigan the best end of the bargain at the expense of Wisconsin, and Ohio held all she claimed. The Fletcher, mentioned with Colonel Dodge, surveyed the Ohio Canal; and the Mr. Hawkins, spoken of, was afterward speaker of the House of Representatives at Columbus. There was a man often mentioned in the papers at that time by the name of Stickney. He bad two sons, the oldest of which he named One Stickney and the second Two Stickney. They always retained those names, and were often mentioned during that trouble; but I do not know that they had anything to do with the matter. Mr. Warner thinks they had not, but only lived on the disputed strip of land.   C. G. C.

"Pioneer Reminiscences" Examined.

Editors Willoughby Independent:

In August 29th issue of your paper I find another pioneer (?) article from the pen of C. G. C., who turns out now to be brother Crary, and making sundry complaints upon the criticism -- among which were that it was "long winded" and a "wounded bird," etc., to which it might reasonably be responded that it was evidently a little weighty as well, for the brother was so restive under it that he makes a second attempt to rise in your very next number. However, in neither has he even made an attempt to answer my demand for the evidence upon which he based his slanderous assertions about the early Latter Day Saints of Kirtland. They were particularly enumerated as follows: "What authority has C. G. C. for the assertion that the doctrine[s] of the early Saints of Kirtland were -- That the gentiles had no rights that they were bound to respect -- That it was doing God service to despoil them of property and even life when it was thought necessary for the advancement of the Mormon Church -- That the doctrine of celestial marriage was carefully and rather secretly advocated in Kirtland -- That Oliver Cowdery ever in public or private renounced his testimony to the Book of Mormon?" Come forward with the proof brother Crary, or else make your confession of having none as public as the charge. It will not suffice to say that "a wounded bird flutters," for a live bird will flutter whether wounded or not, and it is unsafe to draw hasty conclusions.

A hint is made by our friend in his second attempt to answer, that he has some light that he might turn upon this matter if it was not for this "pugnacious" Kelley. Well, what will Kelley do? Oh he claims the right to examine our statements and find out whether they are true -- just the same as we claim the right to examine his. This is, in fact, all that I have ever done. Why do our opponents object to this just course? While they do they stand in the dark abyss of the old Pharisees, for they claimed the same thing in the days of the Saviour; but Jesus' position was -- "But he that dieth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God." That is fair and square work and no man should countenance any other. This secret whispering and tale-bearing has been the curse of the world. By it Jesus and the apostles and prophets were imperiled and driven from the earth; and every great reformer in religion and science misrepresented and abused. Brother Crary may expect that I shall do my duty in this regard as any other, for it is a duty all men owe to the race, that light and truth, and not darkness and error, may be the guide.

My assertion that Joseph Smith gave notice to the world of the condition of the Kirtland bank is called "fishy." By this method he questions my authority for the assertion and demands the proof. Well, that is his right, and here is the proof taken from a work published by the enemies of the Saints, and entitled "The Prophet of Palmyra," page 135. The notice was published in August, 1837:

"Caution. To the brethren and friends of the Church of Latter Day Saints, I am disposed to say a word relative to the bills of the Kirtland Safety Society Bank. I hereby warn them to beware of speculators, renegades and gamblers, who are duping the unsuspecting and the unwary, by palming upon them, those bills, which are of no worth, here. I discountenance and disapprove of any and all such practices. I know them to be detrimental to the best interests of society, as well as to the principles of religion.
                              JOSEPH SMITH JR."

This forever brands as infamous any assertions trying to connect Joseph Smith with an attempt to deceive the public in regard to the Kirtland bank. Not "Mormon" bank, as our friend puts it, in face of the facts to the contrary. The trouble with brother Crary is, that he is so struck [sic - stuck?] on the word "Mormon" that he things he is making points by shashing away with it, whether with proper use or not. But months after this notice had been published to the world the intimation is made that persons went out to trade these bills with Joseph Smith's sanction or approval. A more absurd proposition could hardly be conceived. I now introduce the testimony of I. P. Axtell, a well known Lake county man, published on the 15th of March, 1880. He was for years a director in the First National Bank of Painesville.

"My father moved here with his family in the year 1830. He was a Baptist minister. I have seen Joseph Smith many a time; he was often at my father's house; and I with many young people, often went to Kirtland to see him and his people. My father first met Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in Kirtland township, they had been there but a short time and occupied a small log house. He found them to be quite intelligent men, and he said quite pleasant talkers and quite free to converse upon their religious views, which at that time was known as the 'new sect.' My father always said Joseph Smith was a conscientious and upright man.

I knew about the Kirtland Bank. These parties went into the banking business as a great many others in the state of Ohio and other states. They got considerable money out at first, and their enemies began to circulate all manner of stories against them. and as we had a great many banks then that issued what was known as 'wild cat money' the people began to get alarmed at so many stories and would take the other banks' issue instead of the Kirtland; and so much of it was forced in at once that the bank was not able to take it up. Had the people let those people alone there is no reason that I know of why the Kirtland bank should not have existed to this time, and on as stable a basis as other banks." Saints Herald, vol. 27, p. 84.

I do not copy the entire evidence of Mr. Axtell, lest my article be cinsidered "long-winded" -- although I may answer four of his in a single one. Does my friend want any more "salt" on the bank question?

In the late testimony of our friend is something of great importance. He most solemnly avows that Brigham was the successor of Joseph Smith. What a blessing that would have been to Brigham in his lifetime. These pioneer reminiscences are wonderful! Brigham Young said after the death of Smith that "no man would stand in his place till his oldest son came of age."

Judge Sherman in the Court of Common Pleas of Lake county, after hearing the evidence said,"That the Reorganized Church was the successor of the original Church established by Joseph Smith." The inspiration of Joseph Smith prior to his death was that "No one shall be appointed in his stead except through him." And Brigham Young never even made the claim of such an appointment; and yet brother Crary testifies that Brigham Young succeeded Joseph Smith. The Church of the Latter Day Saints was disorganized in 1844. There were some claimants for Joseph's place, but Brigham denied their eligibility and claimed that the Twelve should guide; and his party was called the "Twelvites." Faction after faction, to the number of over twenty, went away -- drawing disciples after them" -- and organized upon their respective claims; and in 1847, at Kanesville, Iowa, Brigham Young with one of these organized his followers, with himself at the head. This is the case fairly stated. It made Brigham Young no more the successor of Joseph Smith than Jeff. Davis was the successor of George Washington. Can brother Crary see the point? The trouble with him is that he accepts too much as true from Brighamism. It is very easy to see that he is much more of a Brighamite than I am, or Joseph Smith, or one of his family.

Again, in the very last of his reminiscences he testifies that the "Mormons," as he calls them, first went to Missouri and then came to Kirtland. Wonderful that no one ever heard of it before! And more wonderful that it should be stated when the facts are just the reverse. Bring your proof, brother Crary.

Again, he makes out Joseph and Hyrum Smith to be in the "hottest part" of the other world. What a consolation it must be to a real good christian to be able to see these who differed with him in religion here in the "hottest part." Our friend now reveals himself as he has always been -- one of the bitterest enemies of Joseph Smith and the Saints. Is it proper, then, that he should write their history and tell what they believed? He has not quoted from a single work of the Saints to show what we believe. Can we tell what Christ taught by going to his enemies? Question those who lived in his day. Can we Paul? "Everywhere spoken against." Can we John? They would hurl "him into a caldron of boiling oil." What about Wesley? His enemies delighted in dragging him through "the streets by the hair of his head." What did Campbell's enemies say about him? His "breath is a moral simoon." "His tongue out-venoms all the venoms of the Nile." -- Ed. Baptist Banner.

But notwithstanding all of these lessons and ten thousand others which I might offer, it is assumed in our very faces that we cannot speak for ourselves -- do not even know when it is our time to speak, but let our enemies tell us when. The early Latter Day Saints' faith was fully written and published to the world. No one was able to gainsay it then. Shall we now repeat the folly of asking their enemies what they believed?

When Christ was ministering to mankind he said that he judged no man. But brother Crary can tell just what part of hell they are gone to. But come to think of it -- he is giving his pioneer reminiscences. What a pioneer our friend has been.

If justice was to be done us in his reminiscences why did not C. G. C. tell us about the Saints being accused of stealing Mr. Hind's tool chest, and search made into their homes for it by due warrant, and finally when they came to the house of a preacher of a popular church and nitter enemy of the Saints they found the chest up in his garret? Of the instance that once occurred in the Presbyterian Church of the confession of 'stealing a plow,' which the enemies of the Saints had sworn against one of their number, and he had to pay the penalty for the crime and yet wholly innocent? I will now ask C. G. C. to state the time in the year 1836 that he declares he heard Joseph Smith say he 'owned the store.' Will he tell us, also, if he knew of any parties who got money by discounting notes at the Kirtland bank, and then refused to pay when they found there was an old statute the bank had not complied with? Also, was this honest in the enemies of the bank? Still for the truth.     E. L. KELLEY.
Kirtland, Lake County, O.

Note: Elder Kelley's communication was reprinted in the RLDS Saints' Herald of
Oct. 4, 1890.


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  October 10, 1890.                               No. 28.

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

Lawyer Kelley says that the Temple property was adjudged as belonging to the Saints of to-day, the reorganized church, for the reason that they were in the faith of their brethren who sacrificed for and builded it. Now I would like to know by what authority it was so adjudged by any court or legal authority, or by President Young, the successor of Smith, or the regular orthodox church of Salt Lake -- or do the Saints of to-day hold only by possession without any legal title whatever? But Kelley knows much better than I do how the title stands, and if I have stated anything wrong I would be glad to retract and make due acknowledgment. I may be practically right, but technically wrong. I will give my reason for stating that it was sold on a judgment against Smith and a short account of the Temple. After the Mormons left in 1838 we occupied it one year as a school building. It then remained practically idle for nearly twenty years. Then a gentleman by the name of Huntley came, I think from Illinois, and undertook to build up a Mormon society. He was reported to be a man of wealth; made all needed repairs on the Temple; bought the mill property at the Flats, and gathered in a few of the brethren. Suddenly he sold the mill and soon after left. I heard two reasons assigned for his leaving -- first, that he was a man of fine, sensitive feelings, and could nor endure the oder left in Kirtland by the followers of Smith; and second, that the few followers called in were an impecunious set that he would have to support. Some years later the Temple was offered for sale to the township for a school building. They claimed that they could give a good title -- that it was owned by the prophet Smith -- that it had been sold on a judgment against him and the property had gone by sale into the hands of some of the seceding Mormons, and a deed from the present holders would be good. The township trustees gave notice and a vote was taken authorizing the school board to purchase it, which was declared carried by one majority. But the school board decided not to purchase. -- Now, if Kelley is right and the Temple was not sold, I charge them with an attempt to swindle the township out of three or four hundred dollars with a bogus title, and I retract my statement that it was sold -- Kelley knows. But if it was sold, then I withdraw my charge of swindling, and leave standing against him only that of falsehood.

In Kelley's examination he makes many insinuations and flings that I shall not notice. Neither his quotations from Bancroft and others, or from the Scriptures and Book of Covenants. We read of those who put on the livery of heaven to serve the devil in. Kelley seems the most disturbed at my quotations from Lee, the warm friend and firm believer in Joseph Smith, because it proves Smith to be the author of polygamy. I think I have proved conclusively, independent of Lee, that Smith taught and practiced the doctrine of celestial marriage in Kirtland, and that Kelley's strong effort to make out a distinction between the early Saints and those of Salt Lake City is like the lady that upset her churn in a certain portion of the house where the children were, but in gathering up the contents she rejected that which smelt bad and thus succeeded in saving most of the butter. So Kelley, with his acute olfactories and sophistical education may select out of the Book of Mormon, the Book of Covenants, the proceedings of the Saints in Kirtland, Missouri, Nauvoo and Salt Lake, with the numerous off-shoots of Mormonism, and from his theological friends, Jesse and Frank James, quite a palatable dish for his depraved appetite, but an intelligent community cannot make a distinction and will consider the whole an unsavory, disgusting, filthy mess. For truth and veracity the Salt Lake Saints, who act according to their belief and take the consequences, stand much higher than those quibbling and shirking Saints who, through fear of law and public sentiment, deny much of the teachings and practices of Joseph Smith.

The subject of Mormonism is not a pleasant one to write about. Many of my own family are connected with those having relatives in the Mormon faith and my valued friends; in fact, nearly all families in Kirtland are more or less connected with Mormons. Though I have not said half that the subject demands or that I would like to say, yet I will drop it and say no more about it unless forced to do in self defence.

And now Mr. Editor, I feel that an apology is due from me to you and my readers for pressing upon their attention such a belligerent, loathsome, polygamous subject as Mormonism. I am aware that I shall be likened to the boy that rubbed asafetida under his grandmother's nose, saying Granny, see how nasty it is.   C. G. CRARY

September 26. -- I wrote the foregoing some two weeks ago, but forgot to mail it before I left for a visit in Northern Iowa. I find this morning another blast from Kelley but will only refer to two or three of his statements. [words in original letter, not published in article: He says, "I now introduce the testimony of I. P. Axtell, a well known Lake County man, published on the 15th of March, 1880. He was for years a director in the First National Bank of Painesville." "My father moved here with his family in the year 1830. He was a Baptist minister." The testimony is very long but not a word of truth in it.] Silas Axtell was not a Baptist preacher -- was not a professor of religion -- belonged to no church, and never lived in Painesville. I. P. Axtell's wife is a cousin of mine, his father's widow is a sister-in-law of mine, and I am satisfied from my acquaintance with the family that the whole article is nothing but gossip, with I. P. Axtell's name forged. if it is attached. In regard to the theft of the plow, when the young man was converted and embraced religion he felt it his duty to confess the theft and make restitution. Did a saint ever confess and make restitution? As for an innocent Saint having to pay for that plow I think it is Latter Day Saint gossip and destitute of truth. I never heard of Hine's tool chest. If it was found in possession of a preacher of a popular denomination, I think it must have been a Latter Day Saint preacher, as they were numerous and popular at that time. Kelley wants proof. I append hereunto three affidavits of Latter Day Saints, showing that Smith not only instituted celestial marriage in Kirtland, but polygamy in Nauvoo. Kelley shows ignorance about the early Saints if he does not know that the first stake of Zion was to be in Missouri.     C. G. C.


"I hereby certify that Hyrum Smith did (in his office) read to me a certain written document which he said was a revelation from God; he said he was with Joseph Smith when it was received, He afterwards gave me the document to read, and I took it to my house and read it, and showed it to my wife and returned it next day. The revelation, so called, authorized certain men to have more wives than one it a time, in this world and the world to come. It said this was the law and commanded Joseph to enter into the law, and also that he should administer to others. Several other items were in the revelation, supporting the above doctrines.           WILLIAM LAW.

Hancock County. ss

I, Robert D. Foster, certify that the above certificate was sworn to before me as true in substance, this 4th day of May, A. D. 1844.

                                 ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P."

I certify that I read the revelation referred to in the above affidavit of my husband; it sustained in strong terms the doctrine of more wives than one at a time in this world and in the next. It authorized some to have to the number of ten, and set forth that those women who would not allow their husbands to have more wives than one should be under condemnation before God.

                                JANE LAW.

Sworn and subscribed to before me this 4th day of May, A. D. 1844. ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P."

"To all whom it may concern: -- For as much as the public mind hath been agitated by a course of procedure in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by a number of persons declaring against such doctrine and practices therein (among whom I am one) it is but meet that I should give my reasons, at least in part, as a cause that hath led me to declare myself. In the latter part of the summer of 1843 the Patriarch Hyrum Smith did in the High Council, of which I was a member, introduce what he said was a revelation given through the Prophet; that the said Hyrum Smith did essay to read the said revelation in said Council, that according to the reading there was contained the following doctrines: First, the sealing up of persons to eternal life against all sins, save that of shedding innocent blood, or of consenting thereto; second the doctrine of plurality of wives or marrying virgins, that David and Solomon had many wives, yet in this they sinned not, save in the matter of Uriah. This revelation with other evidence that the aforesaid heresies were taught and practised in the church, determined me to leave the office of First Counselor to the President of the Church at Nauvoo, inasmuch as I dared not teach or administer such laws. And further deponent saith not.
                                AUSTIN COWLES.

Hancock County. ss.

I hereby certify that the above certificate was sworn and subscribed to before me this 4th day of May; A. D., 1844.

                               ROBERT D. FOSTER, J. P."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XII.                               Willoughby, Ohio  November 7, 1890.                               No. 32.

Written for the Willoughby Independent.

The year 1837 witnessed the collapse of the most wild, gigantic, and widespread spirit of speculation ever known in the country. Some six or seven years previous the Government funds had been withdrawn from the United States Bank, which was a mammoth institution located in Philadelphia, but had branches in all the principal cities of the Union. It was as good in New Orleans, New York and London as in Philadelphia, and did the principal and general banking business of the country -- the local banks doing only a local business, The withdrawal of Government funds from the United States Bank, and the poor prospect of the renewal of its charter, which was soon to expire, so crippled the bank that it withdrew its circulation and curtailed its business preparatory to the winding up, which it did a few years later.

The deposit of the government funds with the state and local banks, and the large vacancy left by the withdrawal of the United States Bank, gave a wonderful impetus to the banking business. Old banks doubled their circulation, and new banks were organized sufficient to more than twice fill the vacuum caused by the withdrawal of the United States Bank. Western bank bills became very cheap. A general distrust of their solvency, and a feeling that it would be safer to invest in land and other property than to hoard them, made them circulate very rapidly. Property of all kinds advanced in price. People bought freely and lived extravagantly; went in debt for goods that they could have done without. In the meantime the specie was drained out of the country, to pay for goods in Europe, till I think it safe to say that there was not gold and silver enough in the country to redeem two per cent. of the amount of bills in circulation. In 1837 the crash came; the banks could hold out no longer, and all suspended specie payment.

In the crash, stagnation of business, and depreciation of values that followed, the township of Kirtland suffered very severely -- really much more than any other section. The township had become the gathering place of a new religious sect, the leader of which was Joseph Smith. They styled themselves "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." They purchased large quantities of land, paying but little down. Those who sold their farms generally bought elsewhere, paying down all that they had received; and most of them some more. Failing to collect, they failed to pay on their new purchases, and lost all they had invested. Some of them got back to their farms in a year or two in destitute circumstances. I Will give two or three instances. David Holbrook sold his farm and took for the first payment $1500 in dry goods from Joseph Smith's store. He took the goods to Southern Indiana, lost all, and got back in a few years to his old farm, a destitute, broken-down old man. Lory Holmes sold his farm, taking the first payment in goods from Smith's store. He purchased more land near Columbus, Ohio, where he died. His family in a few years got back to the old farm. Mr. Holmes' son also sold and took from the same store his first and only payment. I do not think that Smith bought land, but took cash from the purchaser and paid the seller in goods. This was in the fall of 1836, and I think the store was closed out early in the following winter, and the store of Boyington & Co. was wound up not more than a year later. Some thirty or forty of Kirtland's substantial citizens sold out and left; but few of them ever came back, and not many of them bettered their condition financially.

The hard times were equally as hard upon and as disastrous to the Saints who purchased. They lost all they had paid, and the failure of the Kirtland Bank left them in destitute circumstances, and with very ill feelings with those who had placed their money in the bank. Many, not strong in the faith, succeeded. Among them, some who were supposed to have joined the church out of speculative motives, hoping to make money out of the concern. The quarrel became quite serious, resulting in the burning of the printing office. I never heard a doubt expressed but that the fire was incendiary, burned by one party to prevent some damaging facts from coming to light against them. Smith soon after left Kirtland for a time, and, it was thought by some, through fear for his personal safety, I think but a few hundred dollars had been issued from the Kirtland bank when it went down; and am satisfied that no outsider -- Gentiles, as they were called -- ever borrowed a dollar from the bank. When the Saints left Kirtland, in 1838, several families who were not strong in the faith remained, and were good citizens -- and their descendants and relatives would stand high in any community. The cheap houses left vacant by the departure of the Saints were, some of them, for a time, occupied by a transient population: but they, with their tenements, have disappeared, and for intelligence, integrity, temperance, and morality, Kirtland now stands on a par with neighboring townships.     C. G. C.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                             Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, April 5, 1891.                             No. ?


Some Hitherto Unpublished Facts Concerning the Impostor's Early Career.

His Father's Hunts for Buried Treasure -- A Demand for a Ready-Made Prophet.

Joseph's Awful Vision -- Ascent of the Mormon Sinai -- Translation of the Golden Plates.

A quiet, unassuming farmer of Wayne county, N. Y., died a few days ago, and among his effects, says the Palmyra N. Y., correspondent of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, were found three golden plates engraved with some undecipherable hieroglyphics which were to ordinary man meaningless. The plates were thin and not...

(read original article from NY paper)

Note: The discovery of the purported fake metal plates was obviously a journalistic device intended to make the re-telling of these tired old claims look something like "news." A couple more decades would pass, before one of the "Kinderhook plates" actually was rediscovered -- resulting in an entirely different telling of the village tales.


The  Hamilton  Daily  Republican.
Vol. I.                             Hamilton, Ohio,  Monday,  August 29, 1892.                             No. 37.



The Rifle Used a Relic of the Stephenson Family -- A Short Review
of the Mormon Difficulties That Led to the Killing of Smith --
Reminiscences of John C. Elliott.

Joseph Smith, jr., was born in Sharon, Vt., December 23, 1805. His parents were of the lowesr grade of society, being ignorant, illiterate, shiftless and superstitious, which qualities were transmitted to the son. In 1815 the Smiths moved to Palmyra, New York, where Joseph began to assert vague claims as a founder of a new religion.

In 1823 Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon entered into a scheme for the production of a new bible, or "Book of Mormon." Smith declared that Maroni had appeared to him, announcing that certain gold plates were buried in "the hill Cumorah," giving an account of settlement of the new continent before the time of Christ.

These plates were the work of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, who retired from the ministry owing to failing health, and visited the mounds in this western country to engage in the study of their archaeology. While in the Miami Valley he conceived the idea of writing a romance which pretended to give an account of the prehistoric race, known as the "Mound Builders," and also of the mounds that had long confused archaeological scholars. In this history he purported to demonstrate that the Mound Builders were descendants of the lost ten tribes of the Israelites. The manuscript of the romance was offered a printer in Pittsburg, Pa., and was rejected, but not returned immediately to Rev. Spaulding. Sidney Rigdon, an employee in the printing office, made a copy of it for himself, which was used in formulating the so-called "Book of Mormon," afterward claimed to be the "Bible of the Mormons."

In the early spring of 1830, the "Book of Mormon" made its appearance, and on April 6th, of the same year, the Mormon church was organized at Manchester, New York. In 1832, Joseph Smith, as prophet and president, organized a congregation and established the first church in form at Kirtland, Ohio. The second settlement of the Mormons was made in July of the same year at Jackson county, Missouri. Later on the Mormons were charged with almost every crime in the criminal code and in 1838-9 were driven and expelled from Ohio and Missouri.

In 1839 the Mormons founded the city of Nauvoo (the beautiful) in Hancock county, Illinois. The city was phemenonal in growth; rose as if by magic, so that in five years it contained a population of 15,000. During the "Hard Cider" campaign of 1840 the Mormons commanded a vote and held the balance of power in Illinois. Joe Smith was wined, dined and feasted by heelers and strikers of both parties. His people, driven from a Democratic state by a Democratic governor and refused redress by a Democratic president, Smith's celebrated memorial against Missouri was introduced into the senate by Henry Clay.

The prophet felt no particular interest in politics as his people had been maltreated by New York Yankes and by the "Free Soilers" of the Western Reserve. He had a secret interview with his people and claimed that he had been directed by a revelation to support the Whig ticket in the campaign of 1840-41, which the Mormons did unanimously by his direction. At this juncture the Democrats were anxious to reconcile the Mormons, and when the Illinois legislature convened, Dr. Bennett presented a charter for incorporation of the city of Nauvoo. The yeas and nays were called in neither house, and that charter passed without a dissenting vote.

In 1844 the Mormons in Hancock and Quincy districts had been directed to vote the Whig ticket for state senator. In the Quincy district, the "Little Giant," Stephen A. Douglas, was the Democratic candidate and O. H. Browning, the Whig candidate. Judge Douglas was afraid that Gov. Ford would oppose him for the United States senate in 1846, and circulated a story affecting his party standing;that he was a "double dealer;" that he influenced the Mormons to vote for Hoge, and for Browning, also -- rival candidates. This story influenced many of the Democrats in favor of driving the Mormons from the state. By 1844 their conduct was such that an organized effort was made to drive them out, and on innumerable occassions they were mobbed, as they had been at Kirtland, Ohio, and Independence, Missouri. These attacks served only to give them new life.

The culminating folly of the Mormons occurred in the early spring of 1844, when the Prophet, Joe Smith, announced himself as a candidate for president. The government was denounced as corrupt; and the Mormons assetted that the government was to be conducted by Joe Smith, as the servant of God. In May a secret national call was made for men in the adjoining states to come forward and expel the Mormons.

At this time John C. Elliott, of Hamilton, was a deputy United States marshal. Bold, courageous and brave, a man perfectly devoid of fear, he was summoned to Nauvoo. Before taking his departure for the seat of war he repaired to the residence of William C. Stephenson, a noted axe maker, residing on Boudinot street, in Rossville, now West Hamilton, and borrowed a rifle that had been specially made for him by the renowned gunsmith, Jacob Neiumeyer, of Trenton. He immediately left for Nauvoo.

On his arrival he found that Joe and Hyrum Smith and members of the Nauvoo council had been committed to jail on a charge of treason. The jail was a large two-story stone building, a portion of which was occupied by the jailer, and the remainder of the interior consisting of cells for the confinement of prisoners and one large room. The Smiths were confined in the cells, but were finally transferred to the large room. Governor Ford ordered a guard placed around the jail for protection to the prisoners.

The Carthage Grays, a military company one hundred strong, [were] stationed in the court house square for the purpose of repelling an attack on the jail and the prisoners confined therein. The conspirators, who numbered two hundred brave and determined men, communicated with the Carthage Grays, and it was arranged that the jail guard should have their guns charged with blank cartridges and fire at the attacking party as it neared the jail.

For his cool and daring bravery, John C. Elliott was selected as one of the advance assailants. The attacking party came up and scaled the picket fence around the jail, were fired upon by the guard, which was immediately overpowered, and the assailants entered the jail. The jail door was battered down, and as it burst open, Joe Smith shot three of his assailants. At this time a number of shots were fired into the room, and John Taylor and Hyrum Smith were instantly killed. Joe Smith attempted to escape by jumping from the second story window and fell against the curb of an old-fashioned well. The fall stunned him, he was unable to rise, and while in a sitting position, the conspirators dispatched him with four rifle balls through the body. The rifle that John C. Elliott carried ran forty-four to the pound, which was the largest borne in the attacking party. Upon examination of Smith's body it was found that John C. Elliott had fired the fatal shot.

After the assassination of Joe Smith the excitement at Nauvoo was at fever heat. John C. Elliott and his confederates in the shooting were arrested. Nauvoo was not deemed a safe place for their incarceration, owing to the bitter Mormon feeling against the Gentiles. Accordingly, they wrre spirited to Jacksonville, where they were liberated by a mob. No effort was ever made to apprehend them, and John C. Elliott reterned to Hamilton, where he played an important part in the drama of passing events. He was a terror to evil doers, and in the performance of his duties as United States marshal and city marshal of Hamilton made enemies by the score and enemies of a most dangerous class....

The rifle that killed Joe Smith is still retained as a relic in the family of the late William C. Stephenson. It is now the property of Constable Isaac N. Stephenson.

Note: For a closer look at the John C. Elliott connection to the Smiths' assassination, see Robert S. Wicks and Fred R. Foister's 2005 Junius & Joseph: Presidential Politics and the Assassination of the First Mormon Prophet.


The  Cleveland  Leader.
Vol. XLV.                     Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, December 4, 1892.                     No. 339.


The Confession of the Wife of Orson Pratt,
One of the Mormon Apostles.

A Defenceless Woman Robbed of Husband, Home,
and Character by the Scoundrel.

Life With "True Saints" -- Brigham Young's Duplicity --
The Horrors of Polygamy.

Outrages Committed in the Name of Religion --
Polygamy Still Exists in Utah.

For the Leader.

The following story was told me in three or four sittings during my unexpected residence in Utah, where I went one year. I entered Salt Lake City in 1883 as ignorant of Mormonism as most Americans are to-day. I had not been there twenty-four hours before I realized that I had suddenly projected myself into a foreign country. Curiosity at first prompted me to find out what was the matter. The more I saw the more I became interested; the more I became interested the more I postponed my visit to Arizona, where I was to scamper over the plains as the guest of General and Mrs. Crook. My week became a month, my month was multiplied by three before I made up my mind that the Gentiles were entirely right in their attitude toward Mormons, sold body and soul to a polygamous hierarchy whose aim was the overthrow of the United States and the establishment of "the kingdom of God on earth.

Among all the apostates I found no woman so clear headed, so brave, so honest, so respected, as the first wife of the great apostle, Orson Pratt, who had the famous controversy with the Rev. John P. Newman on the subject of Biblical authority for polygamy. This argument for and against "celestial marriage" took place in the Mormon Tabernacle long before my advent in Zion, and raised Orson Pratt higher than ever in the esteem of the saints. What, therefore, the legal wife of this man has to say about the divine institution should command the attention of every American who loves country better than party.

It is generally believed that the Saints have turned over a new leaf and abolished polygamy. This belief is false. Polygamy is as much an article of faith now as in 1884, when President John Taylor ordered his slaves to take plural wives in order to defy the Government of the United States. His successor, Wilford Woodruff, has suspended the practice of polygamy for the time being, to order to deceive the American people and gain by cunning what can no longer be gained by defiance. Polygamy goes on, sub rosa, just the same. For this reason the Gentiles, regardless of political affiliation, remain banded together under the name of "Liberals," and are gradually redeeming Salt Lake county and a few mining camps. The bulk of the Territory is controlled absolutely by the saints who, by disbanding their People's party and ostensibly dividing into Republicans and Democrats, have succeeded in winning over small minority of misguided or scheming Gentiles.


In the recent election for Delegate to Congress the Democratic candidate was elected. Had the chances looked better for Harrison than Cleveland the Republican candidate would have triumphed, as it is the game of the Mormon Church to play on the winning side. On account of this division of the People's or Mormon's party, and the apparent reform of the priesthood, Mormonism is more dangerous than ever. It enters Congress in sheep's clothing. To-day Mormons are found to California, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Their vote to California is, I think, about 2,000. California Mormons do not uphold polygamy. In Wyoming they have already elected a Republican United States Senator. There are sixty polygamists among them at least, and all vote, women as well as men. In Utah polygamlsts are disbarred. Across the line in Idaho Mormons would vote the Democratic ticket were they not prevented by a test oath still admitted to be constitutional. In Arizona and New Mexico the Mormon vote is Democratic In Colorado the Mormons have been Republican from interest.

Here, then, is food for American statesmen, if any still live. As to the days of Joseph Smith in Missouri and Illinois, Mormons are all things to all men. The rank and file will vote as instructed by their bishops. The latter receive their orders straight from the head of the church, who, in his turn, claims to represent God Almighty. If, then, either the Democratic or Republican party dallies with the Mormon monster it will harbor a venomous serpent, which sooner or later will turn and rend it.


I do not expect my warning to produce the least effect. I make it solely from a sense of duty. I submit Mrs. Sarah Pratt's life experience in corroboration of my own observation. I have no personal animosity to Mormons, and believe that eventually they will grow out of ignorance and superstition if deprived of political power. Given statehood for which they now clamor, there will be bloodshed, If this be the decree of fate it may lead to reform, but civil war is costly, and wise legislation will avoid it. One awful sacrifice is enough for one generation.

No cleverer man ever entered the Mormon church than Orson Pratt, one of the original twelve apostles. No Mormon ever stood higher in the esteem of his people; no priest ever labored more unselfishly for the good of his benighted cause. Brigham Young paid him the high compliment of jealousy, a jealousy that kept him poor unto the end. By order of the church Orson Pratt made the first public announcement of the divine revelation concerning "celestial marriage;" therefore the private life of this distinguished apostle, this "good man," becomes of exceeding interest to the student of human nature, to the American citizen who wishes to know how women bear polygamy.

An honester woman never lived than Orson Pratt's first wife. Strong in mind and body, she was made of such stuff as civilized New England. That she should have silently endured the curse of polygamy for years proves what I know, i. e., that polygamy is accepted by believing Mormon women as a cross put upon them for past sin and future exaltation. It is endured by doubting souls as they endure poverty, disease or any other inevitable evil.

Read the story of Sarah M. Pratt and then ask yourself whether the only brand new church this country has invented is worthy of recognition by self respecting humanity.


I was born in Henderson, Jefferson county, N. Y., in 1817, and joined the Presbyterian Church at the age of seventeen. Some months later the twelve apostles of the Mormon Church held a conference in our neighborhood which lasted four or five days. I was greatly taken with the preaching of Orson Pratt, then a young man of twenty-four, who was a frequent guest at our house, my father being very liberal in his opinions from the fact that he belonged to no church. It seemed to me that the doctrines taught by the apostles were correct, according to the Bible. They claimed that theirs was the only true church, and so I decided to join it. Orson Pratt requested the privilege of baptizing me, and at the age of nineteen I became a Latter Day Saint.

I knew Brigham Young before my marriage. He was one of the apostles who preached in the neighborhood of my father's farm. At that time he was rough and illiterate and was not thought much of. He lived near us at Nauvoo for some time and his first wife and I were great friends. Mary Ann Angell did not like polygamy any better than the rest of us, and suffered because of it.


Though my parents were at first grieved they themselves adopted my faith one year later. Orson Pratt and I were married. After going about with my husband on missions during the summer we moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in October, 1837. Several hundred saints had already assembled there and I was surprised to find the men less interested in their religion than in what they were going to make out of a bank which Joseph Smith had already established and in which many of the saints were stockholders. By degrees I descended from my high religious plane.

We had only been in Kirtland a year when my first child was born and the bank broke! There were grave charges of dishonesty against the saints, who disappeared from Kirtland, leaving behind them heavy debts and an unsavory reputation. Blind as I was, I thought all was not right, but an excuse was given which I readily accepted, as my husband was implicated in the failure. With many others he was ruined by it.

I passed the winter of 1838-9 with my parents, and in the spring of 1839 joined my husband in New York city, where to six months he and his brother Parley built up a church of 200 members. Parley Pratt was very illiterate and too lazy to study, but his "Voice of Warning" is one of the Mormon text-books to-day. My husband was a self-made man. He and I at this time studied together astronomy, algebra, chemistry and Hebrew.

In the fall of 1839 we started for Missouri, but owing to troubles in the far West we passed the winter in St. Louis, where my second child was born, fourteen months after the first. Going to Quincy in the spring, we proceeded later to Nauvoo, where we lived seven or eight years. We were all poor, and when the revelation came from Joseph Smith that the twelve apostles were to start on a mission to Europe it fell very severely upon me, as upon others. I lost my first child and had hard work to keep my other little one from want.

I was very intimate with Joseph and Emma Smith, and we visited each other frequently. In the beginning I thought Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I knew him to be illiterate, but he inspired confidence whenever he spoke. He could not preach fluently for several years, and called to his aid Sidney Rigdon, who was very eloquent, fine looking and really the power behind the throne. Joseph himself had a fine figure, but his face was rather coarse. As years went on the prophet gained in power as a speaker and became independent of Rigdon.


During my husband's absence, which extended over two years, I took occasion to visit an aunt in Illinois and went to Quincy to be present at a discussion on Mormonism. From there I was invited by Joseph Smith, who had been one of the speakers, to return home in his carriage. Gladly accepting his escort, my little boy and I were driven to Nauvoo by the prophet, who held young Orson on his knee. It occurred to me that Joseph paid me unusual attention during this journey, but once home I dismissed the idea as unworthy of him and me.

Perhaps I should here state that when my husband first went away I lived with Vilate, Heber C Kimball's first wife. After awhile I took up a piece of land, buying it for a mere trifle. By selling two-thirds of it I was enabled to build a small house on the remaining third. Here I awaited my husband's coming, and here Joseph Smith visited me. I never suspected anything wrong in a prophet.

"Sister Pratt," said he one day, "I've something to say to you, but I'm afraid you won't receive it in the right spirit. I'm afraid it will be a trial to you. I dare not tell you now."

And then he went away.

The next time Joseph called he sympathized with me in my solitude. "You are very lonesome without your husband, are you not?"

"Yes," I replied.

"You remember my mentioning the other day that I had something to say to you?"


"Well, Sister Pratt, in the absence of your husband, there's no need for you to be lonesome. You know that old Abraham and the ancients had more wives than one. You have a right to have more men than one. I'll come in any time."

"Why, Brother Joseph, what do you mean?"

"I don't mean anything but what it would be perfectly right to do."

"Do you pretend to say that God would approve of such conduct?"

"Why, God doesn't care anything about it. We are put here on this earth to enjoy ourselves. If we can enjoy ourselves in this way, we've a perfect right to do so, if we keep it to ourselves. God doesn't care. The harm will be in letting anybody know it. If you keep quiet and I keep quiet it's all right. If your husband were to know it, then there would be harm."

"Is it possible Brother Joseph that you can make such a suggestion to me? I love my husband as I love my own life. He is the only man I ever wanted or ever expect to want. I grieve that you should have said this to me."

"I was afraid," answered Joseph, "that you would not receive what I had to say in the proper light. That is why I never told you before. I would like to come and live with you sometimes myself."

"Brother Joseph, stop! My husband is all in all to me. Let there be an end to this."

"You are never to mention what I have said to a soul, remember."

"I don't know whether I will or not."

"Oh, if you do," threatened Joseph, "It will be the worse for you. If you expose me I'll ruin your character. Mark well my words. I've the power, and I'll do it."


When Joseph Smith first showed himself to me to his true colors I felt that I must confide in some one, as I wanted advice, so I want to a woman who had been the widow of Morgan, the Mason, and was then the wife of another man. My husband had converted both and we were great friends. When I told Mrs. H. what had passed between Joseph and me, she, to my great surprise, laughed and said:

"Never mind, do as you please. Do you know I've been Joseph's mistress for four years? It has been a common thing with him for a long time. I shall give you no advice as I think a great deal of Mr. Pratt."

She promised she'd keep my secret. Nothing was said about a revelation then.




Alarmed at Joseph's threats, I kept my doors locked and curtain down lest I should be taken unawares. Joseph called frequently after this interview, but I was never at home unless he was accompanied by others. Then I admitted him, and he treated me as kindly as formerly. Nothing special happened until Mr. Pratt returned, when I related what had transpired. My husband was greatly distressed, lay awake all night, and at daylight the next day went straight to Joseph's house and rapped on his bedroom door.

"Who's there?" asked Joseph.

"Orson Pratt. I want to see you."

"Sit down and wait, Brother Orson. I'll dress and come out."

In a short time Joseph appeared, and, without asking to know the cause of so untimely a visit, said:

"Brother Orson, come with me."

Leading the way to his dry goods store nearby Joseph took my husband to a room above it, and, locking the door, said:

"Now, Brother Orson, what do you want?"

"I want to know why you take liberties with other men's wives and teach them doctrines you would not permit other men to teach your wife?"

"I know very well what you have come for, Brother Orson. I want to tell you now that if either you refer or your wife refers to what has transpired, I'll ruin your character and hers. I tell you what I have already told her. It would destroy me, it would destroy the church, and to save both I should be forced to blast you and your wife."

A terrible quarrel ensued and my husband returned home more angry than when he started out.

Mr. Pratt did not keep quiet, and shortly after, at a public meeting held in a grove, Joseph Smith denounced me as one of the worst women in the world, associating my name with that of John C. Bennett. This man had once been one of Joseph's intimate friends, and had been brought to my house by him for the purpose of my securing sewing from him. I was only too glad to get money for my family, as Mormons usually paid in squashes and other farm products. Mr. Bennett was better off, and could pay to current coin. He boarded at first with Joseph, and during the six months I worked for him often came for his clothes, Joseph at times being his companion. He remained long enough to get his bundles and then went away.


Mr. Pratt jumped up as soon as Joseph bagan his attack upon me and told the congregation what had really taken place. Of course the people believed Joseph, only a few old friends daring to side with me. The meeting broke up in a row, and my husband came home very much depressed. He said he could no longer remain in Nauvoo. He would get work elsewhere and then send for me, as he had not means enough to take us all. Under the excitement of the moment, the very afternoon of the meeting, he started toward Quincy, where he had friends. My husband had placed such unbounded confidence in Joseph that the thought of his treachery almost drove him wild.

As night came on I feared to be alone. I had heard from Mormons themselves how people had been "put away" for offending the Prophet, and I sent my little boy across the way for one of Judge Higbee's sons. The family had turned against the church.

Frank Higbee soon appeared, saying: "It will never answer for you to be alone. If I can't get some one else I'll come myself. It resulted in both the Higbee boys passing the night under my roof. One slept while the other kept guard. I did not go to bed. How could I close my eyes when I was almost frantic at the accusations Joseph had brought against me? At daylight young Higbee went in search of my husband's brother William to tell him that I ought not to be left without protection. On learning the state of affairs William went to Joseph Smith and said that it would be very disastrous to the church if Orson were allowed to leave. Evidently the same idea had occurred to the prophet, for he replied that he'd send for Orson, as he thought he could find him. This is what William repeated to me on his return.

Soon after Joseph and Hyrum (Smith) rode up to my door, escorted by several companies of the Nauvoo Legion. There may have been 200 men. Joseph called for me, and, before the troops, exclaimed:

"Here's the woman that has dishonored her husband, and I shouldn't be surprised if she had taken his life in order to go off with Bennett."

He then ordered three or four men to search the house for my husband's body.

While this was going on I paced the pavement in front of my house and declared to the troops that it was Joseph who had insulted me. He was the guilty one. Instead of my taking Orson Pratt's life it was far more likely he'd take it.

"She's a liar,'' cried Joseph. "This is all done to cover up her iniquity with Bennett."

The men listened and said nothing. All apparently believed Joseph, though I found out later that many did not.

Commanding the troops to follow, Joseph wheeled about and galloped off. I think the men who searched my house were Danites. Smith had followers who would do his bidding in all things.

In a couple of hours Joseph returned with a dozen or more men, saying:


"I have had a letter from your husband wherein he expresses belief in your guilt and declares that he will never return."

"It is false," I replied. "Remember your own confession to him. Show me the letter."

"No, that I cannot do, for you'll burn it. I'll let you see a copy."

"I want no copy. You know that you've received nothing from my husband."

When Mr. Pratt returned he declared he'd written no such letter. Joseph had insulted me to my face in order to set the public against me and render my testimony worthless. The Higbee's sent two men in search of my husband, whom they found ten or twelve miles down the river. He was returning, having decided to fight it out in Nauvoo.

During my husband's absence an old woman named Cleveland, who lived near me and who was said to keep a house of assignation for Joseph Smith, came to me and asked for a private interview. As soon as we were alone the old woman said:

"Joseph wants me to tell you that if you and Brother Orson will say nothing more about this affair, and will publish nothing, he'll promise you salvation to the kingdom of Heaven.'

"Tell Brother Joseph," I answered, "that I don't want salvation at his hands. As for publishing, I'll make no promises."

Remember that I was only 22 at the time and hardly knew what to say.


One day while my husband was asleep a paper was thrown into our yard, which I was curious enough to pick up, and found to my amazement that it was an "extra" containing a statement signed by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen H. Goddard to the effect that during my stay at their house I had been guilty of improper conduct with John C. Bennett. The falsehood stunned me, especially coming from such a source. Mrs. Goddard had always professed great friendship for me. During my husband's absence I had on Mrs. Goddard's urgent invitation passed several weeks with her, and while there had continued sewing for Mr. Bennett. I made all his shirts and Mrs. Goddard frequently assisted me. At one time I remember having done Mr. Bennett's washing. As usual Mr. Bennett came for his clothing, but I doubt whether I ever saw him alone. Mrs. Goddard was far more sociable with Mr. Bennett than I.

On reading the statement I waked Mr. Pratt, saying:

"Look at this."

"Oh, take it away!" exclaimed my husband. "I can't read any more of their lies."

"But, Mr. Pratt, surely you will go to the Goddards and demand an explanation?"

"No, I shall not go near them. It is useless. Whatever they make up their minds to do they will do."

"Then I'll go myself."

The Goddards' house was within sight, and as I started to go toward it, Stephen Goddard left it and hurried away in an opposite direction from me. Breathless I asked Mrs. Goddard the meaning of the statement.

"Did you sign your name yourself?" asked.


"I did. I couldn't help myself. Hyrum Smith brought the statement and insisted upon our signing it. Both of us refused and told him it was not true. He commanded us to do as he said or it would be the worse for us. He declared that it was necessary to save Joseph and the church. Mr. Goddard then concluded it was his duty to perjure himself, but I didn't. I told Hyrum that there was nothing between you and Bennett. My pleading was futile. The extra was to be issued and I must sign it. Fear alone made me lie."

We lived -- and that was all -- I never left the house without Mr. Pratt. Few dared to speak to us. Those who sympathized with us came at night. We were ignored by the whole church.

At this time my husband acted as though he had lost faith in Mormonism. It was a terrible trial for him to give up what he had been preaching so many years. I can't remember the date, but some weeks later, Joseph Smith came to our house and urged Mr. Pratt to drive with him. My husband consented, and during that drive Joseph succeeded to winning him over. The prophet acknowledged he'd sinned, but he had repented Mr. Pratt believed him to be a prophet of God, and clutched readily at the passages from Scripture which Joseph quoted to show where this and that prophet had sinned and been forgiven. My husband accepted Joseph as the father accepted the prodigal son, but I was bitterly opposed to the reconciliation.

Again Joseph became friendly. He drove my husband out daily and took him to his house.




By degrees Joseph taught Mr. Pratt that many things considered wrong were not opposed to God's law; that men might have plural wives: that no marriages were lawful out of the church and that every married woman had a right to select some other man for husband if she so desired.

It was well known that I did not believe in Mormonism, but I held my tongue. Joseph wanted us three to be rebaptized and begin anew. Joseph and my husband were baptized, but I refused, nor would I witness the ceremony.

After this baptism Joseph told my husband that God had revealed to him the necessity of the institution of plural wives. A council of apostles was held, at which Joseph made known the will of the Lord, and when my husband returned at midnight he said to me:

"I've something to tell you. I suppose with the rest I must go into poygamy. Brother Joseph says I must."

"My God! Mr. Pratt," I exclaimed, "do you accept that?"

"I must."


I could say nothing. Dazed, as white as a ghost, as motionless as a statue, I frightened my husband.

"What is the matter?'' he asked.

I was speechless. He gave me water. Still I made no answer. Then, taking me in his arms, he laid me on the bed, and through the night I said not a word. I was heart broken. and had I then died I should have been spared a world of misery. Finally tears came. That night Mr. Pratt promised that he would not go into polygamy for awhile. God knew, he said, that he had no inclination, but if the Lord required it he'd be obliged to comply some time.

I discovered, in course of time, that Joseph did not confine his attentions to women in the church. There was a pretty and interesting woman named White, a great favorite with river captains, whom we met at her father's house. I noticed that Joseph Smith used to be attentive to her and l questioned her on the subject. She laughed and admitted their intimacy, adding that Smith paid her well. She told Mr. Pratt in order to undeceive him regarding Joseph's character and offered to prove her charge, but, of course, Mr. Pratt would not descend to anything so low.

This woman was no Mormon. Was this practicing one's religion?

The revelation on polygamy was presented to such apostles only as Joseph thought would keep it secret -- Brigham Young, Kimball, Clayton and George A. Smith knew of the revelation. He feared public opinion, but laid the foundations for all the plans carried out by Brigham Young. Joseph wanted to get away from Gentile civilization. He wanted to rule untrammelled over the dupes of his unscrupulous brain. I was not surprised at Joseph's death. The destruction of Higbee's press had so enraged the Gentiles that I felt a conflict to be inevitable. There were many who had actually persuaded themselves that Joseph could not die, and it was a great blow to them when they discovered that he was mortal as the rest of mankind, but their faith to his church remained firm.


After Joseph's death Mr. Pratt declared that he should be obliged to go into polygamy, as Brigham Young insisted upon it. Young had forty women sealed to him in the Temple, and Heber C. Kimball said that he had two or three more than Brigham. Mr. Pratt had his choice between polygamy and expulsion. He chose the former, and four girls were sealed to him to Nauvoo. The first was a servant who had lived with me two years. The second was a seamstress. The third was an illiterate New Yorker, and the fourth was a sister of the first. This last girl soon left Pratt and the church and married a Gentile. Mr. Pratt never pretended that he had any affection for these women. Shortly before his death he told them he'd do his duty by them, but as for loving any of them as he loved his first wife, he never expected to, nor did he wish to. I know he was sincere, otherwise I never could have endured the agony.

I think he was tried at first, almost as much as I. We talked day and night on the subject of plural wives. We poured over the Bible together, and when the sacrifice seemed inevitable, I did my best to find the means of convincing myself that it was right. Remember that I loved my husband dearly. We had been very happy together. I tried to believe in Mormonism, as I could not leave him. Had my father been alive it might have been different, but he was dead and our old home was broken up. There was nowhere in the world to go with my young children. Whenever I met Mr. Pratt's wives I treated them civily.

The hegira to the Rocky Mountains set in, and I left with the first company, which included Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, William Clayton and George A. Smith. We crossed the Mississippi on the 14th of February, 1846. We chose our own season for leaving and suffered a great deal on account of wet weather, but we had enough to eat and, so far as I could judge, all seemed to enjoy themselves. On my father's death I inherited a little property, the proceeds of which were expended to outfits for the plains. My money not only bought my wagon out also the wagons of Mr. Pratt's other wives, whom I never saw except when Mr. Pratt brought them into my tent to sleep. You start at the thought. Don't you think a woman's sensibilities must be tolerably dull to endure such possibilities? Ah, it is hell on earth.


Why, I'd go out and sit in the cold and snow rather than occupy my tent while those women were in it. Believe me when I tell you that the knowledge of one's husband frequenting the society of improper women is nothing compared with the daily agony produced by polygamy.

Mr. Pratt's wives grew so bold as to tell me that my property belonged equally to them, and thereupon opened my boxes, suiting the action to the word. Finally I told Mr. Pratt that I could endure such a life no longer, for their influence was exerted over him as well. His manner to me and my children was exceedingly disagreeable. If polygamy can produce such an effect on a good man what must be its effect on the bad? Calling Mr. Pratt to my wagon I said:

"Either you put those women by themselves or I'll leave at once." We were on the other side of the Missouri River and the country was uninhabited. "As sure as I breathe," I continued, "I'll take my children on to the bare plains and starve to death rather than endure my present suffering."

Mr. Pratt made no reply on leaving my wagon, and I knew that he did not pass a pleasant afternoon with his plural wives. They were determined to have their own way, which way was to be perpetually in my way. We were encamped at the time of this incident and just before night Mr. Pratt brought up the cattle and moved the second wagon forty rods distant from mine.

He divided everything I had bought for myself, but l was perfectly willing. Their abuse arose from the fact that I was the first wife and had an influence over Mr. Pratt; they were jealous in consequence. This is not the usual fate of first wives. The last generally rules. From that time forth I never allowed those women to live with me, but they often came to see me for the purpose of annoying and insulting me. They tried also to turn my husband against me.


My associates on this journey across the plains were, for the most part, first wives. They all had trials similar to mine. We sympathized with one another and made the best of our situation. As for the rest, they were glad to get away from Nauvoo. At last they could do as they pleased.

We stopped a long time at winter quarters on the banks of the Missouri. While there Mr. Pratt was ordered on a mission to Europe and, taking me and my children, started in the spring of '47 or '48. The other women were left near winter quarters in charge of a friend, and remained there until our return.

We were gone three years. John Taylor was then preaching to Vienna, Mr. Pratt presided over all the European churches of the Latter Day Saints, attended to emigration and edited the _Millennial Star_ in Liverpool. I was glad to be in Europe, for I was away from polygamy. I enjoyed myself as much as I could under the circumstances. Two children were born in England; I lost them. I have had twelve children in all, nine born under terrible trials. One son was born on the plains while we were returning from England.


We returned from Europe by the way of New Orleans. Going up the Mississippi by steamboat, we were objects of great curiosity to the passengers, who soon learned that we were Mormons. A great desire being expressed to hear Mr. Pratt discourse on Mormon doctrines, he finally consented. The cabin was crowded. Fancy my astonishment when Mr. Pratt denied that polygamy was a tenet of Mormonism. He denounced the practice as vile, and denounced those who fastened this villainy upon the church. Well do I remember his coming to our stateroom at the conclusion of his address, saying:

"I never felt so badly in all my life at denying the practice of polygamy, but what was I to do? I didn't want to injure our people, and to have admitted the truth would have created indignation."

"l am amazed at your telling a deliberate. falsehood," I replied. "If you believe that you've had a revelation from God commanding polygamy, why didn't you have the manliness to say so?"

"I couldn't," said Mr. Pratt. "It would have displeased Brigham Young. I have had no orders to speak frankly on this subject."

Then my hunband walked the deck for hours, trying to shake off the remorse he sincerely felt. Nature made him truthful. Mormonism made him a liar. It was in the _Seer_ that the plural marriage ceremony was published for the first time, and never would my husband let me have a copy. Brigham Young was greatly incensed in consequence, as he desired the ceremony to be kept secret. He said that Orson Pratt ought to be excommunicated for acting against the interests of the church.




When we got back to winter quarters, Mr. Pratt's other wives joined us and we went on to Salt Lake. These women had two children, one having been born during our absence.

After we took up our residence in Salt Lake, my husband was off on missions half the time. Brigham Young and Mr. Pratt often disagreed on points of religion, and, as a consequence, Brigham kept him out of sight as much as possible. Mr. Pratt published something Brigham did not like and as punishment was sent South with the first company that settled St. George. Mr. Pratt went because he knew he'd be persecuted if he didn't, and Brigham sent me with him because I was not a good Mormon. How we suffered in that barren country! We passed the first summer in tents and the heat of the sun was intolerable.

We were stationed three years in St. George, during which Mr. Pratt passed half his time in Salt Lake, where lived his other wives. I think that Mr. Pratt had ten wives.

When it was decided that we were to go South Brigham Young took our homestead, valued at $10,000, and gave Mr. Pratt $3,000 for it, paying in broken down wagons, in oxen to be used in our journey, and in notes on the Southern Tithing Office for provisions, etc. After disposing of us in this summary manner, the prophet of the Lord put his own son into my house! Recollect that we had taken up the land, but as land had not yet come into the market, we had no title, but we built on it. As a great deal of fault was found with Brigham Young by Mormons high in office, the president concluded to restore our house to us with one-half of our lot. The best half was retained by Brigham, and thereon he kept one of his wives.


When Mr. Pratt was called to the Austrian mission in 1864 I was permitted by Brigham to return to our home in Salt Lake, and when land came into market I filed for the lot on which our house stood, while President Young filed for both the lot he had appropriated and mine, too. His object was to make me his tenant. When the time came for the Probate Court to render a decision as to ownership of this land the Mormon judge gave it all to Brigham Young. My lawyers and my sons carried the case to the United States District Court, when my lot was given to me.

When Brigham heard of this intention he said to my eldest son:

"Does your mother intend to carry her case to the United States district court? Has she money enough?"

"I think we can get enough," answered Orson.

"Then let her carry it to the United States district court, or to hell if you like, and your mother go with it!"

Then Brigham Young appealed to the United States Supreme Court, and, after a contest of three years, the decision was in my favor. It made Brigham my bitter enemy. No one dared oppose him, and even my husband thought it awul in me to brave the prophet.


When Mr. Pratt returned from England, just after my regaining the property, he did not come near me, and, on meeting him accidentally, I asked for an explanation.

"When you return that property to the rightful owner I'll come to the house, probably -- not before."

"Would you have me turned into the street?"

"Better be in the street than holding what does not belong to you."

"Very well; stay away if you like. I am the rightful owner."

He never believed that the Supreme Court would give me the property. In going on missions Mr. Pratt left all his wives at home and twice married abroad. On returning from Austria he informed me that there would be a radical change in his domestic arrangements. Heretofore he had made his home with me. For the future he should divide his time equally among his wives, of whom there were then five in Salt Lake. It would be turn and turn about and he would come to me one week in five.

"Under such circumstances I'll never live with you again, never!" was my reply.

"Yes, you will," said Mr. Pratt.

"You thought you couldn't endure what you have already gone through, but you did, and you'll come to this."

"I have lived in plurality for many years for the sake of having your aid in controlling our boys, who were growing up, but if you take the course you have indicated, there is an end between you and me."


I never lived with Mr. Pratt after this interview, although he urged me again and again. In the latter part of his life he acknowledged he had not been wise.

For six montes after our separation I shed more tears than a woman should shed in a lifetime. Then I became more composed and accepted facts. Not long after Mr. Pratt refused to support, me. He had wives who were bearing children, and it was his duty to care for them. My boys could help me. I was told that Mr. Pratt thought to bring me back by taking this stand. He made a mistake.

There was only one boy able to assist me. My eldest son had a family of his own to support. The other boys were at school. Mr. Pratt declared that he couldn't help it. He should do nothing more for me.


In the past I had always employed help. At the time I was obliged to do all the work, including washing, and I contracted the rheumatism, from which I have since been a cripple. Two weeks after my husband told me he could no longer contribute to my support he was sealed in the Endowment House to a girl of fifteen, by whom he had three children. When Mr. Pratt was on a mission this young woman had three other children by different men, and, on Mr. Pratt's return, quarreled with him because he did not pay her sufficient attention. Becoming dissatisfied, Mr. Pratt refused to live with her, and then the unfortunate creature became the mother of twins. A married Mormon was the father, and his wife left him in consequence. Had this girl been married in monogamy to a man she loved, and who had given her the care and affection she needed, do you believe she would have fallen and entailed so much misery upon herself and others? Mr. Pratt and polygamy were to blame for it all.

Some of Mr. Pratt's wives could barely read or write. One was utterly ignorant until after her marriage. She lived at Filmore, and was a wild girl, without training of any kind. Mr. Pratt was introduced to the tomboy one day and married her the next. Why? Because Brigham Young had told him to take another wife. If Brigham had told him to walk into a fiery furnace he would have gone.

I once had a carriage on which Brigham Young fastened his covetous eyes.

"Let me have it," said Brigham to my husband. "A wheelbarrow is good enough for her."

When Brigham wanted anything he took It.


I should consider my life a perfect waste had I not brought up my children to hate Mormonism. All my boys -- I have no girls -- with one exception, are apostates. The Mormon is deaf and has a good "saint" for a wife, but he is no polygamist.

If I had my life to live over I should act very differently, for now I wonder how I for one moment endured polygamy. I never knew an hour's real happiness until I left my husband. I never repented the step. I felt free for the first time in years. I began to respect myself, and became so much weaned from Mr. Pratt that I grew to despise him. He died in the autum of 1881 at the age of seventy.

I never was a religious fanatic. When I renounced Mormonism I used my reason, and now my creed is to do right to all -- to be honest and pure and upright. If I am to be governed literally by the Bible, I might as well be a good Mormon as belong to any other sect. Anything and everything can be proved by the Bible. Hence the hold Mormonism has on the illiterate. Departure from Mormonism generally destroys belief in the Bible and in all revealed religion. This is natural. Religionists, however, cannot understand why most of us apostates belong to no church. "Now the Bible," they begin --

"Stop just where you are," I reply. "I deny your premises."

"Then I can't talk with you."

Poor souls, not to know what the Bible has done for us!   KATE  FIELD.

Note 1: A very similar, but slightly shorter, version of Field's report was featured in the New York City Weekly Press of Dec. 7, 1892.

Note 2: Kate Field's investigative tenure in Salt Lake City ran from mid October, 1883 to late June 1884. From there she went from there to Nauvoo and to Independence, Missouri, to interview RLDS leaders Joseph III and Alexander Hale Smith. See various entries in "Leaves from My Diary" in Kate Field's Washington, as well as Leonard J. Arrington's 1971 booklet, Kate Field and J.H. Beadle: Manipulators of the Mormon Past.

Note 3: In her 1932 book, Heritage of Years: Kaleidoscopic Memories, Frances M. Wolcott described her experience of accompanying Kate Field to Sarah Pratt's "unpretentious house" in Salt Lake City, to conduct an interview with the late Apostle's estranged wife. Wolcott's reminiscences generally agree with Field's 1892 account. See also Jerome B. Stillson's 1877 report on Mrs. Pratt, as published in the New York Herald, as well as various Sarah Pratt interview excerpts published on pages 33-63 in Wilhelm R. von Wymetal's 1886 Mormon Portraits I. -- Richard S. Van Wagoner's "Sarah M Pratt: The Shaping of an Apostate" in Dialogue 19:2 (Summer 1986) provides a good overview of this remarkable lady.


Daily  Advocate.
Vol. ?                             Newark, Ohio, Monday, June 19, 1893.                             No. ?


They Are Making a Pilgrimage to Mormon Hill, near Palmyra N. Y.

Lyons, N. Y., June 19 -- Mormon Hill, near Palmyra, is now the Mecca toward which many of the Latter-day Saints are traveling. A party of Mormons from from Woods Cross, Davis county, U. T., reached Palmyra Thursday, and visited the spot where Joseph Smith is supposed to have dug up the sacred plates from which the Mormon Bible printed. Major Gilbert of Palmyra, who printed the Mormon Bible, was visited and he accompanied them on their trip. The owner of the hill has fenced it in, anticipating the pilgrimage, and charges an admission fee of 25 cents a head. The printing press upon which first Mormon Bible was printed is still in use. C. L. Barliss, the present owner, uses it in printing the Rose Counsel and Times. The Mormons are trying to purchase the old printing press, and also Mormon Hill. If successful in their negotiations, they will erect a memorial building on the spot where the plates were discovered.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                           Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, January 19, 1896.                           No. ?


The Rise and Fall of the Mormon Empire.

In 1874 I first went to Utah, then the Mormon empire. Brigham Young was in his glory, in the full zenith of his power, then the president of the church, its prophet, seer and revelator. Never on this continent and hardly over any people in the history of the world was the influence of one man more surely felt and exercised. His word was law, the beck of his finger was a command. He ruled with self-possession, always studying for the pecuniary interest of the people, giving forth from his large experience and his distinguished ability so far as worldly affairs were concerned the best of advice and judgment. At that time very few indeed in the Mormon church doubted his power or disobeyed his command. He was supreme not only in worldly affairs, questions of taxation, or political positions such as mayors of cities, representatives to the legislature, both in the house and senate of the territory, but above all was he supreme as the head of the church to which obedience was the first law. A man of distinguished personality, of greater self-possession than I have ever seen in any man, practical in every sense of the word and he was one of the most determined characters in all history.

As I am obliged to make two or three talks on this subject in order to do it justice, I must first give some of the principles upon which the church was founded, its history and its pecularities under which and on account of which a theocratic empire was built up in this country.

The Vision of Joseph Smith.

In 1820 Joseph Smith claimed to have seen a vision in which an angel appeared to him and revealed that in a certain place in western New York in a hill, which he calls the Hill of Comora, he would find some gold plates. He claimed that the angel guided him to the hill, which is in Ontario county, New York, and that on the west side of the hill not far from the top he found the plates deposited in a stone box. he says he found also a breastplate and a "urim and thummim." He claimed that the angel directed him not to remove the plates until four years, as the time was not yet come; that if he did remove them before the time appointed he would be destroyed, and so he kept the secret, as he claims, although he went every year to the place and was there met by the angel and received further information concerning the Lord's purpose and in what manner his kingdom was to be constituted.

Joseph was born in 1805 and in 1825 at twenty years of age, the time having arrived in which he was to take out the plates, he presented himself on the Hill of Comora and received them from the angel with the charge that he was to be responsible for them and that if he preserved them and returned them when they were called for, he would be favored with a divine blessing. For the next two years he seems to have been very busy preserving his sacred plates and convincing the people of his divine mission. By the means of "urim and thummim," and the assistance of Martin Harris, he translated a part of the plates. At the time Joseph was pretty short of money and he induced Martin Harris to mortgage his farm for the purpose of publishing the "Mormon Bible," as Joseph called it. Martin Harris neglected his work, put in a good deal of his time in writing for the prophet Joseph and Satan thereupon moved Mrs. Harris to interfere, and she got hold of 116 pages of the translation and she kept it for a year, and the prophet Joseph lost his gift of prophecy and translation.

Gets a New Scribe.

Finally in 1829 Oliver Cowdery came forward and took the position of scribe but the Lord came to Joseph's side about this time and told him that Martin Harris was a wicked man and that in all probability the translation which had been stolen was not correct and he advised Joseph to begin another book called the Book of Nephi, evidently as thus there would be no conflict in translation. Thereupon moved by the spirit, Joseph began his sacred volume with the Book of Nephi instead of the Book of Mormon [sic - Lehi?] as he originally intended. So, as he claims, this ancient American history, prophecy and gospel, which had been hidden in this stone box, for at least 1,200 years, was not completely translated because of the human frailties of Sister Harris who has very much to answer for in keeping back that portion of the Mormon bible. The devil made an emissary of Mrs. Harris and stole the first chapters of the book intended by the Lord for the salvation of the world and the special benefit of the latter day saints.

Take to the Woods -- for Prayer.

Oliver Cowdery installed as scribe, went on with the translation. By and by they came to a portion of the narrative touching on the question of baptism. Joseph claimed that it should be by immersion, so being somewhat in doubt, they went to the woods and while praying and calling upon the Lord a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light, as Joseph said, "and having laid his hands upon us ordained us saying unto us: 'Upon you, my fellow servants, in the name of the Messiah, I confer the priesthood of Aaron which holds the keys of the ministering of angels and of the gospel of repentance and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.'" And Joseph said that the Lord told him that he should baptize Oliver Cowdery and that afterwards Cowdery should baptize him, and from that day to this, baptism has been one of the great missions of the Mormon church. They are constantly quoting the time when they were baptized. Joseph says that as he himself came up out of the water he stood up and prophesied.

Joseph proceeded with his translation by the use of "urim and thummim" and so in due time David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, exercised their faith as they say, in their testimony to the book of Mormon, "with words of soborness an angel of God came down from heaven and he brought and laid before our eyes that we beheld and saw the plates and engraving thereon."

The Book of Mormon Published.

In 1830 the translation was published under the title of the "Book of Mormon," and thus the prophet Joseph and the "Book of Mormon" were the founders of the Mormon church. On the 6th of April, 1830, in the house of Peter Whitmer in Fayette, Seneca county, N.Y., the Mormon church was fiunded by Joseph Smith the prophet, Oliver Cowdery his scribe, Hiram Smith, an older brother of Joseph's, Peter Whitmer, Samuel H. Smith, a younger brother of Joseph, and David Whitmer.

Poor Martin Harris, on account of that wife of his having stolen the first chapter, does not seem to have been permitted to be one of the founders of the church. Referring to this, Orson Pratt, the great Mormon preacher, says: "Thus was the Church of Christ once more restored to the earth, holding the keys of authority and power to bind, to loose and to seal on the earth and in heaven according to the commandments of God and the revelations of Jesus Christ."

Joseph Casts out Devils.

[illegible] ... L.E.H.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                           Cleveland, Saturday, February 29, 1896.                           No. ?


I notice in one of the recent letters of "L. E. H." on Mormons and Mormonism a reference to Oliver Cowdery, one of the early leading lights of the Mormons, and I think a co-author of their Bible. After Cowdery left Kirtland he came to Tiffin and commenced the practice of the law. He was a small, quiet and retiring man, and I remember as a boy of fifteen years the rumors that prevailed about him in Tiffin.

He seldom left his house at night and the windows of his residence were always closely curtained and his doors constantly locked. It was the current impression there, that because of his desertion of Mormonism he felt that he would be assassinated. He presented himself as a candidate for prosecuting attorney, but the stories about his previous connection with the then odious church compelled him to withdraw his name. He left Tiffin some time afterwards, went to Elk Horn, Wis., and became prominent in politics there, editing a paper. But the Mormon story followed him and destroyed his prospects. It was said that despairing of success in politics or business outside of Mormonism that he returned to its creed and affiliated thereafter until his death, with the religionists of that faith....

Note: See also the Plain Dealer of May 7, 1922.


Vol. ?                           Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday, March 15, 1896.                           No. ?



When I see 6,000 United States troops coming into the territory of Utah, marching down the canyon, ostensibly towards the city of Salt Lake, and all at once I hear rumbling, tumbling down the mountain side immense volleys of rocks, let loose upon the soldiers by the order of Brigham Young; when I see the horses and wagons demolished, the soldiers put to rout and the officers startled and stampeded as if the elements had broken loose in avalanche from the mountain side; when I see afterward this same man, Brigham Young, holding the United States forces at bay and in an adrioit way keeping their camps far distant from the city; when I see that for winter quarters he forces them into encampment fifty miles from the city which they had come to conquer; when I see at last this same army disbanded, their supplies sold out, their horses, mules and wagons, their flour, their bacon and even their guns and amunition sold at auction and bought in for less than one-hundredth part of what they cost the government, and chiefly by Brigham Young and his associates; when I consider also the fact that what these Mormons needed at that time more than anything else was iron, mechanical implements, wagons and harness, and that the disbanding of this army and the sale of the supplies to minister to the need and the very strength of the Mormons, I can but admire the ability of that directing hand wielded by Brigham Young....

Birth of the Isms.

Those who can remember back to 1833 will recall those times as the days of isms, Spiritualism, Millerism, Abolutionism, and at atht time the fad of writing chronicles and stories in the style of the Bible was very common; so some of these wicked enemies of the saints have even charged the Prophet Joseph with stealing his theology from a story written by Solomon Spaulding. Spaulding had written a story about the ancient inhabitants of America. To adopt the theory that Joseph Smith wrote the Mormon Bible in imitation of the story of Solomon Spaulding is to make him a willful impostor. Others have been more lenient and concluded that he was unwittingly a spirit medium. One can but feel as he compares the constant plagiarism in the Mormon Bible, that the whole thing was a concoction. If the church had been founded on the Mormon Bible alone and not on the Jewish Bible and the Christian Testament it would have had no validity.   L.E.H.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                     Tuesday, April 7, 1896.                                    No. ?


Prof. Wright of Oberlin was in Kirtland Monday afternoon. He delivered a lecture in Willoughby the same evening. Prof. Wright came to examine the temple and get certain information to place in the archives of his college relative to the history of the Latter-day Saints. Prof. Wright said the Spaulding manuscript, which for forty years, was believed by some to be the work that Joseph Smith copied the Book of Mormon from, is among the archives of Oberlin college. He says the belief anout the Book of Mormon being copied from the Spaulding manuscript is absurd. He says there is absolutely no similarity in the two documents.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                     Tuesday, May 18, 1897.                                     No. ?


I was greatly surprised to see in the World of Sunday a long article on the Mormons, in which the old and long since exploded theory that Solomon Spaulding wrote the Book of Mormon is again exploited. The theory was put forth by E. H. [sic] Howe, of Painesville, many years ago, in a book which was called "Mormonism Unveiled." The book was a lie from the beginning to end, and it is now pretty certain that Howe knew that it was a lie when h e published it. At any rate he had in his possession at the time, Spaulding's silly story in manuscript, and yet told a gauzy yarn about that manuscript having been lost in a printing office in Pittsburg. Howe's book stood as the history of the subject for many years. But about a decade ago, President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, while in Hawaii, discovered among the papers left to the daughter of Howe [sic], who lives there, the original document. Knowing its great historic importance, President Fairchild brought it home with him, and it is now in the library at Oberlin College.

The Mormons, in collaboration with President Fairchild, have published the "Manuscript Found." There is not the least resemblance between that and the Book of Mormon. There is not a line or expression in the one book that is even similar to the other. All this is well known to anyone who has examined the subject and who has enough information in regard to the matter to make anything that he writes worth a moment's attention. The World was evidently imposed upon by some careless penny-a-liner.

Of course this discovery of Solomon Spaulding's stupid book does not explain how the Book of Mormon did originate. It simply demonstrates beyond a question that it did not originate in the way Howe and all who have followed him have asserted that it did. The Mormons have made a great deal of the discovery, and well they may. They assert that it was clearly an interposition of providence to protect their sacred book from its vilifiers. They regard it much in the same way as they do the fact that the temple at Kirtland, during the almost half century that it stood without an occupant, did not receive a crack in the walls or a bit of damage from frost or weather except that the shingles rotted away.

Note: The above article, with accompanying comments, was reprinted in the May 26, 1897 issue of the Saints' Herald. The correspondent who wrote in to the Recorder was almost certainly a Reorganized LDS from the Kirtland area.


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, January 29, 1898.                         No. 5.



I have read with much enjoyment this vigorous, racy and useful tract of R. B. Neal on the claims of Joseph Smith as a prophet. It meets a present and pressing want that is otherwise unmet. I have had occasion for just such a tract, and I could not find it. The Mormon Evangelists are overrunning large portions of our country, and are zealously seeking to make proselytes to their absurd teachings. Here and there minds are disturbed and communities excited by them, which would only need the circulation of a few tracts like this to be effectually rid of such false teachers. The fitness of Bro. Neal for this task lies in the fact that he knows just how to put a thing in order to reach the class of minds most likely to be deluded by the Mormon doctrines.

Another tract on "Continued Revelation." the "rock" upon which the Mormon Church rests, will speedily follow. Still others are in preparation. We commend them to all who find it needful to be posted on these important issues. I am persuaded that multitudes of people will be glad to avail themselves of these timely and helpful tracts.
                                                           GEORGE DARSIE.
FRANKFORT, KY., January 10, 1898.

With the answer to this question Mormonism stands or falls...

(see R. B. Neal's Tract #1 for this text)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, February 26, 1898.                         No. 8.


I find the following quotation from Congressman King, of Utah, in a dispatch from New York, published in the Salt Lake Tribune of February 7th:

Mormonism is a challenge which meets you on the roadway of life and compels you to give the watchword of true Christianity. It compels you to say whether you are reall with God or not; it challenges the orthodoxy of to-day and calls it hetrodoxy. Mormonism has come to make one the whole world, one nation, one people, and one faith. It has not come to destroy. It has come to unite, and to show God's will as it really exists.

It is well known to many readers of your paper that Mormonism is an aggressive religion...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, March 5, 1898.                         No. 9.


... Our great need is free literature to distribute all through this south land. Not books of several hundred pages, but leaflets, such as R. B. Neal's. Why could not D. H. Bays give us one in a nutshell? And why would it not be the very best missionary work for our Home Society to have one hundred thousand such leaflets printed and distributed free? I would be glad to place one or two thousand in the homes in three or four counties where I will be traveling this year.

Johnson City, Tenn.           J. C. DWYER.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, April 9, 1898.                         No. 15.


... The Standard's endorsement of the course pursued by the church at Grayson is appreciated, and will tend to strengthen the movement for good...

My next tract on Mormonism is ready for the printers. It is entitled: "Smithianity; or Mormonism Refuted by Mormons, or Seer vs. Seer." B. B. Tyler will write the introduction to it. A critical lawyer friend, to whom I submit my copy to test my logic and argument said: "The first tract on Joseph Smith, Jr., as a prophet, is, compared with this, as a pop-gun compared with a twelve-inch Columbian for effectiveness."

What I need, want and must have, is money to push this tract work. Bro. Tyler and Bro. Darsie each sent me two dollars; H. D. Clark, of Mt. Sterling, sent me one dollar yesterday to "aid in putting the anti-Mormon tracts where they would do much good." ...
                                      R. B. NEAL.
Grayson, Ky.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, April 30, 1898.                         No. 18.






The author of this tract is engaged in thorough and much-needed work. His writing is done with deliberation. He is sure of his ground. He knows on what he stands. His statement of facts is indisputable. Mormon testifies against Mormon. That there is such a lack of unity in the teaching of Mormonism will be a revelation to the readers of the following pages. One's heart stands still as he reads, for the first time, some of the quotations on the following pages concerning our Father and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. It is difficult to think of anything more repulsive. Even the old Book is changed to bolster up Mormonism. The leaders in the Church of the Latter Day Saints have the effrontery to add and take from the Scriptures given by inspiration of God. The author of "Smithianity: or Mormonism Refuted by Mormons," is not engaged in writing poetry, nor classic prose. A spade is a spade with him. He is without doubt desperately in earnest in exposing what he regards as at once a colossal, blasphemous and dangerous imposture. Facts are needed. The pages of this tract are packed full of them. The thanks of all Christians are due to the author of "Smithianity: or Mormonism Refuted by Mormons," for the work he has done in the preparation of this tract.
                                                B. B. TYLER.

An ungovernable necessity forces me to coin a new word to define exactly an "ism" or system, that I have been patiently and thoroughly investigating for several months. ...

(see R. B. Neal's Tract #2 for this text)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, May 7, 1898.                         No. 19.


... I have a joke on B. B. Tyler. A Mormon got out a tract on Discipleism -- a red affair -- quotes Bro. Tyler and a number of other prominent brethren in a way to do great damage. I wrote Bro. Tyler. He wrote back: "You can pronounce it a forgery, for I never wrote to a Mormon in my life, according to my best recollections." He was not up to Mormon tricks. I sent him the tract. The quotation sounded like Tyler, etc. He was in the fix of the puzzled Dutchman over it. Shortly after I got a call for a tract with only two cents enclosed. Ordinarily the writer would have been taken for a brother. I sent it to Bro. T., told him it was a Mormon Elder, and that I would develop him. I had one of the man's tracts in my desk. I wrote him, calling attention to some points, and enclosed a copy of my tract, "Was Joe Smith a Prophet?" Now, they don't like the "Joe" part -- want you to write Joseph. Through force of habit and education I say and write "Joe Smith " just as I say and write "Abe Lincoln." The last wounds none, manifest nothing about the character or life of the grand man. So its not so much the title and the wearer of it.

But I "developed him." Tyler can have the laugh on me. Here is a sample: "Had you (I) lived in New Testament I predict you would have written a tract against those saints, calling John the Baptist, 'Old Jack the Soaker,' and Timothy 'Tim, the wine-bibber.'"

Now, a Mormon Elder can predict backward just as well as forward. Wonder this predictor did not predict my tract and its contents before he read it. I am not a prophet, but I have observed that the "hit hound howls." He says: "From what I know of Clark Braden and D. R. Dungan I would judge, from your writings, that you took your Divinity Course under their teaching." As I never saw Bro. Braden, and have only a very short acquaintance with Bro. Dungan, his judgment is on par with his prediction. One thing is certain I am now taking a "divinity" (?) course under Joseph Smith, Jr., Brigham Young, Parley Pratt and can prove it to the entire satisfaction of any Mormon apostle.

He adds in a P. S.: "I note what B. B. Tyler and R. E. Dunlap say in the Christian-Evangelist of your work. I have not read a fair, honest word against the Latter Day Saints -- D. H. Bay's book included." I commend to him my forthcoming tracts; John D. Lee's Confession, with death at his side, or his part in. the Mountain Massacre, and finally the second chapter of the Second Epistle of Peter could be read with great profit by all who embrace the system of Smithianity, or so-called Mormonism.
      GRAYSON, Ky.           R. B. NEAL.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, June 11, 1898.                         No. 24.


... The following is a clipping from the Winchester (Ky.) Democrat:

The Robertson Advance says that the Mormons have succeeded in making many converts in Claysville Precinct, in Harrison. Several prominent people, it is said, have accepted the faith of these preachers, among them Joseph Martin, one of the prominent people of his vicinity, and who is said to be seriously considering the idea of selling out his possessions to emigrate to Utah. It is further told that as many as twenty people were baptized by Mormons in South Licking, near Poindexter, last Sunday. The old Methodist Church on Curry's Run is well-nigh broken up by reason of the Mormon settlement.

A few copies of my tracts judiciously distributed would have minified, if not prevented such results. I ship some of them to both Harrison and Robertson Counties. People in some counties and cities will have a rude awakening to the dangers of an evil "ism" they could "de-horn" -- render harmless -- if they would take the right steps in time.

While I am not built for discouragement, in any work to which I place my hands, against any odds, if I know I am in the right, I must admit that the general indifference, on the part chiefly of our editors and other leaders of thought and action, in this great battle of Mormonism, alarm me. Every editor ought to be thundering volley after volley into "Joe Smith-ism." That's what it is, and all it is. Their elders swarm over the land. Seventeen hundred are now in the field from the Brighamite branch alone. How many the Josephite branch has out I don't know....

Here are a few items from Mormon papers that would give emphasis to my call:

* * * But it is not worth while to refute his statements. The American people are so rapidly becoming correctly informed about the Mormons, and are learning to entertain such profound respect for them, that jaundiced defamers of them meet with vastly less credence and sympathy than were freely given a few years ago.

In fact the change of feeling towards the Mormons throughout the United States, which has taken place within a few years, is wonderful. For example, in the central part of Kentucky, a few months ago, a minister undertook to deliver to a wholly non-Mormon audience an anti-Mormon address; but his hearers interrupted him with indignant hisses, and he was obliged to desist. A gentleman who has recently traveled in that state told the writer that there are large districts in it which an audience composed of the common people will not listen to a speaker who undertakes to abuse the Mormons.

The sentiment here referred to as prevailing in portions of Kentucky exists, to a greater or less extent, in a number of other states; and as correct information concerning the Mormons is spread among the American people, this sentiment will spread. -- Deseret News, Salt Lake City.

      GRAYSON, Ky.           R. B. NEAL.

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 34.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, October 15, 1898.                         No. 42.


The title of my next anti-Mormon tract is: "The Stick of Ephraim" vs. "The Bible of the Western Continent;" or, "The Manuscript Found" vs. The Book of Mormon. F. D. Power, who launches this Tract No. III., has this to say in the way of an introduction:

This is what may be called "mighty interesting reading." The writer, like Dewey at Manila, "smothers the guns" of the enemy. Lovers of truth everywhere owe Mr. Neal a debt for his patient investigation and merciless exposure of the false teachings of this false system. The most unlearned reader must see at once how preposterous are the claims of Mormonism. The propagandists of this fraud are active. They deceive the very elect. They enter the homes of unsuspecting people, impose upon their hospitality and introduce in the most insidious and jesuitical fashion their doctrines. Such plain statements of the truth as the tract bears about Mormonism should be circulated everywhere. The people should have light. A diligent use of such rapid-fire guns as this tract will accomplish what all the great twelve and thirteen-inch breech-loading rifles have failed to do.

The author will soon be able to say to civilization, in the immortal words of Bill Anthony: "I have to report that the ship is blown up and is sinking."

In a private note Bro. Power wrote:

"I congratulate you on the tract. It is good. I see no criticism to make on it. Made short my introduction, as you will see. If your authorities are safe, which I take for granted, I see no escape from the "bottle" without a Schley-pounding, so to speak. Success to you in getting the tract to the readers."

My authorities can be banked on. They are the highest and best in Mormondom. I want and need aid to get this tract out and scatter in needy fields. I have from time to time set forth the proof of the inroads the elders are making in the mountains of Kentucky and throughout the South, especially Florida. I am able to have only a limited number -- five thousand copies -- of this tract printed in first edition. The price will be twenty-five cents for single copies. Advance subscribers, their names enrolled as they come in, can purchase them for 40 per cent discount from that price, and I will mail them where directed. Roll in the orders, so that there will be no delay in getting it out in the field. "The king's business requireth haste."

I earnestly request exchanges of this paper interested in this light, and all ought to be, to give the cause a lift by an insertion of this prospectus.
                                         R. B. NEAL.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 35.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, April 15, 1899.                         No. 15.


WINGFIELD WATSON, Spring Prairie, Wis.

Dear Brother: -- Your welcome favor of the 19th inst. reached here yesterday...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 35.                         Cincinnati, Ohio, August 5, 1899.                         No. 31.



The following remarkable document ought to be placed upon the "wings of the wind" and scattered all over the earth. Oliver Cowdery was one of the "Three Witnesses" to the Book of Mormon. Every copy of that book sent forth bears this statement from him:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, unto whom this work shall come, that I, through the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, and I know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for God himself told me so with his voice.God also showed me the engravings which are upon the plates. An angel of God came down from heaven and he brought and laid the plates before my eyes, and I beheld and saw the plates and the engravings thereon. God commanded me that I should bear record of it; wherefore to be obedient to the commandment of the Lord I bear testimony of these things.

In addition to this he claimed that on a certain occasion John the Baptist came down from heaven and "laid hands on him," giving him the "keys of the Aaronic priesthood" or "the right to preach the gospel and to baptize." Also, that after that "Peter, James and John" came down from the courts of glory and "laid hands on him," giving him the keys of the Melchizedek priesthood, the authority and power to impart the Holy Spirit, the power to work miracles, etc.

This is the foundation of the boasting claims of these Mormon elders, who are hoofing it all over the land. Joe Smith or Oliver Cowdery's "hands have been laid on them," or some one's hands, to whom Cowdery or Smith gave the right to impart the keys of both the priesthoods. If a man can not trace his ordination through an unbroken line back to Cowdery or Smith his claim is N. G., as to his right to preach, baptize, etc. Now read what follows.

Personally appeared before me, the undersigned, a Notary Public within and for said county, G. J. Keen, a resident of said county, to me well known, and being sworn according to law, makes oath and says:

I was well acquainted with Oliver Cowdery who formerly resided in this city, that sometimes in the year 1840 Henry Cronise, Samuel Waggoner and myself, with other Democrats of this county, determined to establish a Democratic newspaper in this city to aid in the election of Martin Van Buren to the Presidency, and we authorized Henry Cronise, Esq., to go East and purchase a suitable press for that purpose. Mr. Cronise went East, purchased a press and engaged Oliver Cowdery to edit the paper. Mr. Cowdery arrived in Tiffin (O.) some time before the press arrived. Some time after Mr. Cowdery's arrival in Tiffin, we became acquainted with his (Cowdery's) connection with Mormonism. We immediately called a meeting of our Democratic friends, and having the Book of Mormon with us, it was unanimously agreed that Mr. Cowdery could not he permitted to edit said paper. Mr. Cowdery opened a law office in Tiffin, and soon effected a partnership with Joel W. Wilson.

In a few years Mr. Cowdery expressed a desire to associate himself with a Methodist Protestant church of this city. Rev. John Souder and myself were appointed a committee to wait on Mr. Cowdery and confer with him respecting his connection with Mormonism and the Book of Mormon. We accordingly waited on Mr. Cowdery at his residence in Tiffin, and there learned his connection, from him, with that order, and his full and final renunciation thereof.

We then inquired of him if he had any objection to making a public recantation. He replied that he had objections; that, in the first place, it could do no good; that he had known several to do so and they always regretted it. And, in the second place, it would have a tendency to draw public attention, invite criticism, and bring him into contempt. "But," said he, "nevertheless, if the church require it, I will submit to it, but I authorize and desire you and the church to publish and make known my recantation."We did not demand it, but submitted his name to the church, and he was unanimously admitted a member thereof. In that meeting he arose and addressed the audience present, admitted his error and implored forgiveness, and said he was sorry and ashamed of his connection with Mormonism. He continued his membership while he resided in Tiffin, and became superintendent of the Sabbath-School, and led an exemplary the while he resided with us.

I have lived in this city upwards of fifty-three years, was auditor of this county, was elected to that office in 1840. I am now in my eighty-third year, and well remember the facts above related.  (Signed)    G. J. KEEN.

Sworn to before me and subscribed in my presence, this 14th day of April, A. D. 1885.
                        FRANK L. EMICH,
                       Notary Public in Seneca, O.

As I will comment fully upon the above document in my tract on the "Three Witnesses," I hand it out now without further words. I trust all will realize the importance of giving this document the widest circulation. The missionaries of "Smithism" are all over the earth and brimfull of zeal. Have it put in county papers and religious weeklies. My Tract No. V. will be ready for the public by the 27th of this month. Russell Errett introduces it. It has never been published in any paper.

Frayson, Kr.

Note: R. B. Neal never published a tract on the "Three Witnesses." His Tract No. V. was entitled, "The Stick of Ephraim... Part II," and had nothing to do with the "Three Witnesses." The 1885 Gabriel J. Keen statement was originally solicited by Arthur B. Deming and published by him in April, 1888. R. B. Neal may have copied the text directly from Deming's newspaper, or possibly he noticed it when he acquired some source materials Thomas Gregg gathered together, but never got around to using in his 1890 book, The Prophet of Palmyra. Rev. Neal next reprinted the 1885 Keen statement in his article, "Oliver Cowdery's Renunciation of Mormonism," published in the April-May, 1905 issue of The Helper. That article was also off-printed as Sword of Laban Leaflets, No. 12, later in 1905. Later that year Neal again made use of the Keen document, this time in his infamous Tract No. 9: "Oliver Cowdery's Defence and Renunciation."


Vol. 35.                           Cincinnati,  October 21, 1899.                           No. 42.



A. public debate will begin at 10 A. M.,Tuesday, November 7, in Alma, Ill., between Clark Braden, President of Southern Illinois Christian College, and J. N. White, one of the twelve apostles of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, alias the Josephite wing of Mormonism. Issues: "Was Joseph Smith a Prophet of God?" "Are the Churches of Christ Scriptural Churches?"

                                    CLARK BRADEN.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                           Cleveland, Sunday, November 26, 1899.                           No. ?

Division in the Mormon Church.

Traditions of the First Temple of the Saints in Kirtland, O. --
The "Reorganized Church" and Its Beliefs

The controversy in the matter of seating B. H. Roberts, the newly elected Utah representative in congress, has revived interest in the rise and growth of that peculiar religious sect known as the Mormons. It is not generally known that there are two distinct bodies or factions known as Mormons, yet differing so widely from each other in church methods and doctrinal tenets that they can hardly be designated as branches of the same church.

The larger body settled in Utah fifty-two years ago after ineffectual attempts to establish themselves in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, says a Painesville correspondent of the Buffalo Express....

Kirtland, O., is a quiet hamlet a few miles away from the great east and west thoroughfare -- a picturesque location -- with an intelligent population, fully allive to current happenings. It lies some twenty-five miles east of Cleveland.

Here the first decided stand was taken by the followers of Smith, the Prophet, in 1832. He had arrived in the winter of 1831, bringing a translation of the hieroglyphic plates....

Sydney Rigdon, a prominent preacher and one time orator of the Mahoning (O.) Baptist association, early accepted the Mormon revelation and, it is stated, made a public confession in which he said that he had been preaching the wrong doctrine, and he wept like a child in relating it. It is hinted that, as he looked upon his own household, his hatred or fear of the polygamous tendencies of the church decided him to seek another location. At Smith's death he claimed the right to preside over the church until one of Smith's sons should become old enough, or the "heir apparant" become of age, but Brigham Young outgeneraled him. He died at Friendship, N.Y., within the last dozen years.

It is related that Grandison Newell, then living two or three miles from the central site of the growing community, openly and persistently manifested his intense dislike of the new sect, and being a man of puritanic firmness and prejudice withal, begot, as it is supposed, a corresponding and equally bitter dislike in the minds of the Saints. Two of the Saints determined to be relieved of his opposition, and visited his house at night with full intent of taking his life. One of them, from an advantageous position, raised his gun three times to fire through the window where Mr. Newell sat in full light; but his best aim was unsatisfactory and the two would-be assassins fled in superstitious terror, leaving the deed undone. Many years afterward one of them made full confession of their murderous intent to the late Christopher Quinn, a former resident of Kirtland, to whom we are indebted for an account of the incident.

It was found at Kirtland soon after that place became the center of the Mormon faith, that a greater volume of money was a necessity for building purposes and other material improvements and for the successful propagation of the new faith. A bank was therefore organized and bills issued bearing the legend, "The Kirtland Safety Society Bank." As compared with more modern institutions this new bank was a liliputian and primitive affair. The safe or bank vault was merely an iron box with a formidable key. It is supposed to have held all the money, assets and valuable papers of the concern, and is still preserved as a relic. It measures only 24 by 25 inches laterally, and is 28 inches high.

Mr. Newell, being a man of some means, conceived a plan of financial disaster to the Saints by buying up their paper. This we are told he successfully did and "broke the bank," though it is further asserted that its bank notes were really the best and safest in the state at that time, having been based upon landed securities.

The Hon. Reuben P. Harmon, a life long resident of Kirtland, still vigorous in mind at eighty-four years, is believed to be the only person living who took part in the construction of the temple. He refers with evident interest to his boyhood days when with an ox team he hauled stone for the building and was assisted in uploading by the elder Joseph. He has had an acquaintance with three generations of the Smith family, and we are indebted to him for much concerning the early settlement of Kirtland by the Mormons....

Notwithstanding the odium that has attached to the name "Mormon," it is quite within the limit of possibilities that the Reorganized Church will yet be tendered the right hand of fellowship and received into the sisterhood of evengelical churches.   ASHBEL G. SMITH.

Note 1: The "Christopher Quinn" mentioned in the above article, in 1837 married Emily H. Johnson (1813-1855), the daughter of John and Elsa Johnson (formerly of Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio). Quinn was likely among those Mormons disaffected from Joseph Smith's leadership after the 1837 Kirtland bank failure. His brother-in-laws, Luke and Lyman Johnson were at least temporarily aligned with another noted Kirtland dissident, Warren Parrish.

Note 2: See Dale W Adams 2004 paper, "Grandison Newell's Obsession" in Journal of Mormon History 30 (spring 2004) pp. 159-88 for more on the personal connection between Christopher Quinn and Grandison Newell.

Note 3: For a biographical sketch of Ashbel Grattan Smith, see Harriet T. Upton's 1910 History of the Western Reserve, Vol. 3, page 1365.


Vol. 35.                           Cincinnati,  December 9, 1899.                           No. 49.

R.  B.  NEAL.

Under some difficulties and after an amount of persuasion, the STANDARD has been enabled to secure the picture of R. B. Neal, which looks out from this first page of the present issue. Like most intense men, Bro. Neal forgets himself in his work, and does not imagine that many people would be interested in his bodily presence or his individual history.

It may not be known to many of the younger generation, that our brother, who now magnifies the office of the "Saddle-bags Brigade," was years ago a most successful worker in a down-down city field, the story of which would make in itself an interesting chapter in city missions.

When disabled by the accident which limited his activity for years, he was at work in the city of Louisville. With his strong convictions and moral earnestness, it was impossible for him to remain inactive. In search of health and strength he was found in eastern Kentucky, where the environment and the providential course of events have placed him a special ministry which has excited widespread interest. Starting in to revive dead and dying congregations, and to do something in a field singularly destitute of efficient ministers of the Word, he found himself confronted, first, with the multiplex country church problem as presented in the eastern mountain regions of our country.

To R. B. Neal, more than to any other man, the people of America are indebted for having their attention called to the activity and the growth of this Mormon curse. His information has come since his first statements of facts and notes of warning appeared in the STANDARD. His articles were copied and commented on by the Independent and other influential journals, until now there is a widespread agitation for a general campaign against Mormonism.

What is sought to be emphasized here is that we can not afford to have Bro. Neal forced out of his present field for a lack of support. The matter of a modest living for himself and family should not stand in the way of his important work. The sum of $600 would meet his necessities and allow him to give himself entirely to this important mission. Then there is more involved than his own personal efforts. It is plain to see that here may be the beginning of an evangelism, which will not only meet and check Mormonism, but which will supply the mountain country with an efficient ministry and an intelligent church life.

Some well-to-do brother could invest money for the Lord no more wisely or fruitfully than providing for Bro. Neal's support. But in any event there are hundreds who can give small amounts, and who should be glad to contribute to keep our brother in this important and needy field. There is absolute assurance that everything contributed will be religiously applied to purposes for which it is given. R. B. Neal is one of the most unselfish and self-forgetful men in the world, and the only danger is that in any enterprise in which he is engaged he will not sufficiently spare himself. His present ministry is mainly at his own charges, but there is a limit to human endurance. The humor which appears on the surface of his present and previous communications to the STANDARD, is simply a veil for his sacrifices and toils. He does not wish to appear as a martyr before brethren. The STANDARD will gladly acknowledge and forward any moneys contributed for Bro. Neal's support, either directly to himself or through this office. He must be kept in the mountain country and in the thick of the fight with the Mormons.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 35.                           Cincinnati,  December 30, 1899.                           No. 52.



For the past several months I have been too busy with pastoral and evangelistic work to pay any attention with my pen, to my friends, the Mormons.

Many suppose I make a specialty, devote my time largely to the "ism." This is a mistake. It is not from the lack of necessity or willingness on my part to do so. The elders are swarming over the land as thick as locusts. I hear of debates in almost every State, receive urgent communications from preachers for help to post up in their hour of need, and am called to out to many points to meet them to which I cannot go.

In eastern Kentucky alone we have fifty elders, moving to and fro under a president imported from Louisiana, on account of his supposed qualifications for that position in this field. A Mormon journal says: "He will lead his gallant half-hundred to many a glorious victory in that bailiwick." Some of us will see about that.

The main battle must be fought with tracts. They use them freely -- scatter them everywhere. I have written and published five tracts that serve to check them; and if I can get into a field first with them, I can, as a rule, prevent any growth. They have this advantage: They are backed by millions of dollars, and print tons of tracts where I can only print ten. I have no financial backing at all. They have men in the field to distribute their tracts. I have to pay postage On mine. I depend absolutely on sales and donations to print and scatter mine. Calls come in by the score for "free tracts." The Mormon tracts are free. Again, the points most needing my tracts are the least likely to buy. The result is that I have twelve or fifteen thousand tracts idle on my shelves, and a number of others in manuscript form that ought to go in to the printer. They are needed in the field. I have a number of rare old documents that could scarcely be duplicated -- all good authority. I also have some documents in manuscript form that no one else has, that, rightly worked up, will deal the "ism" solar-plexus blows.

One object in writing this article is that our renders may sample my work in the hope that many of them will help "hold up my hands" while this tract battle is raging.

Mormons refute Mormonism. -- I have held steadily on this point in the preparation of all my tracts. I see no reason to depart from that line for some time to come. In my investigation I went straight to headquarters for information concerning the "ism." While there have been, and are many spots on the Mormon pig, it is needless just now to note but three. I distinguish them with the names "Brighamites," "Josephites" and "Whitmerites." Headquarters of each, in order named, Salt Lake City, Utah; Lamoni, la., and Richmond, Mo. They call themselves, in the order named, (1) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; (2) the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Lorenzo Snow, having succeeded Woodruff, is now seer, prophet and revelator for the first Joseph Smith, son of the prophet sometimes called Joseph III, is seer, prophet and revelator for the second. Since the death of Whitmer I have not learned upon whom his mantle has fallen.

I now call attention to two very important letters. The replies indicate clearly enough my queries. The first is from President Woodruff through his secretary. I have use for the unprinted portions of both letters in other tracts on other points, hence I do not print all of either letter in this article:

                      "Salt Lake City, Utah, March 1, 1898.
R. B. Neal, Esq., Grayson, Ky.

My Dear Sir: -- Your favor of February 24 to President Woodruff has been received, and, in reply to its various inquiries, permit me to say: Very early in the history of the church, Joseph Smith, the prophet received manifestations from the Lord regarding the principle of eternal marriage but none of these were written until July, 12, 1843, when that revelation, known as the Revelation on the Eternity of the Marriage Covenant was committed to paper.

The elder (Joseph Kingsbury) who then copied it by the prophet's direction still lives in this city. The Article on 'Marriage,' to which you refer is not a revelation, nor does it form part of the 'Book of Doctrine and Covenants proper, but is an article in the Appendix, was originally written by Oliver Cowdery, and at his earnest solicitation (for personal reasons), but much against the feelings of the prophet Joseph, placed where it is to be found in the earlier editions of the book. This not being a revelation, or in any way the word of the Lord, it has been taken out of the later editions by direction of the authorities of the church, by whose authority also later revelations given since the publication of the first edition, have from time to time been added.

The revelations given through the prophets for the guidance of the saints have been inspired by the Holy Ghost, and while under the influence of this Spirit they have written. Angels likewise have visited mankind; the voice of the Lord has been opened; the heavens have been opened, and its mysteries have been revealed, and in divers other ways the Lord has made manifest his holy will."

I wish he had mentioned some of those "divers other ways" he refers to. The Holy Spirit angels, the Lord and the windows of heaven opened for them to gaze in. I can't honestly conceive of one "other" way, much less of "divers other ways." I will give any Mormon elder or any one else, a set of my tracts free who will tell me any one of the "divers other ways" of communicating revelations. I want to know all the ways, if I can.

I. through a friend wrote to Eld. J. C. Kingsbury, now dead, and received the following from his own pen:


"The following statement was given under oath before Charles W. Stayner a notary public in Salt Lake City, May 22, 1886:

In reference to the affidavit of Eld. William Clayton on the subject of the Celestial Order of Patriarchal Marriage, published in the Deseret Evening News of May 20, 1886, and particularly to the statement made therein concerning myself, as having copied the original revelation written by Bro. Clayton at the dictation of the prophet Joseph Smith, I will say that Bishop N. K. Whitney handed me the revelation, above referred to, on either the day it was written, or the day following, and stating it was asked me to take a copy of it. I did so, and then read my copy of it to Bishop Whitney, who compared it with the original, which he held in his hand while I read to him.

When I had finished reading, Bishop Whitney pronounced the copy correct, and Hyman [sic] Smith coming into the room at the time to fetch the original, Bishop Whitney handed it to him.

I will also state that this copy, as also the original, are identically the same as that published in the recent edition of the Book of Doctrine and Covenants.

I will add that I also knew that the prophet Joseph Smith had married other women beside his first wife, Emma. I was well aware of the fact of his having married Sarah Ann Whitney the eldest daughter of Bishop N. K. Whitney, and Elizabeth Ann Whitney, his wife. And the prophet Joseph told me personally that had married other women in accordance with the revealed will of God, and spoke, concerning the principle, as being a command of God for holy purposes.   (Signed)
                                 JOSEPH C. KINGSBURY.

What I have written in the foregoing are facts taken under oath, as you will perceive, and not to be disannulled.
                                 J. C. KINGSBURY.

The above is certainly a clean, clear statement, and will furnish a tub of trouble to the Josephites who affirm monogamy for the prophet and assert that Brigham Young was the author of the document on plural marriages.

Now for the letter from Seer Joseph, of the Reorganized Church"

                      "Lamoni, Ia, March 1, 1898.
Mr. R. B. Neal, Grayson, Ky.

The church first published the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835. Editions were published in Nauvoo, Ill., 1845 and 1846, both of course, after father's death. Further editions were published in England in 1852 1854-'6, and so along up to 1869 -- the first in Liverpool; the last named by Albert Carrington at Isleington. These editions were the same, differing only in the possible arrangement according to dates of revelation on 'Celestial Marriage,' [which and?] an edition in which they inserted the so-called revelation on 'Celestial Marriage,' taking out Section III., entitled 'Marriage,' which is to be found in all former editions from 1835 to 1869, or later. This was done by order of Pres. Brigham Young, without the action of any council or general conference of the church over which he presided. They also inserted a number of sayings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and some mischievous foot-notes which are used to color or distort the text itself.

"It is because of this and the conflict between us and the Utah Church that we emphasize the 'we' and 'us.' The fact is that plural marriage was not taught as a tenet until Aug. 29, 1852 nor did that so-called revelation see daylight until that day, so far as we have been able to discover. It was never presented to the church nor acted upon as the rules of the church require, and has not to this day, that we ever heard of, even among the Utah people as a church body.

*     *     *     *     *     *

No revelation has been received by the Reorganized Church and become a part of the rules and orders of the church until it has first passed the examination of the presidency as a quorum, the twelve as a quorum, and the seventy as a quorum, each quorum sitting by itself and considering their action without dictation or interference by any other quorum, or any one.

After these bodies pass on the revelation or document, it will pass the elders, and does not reach the records, the Book of Covenants, until it is indorsed by the church as a body. (See Sec. 104, D. C., Part II.)

The conference demanded that the documents presented should have passed the test of the quorums and received the open statement by these bodies unanimously, that such tests had been had; the revelations were then received and ordered printed and incorporated in the book.

There is no church, that I know anything about, that is so secured from the imposition of false doctrine from any source by its organic laws as is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as it existed from 1830 to the death of Joseph Smith and as the same has been reorganized by myself and coworkers. President Young abrogated the rule, and was able to foist that so-called revelation on the church by domination of his own will, because he never trusted the document to the crucial test.

I might be deceived and give a false revelation; it might be that I could deceive my two colleagues, but it will not be thought of that I could deceive two other bodies, one having twelve members and the other seventy, or seven times seventy.

It is because l recognize the stupendous nature of the claim for present revelation, denied as it is by the Protestant world intact, and practically by the Catholic world, that I thus write. Unless there were safeguards of the safest kind, for the liberties, the good name, the spiritual welfare of believers in the doctrine would be subject to irreparable injury, no matter how good a man might have revelations. The revelations referred to were received by me and given to the church after passing the tests required. The conference would never see nor hear the revelations, did they not first pass the quorums; nor would they be received on my statements; indeed the conference would not have a statement from me until the quorums had first examined the purported revelations.

The same thing would occur if revelations were presented by others than myself and demanded acceptance.

Revelations to me have been by impression of the Spirit, by audible voice, by dream, by messenger; but, no matter how received, they must be submitted to examination. If found to conflict with the Word or revelation already accepted on the same subjects, they can go no further than the quorum that objects. There must be Spirit testimony to the quorums as well.

*     *     *     *     *     *

Men's beliefs, when publicly stated are properly public property; but neither Mr. Bays nor Mr. Ellis has a right to state my belief, or that of my people for us, any more than I have a right to state the belief of Mr. Ellis or R. B. Neal for them and theirs. I am in hope of life, yours.     JOSEPH SMITH."

The last paragraph passes this quorum unanimously. It is a bit of good, hard sense, without a flaw in it.

With this frank and full statement of 'the seer" and his proof-read and printed revelations which I have before me, it would require willful willfulness on my part to misrepresent him. If I believed the claims he makes for himself, I would make a pilgrimage to Lamoni and stand before him with uncrowned head and unsandled feet, and feast on the words that fell from his lips.

"I give unto you, my servant Joseph, to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer and prophet!" (D. and C., Sec. 124, v. 125). These words both the Utah and Iowa wing claim, were spoken by the Lord to Joseph Smith, his father, and as successor of his father he has all these offices.

Later I will press some queries on him that arise from the latter part of his letter. Just now I propose to deal with the Book of Doctrine and Covenants and with that revelation on marriage and on plurality of wives. Each seer denies that the other's is a revelation, and contends that his own is.

In my next I will present copies of both so-called revelations, and then we are ready to work on them. Preserve this paper.
    GRAYSON, Ky.

Notes: (forthcoming)

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