(Newspapers of Iowa, Wisconsin & Minnesota)

Newspapers of James J. Strang
1848-1851 Articles

S. E. Wisconsin in 1852 - (Voree, west of Burlington, not shown)

1846-1847 (Wisc)  |  1848-1851  |  1851-1855 (Mich)

Jan 13 '48  |  Jan 20 '48  |  Feb 03 '48  |  Feb 17 '48  |  Feb 24 '48
May 18 '48  |  Jun 08 '48  |  Jun 29 '48  |  Aug 17 '48  |  Aug 31 '48
Sep 21 '48  |  Oct 05 '48  |  Oct 19 '48  |  Jan 04 '49  |  Mar 22 '49
May 10 '49  |  May 24 '49  |  Jun 07 '49  |  Jun 14 '49  |  Jul 05 '49
Aug 16 '49  |  Aug 23 '49  |  Oct 04' 49  |  Nov 01 '49  |  Nov 08 '49
Nov 22 '49  |  Dec 06 '49  |  Dec 20 '49  |  Dec 27 '49  |  Jan 03 '50
Feb 07 '50  |  Feb 28 '50  |  Mar 14 '50  |  Mar 28 '50
May 30 '50

New Era 1  |  New Era 2  |  Articles Index


Vol. II.                           Voree, W. T., January 13, 1848.                         No. 43.


The third number of the Ensign has really made its appearance -- every word of it by the pen of Wm. E. Our first curiosity on getting our eye on it was to see what he would say about his visit to D. Whitmer. As he had gone a journey of 3,000 miles to persuade David to pretend to be a prophet, after failing in doing so by writing, and as we had vainly tried every possible expedient to induce him to tell the result of his mission, we of course came to the conclusion that something had gone wrong. Things looked rather squally when Wm. E. returned from Mo., without any epistle from David to the flock that were bleating after him. A strong anxiety was felt to know what Whitmer had to say in the premises. When it was learned that he had given nothing for the public eye at present, some were quite uneasy; but when, after assuring them that David had really accepted his calling and appointed his brother John and Oliver Cowdery his counsellors, he charged them not to write to David and John lest the Missourians should mob them, several were so wicked as to suspect Mc. of humbugging them. Finally, Oliver, though he lives only 12 miles from Voree, would not come down and speak to the 41 apostates living in this region, whom Mc. falsely pretends to have drawn from the church here. -- All these things were onerous of deception and false pretenses. -- Yet a few, probably 8 or 10, hung on with some little hope, more or less, that some great things would burst out in a perfect blaze as soon as the Ensign could be got out. Whisperings were constant that David had written a proclamation which would do up all opposition, and set himself on a pinnacle of glory. The few who had any hope remaining looked most anxiously, and we curiously for the proclamation in the forthcoming Ensign. But -- the Ensign has finally got along -- and not one word from Whitmer or either of his counsellors. And all that Mc. ventures to say about them is the following: --

"Thence we passed directly to Richmond, Mo. -- We reached there on Saturday, the 4th of Sept., and put up with our old friend D. Whitmer. One o'clock at night still found us communing in close conversation. On Monday, the 6th, David and Jacob Whitmer and Hiram Page accompanied me to Far West to visit with their brother, and our old friend John Whitmer. We remained with him two days and nights, and never did men since the world began have a more pleasant time. Union of feeling and harmony of action governed our every movement. Brethren and friends, let me say to you, 'all is right, all is well' with those witnesses! Our visit with Oliver Cowdery we will lay over for want of room."

We look upon this as decidedly rich. More than a year since McLellin proclaimed Whitmer a prophet, and commenced building up a church under his presidency. Some months after he published in his Ensign a long and most important letter from himself to said Whitmer, to prove he really had a right to that station, and urging him to assume it; which letter appears not to have elicited any answer whatever from Whitmer. So off posts Wm. E. on a journey of four months to visit Whitmer and converse face to face, and returns without one scrap from him, and not even the assurance that he will accept the station of prophet. We have for a long time suspected that Whitmer and Cowdery did not lend themselves to Mc.'s humbug, and now we are more assured of it than ever...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                           Voree, W. T., January 20, 1848.                         No. 44.


... when [David] Whitmer was ordained, Wm. W. Phelps and John Whitmer were ordained his counsellors. Consequently, if this ordination made him First President of the church, it made them members of the First Presidency. And as Whitmer and his brother have never acted in Mormonism since 1838, I don't know but Phelps might put in a claim that Whitmer has fallen and that he has succeeded him and gone into the wilderness with the prophetic office. You cannot get over the fact that if this ordination made Whitmer First President, it also made his counsellors members of the First Presidency. It is, to say the least, a little singular that the whole First Presidency should have fallen at the same time, and extraordinary beyond conception that God should have appointed an entire new Presidency to lead the church; and that for thirteen years of such perils as the church has passed through in that time, not one of them should have found out that he was the true shepherd, and God should never have spoken one word in that time by his prophet...

I know not what grounds there may be for supposing that Whitmer is deceived. With me there is none. There is no middle ground for me or for the opinions of my friends. Had I, after receiving an appointment, waited, saying very little and doing less or nothing in the premises, but still claimed to be a prophet, men might think I was deceived. But when, before receiving the document containing my appointment, I told of having a vision in which I saw a town built up where Voree now is; a few days after, of receiving the administration of angels, and the priesthood after the power of an endless life at their hands; afterwards, that God revealed to me the place of ancient records and gave me the Urim and Thummim by the hands of an angel, whom I saw descend from and ascend to the heavens in open daylight, at mid-day, and from whose hands I took the Urim and Thummim, and both used it for seeing and for translating and returned it to him, [it] is vain to talk about my being deceived... [James J. Strang]

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. II.                           Voree, W. T., February 3, 1848.                        No. 46.

Pastoral  Letter.

James J. Strang, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a Prophet of Almighty God, to the Churches in all the world, and to all the Saints scattered abroad, greeting: --

For as much as it hath pleased God to reserve unto himself a people to serve him in these times, when the whole world is sunk in wickedness, and the fullness of the Gentiles is very nearly come in, and the time is near that God will pour out his wrath on them without measure, it behooves us that we commune oft with one another, and communicate spiritual treasures, such as God bestows upon us; and especially that we gather together and strengthen one another's hands, lest we be overcome of Satan and perish in the destruction of the ungodly. I am more impressed to address you now, because when iniquity is pouring forth among the Gentiles without measure the church has not altogether escaped from the inevitable consequence of too great a conformity to the world: except so far as influenced and changed by gospel principles, mankind are much the same in all countries and all ages. And if we do not practically conform to gospel principles, their influence is lost on us. Though men may subscribe to and teach gospel principles all their lives, yet unless they conform thereto in the transaction of our common intercourse with men their influence will be directly lost upon us. And the same consequence which has fallen upon the Gentile world in consequence of their corrupt systems, will also befall the saints if they continue therein. Of this truth the history of the last few years has furnished us many sad examples.

There has been much speculation among men as to the cause of the great falling away in the church during the last four years. It has been attributed to a great variety of different causes, none of which are sufficient to produce so general corruption and such wide spread ruin. But there is one unnamed cause, abundantly equal to the production of such results, which remains to this day, still active and doing its work. So long as the saints conform in all things to Gentile usages and customs, so long they must expect to share the fate of those they thus imitate. And the poverty, suffering and sin which are wide spread throughout the earth, as the consequence of speculation, swindling and the most unblushing oppression of the poor and needy, cannot be escaped among the saints while they do these things. Let us now try to make our religion a reality. The time has come that the saints must practice their religion and profess their faith, and he that will not do it will be cut off from them. The same causes under like circumstances cannot fail to produce like effects. And as the Gentile social system has produced poverty, want and crime in all the world, in the face of the greatest improvements in the science of agriculture and the mechanic arts, so that in countries where machinery, steam and water do the work of millions of men there is a real want of both food and clothing, we cannot flatter ourselves that while we pursue the same course we can escape a still greater amount of suffering, beginning in poverty, as most of us do.

I have been constrained by the most obvious signs of the times to look over the world and see if there was anything in the state of the nations to justify the oft repeated assertion that the Lord delayeth his coming. Again, I have turned my thoughts inwardly, to contemplate the things which God has revealed relative to these days; and as the servant of God set upon the walls of Zion to watch, I admonish you to come out of Babylon and separate yourselves from her uncleanness. For the day of God's wrath upon her is near, and the time is at hand when his vengeance will be poured out.

The earth presents to us a most unhappy picture. The United States are engaged in a most bloody war against the most powerful sister republic which she has on the earth. This war she has waged without the authority of God, and for causes very far from commensurate to the blood she has shed or the misery she has inflicted. And passing by the nature of the cause (for I will not pretend that this war is causeless) there is good reason, from what God has said, to believe that the greatest portion of its evils will fall on those who have waged it. In the period of less than two years that has elapsed since its commencement, with the very small force engaged, the loss of life has been not less than ten thousand Americans, and probably three times that number of Mexicans. And the hatred, blood-thirstiness, and passion for violence it is engendering, will remain through generations to come, the consequences of men's corruptions and the instruments of God's wrath upon the nations. Whatever may be the future fate of Mexico, she is practically denationalized. Yet every object professedly sought by the war is further off than at the beginning. Unceasing hostility and the desolation and waste of cities, towns and provinces will follow thick in the future history of the daughter of Babylon, and pestilence and famine will soon commence their work, as they have already in the old world.

So, too, though Europe is not convulsed with any general war, the elements of disorder and destruction are every where active. The British Empire, which has by her policy and arms for a long time held sway throughout the earth, is just beginning to crumble to dust. A little territory of the extent of a small State, she has extended her dominion throughout the sea and to the four quarters of the earth. The sun never sets on her empire. The reveille on her legions beats time to the hours as the earth rolls round. The terror of her arms has carried desolation into every country on the face of the earth, and the bones of her sons who have fallen in her wars lie bleaching in the sun forever. So omnipresent has been her power that neither wilderness, mountain or island sufficed to hide the refugee from the emissaries of her oppression. The very name of Britain has become a terror to the most secluded and savage tribes. And with a mechanical power in actual use equal to the labor of one half the human race, the fifteen or sixteen millions of inhabitants of England are now in a state of destitution bordering on starvation. A majority of the people are real paupers, dependent on public and private charities for the bread that preserves life. And with the immense wealth and power of the nation, it has not the ability to furnish bread to fill the mouths of starvation.

France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and provinces of other countries of Europe have suffered for want of food. And this not because there is any lack of men to work the lands, not because there is a lack of skill or any indisposition to work, but because the established order of things makes some men drones and others swindlers; and the habit of individual sponging and swindling induces those habits in nations. And the loss of that fellow-feeling among men which is necessary to heartily loving our neighbors as ourselves and doing as we would be done by is so general and pervasive in its influence, that few men ever think of consulting the interest and general good of mankind in any of their undertakings or avocations. And the man whose entire income is derived from the labors of others, without making any real return, and, consequently, who in a moral and religious view lives by mere swindling and robbery, is no less respected in society than those who are engaged in producing that which is necessary for the use of man.

Such are the consequences of the Gentile social system, under the most favorable circumstances. The examples I have named can be found in kind wherever man is, differing only in degree as the system has been more or less expanded. So entirely have they carried out the system of setting man against man, that the very commandment "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" has been struck out of the decalogue, and men have forgotten that God has engraved it on stone as a perpetual memorial against this ungodly generation. The selfishness engendered in all the intercourse of men is the fruitful cause of national wars and individual sufferings. The affairs of men have been so regulated, and the institutions established among them are of such kind and nature as to set man against his fellow man, and make it the interest of every one to injure others. While the interest of man is sought in the injury of his neighbor, it is vain to hope that men will do to others as they would that others should do to them. And though we may go forth proclaiming gospel brotherhood and gospel equality from year to year, yet so long as we practice on the same system which has produced all these evils among the Gentiles, so long we must suffer them among ourselves. It is vain to talk about or to hope for the fullness of the spirit of God, or the establishment of his kingdom, if we will not make our religion a practical reality, by doing the things we teach.

The doctrine of the equality of the saints in their temporal things was taught in the beginning of the church. Such an equality has been the hope of the poor and the virtuous from the commencement of the gathering. As early as January, 1831, the word of the Lord came by his prophet showing by parable the justice of equality among the children of the kingdom (D&C 12:5); and adds, "be one; if ye are not one, ye are none of mine." (D&C 12:6) A most thrilling admonition is also given, that the cry of the poor has ascended up to God (D&C 12:4), and that the enemy in secret chambers sought their lives, and in consequence thereof the Lord said, "ye hear of wars in far countries, and ye say there will soon be wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of them in your own land; wherefore treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, lest the wickedness of men reveal these things to you with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth." (D&C 12:4, 6)

This revelation by the wickedness of wicked men has been made so often, that the saints ought now to seek to obey God rather than to follow their own devices. As the saints learned not wisdom by what they heard, will they also refuse to learn by what they suffer? When God requires us to make any sacrifice to his cause, he requires a willing sacrifice. But if we give not willingly, he will not suffer us to possess what he requires. When the church went up to Missouri they went under a special command to consecrate their property, that all might be made equal. This command was never kept; yet they did not keep that which they refused to consecrate. Because the rich refused to make the poor rich with them, their enemies made them poor with the poor. Together were they driven out in destitution. From that time to this they have been driven from city to city, and from country to country; constantly going out robbed and plundered of that which they have greedily kept back from the Lord. Saints, will you that these things shall always be?

In February, 1831, less than one year after the organization of the church, a command was given that the saints consecrate their property for the poor, by a deed which could not be broken; receiving their inheritances according to their several wants, and requiring them to put all their surplus production from time to time into a common storehouse, and receive supplies of what they lack from it (D&C 13:8-10,12). In May, 1831, those who had so consecrated their substances, are commanded to organize themselves that they may be alike and receive alike, and have a common storehouse (D&C 23:1-5). In August, the same year, Martin Harris and all who were going up to Zion were commanded to make this consecration, to purchase lands in Zion for the saints (D&C 18:6-7,10-12). In November, of the same year, the Lord said, "in your temporal things you shall be EQUAL, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the spirit shall be withheld. Now this commandment I give unto my servants for their benefit while they remain, for a manifestation of my blessings on their heads, and for a reward of their diligence; and for their security for food and for raiment, for an inheritance; for houses and for lands, in whatsoever circumstances I the Lord shall place them, and whithersoever I the Lord shall send them." (D&C 26:3)

In the succeeding years the ancient order established by revelation of God in the antediluvian world was again revealed as the order of the church for an everlasting order, and with many other precepts and commandments the following were received...

These commandments, though they are more perfect in system than any other wheres recorded, contain no other doctrine than what has always been taught by the gospel and the Melchizedek priesthood. Before Israel went into Egypt each patriarch was the head of a house, consisting in some instances of many thousands of persons, all holding one common estate and inheritance, in the use of which they enjoyed equal benefits. The family of Job could not have been less than 10,000 souls; that of Melchizedek was doubtless larger, and Abraham's probably numbered 4,000, all heirs with him of the promise of the land of Canaan for a perpetual inheritance (Genesis 17:7-13). Israel, when they entered into the land of Canaan, received their inheritances by families, not by individuals, and usually each family received a city and the country around extending half way to the next city for its possession. During the ministry of Christ he and the chief of his disciples had no separate property, but Judas, one of the twelve, was treasurer and purveyor for the whole. And though doubtless some individual disciples retained their estates, yet when a certain rich young man came inquiring what he should do to inherit eternal life, Christ told him to "sell what he had and give to the poor," and follow him (Matthew 19:21). And about a year after the crucifixion of Christ, when the church was receiving great accessions, "the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things COMMON: neither was there any among them that lacked; for as many as were possessors of houses or lands, sold them and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them at the Apostles' feet; and distribution was made to every man according as he had need." (Acts 4:32,34-35)

Finally, it pleased the Lord, when he chose me to be the shepherd of the flock, as he chose David to be king of Israel, not from among princes and rulers, but from the field, to show me still more clearly by many visions and revelations the true order for establishing judgment and justice, exalting the poor and delivering the needy. The work was once begun both in Kirtland and Zion, but failed by means of a multitude of transgressions. And from that time till this the church has not ceased to be scourged by her enemies, nor will she until she obeys this commandment. So general was the feeling in favor of the common stock and equality at the time the church was finally driven from Missouri, that Joseph wrote from prison to prevent it, telling them that though the principle was correct they had no authority to do the act, and must wait until God gave commandment. In his wisdom he has withheld the commandment till the great falling away is past.

The time has now come. The command went forth in July, 1846... The work is begun, and every thing is ready for those who will come up to the help of the Lord, against those who have trodden down his children and had no compassion on the needy and the oppressed. The organization (including children) now consists of sixty persons, and applications for admission are being constantly received. The entire system is founded on UNION, EQUALITY, and a strict regard to the law of God and the discipline of the church. The association owns a farm of five hundred and sixty acres of land, four hundred acres of which might be cropped the coming season, and considering soil, water, salubrity and location, probably the very best in Wisconsin; several good stone buildings, a valuable water power and a property in all worth not less than $11,000, on which they owe debts a very little over three thousand. This property lies in, and in the immediate vicinity of Voree, is beautifully located, very productive and entirely healthy.

This we offer to the saints as the home of the poor and the asylum of the oppressed. Here we propose to share each others joys, and each others sorrows; each others toils, and each others possessions; and to teach mankind that love and truth wins with peace and sweetness, what force and fraud labors in vain to compel. Here we intend to gather a community who shall be equal in their temporal things; who shall do to others as they would be done by; and who shall love their neighbors as themselves. Here salvation shall be present, and the gospel a practiced reality. Here peace shall reign.

The Lord and his saints say come. Let him that heareth say come. He that is poor and needy, let him come. Yea, come buy food, raiment and habitation, a perpetual inheritance in Zion, without money and without price. And whosoever will, let him come and possess the land with us freely.
                                JAMES J. STRANG.

                                                            Palestine, Lee Co., Ill., Dec. 29th, 1847.
Mr. Strang: --

Sir. -- I take this opportunity to drop you a line in answer to the line I received from you by Mr. Wasson, on his return, in which letter you seem to state that I am owing you as agent to the Voree Herald. If so, I should like to know the amount. I am willing to acknowledge to you, sir, that I am owing you, and you are owing me. And as well as I can recollect the accounts stand about thus: Sometime in the winter of 1845 I received a prospectus of the Herald from you, and to which I obtained, I think, two subscribers, and then I handed the prospectus to some one of your church, and he obtained several subscribers to the same and kept the money; and then some other member of your church took the paper and sent it across the Mississippi river into Iowa Territory to get subscribers, and that was the last that I ever saw of the paper, and if you know where it is, it is more than I know, And further, you will recollect that was the time of the troubles in Hancock. But no matter, I am ready and willing at all times to pay all I owe any one, and if you have an account against me and is just that I should pay the same, I will pay you all, deducting what you owe me on postage and per cent; and please let me hear again from you if you see fit. If you got the subscription paper that I had, you may possibly come at the thing, but if you have not you nor I nor any one else can make it out. But, sir, if you will make out my account, and I find it is just, I will pay every farthing &c.   Yours, &c.,
                                                                  WM. BACKENSTOS.

This is certainly the richest excuse for cheating we ever saw. -- 1st, He collected money and passed the account into another man's hands, and therefore did not pay over the money or any part of it. 2d, He received the money in the time of the Hancock troubles. -- 3d, We owe him postage. (No, not unless you charge us the postage on a dun we send you.) 4th, We owe him per centage for receiving this money, which he has never paid over or accounted for. Will Mr. Backenstos be so kind as to make out his account for per centage. If all the money will not pay him for receiving it, we should like to know how much odds he asks, and we will try for once to square the account, if we can find anything of such value that we can put it in his hands without paying him odds for taking it.

Note: William (John Wilhelm) Backenstos, brother of J. B. Backenstos (Sheriff of Hancock Co., Illinois), married Clara Marilla Wasson (1823-1905) on Oct. 3, 1843 at Nauvoo, with Joseph Smith, Jr. officiating. Clara was the daughter of Benjamin Wasson (or Wassen) and Elizabeth Hale, the sister of Emma Hale Smith. Clara was evidently a member of the Church at Nauvoo. Her brother, Lorenzo D. Wasson (1818-1857) was also a member -- he died on his way to the California gold rush. All of these persons, with the exception of J. B. Backenstos, were very likely connected with William Smith's splinter group, at Palestine, Lee Co., Illinois, during the late 1840s and early 1850s. John B. Wasson, a cousin of Clara and Lorenzo was baptized a member of the RLDS Church, in San Francisco, in 1884.


Vol. II.                           Voree, W. T., February 17, 1848.                         No. 48.


We have received a 24 page tract containing a pretended revelation of the proceedings of what was called the endowment of the apostate Twelve and their followers at Nauvoo, with a request for our opinion of the propriety of the publication. But as the author has already printed three editions, we doubt not he was more anxious for approbation than advice. This tract, besides many other things, some of which are well enough, and some extremely erroneous, gives seven degrees of a kind of bastard Free Masonry, said to have been administered to several thousand persons in the Temple at Nauvoo under the direction of Brigham Young, &c., all committed to the authors of the work under the sanction of a solemn oath of perpetual secrecy. And that the readers of the tract may be certain that what they read is true, the authors have added their oath that these disclosures are strictly true. So, by their own showing, we have both their oath that they will not disclose and reveal, and that they have disclosed and revealed. This we know, by the testimony of perjured witnesses, that they either have or have not revealed the apostate endowment. The book contains some sterling truths in regard to the origin of the church of God, and, on the whole, we think is as likely to do good as hurt; but we cannot attempt to accomplish a good work by wicked means, and will have nothing to do with this trifling with oaths. If all the falsehood, all the perjury was left out, we should recommend the work; but as it is we cannot consent to advertise the book or the author, or place of publication, lest we should thereby become instrumental in rewarding perjury. Certainly some excuse is made in this case for violating an oath, and so every man who wishes to violate one has his excuse. Oh the inconsistency of man! ...

Note: The booklet above alluded to must have been Increase M. Van Deusen's 1846, 24 page publication: The Mormon Endowment: A Secret Drama...


Vol. II.                           Voree, W. T., February 24, 1848.                         No. 49.


A NEW MORMON LION. -- Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan, has become the chosen spot of the Mormons under J. J. Strang. The Island contains about forty square miles, has been surveyed by the government, but is not yet in market. Some 8 or 10 squatters on it have been brought up by Strang, who has issued his orders that the Mormons immediately take up their line of march to their new place of abode. Strang claims to be the Heaven-appointed successor of Joe Smith. Voree, Wisconsin, his present place of residence, contains about 1000 of his followers. His power is almost unlimited. By a bill of excommunication he recently cut off from official standing in the church, his notorious cotemporary, John C. Bennett. -- The Reveille, the organ of the Strangites at Voree, speaking of this newly fledged prophet, says there is not his equal on this earth for patience, faith, prudence, wisdom, aptness to teach, and indefatigable perseverance. Poor, weak human nature!
Man's impositions upon man
Makes countless thousands fools."
==> We clip the foregoing from the Rochester (N. Y.) Daily Advertiser, where we find it credited to the Davenport (Iowa) Gazette. It is perfectly obvious that neither of these papers have any knowledge of our affairs, or any information of our movements beyond mere rumor. We do not charge them with any intention of misrepresenting us, but if they wish to give their readers any information about our affairs it is very easy to exchange for the Herald, and know whereof they speak. As for the imputation contained in the last three lines, it is very well known that in times past christianity was so treated and so regulated by nearly, if not quite, all the politicians of the Roman empire. These editors may not be aware that what christianity then was Mormonism now is. But their preachers do know it, and therefore dare not enter the lists in controversy with us.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, May 18, 1848.                         No. 9.


THE STATE OF WISCONSIN. -- The constitution of Wisconsin has been adopted, and a State government elected. It only wants the action of the Congress of the U. S. to make Wisconsin one of the States of the Union. In this work the saints have had very little to do, and we think had they done nothing it would have been well. Our opinion is now as heretofore, that the saints have nothing to do with elections, not so much as to vote. At the late election of State officers Oliver Cowdery, one of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, was the regular candidate of the Democratic party for member of Assembly. though not in the district where the saints reside, and was defeated solely on the ground of Mormonism. His capacity and worth was admitted, but he had been a Mormon. Indeed he was worse used than the active members of the church; for here they are elected to office, though none of them attend caucuses or elections. We regret his defeat, because it was accomplished by wicked means, and as he has rejected the pretensions of various usurpers in the church, and maintained the integrity of his testimony, and settled down in the immediate neighborhood of the true church, we think he would do well to say "Othello's occupation is returned."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, June 8, 1848.                         No. 12.


==> Scarcely a week passes but we see in some of our exchange papers articles credited to the Missouri Republican, speaking of the great success and prosperity of the Brighamite camp in the west. -- All this would be well enough if it was true. Indeed we think their worst enemies ought to be satisfied with what they have suffered, and to pray for a respite of the evils they are daily drawing down on their own heads. But these editorial puffs seem to be stretched to the last degree of tension, and may burst like overgrown bubbles before the papers can reach the readers. If a cause is to be built up by lying, yet it is possible to lie too barefaced. -- Certainly it looks very much like it when the Republican says that the Mormons had, at the last accounts, pit in 5,000 acres of winter wheat in Salt Valley. In an earlier article the Republican had stated that 500 teams had gone to the Valley, and though this is 336 higher than other estimates and accounts of those who met them, yet take this for a basis of reasoning, each and every team must have carried the seed for 10 acres of ground, say 13 bushels, besides carrying the families, clothing, furniture, farming utensils of every kind, and a year's provisions. If any one can believe that a single family can move into the wilderness 1,000 miles beyond the last house, carrying all provisions, clothing, furniture, tools, seeds, and everything else necessary for a year's use, including seed wheat to put in crops for market, he may believe this story. But if one family cannot do it, many cannot. Increasing the number of persons does not diminish the food and clothing necessary for each person. Besides this it should be remembered that nearly all these wagons went over late in the fall, and could not have arrived earlier than late for wheat sowing. And by showing the Republican they have built a large fortified town, as well as sowed 5,000 acres of wheat. And as by the same accounts they have taken over large herds of cattle, this 5,000 acres must all be fenced too, and the timber for the fences as well as that for building has all to be drawn some twelve miles. Nonsense! Any man who will believe such stuff deserves to be deceived.

==> We are informed that Sidney Rigdon is engaged in the honorable avocation of dressing cloth in the western part of the State of New York. This speaks well for him, and is an example that we commend to the sectarian priests who have reviled him for eighteen years. Is there not yet hope for the old man eloquent? -- Wholesome honest labor is good both for ambition and insanity, and he has shown his manliness by turning to it.

Note: Following the collapse of his splinter group church in Franklin Co., Pennsylvania, in 1847, Sidney Rigdon relocated in Cuba, Allegany Co., New York. His son-in-law, George Robinson, operated a retail sales business in the nearby town of Friendship, and it appears that Sidney's spate of "honest labor" was connected to Robinson's business dealings. Probably Sidney Rigdon's work consisted of some hours spent in a small wool carding and dressing mill, where the raw wool was prepared for weaving, and then the surfaces of the woven textiles were made smooth, by shearing, stretching and pressing. Sidney probably learned the basics of these and similar operations, when he worked as a leather finisher in the Pittsburgh area in his younger days. There he not only learned tanning, but also "currying" -- the preparation of a fine surface on leather intended for use in manufacturing, the making of book-bindings, etc. Isaac Craig, who researched Sidney Rigdon's early years, reported that Rigdon once "had a small tannery... [in Pittsburgh] for the manufacture of book-binders sheep-skins." This discovery agrees with the testimony of another old Pittsburgh resident, who recalled, "So far back as 1822 the firm of Patterson & Lambdin... did business as Publishers... [in Pittsburgh] At the same time Sidney Rigdon, tanner and currier, had his tan-yard... it is likely that, in the business transactions between book-binder and tanner, Sidney Rigdon took the Spaulding manuscript." It remains unknown whether, during his days of "honest labor" in Allegany Co., New York, Rigdon worked at finishing cotton, wool or linen -- but it is not unlikely that a portion of his finished product once again went into the production of book-bindings.


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, June 29, 1848.                         No. 15.


Lyman Wight and George Miller have settled on the Colorado in Texas with some thirty houses, and have their property common and by their account are doing well. They have published a small tract giving an account of their doings and circumstances, and the reasons for their separation from the Brighamites. We have not been able to obtain a copy of the tract, but one of the elders who has read it gives us this information.

We have a letter from a gentleman connected with the press in St. Louis saying that the Mormons in Salt Valley are divided into two parties, Taylorites and Parleyites. We are more disposed to think this information correct, because some of the elders recently from the Bluffs speak of P. P. Pratt's excommunication as a probable and necessary event. We have taken some pains to ascertain the health of the western camp, and finally succeeded in getting the sexton's account of the burials at Council Bluffs. Don't stare, reader; even in that wilderness means can be contrived to tax the dead. -- Some friend of Brigham, too lazy to earn an honest living at ordinary wages, must needs monopolize the business of burying the dead for a fee. Well, the sexton's account shows eight hundred deaths at the Bluffs in one year from April 1847 to April 1848. We could not ascertain the number the preceding year, but those who have visited the ground say the burials cover more than twice the space, and it is universally agreed that the former year was far the most sickly.

The camp fever and scurvy in addition to the usual diseases of new countries then prevailed greatly. The last year the most common disease among them was chills and fever and the deaths have very many of them been for want of suitable nourishment after the fever had its course. In other words, they have starved to death. -- Not that there has been an absolute and entire destitution of food, but that the supply has been so limited and so unequally distributed that the poor were unable to obtain such as the sick could possibly eat.

Allowing the number of Mormons at the Bluffs to be 4,000, and we think that number too high, and 600 deaths is equal to one in every five. It just takes one to a family, on an average, and is equal to the last curse on the Egyptians, the smighting of the first born. It would take off a generation in five years, and would shortly exterminate the human race. It should be understood that this account does not include the deaths at Salt Valley, Garden Grove, or any other place but merely at the Bluffs.

Our St. Louis correspondent also informs us that there is a difficulty with Young and Kimball about the soldiers' bounty. The bounty which the Mormon battalion received in advance at the time of their enlistment amounted to twenty thousand dollars. -- This was left with Young and Kimball as a fund for the benefit of the families of these soldiers left behind, but was immediately laid out for a large supply of merchandise which they sold out on speculation, and pocketed the proceeds. The soldiers have many of them got back as far as Salt Valley, and are now thundering vengeance on Brigham and Heber, and they are afraid to go to their new home. Doubtless the thing will be hushed up in some way, but be that as it may the whole crowd are rapidly diminishing in number, and the leaders are rapidly becoming estranged from one another. Having no bond of union but the fleece of the flock, as that fails to yield its increase they naturally separate from each other.

The Indians have killed four or five head of cattle the past season, and at one time drove off forty horses. In addition to this the Mormons west of the Missouri River have all had to leave, and either go on to Salt Valley or return to Iowa. Their settlements west of the Mo., were on the Omaha Indians land, and the U. S. Indian Agent warned them off, by which means extensive improvements and their crops of winter wheat were lost. And what is still worse, because the loss was irreparable, wheat crops were put in at Salt Valley were left without fence, and a guard stationed to keep off the cattle. And by some mischance the guard was not duly kept up and the whole crop except a few potatoes was destroyed. The fault in this case is laid on P. P. Pratt.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, August 17, 1848.                         No. 22.


It is seldom that I address the public concerning myself, and very seldom that I do so by way of complaint. On the whole I have great reason to be thankful for the kindnesses that I have received at the hands of those with whom I have associated and corresponded... And when I begin to complain, I hope it will not be supposed that I think injuries have blotted out kindnesses, or that I am in any respect destitute of friends. Considering the very arduous and difficult mission which God has committed to me, I have every reason to be thankful that my perils have not been greater...

But there is a class of injuries which have been for a few years past poured out upon me without measure or sparing, cruel and wicked in their import, and where successful, irreparable in their consequences, which I do not feel the least obligation to patiently submit to. And these injuries come much more from those who claim the name of saints than from mere Gentiles...

I became a member of the church only a few months previous to the martyrdom of the prophet Joseph. It is very well known that about the time of, and immediately after his decease, certain doctrines of a most deleterious tendency were sown broadcast throughout the church, and cultivated with so skillful a hand as to become deep rooted. I believe no man denies that at that time I maintained an unstained moral character... It is a fact perfectly notorious throughout the land that my principal accusers are those whose life has been chiefly devoted to the same crimes which they charge me, and for which they profess to abandon me. The saints who credit their lies, have placed themselves in the ridiculous predicament of believing that a man whose character was always fair, whom they acknowledged as the Lord's anointed, and who is and has been during his ministry principally surrounded by men of exalted virtue and unsuspected reputation, is a vile scamp because those whom they know to be such, say he is like them, and that therefore they cannot endure him...

Scarcely a week passes by without some tale being put afloat upon me, charging me with some offence against public law, on which, if convicted, I should be subject to imprisonment. A triumphant cry is raised among apostates, very frequently, that they have got Strang now where he can't wiggle out of their hands, and they shall put him through... Reuben Miller accuses me of lying in saying that in my ordination the angel touched me, and brings a certificate of two or three who were present at our interview to prove that I did not then say so, &c. But a majority of those present certify that I did say so at that time. If I said it, his witnesses might not have heard it.-- But id I did not say it, the others Could Not. Yet several persons have apostatized on it. They believed the negative of a few, stronger evidence than the affirmative of several, and enough stronger to convict a gentleman of good character or falsehood. And that falsehood utterly objectless, contrary to what he had said and written many times a day both before and after. Such a charge would not be worthy of notice on any testimony and unopposed. It proves its own falsehood.

It is very well known that the second day of January, 1847, some 24 of the saints met at my house and some ordinances of some kind were administered. As the meeting was not public, much curiosity has always been felt to know what they were. The transaction is usually spoken of by the name of "ILLUMINATION." Immediately after it occurred a rumor was put afloat that some terrible imposition had been practiced by me. It was alleged that I had gathered the saints in a lower room with a loose floor overhead, and causing a bright light to shine through the cracks, had pretended that it came from heaven! And that by burning pitch or other combustibles in the chimney had caused a pillar of light to rise up as the channel of communication! Men were found to believe that two dozen respectable gentlemen and ladies could be imposed on by such means! And that one in any circumstances was capable of stooping to it!

Directly the Elkhorn Star and the New Era published that fire was produced on the heads of the saints by the use of a galvanic battery, secretly concealed in another room. All scientific men know very well that the battery would destroy human life before it produced an illumination...

William Smith has published far and near and got it in the religious papers generally that I got a house built on the promise of a heavenly illumination, which I then gave by anointing the heads of the saints with phosphorus and oil. He goes on to say that he discovered the cheat and accused me of it on the spot, and that I both acknowledged it and justified it by saying that all miracles are similar cheats. Had such a story been told on any body else, the U. S. would not have furnished seven fools to credit it. But being on the Mormon prophet, it must be true. I have no reason to doubt that it is generally believed. The saints are filled with fears that it may be so.

Now I ask, in all candor, I put it to the good sense of every man, could the church have been preserved under my leading a single day after such an act? Would it not have produced universal indignation and denunciation, immediate and unqualified? Would even a man's person be safe among those who had been subjected to such base imposture? William Smith spent that Winter in Knox county, Ill., and was not within 150 miles of Voree, within some three months of that time. But several others, men of very different character from Wm. Smith, assert that the illumination was really an imposition by the use of phosphorus and oil, and as a few of them are men who are usually credited in other matters, it may be expected of me to show a reason why they should not in this. I have cheerfully done it as often as requested.

Phosphorus and oil only produces a dim light in a warm dark room. It barely makes itself visible, and could not possibly for a single moment be mistaken for the glory of God. So if such an imposition was practiced, it must have been detected on the spot. -- If an impostor, could I be such a fool? Why did not these men expose it? Within three days of that meeting the whole band of apostates in the place, amounting to some forty, were continually accusing the saints of having been imposed on in the illumination, and every soul of them denied it...

Amos Fuller, the first one of the number who asserted the use of phosphorus, gave me on the tenth day of February following a letter directed to Mrs. Emma Smith, in which he expressed the most unqualified confidence in me as the prophet of God and as an honest man. The very day of this apostacy we scouted the last suggestion of imposition and declared that it had never been pretended that the glory of God was more manifest in the illumination than in the eucharist. Those who have since gone out from among us and taken up this calumny, then treated it the same as I do now. The principal men among them stood up at the April Conference following and expressed their faith and confidence in me as the Lord's anointed, faithful and true, not only in the strongest language that they could command, but many of them (including J M. Adams, William Smith and U. C. H. Nickerson) added that they knew these facts by revelation. U. C. H. Nickerson took a mission to the western camp, visiting on the way most of the saints in Illinois and Iowa, and meeting this scandal wherever he went, perfectly laughed it down on its own innate folly. Yet such a man has become now the principal representative of my opponents, and chief accuser in the premises. To such shifts are men driven to make me vile. As I expect to return to the subject again, I forbear remarks.   Most sincerely,       JAMES J. STRANG,

... For proof that the Twelve were apprised of the fact that Joseph Smith had appointed James J. Strang as his (Joseph's) successor, I copy an entire article from the Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, page 631: --

"Whereas Elders James J. Strang and Aaron Smith have been circulating a "revelation." (falsely called) purporting to have been received by Joseph Smith on the 18th of June, 1844: and through the influence of which they have attempted and are attempting to establish a stake, called Voree, in Wisconsin Territory, thereby leading the saints astray: therefore, the said James J. Strang and Aaron Smith are cut off from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this 26th day of August, 1844.

By order of the Council of the Twelve.


When did any one notify Strang to appear and answer any charges? NEVER! Before what tribunal of the church was he tried? NONE!! Who ever heard of the idea of the quorum of the Twelve sitting in judgment on the First President of the church?...

Note 1: Mr. Strang's training as a lawyer is put to service in the defense he offers in response to the "phosphorus illumination" charges. Still, in all his carefully chosen words, he never quite manages to state clearly, for the record, that he did not employ use of the glowing substance in his Jan. 2, 1848 ceremony in the darkened room. While a certain amount of phosphorus may only produce a dim light when mixed into a certain amount of a particular kind of oil, Strang produces no credible evidence showing that some kind of a mixture of phosphorus and other substances, in an oil base (or emerging into the air from a draining pool of oil on the hair), might not produce a "glory" as "manifest in the illumination" as "in the eucharist." Had Strang administered to his followers food or drink which contained a pupil-enlarging chemical, that factor alone might make a dim light appear relatively bright in a darkened room.

Note 2: Although William Smith was not in Wisconsin to participated in the Jan. 1-2, 1848 events, he came to Voree in their immediate aftermath and was able to learn of the "illumination," both from Strang's followers and from issues of the dissident New Era then being published at Elkhorn, ten miles away. An issue of Strang's own newspaper, of Apr. 22, 1847, as well issues as for other early 1847 dates, places William at or near the scene of the "illumination" within about 90 days of the event. In the Dec. 1846 issue of Zion's Reveille (issued early in January), Elder John Greenhow reported the "light, as consuming fire, and it sat upon each of our heads," and William Smith, wise in the ways of Mormonism, no doubt conducted his own surreptitious inquiries as to how the "manifestation" was produced. The fact that William and other ex-Strangites waited until after their respective breaks with Strang to expose this and other "impositions" says little that is useful for investigation, respective of any member's honesty.

Note 3: The same Amos Fuller, whom President J. J. Strang praised for his loyalty, prior to his disassociation from the group, was evidently the person who obtained a sample of Strang's anointing oil from that ceremony and who made it available for analysis, away from the oversight of President Strang -- see the Dec. 29, 1888 issue of the RLDS Saints' Herald. See also the Zion's Reveille issues of Dec., 1846 and Jan. 14, 1847, as well as the Gospel Herald of Dec. 23, 1847.


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, August 31, 1848.                         No. 24.


Pres. Strang -- Sir: -- I have just taken a squint at a pamphlet entitled "An Address to the Latter Day Saints, by Lyman Wight, by way of an abridged account of his life from Feb., 1844, up to April, 1848." This Lyman Wight was one of the Twelve Apostles, who was appointed of God to fill the vacancy in that quorum, caused by the martyrdom of David W. Patton in Missouri, in the fall season of 1838. I have nothing to say concerning that man (Wight) as a man, only that he is one of the most noble, generous, brave, persevering, whole hearted men that I was ever acquainted with. Many and many a time has he offered his life as a willing scarifice for his brethren; and that, too, when my life was jeopardized, for which, as a man, he is rivitted to my attention, remembrance and high regard that time and distance never, no never, can obliterate; and I know no temporal sacrifice so great that I would withhold it to save him from peril....

Lyman seems to cherish the idea that is ignorantly held out by some others, that Joseph, the prophet's son, will yet come up and take his father's original place in the church, as the prophet to the church; whereas there is not one single word in all the book of D. & C. to warrant the idea. It is true, the son is warranted a claim to the priesthood that was confirmed on his father by lineal descent, but not the Presidency of the church; that depends entirely on the appointment of his father. And as Joseph's son has made no such claim, it is to be reasonably presumed that he does not recognize any such appointment. If he does, God has been slack concerning his promises, and left his people to wander like sheep without a shepherd... [JOHN E. PAGE]

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, September 21, 1848.                         No. 27.


                                                                  New York, September 3d, 1848.
Dear Bro. Strang: -- When I left Voree I expected to labor in the gospel, which I know is my duty. I preached a few times, baptized three, then went to work for myself. I published the endowment as given by the impostor Brigham Young. When I commenced selling that I quit preaching entirely, except in a private capacity, when I say to all the Mormons, brother Strang is the head of the church, and all other ways will lead astray. I hope soon to commence. The duty is encumbent on me. Here is a great field of labor in New York and vicinity. I am convicted daily. I hope soon to commence. Thousands are crushed to death here even in the city under the weight of ignorance and superstition. Who will impart to the popular mass the principles of life? This question is constantly suggested to my mind. I want you to send me a line with a word of advice, with regard to the circulation of this book. I have sent you two copies. You say you have not received them. The pamphlet does not meddle with doctrines. It reveals the endowment, Joseph's letter of appointment, your claims, &c. I have sold 10,000 copies.   Yours with great respect.
                                I. VAN DEUSEN.

REMARKS. -- We received a copy of such a publication some time after writing you, and noticed it in the Herald as we deemed necessary. We most heartily and entirely disapprove of the publication, because by the account of the author it involves him in the crime of perjury. It may be alleged in excuse that Brigham Young was not authorized to administer oaths. We humbly conceive that, before God, his authority was every whit as good as that of the mayor or police justice of the city of New York. We should be sorry indeed to hear a Mormon elder justifying perjury before them simply because they had not a valid priesthood... Every man will find a pretense for breaking the oath he wishes not to keep. So they always have done. In addition to this, such publications tend to bring Mormonism into disrepute. Like William Smith's career, giving lectures on the alleged crimes of Brigham Young and others, they build up prejudices which every elder must meet as he goes out to preach. -- The world does not distinguish between saints and apostates. With them the rule is, once a Mormon, always a Mormon. The crimes thus published on apostates will in turn be thrown into our faces... {ED.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, October 5, 1848.                         No. 29.


==> We are in the weekly receipt of the Walworth Democrat, published by Cooley and (Oliver) Cowdery. It is conducted with ability, and laboring hard in an uphill cause -- Cass Democracy. -- By the way, what has become of all Dr. McLellin's promises that brother Cowdery was about to join him in building up a new Mormon church? McL. has regularly roared for a year and a half, and finally run out. Had he any promise of assistance from brother Cowdery, or was he lying all this time? His defunct Ensign did contain one letter with Oliver's name to it, saying he "held the keys," &c., but as he takes extraordinary liberties both with facts and documents, we always suspected it was a forgery. Indeed we think Oliver would do worse in joining hands with Dr. McL. in religion than with Mr. Cooley in politics, and even this is the losing hand in the long run.

By the way, not long since Oliver was in nomination for Representative in the State Assembly, and that blackguard, the "Elkhorn Star," opposed him on the ground of his being a witness of the Book of Mormon. Doubtless if John the Revelator was a candidate it would oppose him because he was a witness of the resurrection of Jesus. But the friends of Mr. Cowdery produced testimonials of the leading citizens, both political and religious, without distinction of party or sect, of the northern part of Ohio, of his excellent character while in that region. Just as it should be. Oliver certifies that he knows the Book of Mormon "was translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates. And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the PLATES, and the engravings thereon, and the voice of the Lord commanded us to bear record of it;" and the leading men of various sects and parties in northern Ohio, where he has spent many years of his life, certify that his character is above reproach. Surely he is entitled to credit. We thank the Gentiles for stirring up this matter.

On the whole, Oliver seems to be in good demand and first rate standing. Even Phineas Young is here, telling that brother Cowdery is going with him to Council Bluffs. We don't doubt that he does so with just as much truth as McLellin told him that he was going with him. A short time ago all were against him; now all [are] crying him up, and bragging that he will go with them. Don't think they will lift him high enough to make him dizzy. If they should, they would let him fall very hard.

Note 1: Four years later, in the Nov. 11, 1852 issue of his his Michigan Northern Islander, James J. Strang took some pains to refute the story that Oliver Cowdery died a drunkard in Wisconsin. Strang credits the misinformation to "Mr. Cooly" the editor of the Green Bay Spectator, a newspaper published in Brown Co., Wisconsin between 1851 and 1853. The person thus referred to was (Edwin) Alanson Cooley, who published the Walworth County Democrat during the time that Oliver Cowdery edited that paper. Why Mr. Cooley would have offered such an incorrect summary of Oliver's final days is unknown -- if indeed he did. The connection between Cooley and Cowdery doubtless may be traced back to Lockport and Batavia, New York in the 1820s, when the two young men were just beginning their respective newspaper careers. See also the notes appended to the Dec. 30, 1837 issue of the Niagara Democrat and the Sept. 12, 1846 issue of the Janesville Gazette.


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, October 19, 1848.                         No. 31.


==> Where are the Brighamite Twelve? Phineas Young informed us personally, not two weeks since, that six of them were at the Salt Land, and six at Council Bluffs. Letters from various places mention them in different locations. For instance, we learn that Wilford Woodruff is in Boston, and in no hurry to start to the Salt Land. Also Orson Pratt has left his family in New York and gone to England. Orson Hyde is sculling about the land seeking whom he may devour. Wonder if they cannot look up some body to be leader. It might patch up their affairs for a few weeks if they could but get some man of character to go up into the wilderness and consent to be their leader.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                           Voree, Wisconsin, January 4, 1849.                         No. 42.


               Ashtabula, Ohio, Nov. 19th, 1848.

Mr. Cooper, -- Sir: -- *   *   *   *  I think that you will some day wake up to an understanding of your situation, for I think that you have more mind than to remain blind forever. -- For your benefit I will give you a short history of Mormonism. I will commence with the golden Bible. It was written in Erie, Pa., as a romance with regard to the ten lost tribes of Israel. From Erie it was sent to Pittsburgh in manuscript to be printed, where Rigdon, the great Apostle of "Mormonism," was at work as a journeyman printer, whole stole the manuscript, and with "Jo Smith" commenced one of the greatest systems of fraud and humbug ever got up. Jo Smith learned the manuscript off by heart, and then got a piece of glass and called it the philosopher's stone, with which he would read from the plates, which he found when the Devil kicked him six feet on end. And as for Jo Smith, he was known to be one of the greatest villains in the western part of the State of New York.

As I was saying, he read them to a gaping crowd, and every word was taken down as an oracle from God. Yes, the offspring of the imagination of a man, who died before his work could be printed, was read as the word of God! what profanity! From whence do they derive their order? From Jo Smith, I suppose. But ambition and fanaticism will carry some men a great ways. They want to be called Apostle, and want to mislead ignorant and foolish people, and especially when they have got money. That is what they want. And among them is that great Apostle Strang. I will not call him a fool, for he is not one. But his talents ought to be put to a better use than carrying on a system of fraud and deception, excelled only by Mohammed. *   *   *   JOHN GIFFORD.

==> The foregoing letter, written to the printer of the Herald by an old acquaintance, we publish just as set off to the assertions of Wm. Smith. The only differences we can see in them is that Mr. Gifford probably supposes what he says is true, just as some future fool who repeats Wm.'s tales may think them true. The story of Joseph getting a piece of glass and calling it the philosopher's stone is doubtless an attempt at the use of the Urim and Thummim. All that is said of the dead man's manuscript, is probably a vague reiteration of the Spaulding story. Mr. Gifford very likely does not know that Sidney Rigdon never was a printer. -- Nor that at the time the Spaulding manuscript was in Pittsburgh, Rigdon was a boy on his father's farm. We presume he would not like to know any such fact. Otherwise we would send him the evidence to his heart's content.

By the way, "Jo Smith" must have been full as smart to learn the whole Book of Mormon by heart as Strang was in endeavoring to make converts by fraudulent miracles, and at the same time teaching that all miracles were cheats. Pray, who would be converted by a miracle, if the doer said it was a fraud? And why should a "gaping crowd" think a man's words were an oracle from God, merely because he looked in a glass when he spoke them? Strange that no man can tell a lie, but he sticks up a signboard to show its falsity. We are pleased to see prophet Strang ranked with the prophets, even in calumny, and are not a whit displeased that Mr. Gifford, after repeating stale falsehoods on Joseph, should call him hard names also. If, like the assembly at Ottawa, Wm.'s eastern audiences should require him to begin his Mormon expose with "Old Jo" or return the money, they doubtless could hear something of more prophets than one. However this may be, all who know him know that, rather than fail of a favorite undertaking, he would justify any iniquity under Joseph's cloak.

Note 1: John Gifford's recollection of a story about "the ten lost tribes of Israel" having been written in Erie County, PA corresponds closely with the testimony of Daniel Tyler. In an 1878 letter, Tyler (like Gifford, an early resident of the area where PA and OH meet on the Lake Erie shore) speaks of "A superannuated Presbyterian preacher" having "written a romance... pretending that the ten tribes" came to ancient America. Tyler also mentions his neighbor in Erie, County, PA: "Erastus Rudd, in whose house much of the romance was formerly written..." (Daniel Tyler, "The Spauldin' Story," Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Jan. 16, 1878. It appears that both Gifford and Tyler were heirs to a local tradition that the Rev. Solomon Spalding wrote a story about the "ten lost tribes of Israel," perhaps partly in New Salem, Ashtabula, Ohio, but mostly in the adjacent Erie Co., Pennsylvania.

Note 2: As for Rigdon's "father's farm," it was within walking distance of Pittsburgh and it was where both Sidney Rigdon and Solomon Spalding picked up their mail now and then. Although Spalding's residence, at Amity, was more than a convenient day's walk from Pittsburgh, it was not terribly far from the "father's farm" and it is not unlikely that Sidney Rigdon occasionally visited Amity, since he had an aunt and cousins living in the same hamlet, probably within sight of the inn Spalding kept there. These relatives lived in Amity during practically the entire length of Spalding's 1824-1816 stay. Finally, although Rigdon may have not been a printer, his occasional occupation as a leather currier in and around Pittsburgh would have naturally brought him into contact with the Patterson Brothers' book bindery there, if not with their other associated enterprises -- a paper mill, a book store, and a publishing office.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, March 22, 1849.                         No. 1.


==> Reader, this number commences the fourth volume of the Herald. And for once we can say the morning dawns brightly. -- This paper commenced with the year 1846, and when the first number issued we had less than a dozen subscribers... For three years the Herald has been the only Mormon paper on earth. It is true that several have attempted what they please to call Mormon papers, but all have failed, unless we exempt a small monthly sheet irregularly issued at Kirtland, by the followers of J. C. Brewster. The Nauvoo Neighbor failed late in 1845, and the Times and Seasons a few weeks after. In the summer following Rigdon's Messenger stopped. The apostates in Voree started one in Jan., 1847, got out two numbers, and advertised a great Conference, which not one soul attended. W. E. McLellin attempted a publication in Kirtland, which lived through four or five numbers. Orson Hyde last fall published a prospectus and canvassed the United States for subscribers and we presume got a few, but we cannot learn he has issued a paper, and presume he never will. We understand that the Millenial Star has not been published for some two years. Isaac Sheen, Wm. Smith, and we believe two or three others, have attempted to start publications, which have entirely failed. The Herald, alone of all papers, has stood, the bulwark of the church of God, and the "defender of the faith."...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, May 10, 1849.                         No. 8.


==> We crave pardon of President Strang -- we should most pos-i-tive-ly have kept silent, had we thought our article would have called forth such a burst of small thunder from the Great I Am, James J. Strang. As far as the Col. is concerned in the matter of which the Herald speaks, we will exonerate him from all parts in the same. -- The associate editor of the Standard stands accountable for all those outrageous sayings. The senior editor might have taken a different course had he been at home -- the junior has no sympathy with the Herald, or its impostor, nor with the people, as religionists, over which Mr. Strang is called to preside -- we believe them to be a poor deluded set of fanatics, without one particle of foundation for the creed they put forth. As for the other insinuations about the paper, &c., we would merely say -- when we become so reduced in the scale of being as to become a nuisence to ourself, we may advocate Mormonism, but even then we presume we should perfer some other occupation.   Wisconsin Standard.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, May 24, 1849.                         No. 10.


The Gospel Herald says, "the combined wisdom and learning of this generation have as yet failed," to prove Mormonism to be a humbug. We never saw a man with common reason who presumed it to be anything else, but a humbug. As for proving it to be such, the great difficulty has been that there is nothing of it -- it acts upon the moonshine principle -- nothing but a shadow for a belief; and that very shallow. Mormonism is antagonistical to common sense, and has so been treated by all who have investigated the subject. --   Wisconsin Standard.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, June 7, 1849.                         No. 12.


==> We learn by private correspondence from St. Louis that large numbers of Brighamites are passing through that city, both to and from Council Bluffs. Also that Phineas Young, who figured in this region in persuading Oliver Cowdery off to the Bluffs, has been down to Texas on a similar errand to Lyman Wight, which appears not to have been quite so successful. It is also alledged, we know not with what truth, that David Whitmer has an invitation to join them and serve as a kind of puppet prophet for the camp. Greatly are they in need of one, but whether they can supply the want in that way, they have yet to learn.

Note: During the summer of 1847 Oliver Cowdery moved his family, from Tiffin, Seneca Co., Ohio to the town of Elkhorn, Walworth Co., Wisconsin Territory -- a mere ten miles west of J. J. Strang's Mormon colony at Voree. Shortly after this relocation, Oliver was visited by the traveling church organizer, William E. McLellin. Although McLellin was unable to convince Oliver to move back to Ohio (and unite with Mormons at Kirtland) he seems to have stirred up ideas for Oliver's re-uniting with the Saints -- both in Oliver's mind and in the minds of the Brighamite leaders. Through his Mormon brother-in-law, Phineas H. Young, the Twelve invited Oliver Cowdery back into their church. By February of 1848 Oliver seems to have accepted the invitation and was making plans to visit the Brighamite spring conference at Kanesville (Council Bluffs), Iowa. Oliver Cowdery did not show up for the conference, and all that Phineas could report to the attendees was that Oliver was "prepared to receive the word" of the Twelve and would come west "as soon as circumstances will permit." Those "circumstances" appear to have been the April, 1848 elections for representatives to the newly formed Wisconsin State Legislature. When Oliver lost in his bid for elected office, his interest in joining the Mormons was renewed. Phineas Young came to Elkhorn by the beginning of October and escorted the Cowdery family to Council Bluffs. They arrived there on Oct. 21st and Oliver was able to attend a local conference and have his application for re-baptism considered by the High Council assembled there. George W. Harris, an old associate of Oliver's from his early years in western New York, recommended Oliver's readmittance to the Church. According to LDS sources, Oliver Cowdery was re-baptized a Mormon, on Sunday Nov. 12, 1848, in Mosquito Creek, at Council Bluffs, Iowa.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, June 14, 1849.                         No. 13.


Died, May 15th, at Menomonee, in the Chippeway region, above Lake Pippin, Bro. Moses Smith, a witness of the name of the Lord Jesus unto the nations and one of the quorum of Twelve Apostles. Bro. Moses was born in Bennington Co., Vt., the 23d of March, 1800, and consequently was in his fiftieth year at the time of his decease... he settled in Medina Co., Ohio, where he remained till 1829, when he removed to Seneca Co. There he carried on considerable business as a merchant, held several respectable offices, both civil and military, and in 1832 he heard and embraced the gospel. In 1825 he married the daughter of a Baptist clergyman in Madison Co., N. Y., Lydia Perce, who, with two children, survive him. In 1833 he spent some time in Chaut. Co., N. Y., assisted Reynolds Cahoon in the work he accomplished there, in with Alpheus Cutler and Freeman Nickerson preached the gospel extensively in that region. The following year he spent some time on the Grand River in Upper Canada, but with what success we are unable to say. Early in 1835 he made his way to Racine, Wisconsin, scarcely behind the first pioneers...

In 1839 he left Burlington with a valuable property, the accumulation of his three years in Wisconsin, and settled in Walnut Grove, Knox Co., Ill,, where many saints driven from Missouri by persecution, came for a brief season to rest... In 1842 he went to Nauvoo and established himself in the mercantile business, with his remaining capital, and continued in that business with lumbering in the Mississippi prairies, and making pearlash, till after the death of Joseph. On an expedition up to the falls of the Black River in the fall of 1843... he returned alone from there to Nauvoo in Feb., 1844, making 200 miles of the distance on snow shoes, without a path, and seldom seeing a house, arriving at Nauvoo the last Sunday in the month, the day on which prophet Strang became a member of the church, and just in season to be present as his confirmation...

... he went to Michigan to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, and was there when the Prophet was martyred. The revelation by which prophet Strang was called in stead of Joseph, and Voree made a place of gathering, also contained a particular command to him to preach that place of gathering to the saints. This revelation first reached him at Florence, Mich., where a Conference had just closed its session. The Conference was called together again, 13 elders being in attendance, and the revelation laid before them, where it was received in faith by nearly all present, though against the wishes of Elders Green, Dunn, and Jacobs [sic - Jacob?]. A resolution was passed that the Elders who were satisfied have liberty to preach it, and that none should oppose them; and Moses Smith and Elder Jacobs were appointed to go to Nauvoo for further consultation, and to proclaim the revelation. As soon as this Conference closed, however, Green, Dunn and Jacobs got up a meeting for preaching, and, contrary to the resolution of the Conference, in which two of them had presided, and the third acted as Secretary, commenced a tirade of the most bitter abuse upon prophet Strang, which Bro. Moses tried in vain to stop. When they forbid him to speak, prophet Strang left the house, and the congregation dispersed, leaving them to vent their spleen to naked walls.

From there he returned, according to the appointment of the Conference, to Nauvoo. Several of the Twelve, who were there, met him with harshness; told him the revelation was false, and threatened him with excommunication in case he persisted in proclaiming it, and, as a last resort, reminding him of his mission among the Indians; told him that the time had come when he must undertake that, or he would fall under condemnation for disobeying the martyred Prophet... In this expedition he lost seven horses, three wagons, and every thing else he possessed

From this time he was nearly a year in settling his family and making some provision for their sustenance, when, in January, 1846, he went from Voree to Nauvoo to proclaim the gathering to the former place, and oppose the emigration to California, taking with him the first issue of the Voree Herald. This mission was eminently successful. The Temple was enclosed, and arrangements made for holding meetings in it. His appearance and mission produced a general excitement and great anxiety to hear from the new prophet. The first Sunday he was refused admission at the door of the Temple, and the most popular speakers of the Brighamites put forward to blacken his character and that of the prophet. But the excitement was rather increased by this means, so that when the meeting broke up he was surrounded by hundreds of people clamoring to hear from him. Taking a large stone for his stand, he and those that accompanied him in his mission addressed them with great effect some two hours, Orson Hyde sent an officer of the police to order the assembly to disperse. This officer being disregarded, a mob crowded around, headed by an officer of police, armed with knives and pistols, threatening their lives and endeavoring to seize them. Suddenly they disappeared, and were seen a few minutes after at the house of a true brother, not one of the mob having the slightest idea what had become of them.

The following Sunday the excitement was so great, and the anxiety to hear of the new prophet so irresistible, that the Brighamite faction determined to give him one hearing in the Temple, thinking to browbeat him down. His natural modesty, even at the age of forty-six, bordered on bashfulness. But in this cause, nerved by the greatness of the crisis, he stood forward boldly in defense of the truth, and achieved a triumph of the truth over usurped power, from which they never recovered. All the popular speakers of the Brighamite faction were brought forward, not to answer him, but to pervert and malign his cause. No opportunity was given him to reply. But instead a vote was taken by a portion of the congregation, in the midst of clamor and screaming, to cut him off, and forbidding any one to hear him, or any one that believed in Strang, or to read the Herald.

After a successful mission, in which he saved hundreds from the delusions of Brighamism, he returned to Voree in season to attend Conference there, April 6th, 1846...

Note 1: Moses Smith was baptized in Michigan in the first days of August, 1832 by Elder John Smith, who was an early convert in Ohio (and perhaps a relative of Moses). It appears that, after his ordination as an elder (in late 1832 or early 1833) Moses Smith was active as an LDS missionary in various parts of the country. Besides performing proselytizing activities in western N. Y. during the early 1830s, he subsequently carried out conversion work in and around Knox, Bureau and Lee counties, c. 1840-41, helping to lay the groundwork in those places for their Mormon congregations of the 1840s and early 1850s. He was, for a time, Bishop of the Saints congregated around Walnut Grove in Knox Co., Illinois.

Note 2: The Autobiography of Elder Norton Jacob relates a somewhat different story of Moses Smith and the advent of Strangism in Michigan and Illinois: "A report had just reached us that our beloved prophet Joseph and Patriarch Hyrum Smith were murdered in Carthage Jail... I now returned to Branch County... I found Moses completely discomforted by the news of the prophet's death and he could preach very little afterwards till another catastrophe happened [to] him... We continued laboring till about the first of August [1844] when we met with Brother H. Green, Crandal Dunn and some eight or ten other elders and held a conference in Florence, St. Joseph County [Michigan]. While here the famous James J. Strang and Aaron Smith, brother to Moses, came along with their revelation to gather the Saints and build up Voree in Wisconsin... [and] named Moses and Aaron as colleagues with Strang, which completely unshipped Moses and he was never good for anything afterwards. The thing no doubt was framed by Aaron Smith and James Strang. The conference directed them to go immediately to Nauvoo, where was the proper authority to decide upon their pretensions, but Aaron absolutely refused and so they passed on east seeking proselytes.... August 24th. I arrived at home in company with Moses Smith and the next day met in council with the Twelve when the folly of the Strang revelation was fully made manifest and Moses warned to follow the council of the Twelve or he would be sure to fall, which has since been verified, for he went off into the woods with Emit, and his property and family are all scattered from him.... Sunday, 1st of February [1846] . There was a meeting in the [Nauvoo] temple. Brother Orson Pratt spoke to the people. Brother Brigham Young said that Moses Smith wanted to set forth the doctrine and claims of James J. Strang. Moses [Smith] then arose and read some of Strang's productions and made some comments and warned the people to flee to Vorell [sic], Strang's new city in Wisconsin where he promised them peace and safety. He however, recognized the authority of the Twelve. After he had done, Brother Brigham said he would make no comment but simply ask the people if they had heard the voice of the Good Shepherd in what had been advanced and when NO resounded all over the house it was proposed that Moses Smith be cut off from the Church which was carried unanimously. Strang and Aaron Smith was also cut off. Many have been deluded by Strangism and one of them a president of the Seventies."

Note 3: In compiling Apostle Moses Smith's obituary, the Gospel Herald writer eliminated reference to the other Strangite missionaries who operated in Nauvoo during the early weeks of 1846. High Priest Samuel Shaw should be mentioned among these, as should High Priest Hiram Stratton. It was Stratton who met with John E. Page and William Smith in Nauvoo on Mar. 10, 1846, at which time William perhaps decided to follow Page's example, in joining the Strangites. Moses Smith was probably already on his way back to Voree when this important consultation took place and it seems doubtful that he had any direct influence in the conversion of William Smith to the Strangite cause. See notes appended to the Mar. 21, 1846 issue of the St. Louis Daily American for further details.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, July 5, 1849.                         No. 16.


                                            Cincinnati, Ohio, June 8th, 1849.
Dear Frank: -- ... I arrived here last Monday evening... I called on Dr. Merryweather and informed him of my mission... and informed him of the prosperity of the church at Voree and Beaver Island, &c. He said that he had not heard anything about Voree for some time, only that the work under the Presidency of Bro. Strang was all blown up and gone to the shades. -- And this, in substance, was what all the old Mormons told me that I have found in this city, and in Covington, Ky., and in several other places in this State. None of them here have taken a paper from Voree for a long time, and the saints here, as well as in Lewisburg and that region of country, have been greatly disappointed in consequence of Elder J. E. Page not coming to this State last fall for the salvation of the saints. Many knew that he was expected last fall, and that he had the means given him to bring him here. And he did not come, nor no one else, most of the people thought they had a pretty good excuse to believe that the church at Voree and Beaver was all blown overboard.

Dr. Merryweather told me that when Reuben Miller's pamphlet came to this city, that it killed every Strangite Mormon in the place; and that himself and many others had joined the Brighamite branch. However, there is, as near as I can learn, about 100 old Mormons in this city who hold with none of the parties, but are standing still... I calculate to start for Beaver from Lewisburg the 25th with a company of saints, so as to arrive at the Island in time for Conference.

Truly and sincerely,             JAMES BLAKESLEE.

President J. J. Strang, -- Truly Honored and Respected: --

The Conference requests that the following minutes thereof be published through the medium of the Gospel Herald, at Voree. The last No. of the first Vol. of the Olive Branch being in type, makes it impossible to give it a place immediately, nor is it certain that the next Vol. will be printed at Kirtland. You will, therefore, confer a favor on the community by giving the following an insertion in your paper, that a character so depraved as that of the following named convict may not further succeed in his deception.-- Yours in sincerity and truth,
                                        A. COWLES.

Minutes of a Conference of the Church of Christ, held in Kirtland on the third day of June, 1849, specially called to take into consideration certain charges preferred against Elder Wm. E. McLellin.

Conference convened at 4 o'clock, P. M., and organized by appointing Martin Harris to preside and Isaac N. Aldrich Secretary. Whereupon the following charges were read: --

1st. For using abusive, wicked and uncalled for language in our public meetings.

2d. For abusive language to the members, and especially to the Elders of the church.

3d. For cheating and defrauding people under pretense of publishing the Ensign of Liberty.

4th. For quarrelling and fighting, and justifying himself in it.

5th. For lying in the name of the Lord at sundry times.

6th. For refusing to counsel with the Elders of the church, and meeting them with contempt.

7th. For taking illegal votes to disfellowship members of the church.

8th. For refusing to do as instructed by the First Presidency of the church.

After a careful investigation, by evidence, the above charges were sustained without a dissenting vote. Wherefore, it was resolved, that we withdraw all fellowship from the aforesaid Wm. E. McLellin, both as an Elder or member of the church of Christ.

A vote was also taken for an expression of the whole congregation, whether the charges had been sustained in order and a christian spirit. The expression was in the affirmative, not a dissenting vote. Elders present, M. C. Isham, Alfred Bonney, Jacob Bump and Leonard Rich.     MARTIN HARRIS, Pres.
Isaac N. Aldrich, Sec.

Note 1: If the Strangites were not doing well at gathering in "old Mormon" converts from Cincinnati and Covington, Elder Blakeslee was less than candid as to the reason -- much of the cause probably being due to the anti-Strang rhetoric pouring out of Elder William Smith's newspaper there. Smith's congregation evidently drew more members from among the disgruntled former Strangites than it did from the less entrenched followers of Brigham Young in that region of the country.

Note 2: The Aug. 1849 issue of McLellin's Ensign of Liberty was the last official publication of the Church of Christ at Kirtland. McLellin was a reluctant church leader and he was probably relieved to see Martin Harris take over the job -- and for himself to be removed from the whole failed enterprise. Under Harris' eratic leadership the Kirtland church quickly evaporated and by the fall of 1849 a Rochester newspaper was describing him as a non-Mormon, wandering preacher.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, August 16, 1849.                         No. 22.


                            City of Austin, Travis county, Texas, June 12th, 1849.
President Jas. J. Strang: -- I wrote you a letter about a month ago, asking upon what principle your claim was predicated to the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If I had been as well informed in regard to the subject matter as your appointment and calling as I am since reading two of your tracts and several of your papers, I should not have written as I did. I requested a publication of my former letter, but from the present conviction of my mind I wrote to Elder Marks to prevent its publication; and now as I have spent a competency and my all in the church for the benefit of the saints, I still, as ever desire to spend the remainder of my days in the cause of Zion, when made known to me through the medium God gas appointed.

I was baptized in the summer of 1839, by John Taylor, (then one of the Twelve,) and in the summer of 1840 was ordained a High Priest under the hands of Bishop Knight, Hyrum and Joseph Smith, and in January, 1841, I was called to the Bishoprick and set apart by the First Presidency, and under the hands of Elder Marks. And at the fall Conference after the death of Don Carlos Smith I was called and set apart as President of the quorum of High Priests, with my Counselors Noah Packard and Amasa Lyman. On this wise I now find myself in Texas, an isolated, trail being. In the spring of 1844 Joseph organized a council of 50. I was one of that number. The question arose in regard to settling those saints in the south that were making lumber in Wisconsin, for building the Temple and Nauvoo House. The decision of the council was had, and Lucian Woodworth, George Miller and Lyman Wight appointed to settle the company and their families, and procure a place for a stake for the gathering of the saints... Lyman Wight took the lumbermen and others and left, and with them one of my sons [to Texas]. Lucian Woodsworth and myself applied to Brigham Young, President of the Twelve, in his assumed standing, for the necessary outfit in papers, &c., to take with us to meet the Texan Congress. He annulled the appointment. I started with the camp, and came to Texas to look after my son. I have preached some, and a few have believed, but I have not baptized any because of the distracted state of the minds of believers in regard to the Presidency, &c. And until recently I have been disposed to get an inheritance in Missouri, and there stand still and see the salvation of God. Yours in the bonds of eternal truth.
                                                          GEORGE MILLER.

Note: The above communication contains a rare reference to Joseph Smith's "Council of Fifty," a secret organization rarely mentioned by in the public prints during the 19th century. See the Nov. 2, 1844 issue of the Vermont Perfectionist and the Apr. 3, 1850 issue of the Ohio Painesville Telegraph for other, passing mentions of this clandestine Mormon group.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, August 23, 1849.                         No. 23.


The Strang Dynasty of the Mormon Brotherhood, it is known to most of our readers, has established the head quarters of their Church at Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan. These Islands are highly spoken of by those who have visited them. Big Beaver Island, the principal one, being, according to the Buffalo Express, about thirteen miles long by seven broad, and containing 50,000 acres of good land. These Islands are deemed remarkably healthy, and are becoming quite noted among the Upper Lake travellers, in consequence of their beauty and their salubrity of climate. The number of resident Mormons there, is now estimated at about 300, and they are soon to have a weekly paper issued there. We believe the "stake" at Voree, is to be pulled up, and transplanted at Paradise Bay, on one of these islands, where -- we suppose -- another great temple is to be built. Warsaw Signal.

==> It is a mistake that Voree is to be "pulled up." It is making steady improvement, and a large company of masons and assistants are at work on the Temple. We do not begin a work to look back, and are in a country where mobs are not in vogue. {ED.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, October 4, 1849.                         No. 29.


This is the title of an interesting paper published at Greencastle, Franklin Co., Pa. by E. Robinson, and edited by J. Kilbourn, the first number of which is on our table. If it continues as it has commenced, it cannot fail of obtaining a liberal patronage.

Note: See also the Jan. 23, 1850 issue of Orson Hyde's Fontier Guardian, for a similar short notice of this paper, published in the Rigdonite cause in 1849-50. About 150 of Sidney Rigdon's followers moved to the region of Greencastle, Antrim twp., Franklin Co., Pa in 1849 and established there a farming and manufacturing community. The Conococheague Herald (first issue published on Sept. 19, 1849) was owned and operated by Elder Ebenezer Robinson and was probably printed upon the same press that had previously issued forth Rigdon's Messenger and Advocate at Pittsburgh. Robinson's paper gradually turned to secular news reporting and became the precursor to the modern Echo-Pilot, still published at Greencastle.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, November 1, 1849.                         No. 33.


The following are the names of a few of the Martyrs, who, for the testimony of Jesus, have been inhumanly murdered in the States of Missouri and Illinois: -- Mr. Barber, Martyred November 4, 1833, in Jackson county, Mo. The following Saints were martyred in Caldwell co, Mo., Oct 30, 1833: -- Thos. McBride, Levi Merrick [sic - Hancock?], Wm. Merrick, Elias Benner, Josiah Fuller, Benjamin Lewis, Alex. Campbell, Warren Smith, Sardius Smith, George Richards, Mr. Napier, Mr. Harmar, Mr. Cox, Mr. Abbott, and Mr. York. About the same time and in the same county, the following persons were martyred, namely: David W. Patten, one of the Twelve Apostles, Gideon Carter, Mr. Obanion, and Mr. Carey. Martyred in Carthage Jail, in the county of Hancock, State of Illinois, on the 27th day of June, 1844, Joseph Smith, the Seer, Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, two of the noblest Martyrs whose blood has stained the earth for ages. The murderers of the foregoing persons, though the most of them are well known, are yet running at large, boasting of their deeds. Samuel H. Smith, brother of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, who died from the effects of poison administered to him, within one month after the martyrdom of his brother. These all have sealed their testimony with their blood, besides many more whose days have been shortened by the persecutions that they have endured.

Note: The Strangites "lifted" the above list of names from the Oct., 1849 issue of William Smith's Melchisedek and Aaronic Herald, without attribution. See notes appended to that entry for further particulars.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, November 8, 1849.                         No. 34.


COUNSEL. -- As there are some emigrants that are disposed to take poor persons with them to the Valley, in order to assist them on the road in driving teams, cooking, and in general assistance; and so soon as they get there they want these poor persons off on to the lands of some others. This is wrong and cannot be suffered. The people in the Valley have all they can do to sustain themselves without being burdened by an influx of poor thrown upon their hands, after the more wealthy have availed themselves of their services on the road. We therefore say to all concerned, that whoever takes the poor to the Valley shall support them there till their way is honorably opened to get a support other ways. This counsel will henceforth be enforced upon all that emigrate to this country. We say to the rich abroad, bring all the poor that you please, but you must situate them yourselves to live after you bring them here, and not throw them upon the hands of others for a support, and pay no further attention to them. Do not think to cast your burdens upon other men when you are more able yourselves to bear them than they . -- Frontier Guardian, June 13th,

==> The foregoing is the consolation which the Brighamites offer to the poor among them. Well, we say to our brethren, if there are any poor among you, help them up to the place of gathering appointed of God, for in our Father's house is enough and to spare.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, November 22, 1849.                         No. 36.


At a meeting of officers and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, held at the house of sister Heely in the City of New York, pursuant to the previous call and public notice, Pres. Strang stating that part of the business of the meeting being to investigate charges made against him, requested that some other person be appointed to preside. Whereupon Bro. Samuel Bennett, one of the Twelve, was appointed President, and J. W. Jenks, High Priest, Clerk.

On motion of Bro. Walker it was voted that we proceed to investigate the conduct of Increase Van Dusen... Van Dusen then arose and said that he was not aware he was going to be tried, but must acknowledge that he had not acted with the right spirit... The reason of his then excitement was that Bro. Hickey had been informing him of some very wicked things in respect to Pres. Strang...

Several items of testimony were given, among which one may be named: that Van Dusen had pretended to receive divers revelations, some of which had already proved false. Increase Van Dusen spoke in his own defence, and Elder Hickey in his behalf, whereupon it was resolved that Increase McGee Van Dusen be excommunicated from the church of Christ and delivered over to the buffeting of Satan until the day of redemption.

It was then presented that L. D. Hickey had the previous day in a public meeting after the benediction was pronounced charged Pres. Strang with adultery, fornication, spiritual wifery, and all the abominations that were ever practiced at Nauvoo, and denounced him as a deceiver, an impostor and a false prophet and stated that he could prove all these charges by three letters, which he had lately received from his wife at Beaver Island. Pres. Strang replied that he was not guilty...

Note: For more on Strang's slow and convoluted introduction of polygamy into his church, see David Rich Lewis' "For Life, the Resurrection, and the Life Everlasting': James J. Strang and Strangite Mormon Polygamy, 1849-1856." in Wisconsin Magazine of History 66 (Summer 1983):274-91. Strang himself reportedly entered into the practice, formally, in 1855, although he was engaged in at least one secret, adulterous liaison prior to that time.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, December 6, 1849.                         No. 38.


==> The Warsaw Signal, after noticing the organization of the Brighamite State government at the Salt Lake, breaks out in the following tantalizing strain: --

"Hurra! for the State of Deseret! Doubtless their legislative enactments, and proceedings under them. will equal those enacted by some of these same individuals while residing in the 'State' of Nauvoo! The next thing we shall probably hear of will be a new State at Beaver Island under the Governorship of the Prophet Strang, with John E. Page as Delegate to Congress. Unless Brother Strang does adopt this plan -- or something else -- the Salt Lake branch of the Saints will beat him at proslyting, and the gulls will go to swell the tide of the population in Deseret."

As for the Brighamites and the Signal are concerned, we are disposed to let them fight it out, not doubting however that it will be very difficult for them to make themselves any more odious than have the mobocrats of Hancock, of which the Signal is the organ. "Brother Strang" will do "something else," instead of exhibiting such consummate folly. John E. Page has been cut off from the church for his misconduct, and is doubtless ready to show his "talant" by serving up a superb dish of "Mormon disclosures" to the Signal, or any other anti-Mormon paper, cheap for cash. We advise the editor of the signal to get one; his patrons would relish it deliciously.

Note: The above report in the Warsaw Signal probably appeared in late November. The clipping has not yet been located for proper transcription.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, December 20, 1849.                         No. 40.


==> The following article, on the organization of the State of Deseret in the Salt Lake Valley, we take from the St. Louis Republican of October 1st, which will clearly show whether the Brighamites are trusting in the arm of flesh or in God: --

It has been already announced that the people residing in the Valley of the great Salt Lake had instituted for themselves a form of government, which is to be submitted to Congress at its next session. We have been permitted to look at certified copies of the constitution thus established, and of the proceedings of the Legislature under it, and of the reasons which led to these movements. The new state is quaintly styled the "State of Deseret," which implies, according to the Mormon history and interpretation, the "honey bee," and is significant of industry and the kindred virtues. It is scarcely necessary to say to our readers, that the population of this new State is composed altogether of persons professing the Mormon faith, of whom the number is rapidly increasing every year, that being the State to which all their emigration is tending. In these proceedings, as everything else, the peculiarities of this people are preserved, though we cannot see that this will offer any good bar to their application for admission into the Union.

In one respect, at least, the convention which formed the constitution of the new State, has set a good example. They were employed only one week in action upon it, and we do not see but what it is as good a one as some of our States have been able to form after months of deliberation. We proceed to give some of its main features...

Not a word is said in the Constitution about slavery or the Wilmot proviso, such things not having entered into the imaginations of the lawgivers as important for their welfare. The constitution will be pressed upon Congress, and if ratified, two new Senators and a representative will soon appear in that body from the State of Deseret -- a State which was without a settled inhabitant four years ago, and which is some twenty-five hundred miles from the seat of the Federal Government.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, December 27, 1849.                         No. 41.


                                                    Georgetown, Mass., Dec. 9th, 1849.
Francis Cooper, -- Dear Sir: -- As my term for the Herald expires with the 36th No., I wish it to be continued as heretofore the ensuing six months, for which I send you one dollar. It is the only messenger among all the Latter Day Saints that visits me in my lonely situation. The glad tidings which it often brings revives my poor care-worn spirit, and keeps my sinking hope alive. There sometimes comes to hand a little sheet from Wm. Smith's Editor, but it contains so much blackguardism, and pounces so heavily on Pres. Strang, I do not like it...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, January 3, 1850.                         No. 42.


==> The following article we take from the Boston Advertiser and Guide: --


It is not without some degree of interest that we have watched the operations of this sect in the revolutions and changes of modern times. Their history has been inseparably connected with all the great changes that have taken place in the religious world for the last few years. After the assassination of their first prophet and leader Joe Smith, they became divided into three parties, viz,: one under Sidney Rigdon, one under the notorious Brigham Young, the first founder of the "Spiritual Wife Doctrine," the third party under James J. Strang, who claims to be their present prophet and successor to Joseph Smith; presenting a letter of appointment from Smith to said office.

The party under Rigdon has entirely passed away; and he has gone into obscurity without a single follower to adhere to his claims, and has not left a stone to tell where slumbers the ashes of the fallen leader. The gang under Brigham Young are known as the Salt Lake party, or the fighting Mormons," who are located at the Valley of Great "Salt Lake," and at "Council Bluffs," and have carried with them cannons, guns, revolvers, knives, and other implements of warfare, and almost entirely laid aside the name of "Saint" and taken that of "Mormons;" and the combined testimony that has recently been received, and that can be fully relied upon, is that they hold on to their cursed Spiritual Wife Doctrine; Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, and some other of their leaders, having more than twenty wives each; they have also established their famous "Nauvoo Legion," and pretend to be twenty thousand in number, and seek admission into the union, with the notorious Brigham Young as Governor.

It might be supposed that they would learn wisdom from the history of the past, and let such things alone. In relation to their being twenty thousand in number at the "Salt Lake," there is not one word of truth in the statement. It is a deception, and base falsehood from first to last, for the purpose of deceiving this government, and their duped followers; and we are prepared to prove that there is not now, and never has been three thousand Mormons at the Salt Lake, men, women and children all put together; and if they continue to practice such deception and abominations, they will soon be overthrown and broken up.

The followers of Mr. Strang claim for him that he was regularly appointed a prophet according to the laws of the church, as a kind of second "Joshua," to succeed Joe Smith in the priesthood and prophetic office to finish or clean up the great work of what they call the "dispensation of the fulness of times." And what is most remarkable in the whole affair is that we find such men as William Marks, (former President of the "stake" at Nauvoo,) young Joseph, (eldest son of the prophet,) Moses Smith, Aaron Smith, with scores of others that were known to be firm friends of the dead prophet; and last, not least, our old friend and Boston favorite, Elder G. J. Adams, have all rallied around the standard of prophet Strang, and they may be called the peace party of the Mormons, or "Saints." They are the party that are now gaining numbers every where, particularly in the south. Their headquarters are in Voree, Wisconsin, and Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan.
Truly wonders will never cease.

Note: The unattributed writer of the above report seems to have been about "half-Mormon" himself -- though an actual follower of Strang would not have mentioned Joseph Smith III and the apostate Aaron Smith, in the same breath as if they both were members of the late Joseph Smith, jr.'s family. Neither of these Smiths were in Strang's church when the report was written, obviously, but the writer did not understand that subtle detail in Strangite church organization.


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, February 7, 1850.                         No. 47.


                                            Baltimore, Md., Jan. 23d, 1850.
Dear Frank: -- It is reported here that J. E. Page and several of the apostates have become Brewesterites. Generally it is not credited, but I see no reason to doubt it. Like suckling colts, lost in a highway, they, having lost sight of their dam, follow after whatever whinners, mare or horse, but soon and chase the other way with equal violence. Their Brewesterites will not last long enough to get well organized, and Page will not stir out of Voree to preach it unless he gets his money secured before he starts. Page has written to Philadelphia for money, but though they like to hear him speak evil of dignities, his $30 will never get up to 30 cents.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, February 28, 1850.                         No. 50.


==> The following extract we take from the "Olive Branch," the Brewsterite organ, for the purpose of making some remarks thereon. This we think is our privilege; for when its editor first asked us to wxchange -- speaking of it in the similitude of a son -- he said: "It will be our greatest care to teach him truth and righteousness, and if in your presence he behaves with any impropriety, correct him...


"At the present time there are so many who claim the 'authority' to preside over the church, by virtue of an appointment from Joseph, that we have concluded to give our views on the subject.

"When the church was first organized on the 6th of April, 1830, Joseph Smith was chosen or elected to preside...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. IV.                           Voree, Wisconsin, March 14, 1850.                         No. 52.


The location of Zion or the New Jerusalem is certainly a subject of importance, and well worth a candid investigation; for it is one that interested the prophets, and much the more it ought to interest every true believer...

(under construction)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                           Voree, Wisconsin, March 28, 1850.                         No. 2.


                                               Philadelphia, Pa., March 8th, 1850.
Dear Frank: -- ... The church at Baltimore is constantly increasing, and from its first beginning has not been cursed with a single schism. They will come up strong from both places to the home of the saints. Their arrangements are extensively going on for removing, and they will go up early.

While in Baltimore I saw No. 8 of William Smith's paper, saying that the editor was in possession of very important letters from U. C. H. Nickerson and John E. Page, exposing the vices and wickedness of Strangism. Is not this a pretty trio to establish sanctity and put down vice, Wm. Smith, John E. Page and Chitenden Nickerson! Well now; won't we sinners get used up. Go to St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and Boston with their names, and it will give character to any cause. We need not blame them. Wm. Smith has proved by careful experiment that a man can get a living in the dark alleys and miserable purlieus of the great cities, by inventing Mormon abominations. If he, why not others?

Wm. is gifted only in prayer and sancity. -- Give him some one to preach, and another to pick up the fragments that nothing be lost, and the three can get notoriety, if not fame. It is not certain that the pole cat knows that his den is no perfumery. Two such ought to be able to make a noise, if not to create an interest; and if Old Nick answered no other purpose, he would abundantly supply the place of Hook, with only this fault, that if he carried the bag he would keep what was put therein.

After all, Frank, I think we ought rather to pity than to blame John... if he wants notoriety, if he is anxious to let the world know that he has turned back from his faith and his testimony, and endeavoring to build himself up by a Mormon expose in conjunction with Chitenden Nickerson and William Smith, it is best to be kind enough to notice him occasionally and without one reproach. We have truth for our foundation, and do not need to build up ourselves on the faults of others.... Truly and sincerely,
                                                       JAMES J. STRANG.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                           Voree, Wisconsin, May 30, 1850.                         No. 11.


Claims to be the successor of Joseph, his brother, by lineal descent. How he stands in the place of his brother by lineage WE do not undertake to explain. Sometimes his proceedings are mixed up with the pretension that Joseph Smith, the son of Joseph, is to be the prophet when he is of lawful age. What is lawful age for a prophet we think has not been determined since the days of the judges of Israel. At that time a child BEING CALLED OF GOD, ANSWERED THE PURPOSE very soon after he was weaned. 1 Sam. 1. ii. iii. But whether Wm. is prophet pro tem till a boy five and a half feet high gets large enough, or in perpetuity, we are unable to say.

Isaac Sheen publishes a paper in behalf of Wm., which has advanced to about nine numbers. We believe their church numbers from eight to twelve members in all the world, (not including those of his partner L. Wight.) Besides these there are, we doubt not, some two thousand persons who hang on to some hope that William will, in some way, do something for the dispensation. and are counted as his followers. We are informed that he occasionally says hard things of us in his papers, and that he conducts his paper as though it was the organ of a numerous church, from which both the true church and the Brighamites were insignificant schisms. -- One would think his ten or twelve followers were as many thousands, if any one thought of crediting anything on his assertion.

==> Since the first side of this paper was printed we have received information from Isaac Sheen that Wm. Smith has been at his old tricks again, and that he (Sheen) has renounced him. -- Among other things a confidential letter of Smith to Sheen acknowledging his failings, and giving very unsatisfactory evidence of his repentance, appears in the Cincinnati papers. To us the publication appears superfluous. We know of but one man who talks so much of his own virtues and other mens' vices as Wm. Smith. And when his confidential communications get before the public there will be such another blow up in Brewsterism. It is debauchees and strumpets who are badly troubled about their neighbors' conduct and their own characters.

Notes: (forthcoming)

Back to top of this page.

News Articles Page    |    News Articles Index    |    History Vault
Bookshelf    |    Spalding Studies Library    |    Mormon Classics

last updated: Jan. 3, 2006