(Newspapers of New York)

Misc. New York Newspapers
1847-69 Articles

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GOli Jan 09 '47  |  GOli Jan 30 '47  |  GOli Feb 13 '47  |  GOli Mar 06 '47  |  OnSd Apr 07 '47  |  GOli May 26 '47
RDA Jul 26 '47  |  RDA Aug 25 '47  |  RRp Dec 07 '47  |  RDA Jun 16 '48  |  RRp Jun 22 '48  |  RC Apr 11 '49
REN Jun 13 '49  |  RC Jun 27 '49  |  RC Jul 18 '49  |  RDD Aug 22 '49  |  OnSd Sep 19 '49  |  RDAm Nov 16 '49
OMH Jan 01 '50  |  UlDm Sep 10 '50  |  RRec Nov 14 '50  |  BDC Nov 19 '50
SySt Nov 23 '50  |  RDAm Jun ?? '51  |  LGz Jul 02 '51  |  SySt Aug 18 '51
BDC Apr 16 '52  |  BDC Oct 19 '52  |  SySt Dec 13 '52  |  LCR Feb 01 '54
LGz Feb 08 '54  |  LCR Feb 08 '54  |  HTr Apr 13 '54  |  AEJ Jul 31 '54
LGz Aug 09 '54  |  HTr Aug 31 '54  |  RDAm Nov 01 '54  |  LCR Nov 01 '54
HTr Nov 09 '54

RDU Jan 23 '55  |  HTr Oct 11 '55  |  FrdC Jul 02 '56  |  AEJ Apr 28 '57
WDP May 06 '57  |  TDW Jul 18 '57  |  ORT Aug 27 '57  |  ORT Sep 10 '57
BCA Nov 19? '57  |  UMH Nov 21 '57  |  BDC Feb 01 '58  |  HTr Feb 11 '58
AEJ May 19 '58  |  AEJ May 21 '58  |  WDP May 26 '58  |  TroyT May 27 '58
AEJ May 29 '58  |  WDP Jun 02 '58  |  WDP Jun 09 '58  |  WDP Jun 30 '58
IDem Sep 03 '58  |  ORT Sep 09 '58  |  NCA May 11 '59
AEJ Apr 07 '60  |  FDP May 25 '60  |  AEJ Apr 11 '61  |  SyJor Apr 12 '61
WDP Apr 17 '61  |  SyJor Apr 17 '61  |  RDD Nov 14 '65  |  MNY Jan 06 '66
PCr May 10 '67  |  RDU May 22 '67  |  AEJ Jun 17 '67  |  RDU Sep 28 '67
RDU Oct 01 '67  |  AEJ Nov 12 '67  |  UMH Nov 23 '67  |  SyJor Dec 16 '67
PCr Dec 20 '67  |  LCD Apr 01 '68  |  MNY Jan 02 '69  |  MNY Jan 23 '69
MNY Mar 20 '69  |  PSen Jun 04 '69  |  UDO Aug 02 '69  |  ADem Aug 26 '69

News Articles Index  |  New York City Papers  |  Otsego Co. Papers


Vol. I.                       Rochester, New York, Saturday, January 9, 1847.                       No. 1.


If it were a question of the sanity of that passenger at sea, who when the vessel was in danger as being wrecked, lashed himself to the sheet anchor as the best means of preserving life; it may also by some be a query as to the wisdom of our present enterprise. But by an acquaintance with the fact of our early pioneer labors, as partner with the first type setter in Livingston county, and the first maker of news impressions in the counties of Cattaraugus, Allegany and Orleans, in the woods where in those days lived more deer and wolves than men and cattle, it may be rendured less wonderful, that we make this effort to gain an honest living.

Our several papers were published: In 1817-18, Genesee Farmer and Moscow Advertiser, in company with H. Ripley. In 1819-20, Hamilton Recorder, at Olean, in company with B. F. Smead. 1820-1-2, Angelica Republican. 1823-4-5, Newport Patriot, at Newport, now Albion. In Ontario county, (not first,) in 1828-9-30, Geneva Chronicle. And in 1836-7, Constantine Republican, in Michigan, near White Pigeon Prairie, where the community of Bears, Wolves & Co., by large majorities, out-voted the biped race....

With religious sectarianisms, or any dogmas or isms whatever, we promise to take no part; and as the Whigs, Democrats, and other partisans, are fast driving each other up Salt River, and Governor Dorr proposed as candidate for Consul to Algiers, (upsetting our last hope of promotion,) we shall not meddle with party politics....

Note: The Genesee Olio was edited and published by Benjamin Franklin Cowdery, a second cousin (one generation removed) of Oliver Cowdery, the early Mormon leader. A close inspection of B. F. Cowdery's movements and publishing efforts in western New York, 1817-1830 may help provide some information on the emigration and dispersion throughout that same area, of his Vermont cousins, the family of Oliver Cowdery's father.



Vol. I.                     Rochester, New York, Saturday, January 30, 1847.                     No. 2.

==> The Printer's Festival, on the 18th, in this city, brought together several of our cotempraries of the pelt balls and Ramage presses, as far back as 1817, some of whom we had not seen for some twelve or fifteen years past. While Augustine, the president at this board, was at that day printing a little swarthy looking Rochester Gazette, in the north end of Genesee county, we with Hezekiah, were issuing the Genesee Farmer, about as comely in appearance, at Moscow, in the southern part of the same county, and David, (afterwards the great hub in Morgan's disclosures,) was publishing at the centre, his Republican Advocate, the head in canon italic, and a little the smuttiest, unreadable thing of the three. These were, for several months, all the luminaries of the country, embracing what of the counties of Monroe and Livingston lies west of the river, and the present Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties, till Everard with his Rochester Telegraph, was the second in the village and fourth in the county.

Our Moscow concern, press, type, cases, stands, balls, bank and all, were only a descend wagon load for a common span of horses; and the other two establishments were about the same weight.

But the Telegraph was of more size and brighter lustre. Our ambition warmed up a little, and to let the world know that we were not to be beat in our own county, we enlarged to five columns the page and from a medium to a royal sheet, and prefixed a new title line, designating more definitely the grand point of location; which read, 'Moscow Advertiser, and Genesee Farmer.' Our news matter was set in long primer and the miscellany in pica, and our terms two dollars a year for the paper and a dollar a square for advertisements, three insertions. Franklin left, and issued proposals for a second paper at Batavia, but there being four in the county already, gave it up; but Oran, a little more venturesome, went there and commenced the Spirit of the Times, and Frank, rather than be fifth in Genesee, chose to be first in Cattaraugus.

So we, in company with another Franklin, took a wagon load of printing apparatus from Bath, 'over the hills and far away.' to Olean Point, where we uncapped our balls, amid the tall pines, and printer our first number of the Hamilton Recorder, dated June 10, 1819; for the first sheet of which Horatio Orton, postmaster, gave us 25 cents and ran with it from the office, boasting the he had got the first printing ever done in Cattaraugus. We issued just 52 numbers and quit. It was now the summer of 1820; our partner, yet a minor, returned to his father Benjamin, then of the Steuben Patriot; and we remained till autumn in the exercise of our honors as justice of the peace: conferred as a boon for our active support of DeWitt Clinton, that spring elected Governor, in opposition to Daniel D. Tompkins and the bucktails.

In October, two wagons conveyed our household goods, printing apparatus, and family, then numbering but two back to Angelica; where in a new little brick house east from the square, we soon began the Angelica Republican, the first press in Allegany county, which we continued just two years and one week. For several weeks we had no other help at case than the wife, as apprentice under instructions, and at the press, than the saddler, our nearest neighbor; who would for pastime come in and beat awhile. (Inking the type was done with a couple of balls, like large negro-heads, but the wool was inside. The operation was termed beating,) Allegany then numbered only about nine thousand inhabitants, and the settlements were far apart, so that the paper-maker but seldom came out our way collecting rags. This subjected us sometimes to inconvenience. But rather than fail in our regular publication at the precise time of date, we would borrow the village blacksmith's horse, ride to Dansville, about 30 miles, take a bundle of two reams on forward, and return home the same day, though rather late in the evening. We could not have spared that amount of time had it not been that then had an apprentice in our office. All our printing ink for three years, including the year at Olean, (village of Hamilton,) was of our own manufacture, composed mostly of linseed oil, lampblack and rosin. Our patrons usually paid during winters in green wood, sled length, at a dollar a cord, and venison hind quarters at a cent and a half per lib; and in the spring bags of maple sugar, in cakes -- the price not now recollected.

During our sojourn at Angelica, the state convention, called to revise the constitution, made a new one, which abolished the council of appointment, gave the choice of county officers and presidential electors to the people, changed the time of election from spring to fall, &c., and to our home we added a couple of little fair responsibilities. We were also first, and did the very first printing ever done in Orleans county; of which we may speak in our next number.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.                    Rochester, New York, Saturday, February 13, 1847.                    No. 3.

==> January, 1823, found us abiding in Lockport, a place in name more than in form of any thing comely or civilized. One or two stores were decent framed buildings, some few erections were of stone and mud thrown together, putting architecture to the blush, and numerous log cabins. on uneven rock foundations occupied the village plot in various directions, over Comstock and Brown's late farms, where streets were said to be intended. The cabins answered for dwellings, offices, shops, school house, churches, groggeries and taverns; Mann's Hotel, being the largest cluster of shantees, contained the most cords of wood in its walls, and the most feet of back in its roof, of any building in Upper Lockport, and was, withal, the only resort for genteel company. The Lower Town had not yet been dreamed of; the native forest remaining undisturbed, except by Boland's Ashery at the base of the hill, and the small openings made by cord wood choppers, with whom we sometimes joined. Excavations for the canal through the Mountain Ridge had progressed in some places to the depth of three or four feet, and in many places not yet begun. Hundreds of drillers were every day, click, clicking powder holes into the rock mountain, and blasting out showers of stone, which in descending scared the women, wounded or killed the men, and riddled the roofs of the surrounding erections called houses. It was not uncommon to see mangled men, with eyes and limbs destroyed or skulls broken in. The 'Lockport Observatory' was the paper then published by our friend Orsamus Turner, whom we sometimes assisted and in whose office we printed a pamphlet edition of the New Militia Law, and late in autumn, printed our prospectus, with borrowed head lines from the two Batavia offices, for the 'Newport Patriot,' in the northern part of Genesee County.

Before leaving Lockport we were present at the laying of the first foundation stone for the locks. Deacon Horn was head man in the hoorahing ceremony, and horns of liquor flowed freely among all present on the joyous occasion.

In December, the same year, in a time of good sleighing, we with our household effects, family, and a pair of empty cases, departed and were safely lodged in a room in a farmer's house, a mile south of the surveyed and staked out village plot called Newport, the dwellings there being all occupied, and there was no room at the inn, a little red rummy as it was. And a New port it really was, all but the port -- there being not even a bridge, as the canal ground was not yet broken, and Brockport, fifteen miles east, was then the head of navigation. There were two stores, (not wholesale,) in one of which was what was called a post office; having no mail to open our P. M. would occasionally go over to Gaines Corners, about three miles distant, on the Ridge Road, and bring over in his handkerchief what of mail there might be for our lawyer, doctor, blacksmith, tailor, plowmaker, shoemaker, grocer, innkeeper, merchants, or the editor. The only ornamented buildings of our port were, the pigmy rum colored tavern and the two little white stores, which, as indicative of their heaviest business, the liquor trade, should have been of the same dye. How beautifully these painted edifices loomed up among the scattering trees of this clearest spot, as on a snowy day one might perchance be coming in from the woods, a quarter of a mile distant in any direction. We soon scared up a font of worn out bourgeois type half in pi, and a hard maple press, the iron parts of which had been saved from the conflagration of Mr. Danby's office in Rochester; and in a few weeks an upper room of the plowmaker's shop was plastered for us, our joiner had botched up some cases, and by using wooden composing sticks and wooden column rules, on the 9th day of February, 1824, we flourished our balls and beat the first form. (on a bed of hard wood substituted for marble,) and issued the Newport Patriot, to the astonishment of the denizens of that wooden county, soon after looped off from Genesee and named Orleans. The name petitioned for was Adams. Over a year from that time Seymour Tracy, a lame lawyer, and somewhat lame printer, a lover of gin, on Tuesday, February 15, 1825, issued the first number of his paper, at Gaines, entitled 'The Newspaper,' which he continued about a year, on a press borrowed of David C. Miller, another liquor lover, and printer of the Advocate at Batavia. Tracy was some time afterwards employed as editor of Mr. Fisk's antimasonic paper at Gaines, called the Orleans Whig. In the autumn of '25 we sold out to Timothy C. Strong, then just returned from Michigan. He continued the Newport Patriot a month or two, and then changed the title to 'Orleans Advocate.'

Four or five years afterwards, the Whig was merged in the Advocate, and united, took finally the title of 'Orleans Telegraph,' and stopt in the hands of John Kempshall. Our friend McConnell bought in the materials, the wooden Newport Patriot head, carved by our jack knife, not excepted.

Cuylerville Telegraph
March 18th, 1848, "Forty Years a Typo."

Western New York, in 1817, was verdant and woody, and roads and bridges not much for accommodation. The ice in the winter and a rope ferry in the summer were the substitutes for a bridge over the Genesee river between Moscow and Geneseo. The only paper mill was Dr. James FaulknerŐs at Dansville, a place of hardly tenements enough to entitle it to the name of a village. Mt. Morris had a tavern, a few mechanics, and a small store kept by Allen Ayrault. Hon John H. Jones, of Leicester, kept an inn and was first judge of Genesee Co.

Moscow square, covered with bushes, had been just laid out and a few small frame erections put up, and two or three tenements removed there from Leicester, about a mile, standing. An academy, in a rough looking cabin of two rooms, male and female departments, with perhaps a dozen or fifteen students in all, was kept by Ogden M. Willey, and Miss Sarah H. Raymond of Connecticut. A low brick schoolroom, at the east end of the square, was the meeting house on Sundays. A blacksmith shop, a tavern, a store, and a printing office, made up the rest of the village. Deputy Sheriff Jenkins kept the inn, N. Ayrault, P. M., the store, and Richard Stevens was the blacksmith. There was a Dr. Palmer, lawyer Baldwin, and a justice who had been a minister, Rev. Silas Hubbard; and there was a hatter, Homer Sherwood, and a tanner and shoemaker, Abijah Warren.... There were other inhabitants at the beginning of Moscow, not in mind at the setting up of our preceding chapter, namely, Benjamin Ferry, tanner and shoemaker, successor to A. Warren; Moses Ball, cabinet maker; Theodore Thompson, grocer; Levi Street, stage proprietor and eventually inn-keeper; Peter Palmer, Sen., a cooper and natural poet, and Widow Dutton, one of whose daughters is the lady of Dr. Bissell, Canal Commissioner....

Note: Ref: Hamilton, p. 275; Olio, 31 July, 1847, p. 187. Jonathan A. Hadley was apprentice to Thurlow Weed at the Rochester Republican/Telegraph in 1825-26, during which time Weed's foreman was Benjamin Franklin Cowdery. He started the Palmyra Freeman in 1829, moved it to Lyons (with Myron Holly as ed.) in 1831. In 1835, he was at Penn Yan with the Yates Republican, in 1836-7 at Warsaw, Wyoming Co., with the American Citizen, and then from 1837-1847 was journeyman and later foreman of the Rochester Daily Democrat. He then went to Wisconsin where he began the Watertown Chronicle. Later (1855) he was justice of the peace, (1867) asst. U.S. Assessor, and employee of the Wisconsin Secretary of State (all apparently Watertown). B. Franklin Cowdery describes him in the Olio as "our whole souled friend."



Vol. I.                     Rochester, New York, Saturday, March 6, 1847.                     No. 4.

==> At Lockport, sometime in the summer of 1823, David M. Day, of the Buffalo Journal, and David C. Miller, of the Batavia Advocate, came into friend Turner's office one day, and were considerably amused by our new way of inking the types. Instead of the balls we were using a composition roller -- of the same material as those now in common use, and probably the first ever in the United States. The instructions for making it were derived from an Irish printer, recently from Dublin, who came to Lockport by way of Canada. But the roller got hard in a few weeks, and the balls were again up, and were not abandoned until the buckskin rollers took their place, several years afterwards. These had their day, after getting into pretty general use; but the composition kind, as soon as printers learned how to keep them in good order, gained the preference, and for twelve or fourteen years have served in all printing establishments, and are used on all sorts of presses.

During the summer of 1824, four of us. inhabitants of Newport, (now Albion,) each on horseback, went to Holley, ten miles east, through the woods, guided by marked trees and the partly dug out canal, to attend the celebration of the completion of the works five miles farther, and the safe arrival there of boats from Albany via Brockport!

... A well spread table, under a bower, furnished food and drink for as many as were favored with appetite and thirst, (not a few,) after which, with sparkling wine, or something stronger, many spirited toasts were drank; among which were the two following:

  The Newport Patriot -- 'A stream of many tides,
Against the foes of the people.'
  John Quincy Adams -- The brightest star in the
constellation of presidential candidates.
There were then five or six candidates in nomination for the presidency of the United States.

The next summer, 1825, the canal vein circulated through to Buffalo. The day the first boats passed up through the locks at Lockport, with Gov. Clinton aboard, it seemed as if all the world had turned out and left nobody at home to take care of the children. La Fayette, after visiting Buffalo and the Falls, that autumn, shipped at Lockport, for Rochester, but passing our burgh at midnight, he missed the pleasures of cheering and welcoming met with wherever else he went. Three events made '25 a memorable era: the completion of the Grand Erie Canal -- the last visit of Gen. La Fayette to this country -- and, the selling out of our Newport establishment!

Note: Among the earliest miscellaneous recorded documents in the Oreleans County Court House at Albion is a copy of a Feb. 23, 1826 certificate, signed by "Franklin Cowdery." The document merely certifies that Cowdery was the printer of the Newport Patriot on Friday the 27th of May, 1825, a "week previous to the day of sale" of the newspaper to Timothy Strong.



Vol. XX.                  Syracuse, New York, Wednesday, April 7, 1847.                  No. 14.


The following interesting information is taken from a forth-coming
volume, of Mr. Cha's. Lanman, about the Upper Mississippi. The
author dates July last, and says: --

On my way up the Mississippi, I tarried a few hours at the far-famed "City of Nauvoo:" and when I resumed my course, I felt like one just awakened from an incomprehensible dream. -- Surely, surely, Fanaticism is a most foul fiend, and we ought to rejoice with exceeding joy that He who rules the armies of Heaven, is yet the protector of Earth, and its inhabitants, and that He will not leave all mankind alone to the mercy of their idols.

The Mormon City occupies an elevated position, and, as approached from the South, appears capable of containing a hundred thousand souls. But its gloomy streets bring a most melancholy disappointment. Where lately resided no less than twenty-five thousand people, there are not to be seen more than about five hundred; and these, in mind, body and purse, seem to be perfectly wretched. In a walk of about ten minutes, I counted several hundred chimneys, which were all at least that number of families had left behind them, as memorials of their folly, and the wickedness of their persecutors. When this city was in its glory, every dwelling was surrounded with a garden, so that the corporation limits were uncommonly extensive; but now all the fences are in ruin, and the lately crowded streets actually rank with vegetation. Of the houses left standing, not more than one out of every ten is occupied, excepting by the spider and the toad. -- Hardly a window retained a whole pane of glass, and the doors were broken and hingeless. Moy a single laughing voice did I hear in the whole place, and the lines of suffering and care seem to be imprinted on the faces of the very children that met me in the way. I saw not a single one of those numerous domestic animals, which add so much to the comforts of human life; and I heard not a single song, even from the robin and the wren, which are always sure to build their nests about the habitations of men. Ay, the very sunshine, and the pleasant passing breeze, seemed both to speak of sin, sorrow, and utter desoltion.

Yet, in the centre of this scene of ruin, stands the Temple of Nauvoo, which is unquestionably one of the finest buildings in this country. It is built of limestone, quarried within the limits of the city, in the bed of a dry stream; and the architect, named Weeks, and every individual I who labored upon the building, were Mormons. It is one hundred and twenty-eight feet in length, eighty feet wide, and from the ground to the extreme summit, it measures two hundred and ninety-two feet. It is principally after the Roman style of architecture, somewhat intermixed with Grecian and Egyptian. It has a portico, with three Roman archways. It is surrounded with pilasters, at the base of which is carved a new moon, inverted; while the capital of each is formed of an uncouth head, supported by two hands hording a trumpet. Directly under the tower in front, is this inscription in golden letters: "The House of The Lord -- Built By The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saunts -- Commenced April 6th, 1841. Holiness to the lord."

In the basement room, which is paved with brick, and converges to the centre, is a baptismal font, supported by twelve oxen, as large as life, the whole executed in solid stone. Two stairways lead into it, from opposite directions; while on either side are two rooms for the recording clerks, and all round no less than twelve preparation rooms besides. On the first floor are three pulpits, and a place for the choir; and on either side eight Roman windows. Over the prophet's pulpit, or throne, is this inscription: "The Lord has beheld our sacrifice: Come after us."

Between the first and second floors are two long rooms appropriated to the patriarchs, which are lighted with eight circular windows each. -- The room of the second floor, in every particular, is precisely like that of the first. Around the hall of a spacious attic are twelve small rooms, with circular windows and a massive lock on each door. At the two front corners of the edifice are two winding stairways, which meet at the base of the tower and lead to the summit -- while the roof of the main building is arranged for a place of promenade; and the walls of the noble edifice vary from four to six feet in thickness.

Estimating the manual labor at the usual prices of the day, it is said that the cost of this Temple was about $800,000. The owners now offer to sell it for $200,000, but it will be a long time, I fancy, before a purchaser is found.

The Mormon, who took me over the Temple, and gave me the above information, was nearly broken hearted. Like the majority of his brethren, remaining in the city, he was without money, and without friends, and yet, it was to be his destiny, in a few days, to push his way into the wilderness, with a large family depending upon him for support. It was in a most melancholy tone, indeed, that he spoke to me the following words:

"Mine, sir, is a hard, hard lot. What if my religion is a false one, if I am sincere, is it not cruel, in the extreme, for those, who call themselves the only true church, to oppress me and my people as they have done? My property has been stolen from me, and my dwelling been consumed; and now, while my family is dependent upon a more fortunate brother for support, my little children cannot go into the streets without being pelted with stones, and my daughters cannot go to the well after a pail of water, without being insulted by the young and noble among our persecutors. I do not deserve this treatment. I am not a scoundrel or a foreigner -- far, far from the truth is this supposition. My grandfather, sir, was killed at the battle of Yorktown, as an officer of the glorious Revolution; my own father, too, was also an American army officer during the last war; and all my kindred have ever been faithful to the upright laws of the government. Knowing, therefore, these things to be true, and knowing, too, that I am an honest man, it is very hard to be treated by my fellow countrymen as a vagabond. O, I love this sacred Temple, dearly, and it makes me weep to think that I must so soon leave it to the tender mercies of the Christian world."

Thus far had this poor man proceeded, when his utterance was actually choked with tears -- and I was glad of it, for my own heart was affected by his piteous tale. I gave him a dollar for his trouble, when he was called to attend a new arrival of visitors, and I was left alone in the belfry of the Temple.

Then it was that I had an opportunity to muse upon the superb panorama which met my gaze upon every side. I was in a truly splendid Temple -- that temple in the centre of a desolate city -- and that city in the centre of an apparently boundless wilderness. To the east lay in perfect beauty the grand Prairie of Illinois, reaching to the waters of Michigan; to the north and south faded away the winding Mississippi; and on the west, far as the eye could reach, was spread out a perfect sea of forest land, entering which, I could just distinguish a caravan of exiled Mormons, on their line of march to Oregon and California. As before remarked, when I went forth from out the massy porches of the Mormon Temple, to journey deeper into the wilderness, I felt like one awakened from a dream.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.                     Rochester, New York, Saturday, May 26, 1847.                     No. 9.

Forty  Years  a  Typo.

...Western New York, in 1817, was verdant and woody, and roads and bridges not much for accommodation. The ice in the winter and a rope ferry in the summer were the substitutes for a bridge over the Genesee river between Moscow and Geneseo. The only paper mill was Dr. James FaulknerŐs at Dansville, a place of hardly tenements enough to entitle it to the name of a village. Mt. Morris had a tavern, a few mechanics, and a small store kept by Allen Ayrault. Hon John H. Jones, of Leicester, kept an inn and was first judge of Genesee Co.

Moscow square, covered with bushes, had been just laid out and a few small frame erections put up, and two or three tenements removed there from Leicester, about a mile, standing. An academy, in a rough looking cabin of two rooms, male and female departments, with perhaps a dozen or fifteen students in all, was kept by Ogden M. Willey, and Miss Sarah H. Raymond of Connecticut. A low brick schoolroom, at the east end of the square, was the meeting house on Sundays. A blacksmith shop, a tavern, a store, and a printing office, made up the rest of the village. Deputy Sheriff Jenkins kept the inn, N. Ayrault, P. M., the store, and Richard Stevens was the blacksmith. There was a Dr. Palmer, lawyer Baldwin, and a justice who had been a minister, Rev. Silas Hubbard; and there was a hatter, Homer Sherwood, and a tanner and shoemaker, Abijah Warren.... There were other inhabitants at the beginning of Moscow, not in mind at the setting up of our preceding chapter, namely, Benjamin Ferry, tanner and shoemaker, successor to A. Warren; Moses Ball, cabinet maker; Theodore Thompson, grocer; Levi Street, stage proprietor and eventually inn-keeper; Peter Palmer, Sen., a cooper and natural poet, and Widow Dutton, one of whose daughters is the lady of Dr. Bissell, Canal Commissioner....

(under construction)

Note: Benjamin Franklin Cowdery's biographical sketch, "Forty Years a Type," was reprinted in his next paper, the Cuylerville Telegraph, beginning on March 18th, 1848. Both the 1847 Olio version and the 1848 reprint of the text are rare and obscure Western New York historical items, infrequently found in libraries and archives.



Vol. XX.                                     Rochester, N.Y., July 26, 1847.                                     No. ?

The Mormon City -- The Temple
Mob Depradations, &c.


Correspondence of the Rochester Daily Advertiser.

NAUVOO, Ill., July 9, 1847.
Verily, has the City of the Saints been sacked and plundered by its enemies. A most melancholy testimonial is this town, of what mob law, or a disregard of the laws and constitution of our country has accomplished, with impunity, in the midst of an enlightened American people. Less than three years ago, here was a flourishing town of fifteen thousand inhabitants, sustaining all the various branches of trade and mechanics...

The widow Smith yet remains here and keeps the 'Nauvoo Mansion,' and a very good house she keeps. There are only three or four Mormon families remaining.

Note: This article will be updated with its full text after a more legible copy has been obtained and transcribed.



Vol. XX.                                   Rochester, August 25, 1847.                                   No. ?


LATE FROM THE MORMONS: -- A friend has shown us letters of a late date from the pioneer camp of [Mormon] emigrants. They had at length reached the great salt lake near which they had made a halt, and their wearied cattle were enjoying the sweet grass and fresh water with which that region is favored. They had made a new road from the Omaha country to near the base of the mountains, which will no doubt be valuable to other emigrants from the United States.

It keeps north of the Oregon traces, is said to be more direct than this, and is carried, by substantial bridges, over most of the principal streams which it meets. By the pioneers it must have been traversed with difficulty, since they have evidently been subjected to great hardships. After leaving Grand Island, however, they had an abundant supply of buffalo beef, which greatly renewed the strength of those whose health was suffering by forced abstinence.

A single herd, with which they fell in, was estimated to number over 10,000, or, according to the calculation of one letter writer, must have contained from 8 to 10,000,000 pound of meat; "a large supply," he says, "to be sent by quails in the desert." Should Whitney's railroad, or any Government works, be undertaken along the line from Missouri to the Pacific, they will find their best contractors and workmen among the Mormons -- hardy children of persecution -- who appear to despise difficulty and danger.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXI.                               Tuesday, December 7, 1847.                               No. 49.

Divorce from a Woman who had become the
'Spiritual Wife' of a Morman Leader.


Henry Cobb vs. Augusta Cobb. This was a libel alleging crim. con. on the part of the respondent with Brigham Young, in Nauvoo, in August, 1844, and December, 1845. After living 21 years in good repute with her lawful husband, the respondent became led away with Mormonism, leaving her husband, went to Nauvuo, and joined the church there. After a year's trial of the system she returned to Boston, but not being able to content herself here, she made another trip to Nauvoo; returned to Boston again, and again went off, and she is now supposed to be in California with Young.

Her conduct in Nauvoo was fully described in the deposition of George J. Adams, better known under the name of "Elder Adams," who testified that he knew Mrs. Cobb when she lived in the house of Brigham Young, at Nauvoo. We give the following extracts from the deposition: --
"In the fall of 1844 after her return from Nauvoo to Boston, Mrs. Cobb said she loved Brigham Young better than she did Mr. Cobb, and, live or die, she was going to live with him at all hazards. This was in the course of a conversation in which she used extravagant language in favor of Mr. Young and against Mr. Cobb. Mrs. Cobb went out again to Nauvoo, the second time, and lived with Mr. Young, and their living together and their conduct, was the subject of conversation in the society and out of the society. The subject of conversation, to which I have alluded, was that persons had a right to live together in unlawful intercourse, and Mrs. Cobb avowed her belief in this doctrine, and said it was right.

"In conversation with Mrs. Cobb on the subject of spiritual wives, I told her such doctrine would lead to the devil; and she said if it did she would go there with Brigham Young. The Mormons were so incensed with me for my opposition to this doctrine that they attempted to take my life in various ways. I think Mrs. Cobb was originally a woman of good feelings and good principles, but I do not think so of her now. I think she was led away by religious frenzy.

"She said, I never will forsake brother Young, come life or come death. She said that the doctrine taught by Brigham Young was a glorious doctrine; for if she did not love her husband, it gave her a man she did love"

In the cross examination, Mr. Adams stated that he performed on the stage when he was a young man; that he was a merchant tailor in extensive business before he joined the Mormons; that he has, since he withdrew, performed at the National Theatre in this city; that Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism, did not teach the doctrine of spiritual wives; that Brigham Young, in assuming to be president of the church, had ursurped authority, and that he, Mr. Adams, opposed the usurpation.

The testimony of Mr. Adams was corroborated by a widow lady, who had been to Nauvoo, and while there had taken the first degree in the mysteries of the Mormon church. The second degree gave the privilege of spiritual wife-hood. -- Mrs. Cobb took this degree, and urged the witness to take it, and spoke of her connection with Young.

Judge Wilde decreed a full divorce from the bonds of matrimony.

F. A. Fabeus, Esq., counsel for the petitioner, A. E. Dame, Esq., for the respondent. -- [Boston Post.

Note: See notes appended to this news item in the Quincy Whig of Dec. 22, 1847 as well on-line article for James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City


Vol. XXI.                              Rochester, Monday, June 16, 1848.                             No. ?


At the Washington St. Church, on the 15th inst., by the Rev. M. J. Hickok, Mr. Daniel F. Alverson to Miss Sarah Cowdery, all of this city.

Note 1: Sarah Cowdery (1848-1906) was the daughter of pioneer printer and journalist, Benjamin Franklin Cowdery. Franklin was a second cousin (one generation removed) of LDS Elder Oliver Cowdery. Sarah and Daniel's daughter, Mary Bryant Alverson Mehling, was the compiler of Cowdrey... Genealogy; William Cowdery of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1630, and His Descendants (NYC: Frank Allaben Genealogical Company, 1911). Daniel Fairchild Alverson (1823-1893) was a prominent resident of Canandaigua, Ontario Co., NY, and a first cousin of Prof. James H. Fairchild, later President of Oberlin College. Sarah met Daniel when the two were living at Oberlin, Ohio, in 1847. For more on details regarding this genealogy, see the comments accompanying the 1845 article "Mormonism and the Mormons," by William Buell Fairchild (another of Daniel F. Alverson's Fairchild relatives).

Note 2: This same marriage notice was reprinted in the Rochester Republican of June 22, 1848. The rival Rochester Daily Democrat of June 16th carried practically the same wording in its columns.


Vol. XXXII.                               Thurs., June 22, 1848.                               No. 25.


At the Washington St. Church, on the 15th inst., by the Rev. M. J. Hickok, Mr. Daniel F. Alverson to Miss Sarah Cowdery, all of this city.

Note: The same notice was also published in the June 16, 1848 issue of the Rochester Daily Democrat. Sarah was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin Cowdery; while Daniel Fairchild Alverson was a member of the extended Fairchild family, which lived in and about Oberlin, Ohio.



Vol. IX.               Rome, Oneida County, N.Y. Wed., April 11, 1849.               Whole No. 45.

From Blackwood's Magazine.

Life  in  the  "Far West."

The Mormons were originally of the sect known as "Latter-day Saints," which sect flourishes wherever Anglo-Saxon gulls are found in sufficient numbers to swallow the egregious nonsense of fanatic humbugs who fatten upon their credulity. In the United States they especially abounded; but, the creed becoming "slow," one Joe Smith, a smart man, arose from its ranks, and instilled a little life into the decaying sect.

Joe, better known as the "Prophet Joe," was taking his siesta one fine day, upon a hill in one of the New England States, when an angel suddenly appeared to him, and made known to him the locality of a new Bible or Testament, which contained the history of the lost tribes of Israel; that these tribes were no other than the Indian nations which possessed the continent of America at the time of its discovery, and the remains of which still existed in their savage state; that, through the agency of Joe, these were to be reclaimed, collected into the bosom of a church to be there established, according to principles which would be found in the wonderful book -- and which church was gradually to receive into its bosom all other churches, sects, and persuasions, with "unanimity of belief and perfect brotherhood."

After a certain probation, Joe was led in body and spirit to the mountain by the angel who first appeared to him, was pointed out the position of the wonderful book, which was covered by a flat stone, on which would be found two round pebbles, called Urim and Thummim, and through the agency of which the mystic characters inscribed on the pages of the book were to be deciphered and translated. Joe found the spot indicated without any difficulty, cleared away the earth, and discovered four flat stones; on removing the topmost one of which sundry plates of brass presented themselves, covered with quaint and antique carving; on the top lay Urim and Thummim, (commonly known to the Mormons as Mummum and Thummum, the pebbles of wonderful virtue,) through which the miracle of reading the plates of brass was to be performed.

Joe Smith, on whom the mantle of Moses had so suddenly fallen, carefully removed the plates and hid them, burying himself in woods and mountains whilst engaged in the work of translation. However, he made no secret of the important task imposed upon him, nor of the great work to which he had been called. Numbers at once believed him, but not a few were deaf to belief, and openly derided him. Being persecuted, (as the sect declares, at the instigation of the authorities,) and many attempts being made to steal his precious treasure, Joe, one fine night, packed his plates in a sack of beans, bundled them into a Jersey wagon, and made tracks for the West. Here he completed the great work of translation, and not long after gave to the world the "Book of Mormon," a work as bulky as the Bible, and called "of Mormon," for so was the prophet named by whose hand the history of the lost tribes had been handed down in the plates of brass thus miraculously preserved for thousands of years, and brought to light through the agency of Joseph Smith....

Notes: Read the remainder of the text in Blackwood's Magazine of 1848.



Vol. I.                   Rochester, N.Y., Wednesday,  June 13, 1849.                   Whole No. 53.


Not long since we saw what purported to be a true account of the origin of Mormonism. It was written, (or professed to be) by the widow of a minister, who, (as she says) a number of years ago, wrote a work of fiction, on the mounds and other monuments of the tribes that have preceded us in the occupancy of this continent. This work was left in a printing office where Sidney Rigdon was an apprentice, who had full opportunities of copying it, which it is supposed he took advantage of. When the Mormon Bible was printed it was found to be neither more nor less than this same romance; which was written to beguile the weary hours of an invalid's life; but was now used to impose upon the credulous, and mislead the superstitious; holding out the hopes of heaven and the fears of hell, as inducements to implicit faith.

We have now before us another account of the origin of the Mormon faith. It says that a young man of fine abilities, an inventive genius who delighted to humbug people with his tricks and stories, was engaged as teacher in the school where Joe Smith was a pupil; that he wrote the Mormon Bible, and Joe committed some of the chapters to memory. That hieroglyphics were engraved upon some plates, which they pretended were dug up from the earth, by direction of Divine Providence. The account does not state why the teacher allowed Joe all the profit and honor to be derived from such a game of successful deception; but it must have been because the pupil was smarter than his master.

Our object in mentioning this subject, is to enquire why two such contradictory stories are allowed to exist, respecting an occurrence of such recent date. Surely the means exist, of proving or disproving one or both of these stories; and we consider that the man who would ferret out, and make known the truth respecting the matter, would deserve well of his country. The time may come when the vallies of the west will be peopled by a dense population, professing the doctrines of the now despised Mormons; and when the sceptic shall tell them that their origin was imposture, they will point to these conflicting stories as proofs of the machinations of their adversaries. It is no wonder that Macauly and the Quakers differ about facts in the life of William Penn, when even about matters of recent occurrence there seems to be such a difficulty of arriving at the truth.

Note 1: The above account of the teacher "of fine abilities," appears to have been substantially re-told by Major Jonas Olmstead in 1905. In Olmstead's version of the story, the teacher's name was "Charles Spalding" and he resided in "Delaware County," New York, not far from Joseph Smith's temporary home in Harmony. Neither story is entirely credible.

Note 2: Joseph Smith's having "committed some of the chapters to memory" is, on its own merits, not an improbable assertion. Smith reportedly had a very good memory and his father could also memorize long texts.



Vol. X.               Rome, Oneida County, N.Y. Wed., June 27, 1849.               Whole No. 4.


St. Louis, June 22 -- 8 P.M.    
Late accounts have been received, of a renewal of disturbances between the California emigrants and the Indians, in which a number of each party were killed.

The cholera was still making sad havoc among the emigrants. Mormon parties are daily returning.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. X.               Rome, Oneida County, N.Y. Wed., July 28, 1849.               Whole No. 7.


St. Louis, July 14.    
By an arrival here from the Mormon settlement at Salt Lake, we have dates to the 6th of May. It is stated that the country is very healthy, and crops promise an abundant harvest. There have been many fine rains in the valley. Many of the Mormons had gone in search of gold, against the council of the elders of the church.

Cols. Levering and Backenstos, with troops, were met on the south fork of the Platte river. They were getting along well. The cholera is rapidly disappearing from among the emigrants on the plains.

The first company of emigrants were at Fort Laramie on the 22nd of May. Several serious quarrels and fights had occurred among the emigrants. Many had taken the back track for home.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XVII.                      Rochester, N.Y., August 22, 1849.                      No. 18.


FIRE. -- A fire broke out yesterday afternoon about 6 o'clock in a dwelling house on the corner of Stilson and Achilles streets, occupied by F. Cowdery and Westbury. The building was entirely consumed, and was worth about $500, and insured. Most of the furniture of the occupants was saved.

Note: The men mentioned in the above report was Benjamin Franklin Cowdery, the pioneer printer and cousin to Oliver Cowdery. The Rochester Republican of Aug. 23 printed essentially the same notice.



Vol. XXIII.                             Syracuse, N.Y., Wed., Sept 19, 1849.                             No. 38.


MELANCHOLY DELUSION. -- One William Smith who styles himself "President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," tells the following story about a miracle performed by one Strang:

"Strang promised to endow his followers with the Holy Ghost, if they would build a house for the purpose. They did so, and Strang undertook to dedicate it. He invited them to a feast, promising that the Holy Ghost in cloven tongues of fire, which they would see with their natural eyes, should descend upon them. The guests assembled around a table well loaded with poultry, eggs, &c., which, on carving, proved to be -- stuffed with bran! The feast thus turning out a hoax, Strang proceeded to bring down the cloven tongues of fire, and for this purpose took three or four at a time to a room above, and performed the Mormon rite of washing their feet. He then anointed the crown of each head with mixture of oil and phosphorus, and conducted them to a dark hall. All being there assembled, each saw on the heads of all the rest the phosphoric illumination, which some fools took for "the Holy Ghost," while others, smelling a rat, to wit, the phosphorus, took it for an imposition. The meeting then dispersed, one half believing Strang to be a prophet and the rest, an impostor."

It was of little consequence to Strang. however, what they considered him to be -- he wanted a house and he got it.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Rochester Daily American.

Vol. V.                         Rochester, New York,  November 16, 1849.                         No. ?


A Mormon Apostle. -- We received yesterday a visit from Martin Harris, formerly of Palmyra, who was concerned [with Joe Smith]in originally proclaiming the Mormon Faith. He wrote the Book of Mormon from Joe Smith's dictation, the latter reading the text from the Golden Plates by putting his face in a hat. When the volume was written, Harris raised funds for its publication by mortgaging his farm. But he no longer goes with the Mormons, saying that they "have gone to the devil just like other people." He abandoned them fifteen years ago, when they assumed the appellation of "Latter Day Saints," and bore his testimony against them by declaring that "Latter Day Devils" would be a more appropriate designa[t]ion.

Mr. Harris visited England some three years ago. At present he professes to have a mission from God, in fulfillment of which he wanders about preaching to "all who will feed him." When this essential condition is not performed by his hearers, he shakes off the dust from his feet and leaves for more hospitable quarters. Mr. H. is exceedingly familiar with the Scripture[s], and discourses theology in his peculiar way, with the with the fluency and zeal of a devotee.

Note 1: The above article was reprinted in the Portland, Maine Transcript of Dec. 1, 1849.

Note 2: Although the article says that Martin Harris "abandoned" the "Latter Day Saints" some "fifteen years" prior to 1849, it does not make it clear whether Harris then also abandoned his testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon. H. Michael Marquardt, in his 2002 Dialogue article, "Martin Harris: The Kirtland Years," documents the activities of Harris during the time he spent away from the Latter Day Saints, showing that he associated briefly with the Mormon Gladdenites during 1851-52, and thereafter occasionally demonstrated his allegiance to at least some of the tenets of Mormonism, in a variety of situations. If Harris ever did go through a period in his life where he placed no faith in the Book of Mormon, he evidently did not publicize that infidelity.

Oneida  Morning  Herald.

Vol. III.                             Utica, N.Y., Tuesday, January 1, 1850.                             No. 51.

State  of  Deseret.

A recent article in the Dayton (Ohio) Transcript led to the conclusion that the Government of this new State was based on a Theocracy, but an examination of the liberal Constitution formed by the inhabitants of Salt Lake Valley, compels the Transcript editor to retract the unfounded charge he made against the Deseretians. The Transcript says of the Constitution of Deseret:

It prescribes a regular Republican form of Government, and is modeled after the best constitutions of the order States. It does not, as was supposed, partake of the character of a Theocracy. The Governor and Senators are elected once in four years, and Representatives every two years. The Legislature meets annually. One article guarantees perfect religious freedom.

The following, by an intelligent correspondent, (W.B. Taylor, in a recent letter from Salt Lake City,) is a complete refutation of the stale charges made against the people of Deseret:

The progress they have made in Agriculture in two years, is most astonishing; being able at this time to supply the immense emigration that is passing through, with provisions. They are a generous, hospitable people, and are doing all they can to alleviate the sufferings of emigrants.

Of the Deseret Delegates to Congress, J. A. Harris, Esq., Editor of that sterling Whig paper, the Cleveland (O.) Herald, says:

The advancement of Mr. Babbitt to the honorable post of Delegate to Congress, is a fine illustration of the working of our Republican institutions. We were boys together, and in addition to poverty, young Babbitt had to struggle under the degradation of an intemperate father. Naturally bright, intelligent and active, when approaching manhood he entered into the Mormon excitement, at the time Kirtland was the Promised Land, and Rigdon the popular advocate of the divine mission of the Prophet Smith. His early advantages had only been those of this then new country, but in order to defend Mormonism, so unpopular with all other creeds, study, investigation, reflection, and argument were necessary. The young convert soon became a zealous talker, next an exhorter, and then a popular preacher of the doctrines of the Golden Bible. He united his fortunes with the persecuted Mormons, and became eminent with them for his zeal, his talents, and sound judgment. When driven from Nauvoo, Mr. Babbitt "stuck his stake" with his people in the Great Basin, and now claims a seat in Congress as a Delegate from Deseret. What a change from the barefoot log-cabin boy of our early recollection!

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. V.                               Kingston, N.Y., September 10, 1850.                               No. 7.

The Mormon Colony, Beaver Island.

We have conversed with a gentleman who has just returned from a visit to Beaver Island, at the head of Lake Michigan, upon which the Mormon colony is located, headed by the prophet, James Strang. They number about six hundred, and have a farm on the island which is cultivated by them. They also have engaged to a limited extent in taking white fish and trout, which constitute their chief means of subsistence.

The Temple, 100 by 60 feet, is in progress at their settlement, one sixth of the labor of the colony being required upon it weekly. At present this labor is diverted to the building of a printing office, the press and materials for a weekly paper being on the ground. Semi-occasionally the portion of the Temple which is finished is used as a Theatre! Mr. G. J. Adams, one of the leaders, acting as manager, and we are informed the "Lady of Lyons" had had a worse "Claude," and an inferior "Pauline" upon Boston boards. This room is also used for a ballroom, where the faithful chase the giddy hours, and also as a place of worship on Sundays.

Strang is at present deeply engaged in decyphering the plates found by him, as indicated by a vision, back of Kenosha, some time since. They are of copper and are engraved with cabalistic characters, supposed to relate to the interests of the "church of the latter day," by his followers. He is described as a hard working, industrious man, but most of those upon the Island are indolent and averse to labor. -- Chicago Jour.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                               Syracuse, N.Y., Thursday, Nov. 14, 1850.                               No. 29.

For the Religious Recorder.

Mormon  Hill.

Three miles south from Palmyra is situated Mormon Hill, where Jo Smith, the Mormon prophet, declared he found the Mormon or golden Bible. A recent visit to the place, connected with much interesting conversation on the subject, with the families who resided in the immediate vicinity at the time, has suggested to me a brief notice for the Recorder.

Mormon Hill is a kind of hog-back hill of about 20 acres, covered with heavy timber on the top of it, except the front of it on the north, which has been cleared off and cultivated, together with either side of the hill. It is surrounded with good farms and farm houses, and was formerly the resort of money-diggers and gamblers, who have, in former years, expended a large amount of labor in vain while digging for the hidden treasures. Among those who thus resorted to the hill was Joe Smith and his father, who, at that time, resided about 1 1/2 miles from Palmyra. They lived on a neglected farm and were coopers by trade; but their wild, roaming habits, prevented much being accomplished, either on the farm, or by their trade, They were not distinguished for even ordinary shrewdness, and in this vicinity, except in the case of a few straggling individuals, neither they nor their religion has ever produced any impression.

The hill exhibits marks of money digging, but no place is marked as the spot where it is generally agreed that the golden plates of the Bible were pretended to have been found. In fact, the neighbors said, "Jo was too lazy to dig much, and accordingly he pretended to have found the plates just under the surface of the earth." If the religion thus propagated could have as suddenly sunk into oblivion, and people were as little affected by it as in the county or town in which it occurred, happy would it have been for mankind.

Martin Harris, a farmer in comfortable circumstances at the time, was induced by Jo to mortgage or sell his farm, in order raise money to print the first edition of the Mormon Bible, and even now has a confused, incoherent belief in that religion; yet he declared to me, while visiting here from the west, only a few months ago, that he had known Jo Smith to be an exceedingly immoral and dishonest man for years before he was killed, and had no confidence in him.

English Mormons occasionally visit the hill, but nothing of the marvelous can be gathered up in the vicinity on the subject. None are so poor as to do it reverence. -- Not a believer can be found, any where around, who can relate, or make, a record of occurrences to suit the enchantment which distance lends to the deluded followers; and yet, Mormon valley is filling up with deluded victims. Truly, man is in his best estate is altogether vanity.
R. G. P.      

Note: Martin Harris' reported 1850 comments regarding Joseph Smith appear to mirror his views of a decade later, as expressed to Joel Tiffany: "Mr. Harris says, that the pretended church of the 'Latter Day Saints,' are in reality 'latter day devils,' and that himself and a very few others are the only genuine Mormons left."


Vol. ?                               Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1850.                               No. ?

Author of the Mormon Bible.

The New England Puritan states that at a public meeting held lately in Cherry Valley, Judge Campbell said:

"Rev. Solomon Spaulding, one of the earliest preceptors of the Academy of Cherry Valley, was the actual composer of most of what is known as the Mormon Bible. He wrote it during a period of delicate health, to beguile some of his weary hours, and also with a design to offer it for publication as a romance. Dr. Robert Campbell, late of Cherry Valley, and foster father of the first Mrs. Grant of the Nestorian mission, calling some years since upon Mr. Spaulding, had the manuscript of this noble book shown to him, and was also informed by Mr. Spaulding that he had hopes of reaping some preliminary advantage from it for himself and family. Mr. Spaulding has been dead some years, though it is believed that his wife is still living in the United States. How it passed from the possession of his family into the hands of Joe Smith, it is probable Mrs. S. could tell."

Mrs. Spaulding has explained the manner in which the Book of Mormon passed from the possession of her late husband to that of Sidney Rigdon, one of the Apostles of the new Revelation. -- She says that a number of years since, her husband resided for some time at Pittsburgh, and while there lent the manuscript of his romance to a gentleman who at that time published a newspaper in that city, and in whose office Rigdon then worked. The manuscript was in the printing office considerable time, and she supposes it was copied by Rigdon. At length it was returned and remained in her possession after the death of the author, till the time of the publication of the pretended new bible; when she was living, we believe, in the State of Connecticut, and it was then compared and found to be identical with the bible found by Joe Smith, the prophet. Probably Joe and Rigdon were in partnership beforehand, and the finding was arranged to be done by Joe. Rigdon was at this time a preacher of the Campbellite sect in Ohio, but speedily became a convert to the new faith and very soon one of its chiefest apostles.

A full and highly interesting history of the rise and progress of this Mormon imposition from an English Review, may be found in the November number of the Eclectic Magazine.

Note: See notes appendede to the article in the Syracuse Standard of Nov. 23rd.


Syracuse  [DAILY]  Standard.

Vol. II.                             Syracuse, N.Y., Sat., November 23, 1850.                            No. 125.

Author of the Mormon Bible.

The New England Puritan, states that at a public meeting held lately in Cherry Valley Judge Campbell said:

Rev. Solomon Spaulding, one of the earliest preceptors of the Academy of Cherry Valley, was the actual composer of most of what is known as the Mormon Bible. He wrote it during a period of delicate health, to beguile some of his weary hours, and also with a design to offer it for publication as a romance. Dr. Robert Campbell, late of Cherry Valley, and foster father of the first Mrs. Grant of the Nestorian mission, calling some years since upon Mr. Spaulding, had the manuscript of this noble book shown to him, and was also informed by Mr. Spaulding that he had hopes of reaping some preliminary advantage from it for himself and family. Mr. Spaulding has been dead some years, though it is believed that his wife is still living in the United States. How it passed from the possession of his family into the hands of Joe Smith, it is probable Mrs. S. could tell.

We have heard the following account given of what Mrs. Spaulding was unable to supply. S. took the MS., to a publishing house in Cincinnati to be printed. The house afterwards failed, and this, among other old stock, was sold at auction. It was not made use of for some years, but lay in the garret of another office. While Joe Smith was rambling over the garret, long before the inspitation came upon him, he came upon the MS. He bought it of the owner, for a pittance, and preserved it, till he found use for it in propogating his religious follies. -- Milwaukie Dem.

Note 1: This article first appeared in the New England Puritan, about the second week in October. It was reprinted in the New-York Organ of Oct.19, 1850 and in a mid-November issue of the Milwaukee Democrat, (from whence the Syracuse Journal obtained its text). A shortened version was published in the Syracuse Daily Star of Nov 22, and in the New York Daily Tribune on Nov. 19, 1850, which occasioned a reply from a reader that was printed in the Tribune's Dec. 6th issue and hence reprinted (along with the quote from the Puritan) in the Feb. 7, 1851 number of Orson Hyde's Frontier Guardian.

Note 2: The Campbell family were early settlers of Cherry Valley, Otsego. co., NY. Dr. William Campbell operated a drug and hardware store in the village in the early 1800s and Solomon Spalding's name occurs in the druggist's account book as a customer, even after Spalding moved to Richfield, several miles away. Also, Dr. Robert Campbell was a contemporary of Solomon Spalding during their residence in that place, c. 1795-1800. The 1820 and 1830 U. S. Census reports both show a Robert M. Campbell living in Cherry Valley, Otsego co., NY. The "Mrs. Grant" mentioned in the article was an associate of Miss Fidelia Fiske, who, following a solicitation for teachers among the faculty at Mount Holyoke Seminary in 1843 by Rev. Dr. Perkins, taught at the Nestorians Mission in Oroomiah, Persia. She is called by William W. Campbell the "adopted daughter of Dr. William Campbell, of Cherry Valley" ("Centennial Address, Delivered at Cherry Valley, Otsego County, N.Y., July 4th, 1840.) Her name appears to have been Elizabeth.

Note 3: In his 1878 book, The History of Otsego County, 1740-1878, Duane Hamilton Hurd says: "In 1796 the names of fifty-four others are entered as "members of the first Presbyterian congregation." Among these is that of Rev. Solomon SPAULDING, a man whose literary labors subsequently became an instrument in supporting the most scandalous imposture our county has produced. We read in Scripture of... lost Tribes of Israel. On this he wrote a romance, detailing an imaginary history, and identifying them with the aborigines of this continent... a handsome building was erected for an academy... Mr. SPAULDING to have taught in this institution, and doubtless he occasionally preached in the church..." Hurd does not say that Spalding wrote his "romance" in Cherry Valley, however.

Note 4: The article's conjecture about Spalding's unpublished writings being "sold at auction" following the failure of "a publishing house" was echoed by William H. Whitsitt, nearly four decades later: "Sidney [Rigdon] had the period from the 28th of January to the last day of December 1822 in which to cultivate the kind regards of Lambdin, before the commercial crash of the first of January 1823 befell the firm of R. Patterson & Lambdin. This disaster would [have been] a favorable occasion to take an inventory and to cleanse the printing office of the soiled accumulations of many years. Among the jetsam and flotsam of such a wreck it is not unlikely was found Solomon Spaulding's copy of the Book of Mormon... if the contents of the printing office were sold under the hammer, Sidney might have purchased the manuscript Book of Mormon for a song. There is no kind of necessity to suppose that anything improper was connected with the transaction..."

Note 5: The article's presumption of how Spalding's writings could have ended up in the possession of Joseph Smith is similar to that voiced by Captain Gunnison on page 95 of his book on the Mormons: "When the Book of Mormon appeared, and its almost identity with the Manuscript was discovered... enquiry was made for the whereabouts of that paper. It had mysteriously disappeared, and the "Manuscript Found " has ever since been the Manuscript lost. The trunk was hunted up and searched... How the Manuscript could have been taken out, and when, remains a mystery... it seems fair to conclude, that the Manuscript Found escaped from its prison and perched upon some farmer's shelf; or fell direct, by accident or design, into the hands of Joseph Smith, and opportunely met the mind that could mould it into a religious fiction."


Rochester Daily American.

Vol. VII.                                     Rochester, N.Y., June ?, 1851.                                     No. ?


As we are now at the home of the Smith family -- in sight of 'Mormon Hill' -- a brief pioneer history will be looked for, of the strange, and singularly successful religious sect -- the Mormons; and brief it must be, merely starting it in its career, and leaving it to their especial historian to trace them to Kirtland, Nauvoo, Beaver Island, and Utah, or the Salt Lake.

Joseph Smith, the father of the prophet Joseph Smith, jr., was from the Merrimack river, N. H. He first settled in or near Palmyra village, but as early as 1819 was the occupant of some new land on "Stafford street," in the town of Manchester, near the line of Palmyra. * "Mormon Hill" is near the plank road about half way between the villages of Palmyra and Manchester. The elder Smith had been a Universalist, and subsequently a Methodist; was a good deal of a smatterer in scriptural knowledge, but the seed of revelation was sown on weak ground; he was a great babbler, credulous, not especially industrious, a money-digger, prone to the marvellous; and withal, a little given to difficulties with neighbors, and petty law-suits. Not a very propitious account of the father of a prophet -- the founder of a state; but there was a "woman in the case."

Mrs. Smith was a woman of strong, uncultivated intellect; artful and cunning: imbued with an ill-regulated religious enthusiasm. The incipient hints, the first givings out that a prophet was to spring from her humble household, came from her; and when matters were maturing for denouement, she gave out that such and such ones -- always fixing upon those who had both money and credulity -- were to be instruments in some great work of new revelation. The old man was rather her faithful co-worker, or executive exponent. -- Their son, Alvah, was originally intended, or designated, by fireside consultations and solemn and mysterious out-door hints, as the forthcoming prophet. The mother and the father said he was the chosen one; but Alvah, however spiritual he may have been, had a carnal appetite; ate too many green turnips, sickened and died. Thus the world lost a prophet, and Mormonism a leader; the designs, impiously and wickedly attributed to Providence, were defeated; and all in consequence of a surfeit of raw turnips. Who will talk of the cackling geese of Rome, or any other small and innocent causes of mighty events after this? The mantle of the prophet which Mrs. and Mr. Joseph Smith and one Oliver Cowdery had wove themselves -- every thread of it -- fell upon their next eldest son, Joseph Smith, Jr.

And a most unpromising recipient of such a trust was this same Joseph Smith, Jr., afterwards "Jo Smith." He was lounging, idle, (not to say vicious,) and possessed of less than ordinary intellect. The author's own recollections of him are distinct. He used to come into the village of Palmyra, with little jags of wood, from his backwood's home; sometimes patronizing a village grocery too freely; sometimes finding an odd job to do about the store of Seymour Scovell; and once a week he would stroll into the office of the old Palmyra Register for his father's paper. How impious in us young "dare devils"† to once and awhile blacken the face of the then meddling, inquisitive lounger -- but afterwards prophet, with the old-fashioned balls, when he used to put himself in the way of the working of the old fashioned Ramage press! The editor of the Cultivator at Albany -- esteemed as he may justly consider himself for his subsequent enterprise and usefulness -- may think of it with contrition and repentance; that he once helped thus to disfigure the face of a prophet, and, remotely, the founder of a state.

But Joseph had a little ambition, and some very laudable aspirations; the mother's intellect occasionally shone out in him feebly, especially when he used to help us to solve some portentous questions of moral or political ethics, in our juvenile debating club, which we moved down to the old red school-house on Durfee street, to get rid of the annoyance of critics that used to drop in upon us in the village; and subsequently, after catching a spark of Methodism in the camp meeting, away down in the woods, on the Vienna road, he was a very passable exhorter in evening meetings.

Legends of hidden treasure had long designated Mormon Hill as a repository. Old Joseph had dug there, and young Joseph had not only heard his father and mother relate the marvellous tales of buried wealth, but had accompanied his father in the midnight delvings, and incantations of the spirits that guarded it.

If a buried revelation was to be exhumed, how natural was it that the Smith family, with their credulity, and their assumed presentiment, that a prophet was to come from their household, should be connected with it; and that Mormon Hill was the place where it would be found.

It is believed by those who were best acquainted with the Smith family, and most conversant with all the Gold Bible movements, that there is no foundation for the statement that their original manuscript was written by a Mr. Spaulding, of Ohio. A supplement to the Gold Bible, "The Book of Commandments," in all probability was written by Rigdon, and he may have been aided by Spaulding's manuscripts; but the book itself is without doubt a production of the Smith family, aided by Oliver Cowdery, who was school teacher on Stafford street, an intimate of the Smith family, and identified with the whole matter. The production, as all will conclude, who have read it, or even given it a cursory review, is not that of an educated man or woman. The bungling attempt to counterfeit the style of the Scriptures; the intermixture of [modern phraseology; the ignorance of] chronology and geography; its utter crudeness and baldness, as a whole, stamp its character, and clearly exhibit its vulgar origin. It is a strange medley of scripture, romance, and bad composition.

The primitive design of Mrs. Smith, her husband, Jo and Cowdery, was money-making; blended with which perhaps was a desire for notoriety, to be obtained by a cheat and fraud. The idea of being the founders of a new sect was an after thought in which they were aided by others.

The projectors of the humbug, being destitute of means for carrying out their plans, a victim was selected to obviate that difficulty. Martin Harris was a farmer of Palmyra, the owner of a good farm, and an honest, worthy citizen; but especially given to religious enthusiasm, new creeds, the more extravagant the better; a monomaniac, in fact. Joseph Smith, upon whom the mantle of prophecy had fallen after the sad fate of Alvah, began to make demonstrations. He informed Harris of the great discovery, and that it had been revealed to him that he (Harris) was a chosen instrument to aid in the great work of surprising the world with a new revelation. They had hit upon the right man. He mortgaged his fine farm to pay for printing the book, assumed a grave, mysterious, and unearthly deportment, and made here and there among his acquaintances solemn annunciations of the great event that was transpiring. His version of the discovery, as communicated to him by the prophet Joseph himself, is well remembered by several respectable citizens of Palmyra, to whom he made early disclosures. It was in substance as follows:

The prophet Joseph was directed by an angel where to find, by excavation, at the place afterwards called Mormon Hill, the gold plates; and was compelled by an angel, much against his will, to be the interpreter of the sacred record they contained, and publish it to the world. That the plates contained a record of the ancient inhabitants of this country, "engraved by Mormon the son of Nephi." That on the top of the box containing the plates, "a pair of large spectacles were found, the stones or glass set in which were opaque to all but the prophet," that "these belonged to Mormon, the engraver of the plates, and without them the plates could not be read." Harris assumed that himself and Cowdery were the chosen amanuenses, and that the prophet Joseph, curtained from the world and them with his spectacles, read from the gold plates what they committed to paper.

Harris exhibited to an informant of the author, the manuscript title-page. On it was drawn, rudely and bunglingly, concentric circles, between, above, and below, which were characters, with little resemblance to letters, apparently a miserable imitation of hieroglyphics, the writer may somewhere have seen. To guard against profane curiosity, the prophet has given out that no one but himself, not even his chosen co-operators, must be permitted to see them, on pain of instant death. Harris had never seen the plates, but the glowing account of their massive richness excited other than spiritual hopes, and he, upon one occasion, got a village silversmith to help him estimate their value, taking as a basis the prophet's account of their dimensions. It was a blending of the spiritual and utilitarian, that threw a shadow of doubt upon Martin's sincerity. This, and some anticipations he indulged in as to the profits that would arise from the sale of the Gold Bible, made it then, as it is now, a mooted question whether he was altogether a dupe.

The wife of Harris was a rank infidel and heretic, touching the whole thing, and decidedly opposed to her husband's participation in it. With sacrilegious hands she seized over a hundred of the manuscript pages of the new revelation, and burned or secreted them. It was aranged by Smith and family, Cowdery and Harris, not to transcribe these again, but to let so much of the new revelation drop out, "as the evil spirit would get up a story that the second translation did not agree with the first." A very ingenious method, surely, of guarding against the possibility that Mrs. Harris had preserved the manuscript with which they might be confronted, should they attempt an imitation of their own miserable patchwork.

The prophet did not get his lesson well upon the start, or the household of the impostors were in fault. After he had told his story, in his absence, the rest of the family made a new version of it to one of their neighbors. They showed him such a pebble as may any day be picked up on the shore of Lake Ontario -- the common horn blend -- carefully wrapped in cotton and kept in a mysterious box. They said it was by looking at this stone, in a hat, the light excluded, that Joseph discovered the plates. This, it will be observed, differs materially from Joseph's story of the angel. It was the same stone the Smiths had used in money digging, and in some pretended discoveries of stolen property.

Long before the Gold Bible demonstration, the Smith family had, with some sinister object in view, whispered another fraud in the ears of the credulous. They pretended that, in digging for money at Mormon Hill, they came across a chest, three by two feet in size, covered with a dark-colored stone. In the centre of the stone was a white spot about the size of a sixpence. Enlarging, the spot increased to the size of a twenty-four pound shot, and then exploded with a terrible noise. The chest vanished and all was utter darkness.

It may be safely presumed that in no other instance have prophets and the chosen and designated of angels, been quite as calculating and worldly as were those of Stafford street, Mormon Hill, and Palmyra. The only business contract -- veritable instrument in writing, that was ever executed by spiritual agents, has been preserved, and should be among the archives of the new State of Utah. It is signed by the prophet Joseph himself, and witnessed by Oliver Cowdery, and secures to Martin Harris one-half of the proceeds of the sale of the Gold Bible until he was fully reimbursed in the sum of $2,500, the cost of printing.

The after thought which has been alluded to -- the enlarging of original intentions -- was at the suggestion of S. Rigdon, of Ohio, who made his appearance and blended himself with the poorly devised scheme of imposture, about the time the book was issued from the press. He unworthily bore the title of a Baptist elder, but had by some previous freak, if the author is rightly informed, forfeited his standing with that respectable religious denomination. Designing, ambitious and dishonest, under the semblance of sanctity and assumed spirituality, he was just the man for the use of the Smith household and their half dupe and half-designing abettors; and they were just the fit instruments he desired. He became at once the Hamlet, or more appropriately perhaps, the Mawworm of the play.

Under the auspices of Rigdon, a new sect, the Mormons, was projected. Prophecies fell thick and fast from the lips of Joseph; old Mrs. Smith assumed all the airs of a mother of a prophet; that particular family of Smiths were singled out and became exalted above all their legion of namesakes. The bald clumsy cheat found here and there an enthusiast, a monomaniac or a knave, in and around its primitive locality, to help it upon its start; and soon, like another scheme of imposture, (that had a little of dignity and plausibility in it,) it had its Hegira, or flight, to Kirtland, then to Nauvoo; then to a short resting place in Missouri -- and then on and over the Rocky mountains to Utah or the Salt Lake. Banks, printing offices, temples, cities, and finally a state, have arisen under its auspices. Converts have multiplied to tens of thousands. In several of the countries of Europe there are preachers and organized sects of Mormons; believers in the divine mission of Joseph Smith & Co.

And here the subject must be dismissed. If it has been treated lightly -- with seeming levity -- it is because it will admit of no other treatment. There is no dignity about the whole thing; nothing to entitle it to mild treatment. It deserves none of the charity extended to ordinary religious fanaticism, for knavery and fraud have been with it incipiently and progressively. It has not the poor merit of ingenuity. Its success is a slur upon the age. Fanaticism promoted it at first; then ill-advised persecution; then the designs of demagogues who wished to command the suffrage of its followers; until finally an American Congress has abetted the fraud and imposition by its acts, and we are to have a state of our proud Union -- in this boasted era of light and knowledge -- the very name of which will sanction and dignify the fraud and falsehood of Mormon Hill, the gold plates and the spurious revelation. This much, at least, might have been omitted out of decent respect to the moral and religious sense of the people of the old States.

* Here the author remembers to have first seen the family, in the Winter of '19, and '20, in a rude log house, with but a small spot of underbrush around it.

To soften the use of such an expression the reader should be reminded that apprentices in printing offices have since the days of Faust and Gottenburgh, been thus called, and sometimes it was not inappropriate.

Note 1: The exact date of the above article remains undetermined. It was probably published in late June in both the daily and weekly editions of the Rochester American. The above transcription is taken from a reprint published in the Schenectady Cabinet of June 24, 1851, which begins: "The Rochester American publishes the following from a forthcoming work by Mr. Turner, entitled 'History of Philip and Gorham's Purchase.' Though not entirely new, it is succinct, and communicates some facts coming within the author's personal knowledge."

Note 2: In their 2007 essay, "'Manuscript Found' and the Moroni Myth: The Importance of Being Honest," Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. Davis, Arthur Vanick and William Moore, Jr. published these interesting remarks: "Another thing which tends to verify the accuracy of [Orsamus] Turner’s recollections concerning Oliver [Cowdery] and the Smiths, is that prior to the publication of Turner’s History of the Phelps and Gorham Purchases of Western New York in 1852, the Rochester Daily American excerpted his section on 'Mormonism' and ran it as part of the publicity surrounding the forthcoming work. The resulting news article, entitled 'Origin of the Mormon Imposture' and prefaced by an editorial comment that the facts therein were derived from 'the author’s personal knowledge,' was subsequently copied by a number of other newspapers and at least one important weekly magazine... The all-important point to be made here is that at the very time this article was printed, Benjamin Franklin Cowdery himself was associate editor and printer of the Rochester Daily American. (Rochester, NY, City Directory for 1851-52, lists 'Cowdery, Franklin, Editor, printer, American office, home 14 1/2 Main.') Since there is ample evidence to indicate that Orsamus Turner and Franklin Cowdery were long-time friends, surely if what Turner had to say about Oliver was erroneous or exaggerated in any way, Franklin could have sought and been accorded the opportunity to correct the text prior to publication. This provides strong reason to presume that what Turner had to say about Oliver Cowdery and the Smith family was entirely accurate as far as Franklin Cowdery was concerned."



Vol. II.                             Lyons, N.Y., Wednesday, July 2, 1851.                             No. 37.


THE MORMONS. -- Under the perfect tolaration of religious opinions which is guaranteed by our free system of government, the Mormons have increased probably to their hundreds of thousands, and might continue to propagate their peculiar faith to the end of time undisturbed, were they to be obedient to law and order; but from proceedings on their island in Michigan, it seems that they are not content with a peaceable mode of converting persons to their faith, but use force, and take life when resisted. Their leader, Strang, who calls himself King, has been arrested for violations of law, and his followers have recently committed an unprovoked and premeditated murder. It can hardly be expected that the citizens of Michigan will continue to tolerate this gang of desperadoes in their State; and we therefore anticipate that stringent measures will be taken for their expulsion.

King Strang resided for some time in Baltimore, and succeeded in making a few proselytes. From one of his disciples, we heard that he possessed the miraculous power of restoring sight, curing diseases, &c; and that he had the original Book of Mormon in the Hebrew Egyptian character. Some Baltimoreans were silly enough to follow this impostor to Beaver Island, where he has erected his new kingdom, as the legitimate successor of Joseph Smith; but as he is now in the hands of the law, his reign may be of short duration, and its close inglorious. He stands a chance to find his way to the penitentiary whilst some of his followers seem resolved to merit a swing from the gallows. -- Baltimore Clipper.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Syracuse  [DAILY]  Standard.

Vol. IV.                       Syracuse, N.Y., Monday, August 18, 1851.                       No. 41.

Religious Humbug.

There is more humbug afloat in regard to religion, than upon any other subject. The rapid increase of the Mormons, may be cited in proof of this statement. Not more than fifteen years have elapsed since the Mormon Bible was first printed, and yet the number of believers in the doctrines it teaches, is probably a hundred thousand or over, and the cry is "still they come."

In regard to the authorship of the "Book of Mormon," about which much discussion has arisen, the Wayne Sentinel, on the authority of a correspondent versed in the matter, says it was written by Rev. Mr. Spaulding, formerly a Missionary at Green Bay, now deceased, and first published by Jo. Smith and Martin Harris, at Palmyra.

Mr. Spaulding left his mission at Green Bay, on account of sickness, and went to his brother's at Ashtabula, where, after a long lingering decline, he died. His wife was a cousin to Rigdon, who had been a Baptist preacher, but was at that time engaged in a foundry at Pittsburgh. Spaulding wrote the manuscript, which was afterwards remodeled into the wonderful Book of Mormon, for amusement during his sickness -- though he intended to have it published as a romance, thinking in this way to realize something to pay the expense of his long confinement. This will account for the disjointed form of the book as it appears in print. He used to amuse himself and friends by reading chapters of his manuscript, from time to time, as he proceeded with his composition. After his death, his widow offered this manuscript for sale at Pittsburgh, but it was regarded on a slight examination, by the publisher to whom it was shown, as a stupid affair, and no bid was made for it. She finally left it with her cousin Rigdon -- and this is the end of my private history of it. The subsequent acquaintance that took place between Jo. and Rigdon, the printing of the book at the expense of Martin Harris, the associate career of the three in preaching the gospel of Mormon, the tragical catastrophe that ended the worldly mission of the "Prophet Joseph," in a prison, and the progress of imposture, step by step, until assuming its present power and renown, in Europe and America, are familiar matters of public history.

Note 1: The location of Solomon Spalding's activities as a Congregational evangelist in the late 1780s and early 1790s remain unknown. One report places him in New York City. These was no Congregational church at Green Bay, Caledonia Co., Vermont at that time, although it is possible that Spalding was employed by the Congregationalists to do home missionary work in Peacham township, in southern Caledonia county. It might also be noted that Solomon Spalding was no longer living in Ashtabula co., Ohio when he died in 1816.

Note 2: The issue of the Palmyra paper that published this item has not yet been located. For confirmation that Solomon Spalding's widow did attempt to get one of his stories published in Pittsburgh, after her husband's death, see the 1876 testimony of Elder William Small.



Vol. XVIII.                       Buffalo, N.Y., Friday, April 16, 1852.                       No. 3402.

The Different Mormon Tribes or Churches.

The following information respecting the different Mormon Tribes or Churches in our States and Territories, is believed to be reliable:

The greater number of the Mormons have collected at Utah, under the government of Brigham Young. But these neither profess nor practice the doctrines of the Prophet Smith; and the whole church since the assassination of their leader, the Prophet Smith, has been cut up into pieces by usurpers, new lights and reformers. There are already seven divisions of the Mormons, each repudiating all others, as follows: -- 1. The Rigdonites, or Simon-pure Mormons; headquarters, Pittsburgh, Pa,, and scattered throughout the Union. 2. The Brighamites, usurpers, occupying lands in Utah. 3. The Strangites, new lights, settled on Beaver Island, Lake Michigan. 4. The Hydeites, the Whig division of the usurpers, squatters the unsurveyed public lands of the United States, of the Pottawatamie purchase, Iowa. 5. The Brewsterites, new lights, from Ill., now settled at Socorro, New Mexico. 6. The Cutlerites, reformers, settled on Silver Creek, Mills county, Iowa. 7. The Bishopites, new lights, established at Kirtland. Lake county, Ohio. These last are supposed to under the influence of Strang.

Rigdon, who leads the Simon-pure Mormons, was formerly a Baptist clergyman. Brigham Young, who is at the head of the Brighamites at Salt LaKe, is a native of Ontario county, N. Y., and was there a common laborer. Orson Hyde, who governs the Whig branch of the usurpers at about Kainsville, was, in the first instance, a Campbellite preacher, James Strang, who is at the head of the Mormons, on Beaver island was a New York lawyer. Old Father Cutler, who leads the Cutlerites, was an agriculturist. James Collins Brewster, of the Brewsterites, came to the Mormons when quite a boy, with his father. Gladdon Bishop, who now leads the Mormons at Kirtland, Ohio, was a clock and watch repairer. -- Such iB the face of Mormonism at this day.

Note: Apostle Orson Hyde was President of the LDS Church "East of the Rocky Mountains," but he in no way headed a seperate organization.



Vol. XVII.                       Buffalo, N.Y., Tuesday, Oct. 19, 1852.                       No. 3549.

The Mormons -- Present appearance of Nauvoo and Vicinity
-- Recollections of a Former Visit -- Character
of the Mormon Leaders.

From the Illinois Democratic Press.

Nauvoo, July, 1852.    
I am still attracted to this place by the mournful interest which its past history has thrown around it. As I wander through it almost deserted streets, and feel the oppression of its solitude take fast hold upon me. and then call to mind the scene of busy life, the exultant bearing of a people whose hopes or worldly grandeur and spiritual exaltation hereafter had been wrought to high intensity through the instrumentality of religious enthusiasm, which I witnessed here only nine years since. I can scarcely realize the intervening history of that wonderful people, who driven from their 'New Jerusalem,' by an excited populace, acting without form or cover of law, sought refuge in the depths of the wilderness, where they have planted the seat of empire, and where they have more than recovered from the disasters of their expulsion.

At sunrise this morning, I took horse and galloped an hour or two through the country immediately back of the city, where the Mormons had made farms on the prairies. Here, as in the town, I found a vast deal of their labor in a state of ruin. Many large farms lie uncultivated -- fences, ditches, and embankments destroyed or gone to decay. I saw but few people afield, and the roads were half grown over with grass and wild fennel. Like the city, the natural scenery of the country is veryfine. The prairies are gently undulating, and there are tongues of forest running far up the small streams and ravines, which diversify the landscape and break the monotany of prairie scenery. I have said, elsewhere, that I was here in 1843. A desire to see these singular people induced me to turn aside, for a day or two, from a journey I was making to the South, for that purpose. My companions consisted of a gentleman from London, a son of Bishop Chase, and our natual friend, P_____.

Our visit to the city was only a day or two after Joe Smith was rescued by his 'Legion,' from the Sheriffs of Jackson County, Missouri, and of Hancock County, Illinois, and we had the pleasure of finding ourselves planted at once under a close surveillance, as suspected persona. During our entire stay, wherever we went, we always found ourselves in company with one or more persons, who scanned our every movement and listened eagerly to our every remark -- sometimes, an if in solioquy, uttering a sarcastic commentary, and sometimes calling us to task for irreverence of the Prophet and the Saints. Once matters assumed a serious aspect, and I felt sure I was about to be made acquainted with the interior of a Mormon prison, and to learn, from experience somewhat of the organization and process of a Mormon court of justice. The circumstances were as follows:

We observed in passing about, that the town was placarded with written notices, calling upon particular sections of the 'Saints' to do military duty on certain days, pay tithings for the construction of the Temple, labor upon the streets and public buildings, &c., &c. Our London friend, who by the way, was an attache of a London paper, was anxious to obtain copies of these various notices. I undertook to procure them for him; so, watching an opportunity when I supposed myself to be unobserved, I hurridly tore down some half-dozen and put them in my pocket. I had scarcely done so when I felt a hand laid heavily upon my shoulder, and turning around, found myself confronted by a stout and highly indignant 'Saint,' who demanded, in a very select mode of phraseolegy, why I had pulled down the notices -- what object had brought myself and companions to the city -- who we were and where we lived? -- ending with imparting the very agreeable information, that the deed I had just performed was little better than out and out larceny, and that it was punishable by the laws of the city.

Here I was then in a pretty muss, to be sure; but putting the best possible face upon tho affair, informed the gentleman that having heard many reports prejudicial to the character of the Mormons, we had deterinined, before believing them, to come and see for oursslves -- that we had been agreeably disappoinited in the marks of thrift, industry and order which everywhere prevailed in the city, and were satisfied that common rumor did them much injutice -- that the English gentlemen was especially anxious to obtain accurate information touching tho Saints, in order to lay the same before his London readers, who from the preaching of Mormon missionaries, had become deeply interested in whatever pertained to Nauvoo and its inhabitants; and that he wished to make use of the notices which I had pocketed, to show the admirable system and order with which the affairs of the City and Church were conducted.

My speech had the effect designed. Before I was half through, the countenance of my interrogator had relaxed from its severity into an agreeablo expression, and when I had concluded my explanation, he grasped me cordially by the hand, declared I was a clever fellow, and that I should keep the notices I had taken surreptitiously, and that he would furnish me copies oi others that I had not got.

While in the city, we visited both Joe Smith and Sydney Rigdon, at their houses. The former was a fine looking man -- tall, and portly, with an expressive countenance and florid complexion. We found him at first reserved; but after telling; him who we were, and what was the object of our visit, he became communicative, and seemed to be pleased with the notice we paid him. One little incident occured while we were at his house, which proved conclusively that the prophet appreciated fully the importance of turning everything to personal account. We had not been seated more than half an hour when his mother entered the room, and informed us that in the next apartment there were some very interesting ancient records which she would be glad to show us. We accepted her invitation, when we were introduced to some half a dozen Egyptian mummies, who, we were informed, constituted the family of Pharaoh. We were then shown a large number of framed sheets of papyrus covered with hieroglyphics, which had been taken from the bandages about the mummies, and these were the interesting records which the old lady had invited us to see, and, which -- Gideon like -- she undertook to explain to us. We soon found that the thread of her discourse was simply a rehearsal of the bible history of the creation and the end of man, the deluge, and the subsequent history of the Israelites. As we were all more or less familiar with this, we soon wearied of the discourse, and to our great scandal in the good woman's estimation, begged her to excuse us from hearing more. Just as we were on the point of retiring, however; our eyes fell upon a placard, inscribed; as follows: "EGYPTIAN MUMMIES AND ANCIENT RECORDS TO BE SEEN HERE -- PRICE 25 cents." Of course we paid the score -- without a word, and bowed ourselves out of the residence of the Prophet.

I have recalled a hundred incidents and facts which occurred while here, on that occasion, that would doubtless interest you, but I cannot crowd them into the short compass of a letter. Perhaps, should you revive the subject, on my return, I may recount them to you.

A distinguished writer has observed that a man should be estimated not so much by what he knows, as by what he accomplishes. Judged by this standard, the leaders of the Mormons -- the founder of the sect, his immediate co-workers, and those upon whom his mantle fell at a time when their star seemed destined to set in disaster and blood, but who guided them safely in their wonderful exode into the wilderness, and have so shaped their subsequent movements, that seeming disaster has been turned into succes, must be counted among the remarkable men of the times. It is folly to call them ignorant -- it is not more wise to call them fanatics and enthusiasts. These epithets may properly apply to a large number of their followers. But the leaders are men of mind, possessed of rare powers of invention, great capacity for execution, wonderful judgment and felicity in determining upon the means to a given end. Bad men they undoubtedly are, but they are not fools.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. VI.                         Syracuse, N.Y., Mon., December 13, 1852.                         No. 140.

==> Doctor Cowdry, whose death was announced by the telegraph, was the oldest Surgeon of the U.S. Navy, having held the commission fifty two years. His age was about 85 years. Dr. Cowdry was the father of Mr. Franklin Cowdry, printer, formerly of this city, and now a resident of Rochester. In the early part of the present century, Dr. Cowdry was a prisoner at Tripoli, together with William Ray, the poet, and many other Americans.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Lewis  County  Republican.

Vol. XVIII.                 Martinsburgh, N.Y., Wed., February 1, 1854.                 No. 21.



... In the year 1830, a singular book came from the press, in Palmyra, Wayne county, New York, that attracted less attention from its claims to ancient inspired writings, than as a series of wild, irregular, romantic legends concerning a race of men on the American continent. On the authority of the book, they were an off-shoot from the ancient Jews and the progenitors of the Indian tribes of North America...."

Joseph Smith, Jr., or Joe Smith, as the Prophet was familiarly called, was a native of Vermont, but when a youth was removed by his father and family into the western part of New York, and lived for a time in the vicinity of Rochester. The family were idle, superstitious, illiterate, and of doubtful reputation; and Joe, when he had grown to manhood, spent several years roving about in the neighboring towns, pretending to be engaged in digging for buried money and hunting silver mines.

About 1827, he pretended he had found some curious golden or brass plates, the leaves of a book, hidden in a box, in the town of Palmyra, to which he was directed by an angel! In the same box were two transparent stones, which being placed in a hat with the plates, Joe, by looking in, became miraculously qualified to read and even translate their contents from the "Reformed Egyptian language." The Prophet, with his face buried in the hat, read out the translation, and Oliver Cowdery, a school-master in the vicinity, wrote it down in English....

The Book of Mormon makes the pretence of having been written by twelve different authors, during a period of 1020 years, a part of it having been translated by the writers from more ancient documents, and the whole engraven on plates by Moroni in the "Reformed Egyptian language." No series of childish tales ever bore such unquestionable evidence, as the production of a single mind, in modern phraseology, and all within the present century. It abounds with the provincialisms common to illiterate New Englanders. It contains allusions to modern discoveries, as steamboats. The author makes a bungling attempt to imitate the style of the English version of the Bible, quotes sentences from Shakespeare, and uses colloquial phrases common to illiterate persons in the interior of the State of New York, thirty and forty years since.

Curiosity, and the laudable desire to prevent imposition on the minds of ignorant and credulous persons, have prompted full and successful investigation of the authorship of these writings. The result, established beyond all controversy, I here give.

About eighteen years before the appearance of the Book of Mormon, an eccentric gentleman, by the name of Spalding, then living in the north-eastern part of Ohio, was engaged in writing a series of historical romances, the fruit of his own fertile imagination, about the early settlement of North America, and the race of people whom he fancied made the mounds, fortifications and enclosures found [there]. These writings were intended for his own amusement. and that of his friends.

He was a person of moderate abilities, of some slight mental obliquities, of honest reputation, and in straitened circumstances. He read his manuscripts to his neighbors, who, on reading the Book of Mormon, made affidavits that it contained the same stories they had heard Mr. Spalding read. His brother, who had read these manuscripts, gave the same testimony. His widow, who had married a man by name of Davidson, and removed to Massachusetts, also certified that in this work were the romantic legends of her former husband. More than forty other persons have made affidavits to the same effect. All these were persons of unimpeachable veracity.

Mr. Spalding removed with his family to Pittsburg, where he formed an acquaintance with Mr. Paterson, a publisher, who read these manuscripts, had them in his possession for several months, and proposed to the author to publish them as a historical romance. Spalding then removed to Washington county, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816. His widow still retained the manuscripts in her possession, which were read by her and her relatives.

One of Smith's early disciples was Sydney Rigdon, who, in authority and influence, was next to the Prophet in this new sect, until 1844, when he seceded, at Nauvoo, on the introduction of the "spiritual wife" system in domestic affairs.

Rigdon, before he joined Smith in the Mormon enterprise, was a man of a visionary, unsettled mind, of a morbid, enthusiastic temperament, subject to religious hallucinations, and, withal, a preacher. At the period Mr. Spalding resided in Pittsburg, Rigdon was about the office of Mr. Patterson, and might have stealthily copied the manuscripts; or Smith himself might have come into possession of this document, for the writings of Mr. Spalding were in Ontario [sic] county, New York, where his widow lived for several years. Mrs. Davidson can give no account how these papers were lost. She certifies they were in an old trunk, with some books and other papers, and when the trunk was examined, this document was missing.

It is a fact, established by the most ample proof, that "The Manuscript Found," as Spalding called his romance, furnished the frame-work of the Book of Mormon, with such interpolations and changes as Smith and his coadjutors saw fit to make. These bear the finger-marks of the vulgar, illiterate impostor and his early associates, Cowdery, Harris, Whitmer, and Sydney Rigdon.

All these facts would not be worth a moment's attention, were they not the origin and foundation of one of the most dangerous religious impostures ever palmed off on human credulity and superstition. It is the starting point of a sect that has set the laws of God and man at defiance, and formed a political organization in the wilds of Western America, of a character unknown in the history of human governments....

Note 1: See Arthur's Home Magazine of Jan. 1854 for full text of this article.

Note 2: See also Rev. Peck's 1835 article on the same subject.



Vol. V.                         Lyons, New York, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 1854.                        No. 15.


==> Brigham Young, at the time Joe Smith produced his Mormon Bible, was a resident of the town of Hector in Tompkins County. One of Joe Smith's preachers held his meeting near Reynoldsville, in that town. He preached "in an unknown tongue." Brigham was one of his hearers. He was converted to Mormonism. He is now "Governor Brigham Young" of Utah, appointed by President Fillmore. This is the greatest Blunder of his Administration. Brigham now boasts his thirty wives. I have seen emigrants to California, who have been introduced to several of them by Brigham himself. Those who have listened to his harangues at Salt Lake City, addressed to his subjects, say that his language is more befitting a low grogery where loafers resort to drink, smoke and carouse, than to a congregation where the moral, refined and chaste are wont to assemble for worship.  Communication in Ovid Bee.

Note: By the time "Smith's preachers" were holding meetings as far afield as Reynoldsville, Brigham Young had already left Tompkins County and was alternately living in Mendon and Canandaigua. It is possible, however, that Brigham's views on religion were partly shaped by Reformed Methodist "preachers" operating in Tompkins County and adjacent areas in upstate New York.


The  Lewis  County  Republican.

Vol. XVIII.          Martinsburgh, New York, Wednesday, February 8, 1854.             No. 22.




...This strange sect was first organized April, 1830, in Manchester, New York, but took the attractive name of "Latter Day Saints," in 1834. They were six in number then, and all interested in the fallacy of the "golden plates."

At that period an extraordinary and preternatural state of religious excitement pervaded the State of New York and Northern Ohio, and Smith and his fraternity, with enthusiastic zeal, turned out to make proselytes. They preached from the Jewish and Christian scriptures, taught many of the common-place truths of Christianity, artfully mixed up with Mormon stories, and claims to a new revelation. Of course, they made and baptized converts, and soon after Rigdon joined them with a fraternity of his own....

In 1831, Smith, Rigdon and some others, made a journey to the Western part of Missouri, to find the location for building "Zion," and were directed to Independence, Jackson county. Proclamations as coming from the Almighty, were sent abroad to the "brethren" to repair to this "land of promise," with instructions to purchase land and prepare to build the temple there....

After the explosion of the Mormon bank at Kirtland, in 1837, which involved Smith, Rigdon & Co. in inextricable difficulties, these leaders and rulers came to Missouri, followed by a large proportion of the members of their church, to escape the pursuit of their creditors, and the indignation of the people whom they had swindled. Soon after their arrival they organized the "Danite Band," first called "Daughters of Zion." The members of this military corps were bound together by an oath or covenant, with the penalty of instant death attached to a breach to "do the Prophet's bidding," to "defend the Presidency (their rulers) and each other." They had "pass-words," and "secret signs," by which they could recognize each other by day or night. There were at first about 500 desperate men in this association, armed with deadly weapons, and divided into bands of tens and fifties, with a captain over each band. They were instructed by the Prophet and his Council to drive off, or "give to the buzzards," all Mormons who dissented from these "new revelations," and proclamation was made accordingly. Among many dissentients who left the country, were David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and Hiram Page, all witnesses to the Book of Mormon!

An address of Rigdon on the Fourth of July, in which he denounced destruction on all who left the society, and predicted an exterminating war with the people of Missouri, caused tremendous excitement and alarm, which did not cease until it terminated in a civil war with the State....

Note: See Arthur's Home Magazine of Jan. 1854 for full text of this article.


Vol. III.                     Hornellsville, New York, Thursday, April 13, 1854.                     No. 21.



        Correspondence of the N. Y Tribune.

                                                Parowan, February 8, 1854.
I improve the present opportunity of the departure of A. W. Babbitt, Secretary of Utah, for Washington, to forward you a few items in relation to the movements of Col. Fremont, who arrived here with his party to-day. They were in a starving condition, having subsided for the last two months upon horse flesh, having killed and eaten twenty-six since leaving Bent's Fort. He has traveled in a straight line across the plains, and entered the valley about seventeen miles north of where Major Beale came into it last spring on the Spanish trail. His report is highly favorable, the more so, as he waited until winter set in to cross the mountains, in order to test the depth of the snow in the passes, and in the worst and most elevated pass (which he crossed some time in December,) he found snow only four inches deep in the shade of the summit. -- The only winter we have is in the months of December and January, the snow rarely lying on the ground more than a week at a time. Last winter has been the most severe ever experienced in Utah since its settlement, as much snow having fallen as in the two previous winters put together, and it has not exceeded eleven inches at any one time, and then only lay a few days. You will see by this that the snow is no impediment to the construction or operation of a railroad through this country, and when you take into consideration the mountains of iron ore, and coal beds eight feet high, both being of the first quality, and the vast forests of pine at this point also, the conclusion must be evident to a candid and public spirited mind, that this is the best, most central, and most national route for the Pacific Railway; at least such is the unanimous opinion of the people of Utah; and you must remember that the Mormons are one in thought and feeling and action. While men (?) at Washington are quarreling about the location and building of the greatest work of modern times, and indisputably of the greatest national importance, we, if we had the power, would build it.

The Indians have been tolerably quiet this winter, doing but little damage, on account of the vigilant watch that has been kept, and the collection of the inhabitants into fortified towns and cities.
                   Yours respectfully,
                              JAMES H. MARTINEAU.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XV.                           Albany, New York, Monday, July 31, 1854.                           No. ?

Recent Progress of the Mormons.
From the New York Evangelist, July 27.

Among the news brought by the Pacific steamers, was the eleventh General Epistle of the Saints, Young, Kimball and Grant, Presidents of the Latter Day Church, to the Saints of the Earth -- the encyclical bull of the apostolic college at the head of that strange and formidable delusion, Mormonism.

The epistle has that character of combined shrewdness, impiety and boastfulness which has distinguished the proceedings of this body since its first appearance upon the stage, in Hancock county, Illinois. It congratulates the "Saints" on their abundant crops, the rapid augmentation of their numbers, and the progress of the fortifications by which they are fast rendering themselves impregnable from future attack.

It also specifies new and enlarged missionary operations, to be conducted under the auspices of their great apostle, Parley Pratt, who has been a very Francis Xavier or Christian Schwartz to the Mormons. Twenty young elders are about to be despatched to the Pacific Islands; and at the conference from which this epistle emanates, not less than sixty-five missionaries were commissioned. -- The missionary feature of Mormonism is not the least striking of its many pecularities.

From the beginning, it has constituted a steady and most profitable department of their undertakings, and has been more successful than is generally supposed....

With this vigor abroad, equal concentration and growth are kept up at home. Most of the emigrant converts are from the middling classes -- artisans, mechanics, and people possessed of considerable property. They are organized, as soon as they arrive, into one of the most compact and efficient despotisms ever known -- completely subject to the central power, and imbued with the spirit of enthusiastic obedience.

Every man capable of bearing arms is enrolled in the militia, and the apostles, prophets, patriarchs, bishops and elders of the church mingle military offices with their sacerdotal. They are understood to have now on foot a thoroughly drilled army of 8,000 -- but little short of the entire regular army of the United States.

While becoming thus formidable without, their inward corruptions and rottenness are rapidly on the increase. Like all evil men they have waxed worse and worse since the time of the blasphemous lies of Joseph Smith commenced their flow. Doctrines and practices once concealed from general knowledge, and restricted to the elders and leaders, have now become corner-stones of their edifice; and it is difficult to forcast where their shameless profligacy and blasphemy will end.

If we do not yet find trouble from this source, it will be very strange. Such a putrid sore cannot exist upon the extremest part of the body politic without peril. The depth of their crime but few readers understand. Polygamy is a prime article of their creed, and is carried to an extent that would put a Mahommedan to the blush.

President Young is said to be the husband of sixty wives; and this example every man follows to the extent of his inclination or ability. The confusion, sensuality and degradation which this is creating, have already become too offensive to be told; and as the system festers on, it will create a nuisance that will necessarily renew the scenes of extermination and violence of former years on a larger scale.

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

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

The manuscript was then taken to another Printing-office across the street [sic], whence, in due time, the original "Mormon Bible" made its advent.

"Tall trees from little acorns grow."   

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

Note 1: The Albany Evening Journal was started by Thurlow Weed on March 22, 1830, as an anti-Masonic newspaper; it later became an influential Whig paper. The writer of this report reprinted from the Albany Evening Journal was Thurlow Weed, a noted editor, publisher, anti-Mason, and early Whig politician. Assuming that Smith and Harris came to visit Weed in Rochester in 1829, the paper he was then editing was the Anti-Masonic Enquirer. The paper Weed had previously edited was, by 1829, Robert Martin's Rochester Daily Advertiser & Telegraph. See the "Origin of Mormonism" in the Albany Evening Journal of Dec. 10, 1845 for the earliest known Thurlow Weed account of his meeting with Joseph Smith, Jr.

Note 2: This article was apparently reprinted in both the New York Times and New York Tribune of Aug. 2, 1854. See the Sandusky Mirror of Aug. 1854 for that paper's response to the 1854 Weed account. The Sandusky Mirror article was reprinted in the New York Tribune of Aug. 18, 1854. Yet another Thurlow Weed account of his meeting with Smith appeared in the Albany Evening Journal of May 19, 1858.

Note 3: The Lyons Gazette of Aug. 9th corrects Weed's errors regarding the publisher of the 1830 first edition of the Book of Mormon.



Vol. V.                       Lyons, New York, Wednesday, August 9, 1854.                       No. 41.

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

We attempted to read the first Chapter, but it seemed such unintelligible jargon, that it was thrown aside. 'Jo' was a tavern idler in the village of Palmyra. Harris, who offered to pay for the printing, was a substantial Farmer. Disgusted with what we deemed a 'weak invention' of an Imposter, and not caring to strip Harris of his hard earnings, the proposition was declined.

The manuscript was then taken to another Printing Office across the street, from whence, in due time, the original 'Mormon Bible' made its advent." -- Alb. Eve. Journal.

==> The editor of the Eve Journal is mistaken. The original "Mormon Bible" was printed at the office of the Wayne Sentinel in Palmyra, by E. B. Grandin. J. H. Gilbert, now of Palmyra, did the type setting, from probably the worst manuscript that was ever placed before a printer. The work was in progress several months, and was completed in 1830. We had just commenced our apprenticeship under Mr. Grandin, and the wonder and almost veneration with which we looked upon "Jo Smith" and Martin Harris, when showering their maledictions upon all who did not immediately embrace the Mormon faith, stamped their features upon our memory.

According to Harris' prophecy, a certain hill, about three dourths of a mile east of Palmyra, was or is, to open, out from which was to come an angel who would put one foot upon the sinful village and sink it. The site was subsequently to become the "New Jerusalem," into which the righteous (all the Mormons, of course) were to be gathered. -- Could he revisit the scene of his former adventures in Mormonism, he would hardly find the class of people he spoke of.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. III.                 Hornellsville, New York, Thursday, August 31, 1854.                  No. 41.

Riot on Beaver Island. Strang's Mormons got into an awkward scrape the other day in this out of the way locality. Several of the Sheriff's Possee, who had gone with him to summons jurors, were fired upon and grievously wounded. They are now however doing well, most probably owing to a free use of Lynde's Russian Ointment, the very best remedy in such cases...

Note: The unusual ending of the above news report is explained by the fact that it was printed in the paper's classified section, along with various patent medicine advertisements. This odd mixture of hard news and dubious packaged remedies was, fortunately, rare in respectable prints of that day.


Rochester Daily American.

Vol. X.               Rochester, New York, Wednesday, November 1, 1854.                   No. 269.

SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE. -- A man by the name of P. S. Blackman, of Painesville, and a young lady by the name of Julia Hurlburt, daughter of Dr. Hurlburt, of Kirtland, were spiritually married at the latter place on Sunday, Oct. 15. The ceremony consisted of matrimonial declarations made by themselves in the presence of friends, about fifty being present. The services consisted of the following poetical announcement: -- "Have you seen the morning kiss the opening blossom? Thus did our spirits meet and at the first interview; and as the inevitable elements of nature unite and blend in one harmonious impulse; so are our spirits [affinitized] into one accordant living force. Whoever are thus united by the eternal laws of affinity, naught has authority to separate. We thus introduce ourselves unto you in the relation of husband and wife."

Note 1: The above news item is perhaps a reprint from a Cleveland paper of late October, 1854. A brief mention of this marriage was also published in the Oct. 18, 1854 issue of the Painesville Telegraph. Spiritualism began in the Rochester area, with the unusual "spirit" manifestations among the children of the Fox family in 1848. While "spiritual wifery" was not a specific invention of the Spiritualist movement that grew out of the Fox sisters' activities, the two phenomena occasionally overlapped. See the Ohio Defiance Democrat of Sept. 10, 1859, for a report on a "spiritual marriage" at the "late Convention of Spiritualists." For more on spiritual wifery, see William H. Dixon's 1868 book, Spiritual Wives, which documents the concept and attempts to make it clear that the strange practice did not originate with the Mormons, their leader Brigham Young, etc.

Note 2: The "Dr. Hurlburt" referred to in this news item was very likely D. Philastus Hurlbut, the infamous anti-Mormon researcher who contributed so much source material to E. D. Howe's 1834 Mormonism Unvailed. Mr. Hurlbut married Maria Woodbury in 1834 and they eventually settled at Gibsonburg, Sandusky Co., Ohio. The couple's family appears on the 1850 Federal Census report for that place. However, the 1860 census shows D. P. Hurlbut living at Gibsonburg with another lady named "Diana" and with several children who were not products of his marriage with Maria Woodbury. It is likely that Hurlbut temporarily left Sandusky co. and returned to his old haunts at Kirtland, in late 1852, after he was ejected from his position as a minister in the Sandusky Conference of the United Brethren church. Whether his new consort was from Gibsonburg or had all the time been living in Kirtland remains unclear, but it is likely that she was an early Ohio convert to Spiritualism and that the "fifty present" at her daughter's "wedding" were residents of Geauga and Lake counties -- perhaps mostly Diana's old friends. Julia may have been Diana's child by a previous association, or she may have been D. P. Hurlbut's actual daughter, born prior to his union with Maria Woodbury. A "Julia Hurlbut" married George Hall near Kirtland on Oct. 22, 1845. If Hurlbut's daughter Julia was already married, that small fact would not have prevented her from entering into extra-legal "spiritual wifery" with Mr. Blackman of Painesville.

Note 3: If the 1854 Kirtland "Doctor" was indeed D. P. Hurlbut, he did not remain for very long in the Kirtland area. In their 1908 History of Kane County, Ill., R. Wait Joslyn and Frank W. Joslyn give passing mention to "Drs. D. Hurlbut and P. S. Blackman" having "settled in Aurora in the fall of 1858, for a stay of several months..." (vol. I p. 527). This information was likely derived from an 1858 newspaper advertisement for the two "doctors'" practice in northeastern Illinois. By 1860 D. P. Hurlbut again living at Gibsonburg, Ohio, maintaining a household with Diana and their several little ones. The couple probably remained Spiritualists for several years, along with at least one of D. P. Hurlbut's older children. In 1867 his daughter Phoebe married Leander Franklin and went to live on his farm near the hamlet of Rollersville, which lies about four miles southwest of Gibsonburg. Later that same year, D. P. Hurlbut was chosen as Rollersville's delegate to Ohio's first annual Spiritualist convention. If Diana also attended the event, she may have there had an opportunity to visit with old friends from the Kirtland area. Mr. Hurlbut's old associate, Eber D. Howe, attended as the Spiritualist delegate from Painesville. Subsequent reports of the Ohio Spiritualists show their "lyceums" and "societies" established at Kirtland and Painesville, along with a "lecturer" at Chardon and publications issued from Cleveland (The Agitator and the American Spiritualist.

Note 4: D. P. Hurlbut's reported early life in Penn-Yan, New York may receive some support from the fact that the Rochester Daily American's news item, on his daughter's marriage, was picked up and printed in abbreviated form by the Penn-Yan Yates County Whig. This reprint appeared on Nov. 9th, just as the Hornellville's reprint did. What is curious about the Penn-Yan reprint is that the local editor evidently inserted the words "Oneida Co." immediately after "Kirtland" in the news report. Since Kirtland, Ohio has no special ties to Oneida Co., New York, the editor's intentions in this instance remain obscure. Perhaps he meant to tie D. P. Hurlbut to Oneida Co., in his enigmatic journalistic shorthand. For an earlier advertisement in a Penn-Yan area newspaper, which may have been placed by this same botanical physican, see the Auburn Free Press of Feb. 23, 1831.


The  Lewis  County  Republican.

Vol. XIX.          Martinsburgh, New York, Wednesday, November 1, 1854.             No. 8.


Reviewed Errors Corrected -- Origin of The Book Of Mormon -- Other Standards --
Enormities -- Expulsion From Nauvoo -- Death of Joe Smith.

... The story of the Spaulding manuscript, &c., as the origin of the Mormon bible, is probably correct so far as it goes; but if correct to any extent, the original document has been greatly mutilated, as no "graduate" of an ordinary common school -- not to say "Dartmouth College" -- would be guilty of so many gross vulgarisms and glaring violations of the plainest rules of grammar.

The style is low and vulgar, and, if written by Mr. Spaulding, as it was subsequently printed, it will doubtless stand peerless and alone, as the most successful effort of the violation of every rule of taste and language which the history of our vernacular has ever furnished. Internal evidence is not wanting that some manuscript has furnished the ground-plan of the work, but that another hand has greatly enlarged the text, making such additions as the peculiar doctrines, &c., of the system required.

A few extracts will show that a considerable portion of the book was suggested by the anti-masonic excitement of western New-York, which commenced in the neighborhood, and near the time that Joe Smith professes to have found the platos from which the record was taken. The Lamanites, a wicked and ungodly race who figure largely in the work, are represented as originating and perfecting a "secret combination," bound with "oaths," and having "signs" by which they could recognize each other...

The last part of the book is to a considerable extent made up by presenting in an awkward way objections to infant baptism, (Smith was educated in the Baptist Church,) mingled with Rigdon's doctrine of "baptism for the remission of sins," which he (Rigdon) embraced when a Campbellite preacher, and made a prominent feature of Mormonism....

Note: See the National Magazine of Oct. 1854 for full text of this article.


Vol. ?              Hornellsville, New York, Thursday, November 9, 1854.                  No. ?

SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE. -- A man by the name of P. S. Blackman, of Painesville, and a young lady by the name of Julia Hurlbut, daughter of Dr. Hurlburt of Kirtland, were spiritually married at the latter place on Sunday, Oct. 15. Thc ceremony consisted of matrimonial declarations made by themselves in the presence of friends, about fifty present.

The services consisted of the following poetical announcement:

"Have you seen the morning kiss the opening blossom? Thus did our spirits meet and at the first interview; and as the inevitable elements of nature unite and blend in one harmonious impulse; so are our spirits [affinitized] into one accordant living force. Whoever are thus united by the eternal laws of affinity, naught has authority to separate. We thus introduce ourselves unto you in the relation of husband and wife."

Great state, that Ohio, especially for marriages and divorces.

Note: The above news item was taken by the Hornellsville paper from the Rochester Daily American of Nov. 1, 1854.


Rochester Daily Union.

Vol. III.                     Rochester, New York, Tuesday, January 23, 1855.                     No. 185.

Startling Exposure of Mormonism -- Letters from
one of President Young's Wives -- Lectures in
Boston -- Warning to Women, &c.

                         Chicago, Jan. 16th, 1855.

    Allow me to trouble you with these lines, which I wish you to insert in your Daily Times. My object is this: I have been for ten years a firm believer in the Latter Day Saints, or rather Mormonism. My parents became followers of the celebrated Joe Smith in an early day, and emigrated to Nauvoo. After the death of Smith and his brother we were driven from thence. The society split. There were two who wished to take their leader's place, and stand at the head of the church, but could not agree. Therefore they separated. Col. White and his followers, that is, such as believed in him, went to Texas, and are living in peace and prosperity. Col. W. is a worthy man compared with our great, or rather notorious, Brigham Young, notwithstanding he has been for the last three years my lawful husband, that is, according to their own laws and rules. But for the last twelve months I have seen enough to satisfy me; for what I don't know about Mormonism is not worth knowing. They have secret plots and objects that they mean to accomplish. They censure the government for not protecting them in all their hellish works. For all this they mean to have satisfaction. My object in writing this is to warn my female friends to beware of the false prophets who are daily sent out from the Salt Lake City to deceive the people. It is my intention to travel thro' the United States, and visit all the principal cities, and lecture on this great and important subject, to caution all young people who should be led into the ungodly trap. Beware!

In Boston I shall deliver my first lecture as that is my native city. I have one young lady in company who also left the Mormons with me. She has renounced the doctrines, and will help me in my lectures. We shall both be present, and show Mormonism in its true colors, which you have never had in your enlightened State. Had it been represented in its true light, and its object told, there would not have been a follower left sweet New England to join such a set of impostors, for I can call them nothing else, knowing them to be such. If there should be any Elders or followers of Mormonism, I hope they will come to the lectures, and dispute what we have to say if they can. We have and shall fetch documents to prove our assertions. We shall be there in a few weeks. We are at present staying with friends, and as soon as we are refreshed from the journey we shall start for Boston. It is near two months since we left Salt Lake City. You shall hear from me again, with more particulars. But no more at present from your humble servants.
                            Mrs. Sarah Young.
                            Miss Eliza Williams.
(The above comes to us from a responsible source. The ladies mentioned have been the victims of Mormonism, and are prepared to expose the mysteries of the creed in a light which will doubtless startle the entire community, Prepare for wonderful revelations. ED. TIMES.

Note: The lady lecturer was apparently Sarah Malin Young Gukin (1804-58) who was married to Brigham Young on April 18, 1848. Why she says in her letter to the Boston Daily Times that she has only been married to Brigham ("according to their own laws and rules") since 1851 is unclear.


Vol. IV.             Hornellsville, New York, Thursday, October 11, 1855.               No. 46.

Wholesale Robbery by Pirates on
Lake Michigan.

The people along Lake Michigan, from here north to Manisteo, have been thrown into a state of the most intense excitement by the operations of a gang of marauders, who are reported to be Mormons from Beaver Island, and who have carried on their operations with a boldness, coolness, and desperation rarely equaled in the records of highwaymen. They are reported to have burned sawmills and robbed stores north of the Grand River. At Grand Haven they made repeated attempts to break into stores and shops. On Saturday of last week they made their appearance at the mouth of the Kalamazoo and after looking about some, pushed up south as far as the tanneries in the town of Ganges, and on Saturday night broke open Robinson and Plummer's store, robbed them of $1,600 worth of goods, and made back again down the lake.

Off Port Sheldon they were seen by a vessel's crew, anchored there with their plunder all open to view, and were pulling on down as carelessly and fearlessly as though they were pursuing a legitimate calling. There is said to be upward of twenty in the gang. The sail one small schooner of twenty or thirty tons and two Mackinaw boats. Robinson and Plummer pursued them as far north as Grand Haven, and then turned back, the Haven people advising them that it would be useless and unsafe to pursue them further without a strong force of hundreds of men. What is to be done in the premises we do not hear. Surely we have come upon strange times if such high-handed robberies can be perpetrated and go unwhipped of justice. There seems to be no question as to the identity of the robbers or their halting place. They are emissaries from King Strang's realms, and the whole power of the State should be lent to ferret out and bring to justice the perpetrators of such bold crimes. -- Allegan Record, Oct. 1.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXVI.                  Fredonia, New York, Wednesday, July 2, 1856.                  No. 19.

==> Over eight hundred Mormons went through Dunkirk last week, bound for Utah. The Journal states that during their stay in town, they congregated in squads of from two to ten females, with only one male head. They were mostly from Wales and the North of England.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXVIII.                    Albany, New York, Tuesday, April 28, 1857.                  No. 8126.

From the Atlas and Argus.

Mormonism originated in this State -- In that section where Anti-Masonry, Political Temperance, Abolitionism and Know Nothingism had their origin. But of the disciples of Joe Smith, but few were from New York. With the usual fate of prophets, he had to seek honor elsewhere than in his own country.

"Joe Smith," before the discovery of his "Mormon Bible," was a loafing, bar-room Loco Foco Politician at Palmyra, Wayne county. The Mormons, while in Illinois and Missouri, were allies of the Democracy, casting their votes regularly for Loco Foco candidates. The Argus and Atlas were then quite charitably inclined towards that "peculiar Institution." Its enormities, though as revolting then as now, did not offend or disturb those Journals. As long as the Mormons were sound politically and were voters, the Argus was blind to their "Polygamy," "Incest," "Murder," "Rapine," &c., &c. Though dumb in relation to this growing abomination for full thirty years, the Argus, just now in need of political capital, invests a column of denunciations against auxiliaries to whom the Democracy is largely in debt.

Nor is it quite fair to stigmatise "Abolitionism" and "Know Nothingism," organizations from which the Democracy are ever profiting. "Abolitionism" saved Mr. Polk and sacrificed Mr. Clay in 1844. "Know Nothingism" elected Mr. Buchanan in 1856. And ferociously as the Atlas flails "Mormonism" now, it is quite possible that the Democracy may need that element in the Election of 1860, when, if it should be needed, that Journal would find a mantle broad enough to conceal all the deformities which it exposes this morning.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Wayne Democratic Press.

Vol. II.                           Lyons, New York, Wednesday, May 6, 1857.                          No. ?


==> "Joe Smith," before the discovery of his "Mormon Bible," was a loafing, bar-room _Loco Foco_ politician at Palmyra, Wayne Co. -- Alb. Eve. Jour.

==> "Joe Smith," before the discovery of his Mormon Bible, was not a "locofoco" politician. The reasons are simply these: -- 1st. No such thing as a locofoco existed then -- not even a match; and 2d. Joe was a firm believer in anti-masonry and Frank Granger. Will the Journal correct?

As long as the Mormons were sound politically and were voters, the Argus was blind to their "Polygamy," "Incest," "Murder," "Rapine," &c. &c. -- Eve. Journal.

It is long since the Mormons were voters in the States; and as the great mass of them are immigrants from England, and are not naturalized, we do not see that their politics is likely to make them friends or enemies. -- But Utah was organized under a Whig administration. Its first Governor, Brigham Young, was anointed by President Fillmore; and Brigham Young get his views of marriage from Greeley, his licentiousness from the men after whom Kagloch is modelled, his spiritual despotism from Beecher and Cleever, his views of higher laws from Seward, and his rebellious threats from Littlejohn, Gen. Webb and the mountebanks and demagogues of the Fremont faction.

It is said that he has borrowed from "Sam" the machinery of Secret Societies, for the purpose of riding its Hindoo abominations. -- The Journal which is in alliance with Know Nothingism in New England and Pennsylvania; and supported Littlejohn and Banks (both sworn leaders of the Order,) can tell us as to this.

Mormonism is a great problem; as well as a great evil. The enemies of our government rejoice at the dilemma it presents to us. We acknowledge the difficulty; but we shall refuse our faith in systems of fear and penal repression, and look with hope to the principle of popular sovereignty and to the influence of a representative and elective system, to break up the hierarchy, and put an end to its abomination. -- Atlas.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXIII.                     Troy, New York, Saturday, July 18, 1857.                     No. 3,702.

New York's Share in Mormonism.

The founder of the Mormon faith, Jo Smith, was for many years previous to the advent of Mormonism, a resident of the village of Palmyra, Wayne county, in this State. Common fame represents him to have been a loose, thriftless follow, leading a vagabondtah life. The "golden plates," from the hieroglyphics inscribed, on which "Jo" pretended to translate, by inspiration, the Mormon Bible, were found by him (according to his veracious story,) imbedded near the summit of a high hill in the town of Manchester, Ontario Co., on the road leading from Palmyra to Canadaigua. Though sacred ground, the hill itself to this day produces from its loamy soil very excellent crops, while the veritable hole from which "Jo" took the "plates'' on a certain night in 1828 or "29, still remains -- a hole. The "Bible" was subsequently printed at Palmyra, the cost of publication falling upon a farmer and a man of means residing in the vicinity, who had been thoroughly deluded by Smith's pretentions, and who became security to the printer. -- He was pecuniarily ruined, but his faith in "Jo" remained unshaken, and he followed him to the West.

About this time, there was a character at Canandaigua, half lawyer and half printer, named Waterman [sic] Phelps, who was publishing an Anti-Mason paper, called the Ontario Phoenix. -- Whether he was honestly deluded, or only had "speculation in his eye," certain it is "Wat" embraced the faith, followed Smith and his party to Illinois, and became a prominent leader among them. He is now the Mormon "Judge Phelps," of whom we read in the accounts from Utah.

Thus far, we were aware, the State of New York had contributed to the planting and growth of the Utah Upas; but the following chapter from the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, adds to our stock of information on the subject: --

Both Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball are New Yorkers. Brigham lived near the line dividing Ontario and Monroe counties, in the town of Victor, at the time he became a Mormon. He had always manifested a proclivity to religious fanaticism, or rather he was a lazy rapscallion, good for nothing except to howl at a camp meeting. He lived in a log shanty, with a dilapidated, patient, suffering wife, surrounded by a host of tow headed children. Occasionally he made up a lot of axe helves and traded them off for sugar and tea; in other fits of industry he would do a day's work in the hay field for a neighbor, hoe the potatoes in his own little patch, or pound clothes for his wife on a washing day. -- But his special mission was to go camp-meetings and revivals, where he managed to get his daily bread out of the more wealthy brethren, in consideration of the unction with which he shouted "ga-lo-rah!" On such occasions Brigham took no thought of the morrow, but cheerfully putting on his old wool hat, would leave his family without flour in the barrel, or wood at the door, and telling his wife that the "Lord would provide," he would put off for a week's absence. Poor Mrs. Brigham managed by borrowing from her neighbors with small hope of repaying, chopped the wood herself, with an old sun-bonnet -- Navarino style -- went to the spring after water, thoroughly convinced that her lot was not of the easiest, and that her husband was, to use a western expression, an "ornary cuss;" in which sentiment all who knew him joined. People were getting very tired of Brigham, when Mormonism turned up. He was just the man for the religion, and the religion seemed expressly adapted to him. He became an exhorter, held neighborhood meetings, ranted and howled his doctrines into the minds of others as weak as himself, and finally went west with the rest of them; where he has developed his powers until the poor, miserable rustic loafer is Governor of a territory and the chief prophet of a great religious sect. He has just the mixture of shrewdness and folly which is required for success in fanaticism or quackery. A wiser man could not hold his place. A man must be half fool and half knave to be a successful quack.

Heber C. Kimball was a man of more respectability. He was a born fanatic, and if he were not a Mormon would be something else just like it. -- In his church -- he was a Baptist originally -- he was one of those pestilential fellows who want resolutions passed at church meetings withholding fellowship from somebody else, and insist on having a political codicil added to the Bible. -- We believe he had some property. He has much more talent than Brigham Young, but is inferior to him in the elements of quackery. He has very respectable relatives now living in the part of Monroe county from which he started.

It would seem from the foregoing that the three counties of Wayne, Ontario and Monroe, which join each other, contributed the four men who have been the most prominent and successful Mormon leaders -- Smith, Young, Kimball and Phelps. It may or may not be a singular coincidence that the Anti-Masonic excitement had its birth in Ontario county, and "Spirit Rappings" were first heard at Hydesville, Wayne county, whence the Fox sisters removed to Rochester, where Spiritualism, as now understood, blossomed and became full blown.

Note 1: The Whig writer may have confused William Waterman Phelps (1823-1886) with his father, William Wines Phelps, the editor of the Ontario Phoenix. It is interesting to see, that as late as 1857, some newspaper editors still considered William W. Phelps to rank among "the most prominent and successful Mormon leaders."

Note 2: The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser made a mistake in locating Brigham Young in Victor township, "at the time he became a Mormon." His brother Phinehas was then living in Victor, near its border with adjacent Mendon, but Brigham Young still had a residence in Canandaigua at the time of his 1832 conversion (and subsequent baptism in nearby Mendon). Since members of the Young family were almost constantly moving about the countryside, staying temporarily in each other's homes, it is indeed possible that Brigham's "eureka moment" came while he was discussing Mormonism with brother Phinehas in Victor.

Note 3: The depiction of young Brigham, as a religious fanatic who often left his wife to fend for herself, while he went off to attend prolonged meetings, etc., may have some basis in fact. George W. Allen, who knew Brigham in his pre-Mormon days, recalled that he once found Miriam Young alone, and "poorly and thinly clad, having an old black shawl thrown around her shoulders, endeavoring to keep warm over a single stick of wood on the fire in the fireplace. She was evidently in feeble health. The only person about the premises was a little red-haired girl five or six years old, with a basket gathering chips and bits of wood for fuel. * * * Mrs. Young said her husband had gone to Miller's corners to attend a quarterly meeting and she did not know when to expect him home. I made known my errand to her. She replied, 'I do not know how or when Mr. Young can pay Dr. Sheldon, he had been gone two or three days and left us without fuel, the last stick is on the fire -- we have no flour or meat or anything else in the house to eat...'" (See John D. Lynn's August 11, 1926 letter to the editor of the Rochester Historical Society's Publication Series.)

Note 4: The Buffalo Commercial Advertiser reprised this Brigham Young article four months later, but did not include any substantial additions to the substance of its July article.



ns. Vol. II.               Canandaigua, New York, Thursday, August 27, 1857.               No. 18.

Brigham Young Once a Resident
of Canandaigua.

Mr. Milliken: Perhaps very few of your readers know that the somewhat famous (or infamous) Brigham Young ever resided in Canandaigua. Yet, such is the fact. He, and three brothers and a sister came there I believe, from northern Pennsylvania, about 1825 or 1826. -- He then had a wife and was perhaps 23 or 24 years old -- not much older. The four brothers were, apparently, aged in the order they are named, John, Phineas, Brigham and Joseph, the last, probably, then 17 or 18 years of age. The sister was reputed to be a widow, 28 or 30 years of age; small, with dark eyes and hair; -- rather pretty -- went by the name of Mrs. Little, and once worked for Mr. Ebenezer Hale, in the village. Perhaps Mr. or Mrs. Hale will recollect her. Phineas came first, and after awhile the sister and other brother. Brigham at first lived with Phineas, on the farm lately owned by Dr. Alexander Murray, in No. Nine; and aflerwards in a log house a few rods north of the residence of Jonathan Mack, Senior, also in No. 9. Brigham and his brothers then called themselves Reformed Methodists. When Brigham was asked in what respect his sect differed from the Episcopal Methodists, he replied that "The government of the M. E. Church was monarchical, that their religion had degenerated into mere formality -- had lost its vitality and was little better than a dead body." Consequently he was very noisy at meetings; shouting, screaming and howling with all his energy. More than once I have been awakened, after the hour of midnight, by the praying, shouting and singing of Brigham and half a dozen or more of his sect collected in an old uninhabited house, over a hundred rods off, where they were holding an impromptu prayer meeting. He was very fanatical. His mind seemed a soil adapted to the growth of any kind of spiritual seed, however spurious, which might obtain a lodgment therein. He pretended to believe that he, and many of his sect had power to heal the sick; cure the lame; and to perform miracles, even to restoring the dead to life. Several attempts to perforrm such extraordinary works, were actually made by him and those of his faith, while he was at No. 9, as the following account, which is susceptible of absolute proof by several living witnesses of utmost respectability, will more fully show: Among this boisterous, ignorant and fanatical sect, were two brothers, Calvin and Otis Gilmore, both preachers. Otis Gilmore had lost the use of both legs and feet, by some disease, and was unable to walk, even with crutches. He, therefore, was a very appropriate subject on which to operate. They placed several chairs side by side, and had a wide board on them, and Otis was laid on his back, at full length, upon the board. Then followed a long [season] of loud prayer, shouting, howling and manipulations, and finally Otis was commanded to "rise" and "walk," but, to the confusion of the Saints, the cripple obeyed not. It then occurred to them that an anointing with oil, a most necessary part of the performance, had been omitted. Oil was called for; but the house afforded nothing but "coon's oil. This was bro't, and the subject was thoroughly smeared from "head to foot." Then, the prayers and other performances were repeated with increased vehemence for a long time. But to no purpose. -- The failure was attributed to a lack of faith in some of the performers. Otis declared that if he was not speedily cured, he should lose all faith in the Christian religion. This attempt to heal Otis took place at the house lately, and perhaps now, occupied by Isaac M. Tichenor, on the lake shore, about the year 1828 or 1829.

A similar attempt was also made at the same house, to heal Joseph Hickox, a young man, suffering from a very severe attack of rheumatism, which confined him for several months; which attempt was, of course, fruitless. This failure was attributed to the unbelief of the mother of young Hickox, who was engaged in ironing clothes and refused to stop her work, while they were trying to heal her son. Ashur Huntley, then living at No. 9, near the residence of the late Anthony Mullin, lost a child. Brigham and his believing brethren assembled at the house to restore the child to life. All circumstances were declared to be auspicious and ominous of success. The whole party bent over the cold, inanimate remains, sleeping in death. A scene of prayers, invocations and howlings, almost awful, ensued, and were continued several hours. But, the little sleeper still slept. -- The irreversable decree of Him who made us was unchanged. A partial failure was acknowledged; but some of them affirmed that the corpse winked several times, and that, therefore, their efforts were not altogether in vain. This was sometime after the attempt to heal Otis and young Hickox.

Brigham remained in No. 9 four or five years, and was certainly residing there in 1830. From thence he removed to the north part of Victor; and subsequently to Kirtland, Ohio. He was very poor; and was indolent. He sometimes made a few axe-helves, and occasionally worked a little by the day. He had no trade -- spent most of the time in running after meetings; and usually left his wife at home, without provisions, to shift for herself, as best she could. During his stay in No. 9, a Miss Goff acted a conspicuous part in Brigham's meetings. They called her a prophetess. She would fall into a trance-like condition and then pretend to see the spirits of the dead. I have often heard her answer questions, asked by her ignorant, fanatical dupes, as to the whereabouts of departed friends. But her intellect was too weak, and her impostures too clumsy and bald to deceive a person of even ordinary sense. I know not from whence she came, but she afterwards resided in Ohio, sustaining an equivocal reputation. In point of talent, Brigham was much inferior to his brother Phineas. Though he had a certain kind of fluency of speech, he could not preach. His mind was illogical -- not capable of argument -- his pronunciation was very bad, and his conversation betrayed an ignorance of the simplest rules of syntax. He was undoubtedly extremely illiterate. He seldom gave a direct answer to a question, especially in regard to the Scriptures. His responses, generally, were occult and enigmatical. -- His knowledge was a species of off-side, left-handed wisdom. His talents partook more of the juggler, than of the Christian divine. In person, Brigham was about five feet eight inches in height; straight and rather slender; weighing probably 150 or 155 pounds, with sandy hair, light blue eyes, and slightly freckled. -- This article has extended to a greater length than I anticipated, but I could not well abridge it.   Respectfully yours,
ALONZO BEEBE.             
Granger, Ohio, Aug. 27, 1857.

Note 1: Alonzo Beebe (1801-1890) was born in Rutland County, Vermont but five years later his parents moved to Cheshire, (the old "No. 9" settlement) in the rural outskirts of Canandaigua village. During the 1830s and 1840s Alonzo served in a variety of local offices, including Justice of the Peace, Supervisor of Schools, etc. He was living at the right time and in the right place to have witnessed Brigham Young's brief (1830-32?) residence in Canandaigua township, and thus could have been a reliable witness. However, it appears probable that Beebe's memory occasionally confused Brigham Young with his brother, Phineas Young. Beebe also evidently assumed that Brigham Young was present at events relating to the local Reformed Methodist Church, which actually occurred prior to Brigham's arrival in the Cheshire area. In 1853 Alonzo Beebe moved to Granger, Medina County, Ohio (where he inherited his late father's farm in 1856). For several years served as the county surveyor. Alonzo evidently died in Liverpool township, Medina Co., Ohio in the winter of 1863-64.

Note 2: Mr. Beebe several times refers to "No. 9" as a settled area in the Canandaigua township of Ontario County, New York. The unusual name originated in the fact that Canandaigua township was twice as large as most of the surrounding towns. Its northern half comprised a section of land in the tenth tier of townships and its southern half fell into the 9th tier -- thus the designation "No. 9" for Canandaigua's southern half, generally, and more particularly, for its southern farming area west of the lake (see N. W. Ontario map). In the late 1820s and early 1830s the largest settlement in "No. 9" was the hamlet of Cheshire (see Cheshire area map).

Note 3: For a response to Mr. Beebe's communication reagrding Brigham Young's early days, see the Ontario Republican Times of Sept. 10, 1857.



ns. Vol. II.               Canandaigua, New York, Thursday, September 10, 1857.               No. 20.

"Justice to whom Justice is Due."

Mr. Milliken: -- Last week the Readers of the Republican Times were informed through its columns that Brigham Young was once a resident of Canandaigua. In giving this information our informant, Mr. Beebe, has made, we think, some mistakes concerning Brigham, tho' unintentionally no doubt. With your permission we will give your readers what we think a more correct account of Brigham's life in Canandaigua.

In the first place Mr. Beebe says, "Brigham and his three brothers, John, Phineas, Joseph, and a sister came here from northern Pennsylvania, about the year 1825 or 1826." Here we think Mr. B. is mistaken. Phineas and his youngest brother Lorenzo, a brother Mr. B. does not mention, came about that time, but John and Joseph never came here to live. John lived in the town of Hector; he came out occasionally on a visit. Joseph, an older brother of Brigham, and a bachelor, never lived here; he sometimes came and stayed a week or two at a time, with his brothers. Brigham did not come until the year 1829. I will say nothing of Mrs. Little, only that she was the widow of Mr. James Little, of Auburn, who was killed by his horses running off a bank and turning the wagon over him.

There were three sisters besides Mrs. L, all very respectable. Brigham could not have lived with Phineas on the Dr. Alexander Murray farm, for Phineas had moved away before Brigham came; he lived then in the town of Mendon. Brigham moved directly from Mendon, into a house owned by Mr. J. Mack, where he lived during his entire stay in Canandaigua, which was between two and three years. Phineas and Lorenzo lived a part of the time while here together. Mr. B. says "he was very fanatical and consequently noisy in meetings, shouting, screaming and howling with all his energy." Phineas was noisy, but it is not true of Brigham while he lived in No. 9. We never thought him fanatical until after he became a Mormon; he was looked upon by his neighbors generally to be a consistent Christian. He was a member of the Reformed Methodist church before he came here, we doubt whether he ever united with any church while living in No. 9, as the R. M. society was broken up, and its members scattered at that time.

Calvin Gilmore never came to this place but once after 1820, and then he was passing thro', stopped over night and preached. Otis Gilmore, the cripple spoken of, was not a Methodist, but a Freewill Baptist. He did get about the house and yard on crutches. We do not remember of his coming to the place but once after 1829, and then he, like his brother, was only passing through, called and stayed over night, or over the Sabbath. It is evident that Brigham had no hand in trying to heal Otis Gilmore and Joseph Hickox. This must have happened some time before he came here. The Hickox family had all gone West before he came. We have not not a doubt but Phineas took an active part in the performance. The attempt made to raise the dead child, must have been made years before Brigham came to the place. Although born and brought up within a quarter mile of the said place, we never heard of the circumstance before. We knew the Reformed Methodists believed they had, or could have, the power to heal the sick, but never before heard that they believed they had the power to raise the dead. They frequently fell in their meetings with what they called the power, but such things were common among Methodists at that time, as all know who have read the lives of Abbot [sic - Robert?] Finley and Peter Cartright.

Mr. Beebe charges Brigham with being "very poor and indolent, making a few axe-helves and working a little by the day, and having no trade." He was poor, but had enough to be comfortable. He was not indolent, but was a hard working man. Those who were the most intimately acquainted with him, do not remember of his ever making an axe-helve, but think he could, for he was very handy with tools and had a trade; he was a carpenter and joiner, and worked at his trade when he could get work to do. He is accused of neglecting his family, "leaving his wife without provisions," &c.

This is the most unjust charge of all. There could scarcely be a more kind and affectionate husband and father than he was, and fww men in his circumstances would have provided better for their families. Mrs. Young was sick, most of the time unable to do any kind of work, but she was a worthy woman, and an exemplary Christian; she was well deserving his care and attention, and she had it while she lived in Canandaigua.

Brigham Young never held meetings with Miss Goff, unless it was in some other part place besides No. 9. She never came there after he came: she lived in Pennsylvania and used to come out with several others, of about the same stamp to attend Methodist meetings. They were an ignorant, fanatical set, and despised by all respectable people. We do not think Brigham ever tried to preach until after he became a Mormon. In the winter of 1832, there came to Brigham's some friends on a visit; they used their influence to convert him, at first without success, but in less than two weeks he and Mrs. Young became converts to Mormonism. They went with their friends to Mendon, leaving their youngest child, a little girl of about four years of age, with the family of Mr. J. Mack. Mrs. Young was feeble in health and died soon after they left. Mr. Young came back after his little girl and goods; that was the last time we saw him. Our acquaintance with him is now ended. All we know of him after he became a Mormon, is what we have heard and read. We did not take up our pen to defend Brigham Young as is, but Brigham as he was, while he lived in Canandaigua, before he became a Mormon.
          Canandaigua, Sept. 7, 1857.

Note: For locations of individuals mentioned in this letter and that of Alonzo Beebe (in the Republican Times of Aug. 27th) see Cheshire area map. See also Brigham Young's published response to Alonzo Beebe, in the Republican Times of Sept. 9, 1858.


Buffalo Commercial Advertiser.

Vol. ?                     Buffalo, New York, Thursday, November 19?, 1857.                     No. ?


The interest which has always been felt in this remarkable character is renewed by the recent events in Utah, which have finally assumed the form of a positive rebellion, and seem likely to terminate in a prolonged religious war. The biography of Brigham Young is like that of Mahomet. Beginning in humble, life, he has grown up to the command of a powerful fanatic sect. He had his Hegiras, and now, like his prototype he takes up the sword for the extermination of the infidels.

We find in the New York Herald a sketch of his life, imperfect in many particulars, which we have the means to supply, but which we shall use in connection with our own materials -- making no apology for reproducing some matters already published (some months since) in these columns.

Brigham was born on the 1st of June, 1801 at Whitehaven [sic - Whitingham?], Vt., and is consequently now in his fifty-sixth year. His father was a farmer, originally from near Boston, Mass. When Brigham was about a year old the family came to this State. Where they settled, we do not know, but at about thirty years of age, Brigham lived among the sand hills of the town of Victor, Ontario Co., N. Y. He claims to have been during this early period of his life, a hard-working, industrious man -- a character which his old neighbors do not concede to him. We may say on the authority of those who know him well, that he has always manifested a proclivity to religious fanaticism, of rather he was a lazy rapscallion, good for nothing except to howl at a camp-meeting. He lived in a log shanty, with a dilapidated, patient suffering wife, surrounded by several tow-headed children. Occasionally he made up a lot of axe-helves and traded them off for sugar and tea; in other fits of industry he would do a day's work, in the hay field for a neighbor, hoe the potatoes in his own little patch, or pound clothes for his wife on washing day. But his special mission was to go to camp-meetings and revivals, where he managed to get his daily bread out of the more wealthy brethren, in consideration of the unction with which he shouted "ga-lo-rah!" On such occasions Brigham took no thought of the morrow, but cheerfully putting on his old wool hat, would leave his family without flour in the barrel or wood at the door, and telling his wife that the "Lord would provide," he would put off for a week's absence. Poor Mrs. Brigham managed by borrowing from her neighbors with the small hope of repaying, chopped the wood herself, and with an old sun-bonnet -- Navarino style -- went to the spring for water, thoroughly convinced that her lot was not of the easiest, and that her husband was, to use a western expression, an "ornary cuss;" in which sentiment all who knew him joined. -- People were getting very tired of Brigham when Mormonism turned up. He was just the man for the religion, and the religion seemed expressly adapted to him. He became an exhorter, held neighborhood meetings, ranted and howled his doctrines into the minds of others like himself; and finally went west with the rest of them. Certainly there are few elements of greatness in his early career. Indeed we do not regard Brigham Young as in any true sense a great man. He has, however, the essential elements of a successful quack. He has a strong will, an earnest manner, untiring energies, and what is most important, a half-belief, if not entire trust, in his own vagaries. These characteristics are evident in all his acts and speeches. Folly and fanaticism are blended with shrewd and common-sense in a manner to closely united for the analytical powers of those who surround him. Eider Orson Hyde [sic - Pratt?], a scholarly man, is probably the only leading Mormon who has intelligence enough to understand Brigham, and he, too useful to be thrown aside, is held constantly in check by the power of his superior.

At Kirtland, where, after his conversion by the brother of Prophet Smith, he joined the main body of the sect, Brigham soon became prominent. He was then only thirty years of age and full of enthusiasm. No man was so active in all the Mormon enterprises. In 1834, he was sent on a mission to the Eastern States, and was for a time very successful, when he was recalled by Joseph Smith, to join a force sent to relieve the brethren in Missouri from the persecutions they were then subjected to. This mission in which Brigham was the right hand man of the Prophet, was accomplished without bloodshed, and in February, 1835, we find him again in Kirtland, to be ordained as one of the Twelve Apostles, after which he was again sent to the Eastern States on a mission. In 1836 he was present at the dedication of Kirtland Temple, and spoke there in an unknown tongue.

This temple, then as it was fondly hoped, destined to be the gathering place, the Mecca of the sect, was a building of considerable architectural pretension. A lofty spire graced the southern front, and the auditorium was an immense, well lighted room, fitted with wooden pews, with an arrangement for subdividing into lesser rooms by means of curtains. At the southerly end, rose four tiers of pulpits, one above the other, each accommodating three priests of the Aaronic order; while at the southern [sic - northern?] was a similar range for the Melchisidec; gilded and lettered in strange cabalistic characters. In the uppermost tier of the latter we have sat and watched an audience, not of Mormons however, for it was after their departure -- but of christian sects; swaying to and fro, shouting, praying, groaning and singing in all the fervor of religious excitement, and catching the spirit of the occasion, we have joined in some wild chorus of a song of Zion from our high perch in the vacant seats of Melchisidec. It was a strange scene as we have witnessed it in the vast, cold and dimly lighted room, and suggestive of the former occupants of the building, then in the winter of '45-6 -- engaged in their final struggle before leaving Nauvoo.

Time passed. The failure of the Bank of Kirtland, the wildest of all wild-cat banks, made it necessary for the Prophet Smith to flee for his life -- was this suffering for righteousness sake? -- in December, 1837. The Saints followed, in 1838; Jackson county, Mo., was the New Jerusalem. Here again was trouble, finally ending in the abandonment of the location for Nauvoo; but before this happened the foundations of a temple were secretly laid at midnight by Smith, Brigham Young and others, in defiance of the mob. This was in March, 1839, and the old leaders still cling to the idea that the day of triumph may come when they shall re-lay those foundations and gather there the children of God. On the same night when this secret work was done, Brigham was appointed on a mission to England, and in the same spirit with which he left his family in the hills of Ontario county to go abroad to a camp-meeting, he departed on his long journey, leaving his wife and children in the hands of the Lord, in a miserable shanty on the banks of the Mississippi. -- In England, or more particularly in Wales, he was successful, and largely recruited the ranks of the Saints, returning with a large company of converts in 1841. In 1844, Joseph Smith was a candidate for the Presidency, and it was during the fierce conflict between the Mormons and the surrounding people, that the Prophet was shot dead before the walls of the Carthage Jail, where he had been confined. -- Brigham was, then in Boston on an electioneering tour -- an object as absurd as any previous fantasy of Mormondom, and showing the mixture of folly in the man. He returned to Nauvoo and seized the reins of power by authority of revelations from on high. He guided his sect through the dark hours of the fall of Nauvoo, crossed with them the frozen Mississippi in the winter of 1846, and went into a tabernacle at or near Council Bluffs. Thence, with a pioneer party, he sought out a refuge in the valley of the Great Salt Lake, and leaving a force to cultivate the soil, he returned to the main body. In the month of May, 1848, the long train took its way across the plains, and in the summer of that same year they first saw the plains of Utah -- to them the land of promise, but destined ere long to become a field of blood.

Note: ...


Utica  Morning  Herald

Vol. XI.                     Utica, New York, Saturday, November 21, 1857.                     No. 18.


Since hostilities have commenced, the country speaks with a single voice demanding the reduction of the Mormons to the authority of the General Government. New evidence multiplies that the murder of emigrant trains on the Plains, so frequent and so terrible, were the result of Mormon machinations. The Santa Clara Indian[s] have been the most ready instruments in these atrocities, and Kanosh, their chief, it is stated, is kept under Mormon control by the attractions of a young squaw who is the ward of Brigham Young. Kanosh and his tribe murdered Lieutenant Gunnison and his party, and the recent horrible massacre of a hundred California emigrants, is fastened upon them, and through them upon the Mormon Governor.

Such massacres have been more or less frequent for years. They have been perpetrated as the passions of the Mormons prompted, and whenever the wealth or weakness of a party served as a sufficient temptation. They called long ago for condign punishment. Independent almost of the lawlessness within Utah, the marauding expeditions outside of its borders required months since the intervention of an army. Aside from all consideration of their social institutions, the massacres by the Mormons and their Indian allies, justify the breaking up of their organisation and the punishment of their leaders. But the dilatory measures of Government gave the rebels possession of a rich supply train, and enabled them to hold in check the force sent against them. That act was accomplished under the leadership of Wm. Hickman and Lott Smith, notorious as "Destroying Angels" performing the fiat of the Mormon Governor. The lateness of the season and the previous laxity of Government, gave them courage. They are organized for new depredations and for a desperate resistance. Such a force as is now assigned to Utah, a few months ago would have secured submission without striking a blow. -- But delay has produced a change, and Col. Alexander is in doubt whether he can move on to Bear river or will be compelled to retreat to the Wind River Mountains.

Shall we have more of the same dilatory policy? Shall the handfull of troops be sacrificed in the Mormon villages, or compelled to retreat to the mountains before the Mormon bands? -- We are told the season is too far advanced to send out reinforcements before spring. Why then was the Army for Utah detained in Kansas till the summer was over? Government could not more effectually strengthen the hands of the Mormons, than by stopping operations now, while they are flamed with success. It would be an invitation to them to employ the advantages of their position, and of the winter, to beat back the forces of the States.

Government blundered in delaying the marching of the Army till the winter had commenced. But it would be a worse blunder to stop now. The brave fellows at Ham's Fork must not be surrendered to death or defeat. -- The war begun can know no interval till the Mormons are subdued, withont National disgrace. A winter's campaign should be at once planned and prosecuted. A contrary course will leave the Mormons rampant in their rebellion and violence. They will gain by every delay -- it is their only hope.

A winter's campaign will be arduous. But if the Mormons are to be made to respect the General Government, it must be undertaken. If the eastern route to Salt Lake is blockaded by the weather, that from California is accessible at all seasons. Operations should be pressed at once by both routes. If the winter should prove mild the Eastern Division could march through with proper precautions. At all events the Western Division could prevent a general alliance of the Indians with the Mormons, and this by the way, is a point which should at once secure attention. An alliance of all the tribes under Brigham Young is not an improbable event, and unless prevented will magnify the Mormon rebellion into a terrible and prolonged war.

In any event, we do not believe it is to be child's play to check and subdue Brigham Young. The Mormons make now their final stand for power under the nominal supremacy of the United States. They will not give up their homes without a bitter struggle. The "saints of the Lord" have rallying cries that will nerve men as they have been nerved on the most closely contested fields. They may hope to raise the victorious flag of a Mormon nation. Beaten they will seek another promised land. It will not be at the North, neither under British or Russian protection. In Mexico they will pitch new tents, and take from that effete country the independent territory they require. But even for Sonora, they will not willingly surrender the land of the bee, flowing with milk and honey -- the promised Utah, where, they have laid the foundations of their temple to the Lord.

FURTHER FROM THE MORMONS. -- A correspondent of the Times writes from Washington, that he learns from an intelligent gentleman who has spent two or three years among the Salt Lake Mormons, a fact or two tending to confirm the suspicion that the recent horrible massacre of over one hundred California emigrants by Santa Clara Indians, was perpetrated under the influence of the Mormon leaders. It is evident that the savages who perpetrated this outrage are the some band who cut off Capt. Gunnison and his command, for they are the only band of Indians at Corn Creek who raise grain and hay to sell. They are the same, also, who a year or more ago, came near murdering Dr. Hunt, U. S. Indian Agent, Mr. Burr. U. S. Surveyor General, and their party, at the suggestion of the Mormon emmiasarics, who rode into the Indian village a few miles ahead of them, and announced that the Agent and his friends were coming to arrest and punish them for Gunnison's murder. On that occasion, fortunately they were accompanied by a war chief of a neigfaboring friendly tribe, who succeeded with difficulty, in satisfying the Indians that they were on a friendly visit.

There is reason to believe that Brigham Young has fully made up his mind that he must leave Utah next spring.

It seems that part of the mission to England of Elders Orson Pratt, J. Ezra and T. Benson, who are now abroad, was to seek from the British government permission to settle in British possessions. The application was refused.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                               Buffalo, N.Y., Monday, Feb. 1, 1858.                               No. ?

Joe  Smith's  Family  at  Nauvoo.

A correspondent of the Missouri Republican writes that last summer he was at Nauvoo and conversed with Mr. Bitoman, who is married to Joe Smith's widow. He says: --

I sat at the table with the family, consisting of Mr. Bitoman and wife, and three sous of Joe Smith, the eldest about 23 or 24; the second about 20; the third a lad of some 12 or 13 years. From Mr Bitoman I learned that not one of the family believed in Mormonism, and that his wife -- formerly Mrs. Smith -- had always been opposed to them, as well as the boys. I was told that Joe Smith prophesied some two years before this young lad was born, that a son was to be born to him, at or about a certain time; that at the time stated his wife did give birth to a son. At that time he also stated that his son's name would be David (not Joe,) and that is the name of the lad, for I heard him answer to it. Joe also said that his mantle of greatness and prophecy would fall upon this son and lineal heir, David, who he stated would be as wise and powerful as David of old. The fact of the birth of this child, following according to Joe's prophecy, strengthened the belief that had already so strong a hold upon his followers. Mrs. Bitoman is a masculine, intelligent-looking lady, Of 45 or 47 years. She is a native of New York. |

She has a splendid farm some four miles from Nauvoo, which is managed by her two eldest sons, while David goes to school. About the two eldest there is nothing remarkable to be seen. They are intelligent men, of large size, but have nothing in their appearance betokening them to be prophets or "sons of a prophet." To their mother they are said to be very much attached and very kind. David is an uncommonly intelligent lad, of massive forehead, and bright expressive eyes. His step-father intimated that he cares as little about Mormons and Mormonism as one that has never heard the names, notwithstanding that thousands of the followers of his father believe him to be a great high priest, a prophet and seer; (in embryo,) &c. He knows that they worship his name equal to that of Jesus Christ, and yet, I am told the lad is too intelligent to allow it to make any impression upon him. Probably the fact of all the family being unbelievers in it is the cause.

The following incident I learned from a gentleman residing at Nauvoo: That when Joe was killed in jail, some fifteen miles from his home, his wife and son took possession of his body, and to prevent the rabble from getting it, they raised the floor of the dining room, and digging a grave, buried his remains there, where they still remain. This story, whether true or not, is generally believed in Nauvoo.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. VII.                             Hornellsville, N.Y., Feb. 2, 1858.                             No. 12.


Extract from the speech of Mr. John Thompson, of this State,
delivered in the House of Representatives, Jan. 27.

Mormonism, as a religious system, had its origin in a romance, written about the year 1810 by Solomon Spalding, a native of Connecticut, who had been educated for the ministry, but followed a mercantile employment, removed to Cherry Valley, N. Y., where he amused his leisure hours by weaving a book entitled by him, "The MSS. Found," the notion entertained or suggested by some writers that the American Indians are the descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel. Hence, he starts them from Palestine, invents for them various fortunes by flood and field, wars, quarrels, turmoils, strifes, separations, until they people this continent, and leave behind them the vestiges of mounds, tumuli, fortifications, sculpture, and cities dilapidated, which are discovered in Northern and Central America. It is written somewhat in Scriptural style, and uses the machinery of the Jewish economy throughout. He read his manuscript to various persons, who yet remember it, but was not successful in procuring its publication. Somewhere, about the year 1823, this manuscript fell into the hands of Joe Smith, a native of Windsor County, Vermont. Smith was about twenty years of age, and already exhibited that singular compound of genius and folly, of cunning and absurdity, of indolence and energy, of craft and earnestness, which distinguished him to the end of his career.

Under the New Light preachers of that day, Smith became imbued with all the wild and extravagant notions of seeing sights, hearing voices, receiving revelations, meeting and fighting the devil in bodily form, which indicate a diseased imagination and want of all solid instruction and fixed principles on religious subjects. Enthusiasm ran mad through the whole region where he dwelt, and Smith was one of [his] most brilliant exemplifications, ultimately having a revelation that all existing systems of religion were wrong, and that he should be made the prophet of a new faith. For more than five years he vibrated between his caution and his enthusiasm, giving out occasionally dark hints about certain mysterious plates to be dug up by him, containing a new revelation. Part of his time was spent in lying, swindling and debauchery, and the remainder in visions and repentance -- the vulgar habits of the brute contending with the higher functions of the prophet. At length he pretended to dig out the plates from the side of a hill in Palmyra, Wayne County, N. Y., placed himself behind a curtain, permitting no one to enter, from which sanctum he translated from the plates the book of Mormon to an amanuensis, reading it all from Spalding's manuscript in his possession, one hundred and eighteen pages of it having been stolen by Martin Harris. With this new Koran our modern Mohammed started upon his career.

On the 5th of May, 1829, John the Baptist came back to earth to baptize Smith; and on the 5th [sic -6th?] of April, 1830, the first church of Latter Day Saints was organized at Manchester, New York, consisting of four Smith and two converts of the family -- Pratt, Rigdon, Kimball, and Young joining afterward. The Bible, unlike that of the Christian or Musselman, purports to be chiefly historical, and does not [enunciate] or enforce a system of moral and religious truth in a philosophic or didactic form; all its incidental lessons upon life or manners being derived from current doctrines of this day. It is consequently incapable of comparison with any other extant form of religious faith. One might as well compare the Christian religion with Fenelon's Telemachus, or one of Jame's novels.

The history of this fanaticism is soon told. The church was organized in [1830]. In August, 1831, they commenced a settlement at Independence, Jackson County, Missouri -- revealed to Smith as the "New Jerusalem." Smith wavered king between this place and Kirtland, Ohio, where in 1833, they commenced building their first temple, which was finished in 1836 at a cost of about fifty thousand dollars. In 1839 they relaid the foundations of their temple in Missouri. They left this region again for Nauvoo, in Illinois, where another temple was soon erected. Jo Smith's life and labors ended together in Carthage Jail, where, on the 27th of June, 1844, he was shot by a gang of Border Ruffians from Missouri.

In 1845 they turned their eyes westward -- to Vancouver's Island, to Texas, to California, and finally to a valley in the Rocky Mountains. In [1846], as the young grass was peering from the sod and the buds were bursting into flowers, in the month of May, the exodus to Utah commenced.

From that day Young has reigned supreme, and thousands and tens of thousands have flocked to his standard. The unsettled religious sentiment of the lower grades of mind gravitate to Salt Lake. It is the Botany Bay of the world! There it stands, rampant and defying -- a despotism consummate, wearing the show of popular approval, and bending willingly to the nod of a tyrant. There it stands -- it is before you in your path to the Pacific -- it will not sway at your bidding; a huge, ugly, stubborn fact, which no ignorance can disregard and no political fatuity despise.

What will you do with it? Will you turn despot and saber 60,000 souls because they believe in Brigham Young and polygamy? Will you meet the fanaticism and folly and fraud by the fanaticism of extermination? Will you make the city a desert and the region a howling wilderness on the one hand; or, will you suffer this moral cancer, inflaming political treason, to grow on untouched until it becomes to vast to handle? Will you permit an independent and defiant despotism, organized in the very heart of this continent and embracing the vilest and most intractable elements of which a community can be composed, to compact and strengthen its defenses, to train its battalion, to call home its forces and light a fire at your threshold which all the forces of the Republic cannot subdue?

I know some think we should let them alone, and that the system must soon fall to pieces. But how long has Mohammedanism lasted? How much reliable is the fanaticism of to-day than that of ten centuries ago? What element of this structure gives signs of impotence or decay? What limb of this hale giant is already smitten with moral paralysis, and gives tokens that its energies are spent or even wearied? -- Sir, we have let them alone, and from a contemptible handful, they have grown into a nation! The citizens of Illinois and Missouri could eject them without aid; but now they stand behind a wall of ten thousand bayonets, and dare you to the encounter. -- The unorganized fanaticism of the world gravitates to Utah, and there it is molded into armies. Eight tenths at least of these elements are foreign, uneducated by and unaccustomed to our institutions, with no love for Democracy, and no reverence for national law; restless masses, impatient of restraint, and fraternizing only on the lust of license and the hope of power.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIX.                       Albany, N.Y., Wed., May 19, 1858.                       No. 8453.

Prospect of Peace with Utah.

We sincerely hope the intelligence from Utah may prove authentic. Of all our Wars, none, so questionable in policy, or so uncertain in its results, has ever occurred. Not uncertain in its immediate issue, but in its effect upon Mormonism. Nobody can foresee what persecution (for that is the name it will assume) is to have upon these People. The question of all others most important, is that in relation to which mankind is most easily cheated. The teachings of eighteen centuries have not fortified the human mind against the darkest delusions. Four-fifths of the human family are now, in some form, the victims of heresies scarcely less monstrous than Mormonism.

Within our recollection Mormonism was "a speck, not bigger than a man's hand." The original Impostor, JOE SMITH, came to the writer of this article, only thirty-two years ago, with the manuscript of his Mormon Bible, to be printed. He then had one follower, (a respectable and wealthy Farmer of the town of Macedon [sic]) who offered himself as security for the printing. But after reading a few chapters, it seemed such a jumble of unintelligible absurdities, that we refused the work, advising HARRIS not to mortgage his Farm and beggar his family. But Joe crossed over the way to our neighbor Elihu F. Marshall, and got his "Mormon Bible" printed.

We all know what "tall trees" that "acorn has produced. The twenty-five hundred Mormons who were driven from Nauvoo, have multiplied into twice as many thousands in Utah. The "Saints" have been multiplied by accessions from all classes and from all nations. Their "Faith" in attractive and seductive forms, has been presented to, and accepted by, men and women from throughout the civilized world. Yes, mortifying as it is to our boasted intelligence, Mormonism seeks and finds Believers among those who have enjoyed the advantages of civilization, and by whom the Truths of Revelation have been rejected.

If these Mormons should be dispersed by the bayonet; if their city is conquered and their temples destroyed; if the Impostors or their dupes, fall in battle, we shall realize, in its worst sense, the everlasting truth that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Instead of "crushing out" Mormonism, we shall find, in the head of every decapitated Hydra, a thousand fresh ones springing up.

We know not how much of consideration the Administration may have given to this subject, for its instructions to the Army have not been published. But its true mission, if our Government comprehends its duty, should be to RESCUE rather than to DESTROY. It is evident that thousands of the deluded victims of Mormonism are aware of the groasness of the fraud, alive to the wickedness of their Rulers, and weary of their bondage. True wisdom, as well as the highest dictates of common humanity, requires that we endeavor to rescue women and children from the bonds of a slavery as oppressive, and more revolting than exists in any other form. With such views, and instructed to carry them out, the Army will achieve a moral conquest over Mormons, far more humane and enduring than Victories won by bullets and baptized in blood.

Fighting with Mormons is the worst possible service the Army can render. It is to hoped, therefore, that the Officers in command there will rescue those who desire freedom, and facilitate their return to the pursuits they abandoned and to the enjoyments they sacrificed. They come back to unmask Mormonism, exposing its social deformities and revealing its authorized robberies, murders and arsons. In this way only can the growth of this foul and festering, but rank and growing heresy, be made to repel, instead of attracting followers and victims.

Note 1: Weed published a similar statement in the Journal on July 31, 1854. The May 19th, 1858 excerpt is cited by Dan Vogel in his Early Mormon Documents, III, but he does not supply the full text. Weed's May 19th paragraph was responded to the very next day in the Troy Times, when editor John M. Francis said: "All this is not within your 'recollection,' Mr. Weed. Mr. Elihu F. Marshall did not print the Mormon Bible. It was printed by Mr. Egbert B. Grandin (now deceased) at the office of the Wayne Sentinel, Palmyra. We happen to know this fact. Mr. John H. Gilbert, now residing at Palmyra, did all the press-work, and a large portion of the type-setting on the Bible. If Mr. Weed doubts this, we can show him a copy of the first Mormon Bible with the imprint." Weed, in turn, responded with his own article in the May 21, 1858 issue of the Albany Evening Journal. See also the New York Herald of July 2, 1858 for an additional follow-up article on this matter.

Note 2: John M. Francis' source for the "fact" he cited, was obviously his father-in-law, Pomeroy Tucker. See the obituary John published for Mr. Tucker, in the Troy Times of July 1, 1870.


Vol. XXIX.                       Albany, N.Y., Friday, May 21, 1858.                       No. 8455.

From the Troy Times

Mr. Elihu F. Marshall did not print the Mormon Bible. It was printed by Mr. Egbert B. Grandin (now deceased) at the office of the Wayne Sentinel, Palmyra. We happen to know this fact. Mr. John H. Gilbert, now residing at Palmyra, did the press work, and a large portion of the type-setting of the Bible. If Mr. Weed doubts this, we can show him a copy of the first Mormon Bible with the imprint.
We have no right to "doubt" the correctness of this statement, though we were strongly impressed with the belief that our Quaker neighbor, MARSHALL, printed the first edition of the Mormon Bible. Was not the Book referred to by the Editor of the Times, a portion only of what became the Mormon Bible? When JOE SMITH called on us, he professed to read fresh revelations from a miraculous Tablet, deposited in his Hat. Will the Editor of the Troy Times oblige us with the copy of the Book it refers to? It can be sent and will be carefully returned, by Express.

IMPORTANT FROM SALT LAKE CITY. -- A despatch from St. Louis states that Col. Kane has reached Fort Leavenworth on his return from Utah. He brings a confirmation of the report that Brigham Young has abdicated the Governorship, and that Gov. Cumming was within a few miles of the city, accompanied by a deputation of Mormons who had come out to meet him and conduct him to the scene of his official duties.

It is probable, therefore, that the matter ends in the peaceful installation of Gov. Cumming, and the acknowledgment of authority by the inhabitants of Salt Lake City. There is no confirmation of the reported flight of the Mormons, though it is quite likely the leaders in the late rebellious proceedings will, for a time, keep out of thr way.

Note: Where editor Thurlow Weed says "When Joe Smith called on us," he of course means himself and his staff at the Rochester Anti-Masonic Enquirer in 1829.


Wayne  Democratic  Press.

Vol. III.                                  Lyons, N.Y., Wed., May 26, 1858.                                 No. 2.

Mormonism and Joe Smith -- The Book of
Mormon or Golden Bible.

Within our recollection Mormonism was "a speck, not bigger than a man's hand." The original Impostor, Joe Smith, came to the writer of this article, only thirty-two years ago, with the manuscript of his Mormon Bible, to be printed. -- He then had one follower, (a respectable and wealthy Farmer of the town of Macedon [Palmyra]) who offered himself as security for the printing. But after reading a few chapters, it seemed such a jumble of unintelligible absurdities, that we refused the work, advising Harris not to mortgage his farm and beggar his family. But Joe crossed over the way to our neighbor Elihu F. Marshall, and got his "Mormon Bible" printed. -- Albany Journal.

All is not within your 'recollection,' Mr. Weed. Mr. Elihu F. Marshall did not print the Mormon Bible. It was printed by Mr. Egbert B. Grandin, (now deceased) at the office of the "Wayne Sentinel," Palmyra. We happen to know this fact. Mr. John H. Gilbert, now residing at Palmyra, did the press-work, and a large portion of the type-setting of the Bible. If Mr. Weed doubts this, we can show him a copy of the first Mormon Bible with the imprint. -- Troy Times.

The story of the printing of the first edition of the "Book of Mormon" is truthfully as follows: Joe Smith, the pretended Prophet, and finder of the original "metallic records." -- Oliver Cowdery, amanuensis of Smith, -- and Martin Harris, the "chosen" dupe for the payment of expenses -- constituting, as they claimed, the "inspired" nucleus of the dawning "Church of the Latter Day Saints" -- applied about the month of June, 1829, to Mr. Egbert B. Grandin, the then publisher of the Wayne Sentinel newspaper and a job printer at Palmyra, for the printing of the book referred to, commonly called the "Golden Bible." Harris, who was a forehanded farmer at that town -- an honest and respected citizen, but noted for his superstitious and fanatical peculiarities in religious matters -- was the only man of the party whose pecuniary responsibility was worth a dollar; and he offered to give security by a mortgage upon his unencumbered farm for the cost of printing and binding of the book. Grandin at once advised them against the supposed folly of the enterprise, and with the aid of other neighbors and friends of Harris sought to influence the latter to desist and withdraw his countenance from the imposture. All importunity of this kind, however, was resisted with determination by Harris, (who no doubt firmly believed in the genuineness of Smith's pretensions,) and resented with assumed pious indignation by Smith. Cowdery took but little part in the conversations. After repeated interviews and much parleying on the subject, Grandin was understood to refuse to give it further consideration. Harris, it was thought, became for a time somewhat staggered in his confidence, but Joe could do nothing in the matter of printing without his aid, and so he persevered in his seductive arts, as will be seen, with ultimate success.

About this time, in the fore part of the year 1829, (as recollected,) the same party, or a portion of them applied to Mr. Weed, of the Anti-Masonic Inquirer at Rochester, (who by the way, seems in his reminiscences to have confused Mormonism with Anti-Masonry,) and there met a similar repulse, as stated by the Journal. Mr. Marshall, of Spelling Book notoriety, who was also engaged in the printing and publishing business at Rochester, gave his terms to Smith and his associates for the execution of their work, and his proffered acceptance of the proposed mode of security.

The "Saints" then returned and renewed their request to Mr. Grandin, assuring him that the printing was to be done at any rate, and explaining that they would be saved much inconvenience and cost of travel, (as the manuscripts were to be delivered and the proof sheets examined daily at the printing office,) by having their work done at Palmyra where they resided. It was upon this state of facts and view of the case, that Mr. Grandin, after some further hesitation, reconsidered his policy of refusal, and finally entered into a contract for the desired printing and binding of 5,000 copies of the book, for the price of $3,000, to be secured by mortgage as proposed; which contract was faithfully performed on his part, completing the work in the summer of 1830, and as faithfully fulfilled in the payment by Harris. Major Gilbert, as stated by the Troy Times, took the foremanship of the printing, and did most of the press and composition work of the job. He still retains an original copy of the book in sheets as he laid them off in a file from the press in working. The manuscripts, in Cowdery's handwriting, were carried to the printing office in daily installments, generally by Joe or his trusty brother Hiram, and were regularly withdrawn for security and preservation at evening. The pretension was that they were written out by the amanuensis Cowdery from translations verbally given by the Prophet Joe, who alone was enabled to read the hieroglyphics of the sacred plates by means of a wonderful stone and magic spectacles that were found in the earth with the "records." In the performance of this task the "chosen" decypherer was always concealed in a dark room, and by special revelation neither Cowdery or other persons than the said "chosen" was permitted to see the plates on penalty of instant death. Such was the pretension. The hand press which did the printing (Smith's patent) has been in continual use since that important era in the rise of Mormonism, and in the course of changes of ownership and partizan apostacy, it has finally in its degeneracy (quite appropriately) now come to be used for the printing of a Know-Nothing newspaper!

A word in regard to the origin of Mormonism, whose advent has furnished so marked an illustration of the susceptibilities of human credulity even at the present age of boasted enlightenment, may not be without interest in this connection, now after the lapse of some thirty years. As early as 1820, Joe Smith, at the age of about 19 years, began to assume the gift of supernatural endowments, and became the leader of a small party of shiftless men and boys like himself who engaged in nocturnal money-digging operations upon the hills in and about Palmyra. These labors were always performed in the night, and during their continuance, many marvellous accounts and rumors in regard to them were put afloat in the neighborhood. Joe professed from time to time to have "almost" secured the hidden treasure, which, however, just at the instant of attempting to grasp it, would vanish by the breaking of the spell of his magic power. -- Numbers of men and women, as was understood, were found credulous enough to believe "there might be something in it," who were induced by their confidence and cupidity to contribute privately towards the cost of carrying on the imposture, under the promise of sharing in the expected gains; and in this way the loaferly but cunning Smith, who was too lazy to work for his living, (his deluded followers did all the digging,) was enabled to obtain a scanty subsistence for himself without pursuing any useful employment.

The silly imposture was persevered in by Smith, and the digging performances occasionally continued by his gang without success, for some eight or ten years, when in 1828 or '29 the climax was reached in the discovery of the wonderful golden record in hieroglyphics, of great antiquity, "written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi," the translation and publication of which are the foundation of Brigham Young's polygamous empire at Salt Lake, were, according to the published testimony of Joe Smith, "found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New York."

The intervening annals of the rise and progress of this Mormon imposture, and of the career and martyrdom of Joe Smith, need no particular notice in this sketch, for these are to be found in various forms of recorded history already extant.

The discovery of the pretended ancient plates, "resembling plates of gold," has a significant connection with a scheme of cupidity plotted by one Sydney Rigdon, a deposed clergyman of Pennsylvania. He had surreptitiously possessed himself of a curious manuscript from the pen of a Rev. Mr. Spaulding, late of Ohio -- a romance, written primarily as a pastime exercise during a lingering decline of health, in 1812-13 -- and Smith's marvellous revelation was an opportune event in the furtherance of Rigdon's speculation. Whether the resulting connection of these two conspiring schemes was incidental or contrived, or whether Smith's part in the conspiracy was the invention of his own cunning or the emanation of his co-worker's perverted mind, are questions that have never been satisfactorily settled in public opinion. Spaulding's production, purporting to have been written by one of the lost nations of Israel, recovered from the earth by some miraculous interposition of Providence, was to have been entitled, if published, "Manuscript Found." An effort was made by the writer shortly before his death, to procure its publication as a source of profit, but no printer could be found of sufficient faith in its paying expenses to undertake the printing. He died in 1816, and Rigdon, with this manuscript dishonestly procured, as before intimated, happening or designedly appearing in Palmyra about the time of Smith's pretended unearthing of the mysterious plates, the two speculations were joined together, and the two well matched schemers conspired to start the fraud from which originated the myth of the Golden Bible or Book of Mormon, with the attendant fame of Joe Smith, and the world renowned belligerent power of Mormonism in Utah.

The pretended translations of Smith were no doubt transcripts from the Spaulding romance as altered for the occasion by Rigdon. The latter was the first preacher of the newly revealed "Gospel according to Mormon," and made his appearance at Palmyra in that capacity immediately after the publication of the book, but his mission was there a dead failure. Whether he is now alive or dead, or what finally became of him, is not publicly apparent. His Mormon fame appears to have been of short duration. Of course there were never any converts to the Mormon gospel at the locality of its advent, beyond the cases of Harris and three or four similar victims of fanaticism or lunacy. Where its founders were known, the imposture was regarded as too stupid for serious notice by any body possessing a rightful claim to common intelligence or sanity.

Note 1: The above article was written by Pomeroy Tucker, who had been the editor of the Wayne Sentinel at the time the Smith family were living in Palmyra. Although he retained an interest in the business, Tucker was succeeded in that editorship by his partner since 1823, Egbert B. Grandin. A few years later Tucker was elected the Representative from Wayne County to the New York State Assembly, (Jan. 3 - May 16, 1837); he also served as the postmaster at Palmyra between 1839 and 1841. The entry for him in Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography reads: TUCKER, POMEROY, journalist, author, was born Aug. 10, 1802, in Palmyra, N.Y. He was a Canandaigua journalist who published a work on The Origin of Mormonism. He died June 30, 1870, in Palmyra, N.Y."

Note 2: The end of Tucker's article is of interest, in that he there barely at all develops the theme of Rigdon having visited Smith in New York on various occasions prior to 1830, as a "mysterious stranger." The mysterious stranger motif is more pronounced in Tucker's 1867 book. However, Tucker adds to his early thoughts on this theme somewhat in his follow-up article in the Press, even going so far as to insinuate that the older Smith girl had an illegitmate child as a consequence of Rigdon's secret visits.

Note 3: At the conclusion of his 1961 quasi-fictional critique of Pomeroy Tucker, LDS writer Hugh Nibley remarks: "Now, since the author of the book is an editor by profession, I find it very strange that he should have waited so long to tell the public what it had been clamoring to hear for decades." Nibley appears to be voicing a complaint, that Pomeroy Tucker waited until 1867 to offer up any recollection of the Smith family's tenure in Palmyra and Manchester, On page 5 of that same 1961 volume (The Myth Makers) Elder Nibley singles out Mr. Tucker and insinuates that, for the Latter-day Saints, such 19th century reporting is "something beneath notice" and might be nothing more than "trumped-up evidence." The fact that Mr. Tucker was publishing articles about "Mormonism and Joe Smith" as early as 1858 evidently still falls within the "so long" time span, in the estimation of such a critic. Nibley goes to considerable lengths to mock what he calls the "Rigdon-Spaulding-Pratt-Cowdery-Harris-Smith, etc., plot," but he avoids any real discussion of what he derides as old reports of "strange visits by mysterious strangers." This studied avoidance of Tucker's major contribution to explorations of that incipient Mormon "plot," has been continued down to the present day by numerous other writers. For example, Dan Vogel chose to eliminate the "brief discussion of the Spaulding theory" at the end of this 1858 article (in Early Mormon Documents III; -- see his note #12, p. 67) when he reprinted the earliest known Pomeroy Tucker "Mormonism" article.


The Troy Daily Times.

Vol. VII.                            Troy, New York, Thursday, May 27, 1858                           No. 284.

News  Summary.

The Texas Mormons have "broken themselves up," and are going to remove from Bandera county to a more elegibie section. They couldn't stand the Indians and grasshoppers in their old quarters. Father White [sic - Wight?], leader of the Texas Mormons, declares that they have no sympathy with Brigham Young.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIX.                             Albany, N.Y., Friday, May 29, 1858.                             No. ?


The Book of Mormon  or  Golden Bible.


From the Palmyra Democrat.

(see original article from Lyons paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Wayne  Democratic  Press.

Vol. III.                           Lyons, N.Y., Wednesday, June 2, 1858.                           No. 3.

The Mormon Imposture -- The
Mormon Aborigines.

It is believed there has never been published a particular and connected biography or description of the chief founders of the "Church of Latter-Day Saints." or as they may be fitly denomited, the Aborigines of Mormonism. The magnitude to which the imposture has now reached, and the degree of public attention that is directed towards the position and movements of the Mormons under the Presidency and assumed spiritual Priesthood of Brigham Young, as the successor of the original Prophet and Martyr Joe Smith, impart an importance to the early personal history of these people, which could not have been anticipated even by the most sanguine believers in the marvelous, at the putset of their extraordinary successful experiment upon human credulity and superstition. It is presumed, therefore, that as a supplement to the reminiscential sketch given in last week's "Press," the following additional recollections on the subject may possess a compensating interest in mooting public curiosity.

JOSEPH SMITH senior, with a family consisting of a wife and eight children, including Joe the Prophet (as foreordained to be,) settled upon a lot of mostly uncultivated land located on the northern border of the town of Manchester, about two miles south of Palmyra village, (on what is called Stafford Street,) in the year 1817 or '18. They removed there from the suburbs of said village, where they had resided since 1815 [sic - 1816?], having then emigrated to that place from Vermont. The title of the lot was in non-resident minor heirs, uncared for by any local attorney or agent, and Smith took possession of it only as a "squatter sovereign;" though subsequently he purchased it by contract, paying little or nothing thereon. The same premises are now embraced in the well cultivated farm owned and occupied by Morgan Robinson. Smith's children, in the order of their ages, were Hyrum, (so spelled by his father,) Alvin, Samuel H., Sophronia, Joseph junior, William, Catharine and Carlos. They lived there for a number of years, in a small, smoky log hut, of their own construction, which was divided into two rooms, with a garret. The age of the junior Joe at that time was about 17 or 18, though he did not know his own age, nor did any of the family remember it precisely. From the oldest to the youngest, they were an illiterate, shiftless, indolent tribe, without any visible means of a respectable livelihood, nor was it apparent that they earned an honest living -- young Joe being the laziest of the crew. It was for this reason, in part perhaps, and also because of divers petty thefts from time to time occurring in the neighborhood, that they were so far under suspicion, (may be undeservedly,) as to suggest to the inhabitants the observance of especial vigilance in the care of their sheep yards, smoke houses, pork barrels. &c. The senior Smith and his elder boys (Joegenerally excepted) did some work upon the land which they occupied, in a slovenly, half-way manner, producing small crops of corn, "taters and garding sass," which, added to limited operations in raising pigs and poultry, with the making of maple sugar in the spring season, contributed towards their necessary subsistence. Old Joe also gathered and sold "rutes and yarbs" -- occasionally exchanged a load of wood in the village for tobacco, whiskey, or other notions of trade -- and on training and anniversary days, pocketed a few shillings from the peddling of gingerbread, boiled eggs, and root beer. The boys, who were frequently seen lounging about the stores and shops in the village, were distinguished only for their vagabondish appearance and loaferly habits. The female portion of the household were pretty much ditto. The money-digging humbug, soon afterwards introduced, of which the junior Joe was the reputed inventor, was participated in more or less by all the male members of the family.

Such were the character and circumstances of the Smith generation, when young Joe's money-digging experiment commenced, which after a few years' continuance grew to the magnitude of his miraculously discovered golden "plates of Nephi" hidden in the earth by the hand of Mormon the Israelite, resulting in the wonderful revelation and publication of the Mormon Bible -- followed by Joe's remarkable progress in the upbuilding of his polygamous Church and empire at Kirtland and Nauvoo -- his imprisonment and murder by an excited military populace in the midst of his triumphant career of imposture and rascality -- and finally extending to the present troublesome assumption of his successor Brigham Young with his seraglio of sixty wives and fifty thousand deluded believers at Salt Lake in the Territory of Utah, and as claimed by him, a million of additional converts dispersed throughout the world!

JOE SMITH junior, who became the world-renowned translator of the recovered Israelitish records or scriptures -- the publisher of the new revelation, in the Book of Mormon or Golden Bible, and founder of the politico-religious institution of Mormonism -- was, at the period referred to, a dull-eyed, flaxen-haired, ragged boy. He was of taciturn habits-- seldom speaking unless first spoken to while out among folks -- but apparently a thinking, calculating, mischief-brewing genius, whose whole secretive mind seemed devoted to some mysterious scheme or marvellous invention. In his mental composition the organ of "conscientiousness" might have been marked by phrenologists as not there. His word, by reason of his propensity for exaggeration, was never received with confidence by any body who knew him, (excepting of course his bigoted dupes.) He was proverbially considered by his neighbor contemporaries "the meanest boy" of the family. Subsequent developments and results, however, have demonstrated that he knew "some things as well as others," and that the hopping capacity of a toad cannot be estimated by the length of its tail.

A single instance of the many anecdotes remembered, in connection with Joe's magic pretensions and undertaking, will sufficiently illustrate his unprincipled cunning, and the strange infatuation of his dupes. -- Assuming his accustomed air of mystery, on one occasion, he pretended to know exactly where the sought-for iron chest of gold was deposited in the earth; and in order to secure the glittering prize, means must be contributed to pay for digging, and a black sheep would also be required for a sacrifice before engaging in the labors of the necromantic enterprise. Joe knew that his neighbor S. [sic - Stafford?], one of his interested listeners -- a respectable farmer in good circumstances, now living -- had a fine fat black wether, and that meat was scarce at home. So it was agreed that the farmer should give the noble wether as his share of the contribution; while others were to contribute their labor, with a small sum of money. At the approach of the appointed hour at night, the digging gang having been rallied and the black sheep provided, Joe led his party with a lantern to the enchanted spot upon a hill near his residence, where he described a circle upon the ground, within which the sacrifice was to be performed, and the prize exhumed. Not a word was to be spoken during the entire performance. Such was the programme. All things being ready, the throat of the animal was cut as previously arranged, (the carcass withdrawn and reduced to mutton by the Smiths,) and the excavation entered upon in good earnest by the expectant diggers. For some three hours the work was continued in utter silence -- when, tempted by the devil, one of the party spoke! The spell was broken -- and the precious treasure, which was just within reach, vanished!

OLIVER COWDERY, the scribe or amanuensis employed by the Prophet in the translation of the "sacred records, was an unpretending young man, of supposed fair character, who had done some service as a county schoolmaster. He could write a legible hand, such as might be read by the printers, by carefully dotting his i's and crossing his t's -- an accomplishment not possessed by any of the Smiths; but such spelling, punctuation, capitalizing and paragraphizing as his manuscripts exhibited, awfully multiplied the perplexities of the type-setters. He is believed to have been a native of Palmyra, as his father's family resided there as early as 1810. His present whereabouts or destiny (unknown to the writer hereof) may not involve a question of any moment, as his Mormon career was never distinguished beyond his first connection with the speculation as already explained.

SIDNEY RIGDON who furnished the literary contributions, and MARTIN HARRIS who supplied the fiscal means for carrying forward the imposture, were indispensable spokes in the great driving wheel of the Mormon car. The former had been a clergyman of the Baptist persuasion in Pennsylvania -- had fallen from grace and been deposed from his clerical estate -- and he "understood the ropes" to be used in the infamous scheme of deception. He was the first "messenger appointed of God," (as he styled himself,) to proclaim the Mormon revelation, and preached his first sermon as such to a general public audience, in the room of the Palmyra Young Men's Association, in the third story of "Exchange Row," in that village. This was in the winter of 1830-'31, soon after the Mormon book was printed. The several churches had been applied to for the desecration of their pulpits, but were very properly refused. It was especially by the importunity of Harris, whose sincerity was unquestioned, that the use of the Association's room was granted. Holding the Book of Mormon in his right hand, and the Holy Bible in his left, the hardened impostor solemnly declared that both were equally true as the word of God -- that they were inseparably necessary to complete the everlasting gospel -- and that he himself was the called minister of Heaven to proclaim the new revelation for the salvation of sinful man! The discourse was a disgustingly blasphemous tirade, though evincing some talent and ingenuity in the speaker, and was received with such manifestations of disfavor that a repetition of the performance was never attempted there.

Up to this time, Rigdon had played his part behind the curtain. The policy seems to have been to keep him in concealment until all things were ready for the blowing of the Mormon trumpet. An unexpected birth occurring in the Smith family, where Rigdon had been a frequent incog. visitor for a year or so, was said to have been accounted for only as a miracle!"

MARTIN HARRIS was the son of Nathan Harris, now deceased, an early settler in Palmyra, and was universally esteemed as an honest man. He was a prosperous farmer, possessing a benevolent disposition, and good judgment in ordinary business affairs. His mind was overbalanced by "marvellousness," and was very much exercised on the subject of religion; and his betrayal of vague superstitions, with a belief in "special providences," and in the terrestrial visits of angels, ghosts, &c., brought upon him the imputation of being "crazy." He was possessed of a sort of Bible monomania, and could probably repeat from memory every line of the scriptures, quoting chapter and verse in each instance. His family consisted of a wife, (from whom he was separated by mutual arrangement on account of her persistent unbelief in Mormonism,) and one son and two daughters. The farm mortgaged and sacrificed by him in the printing speculation is the same now owned and occupied by William Chapman, about a mile and a half north of Palmyra village. -- He long since abandoned Joe Smith and the Mormons, though he bigotedly adheres to Mormonism, and obstinately refuses to acknowledge his deception in the Bogus Bible. His present residence is in some part of Ohio, and his condition that of extreme poverty.

Old Joe Smith, with his family, including the Prophet Joe (under whose spiritual direction the profanity was perpetrated,) were baptized by Rigdon in the immersion form, into the Mormon "Church of Latter Day Saints," about the date last mentioned. And so also were Harris, Cowdery, the Whitmers, and a number of other fanatical followers. -- By "special revelation," the senior Joe was ordained the first Patriarch and President of the Church; and by like authority he was appointed to sell the Mormon Bible at a fixed price, and appropriate a certain percentage of the proceeds to his own use. This was a changed revelation, for in the first instance the "command from above" was that Harris alone should be permitted to sell and receive money for the book until he should be reimbursed the cost of printing.

The exodus of the Smith family, first to some part of Pennsylvania -- preparatory to taking possession of the "Promise Land" at Kirtland, Ohio -- occurred in 1831 or '32. -- The Prophet went first, with Cowdery and a few other followers, and married a wife in Pennsylvania -- Rigdon having been instrumental in the match-making of this affair and was the officiating "clergyman" at its celebration.

These particulars of the origin of Mormonism and of the early times of its founders can of course only be interesting to the public as showing the astonishing success of the stupendous imposture of which they were the initiatory incidents. The subsequent progress and history of the Mormons -- their career at Kirtland, then at Nauvoo, and finally as now beheld at Salt Lake -- may perhaps be contemplated as the most unaccountable "wonder" in the annals of human weakness, cupidity, and humbug!

Note 1: This piece is Pomeroy Tucker's follow-up to his article in the Press issue of May 26, 1858. Compare this full text to that given in Dan Vogel's Early Mormon Documents III.


Wayne  Democratic  Press.

Vol. III.                           Lyons, N.Y., Wednesday, June 9, 1858.                           No. 4.

The Mormon Hierarchy --
Its Rise and Progress.

The sketches of the origin of Mormonism and of the early times of its founders, appearing in the two last publications of this paper, have been truthful illustrations, so far as they went, of the charactor of the men and means giving rise to the existing Mormon Hierarchy, which is costing the government of the United States thousands of its best troops and millions of dollars from its treasury. The Troy Times, whose editor has the advantage of an acquaintance with the locality of the imposture at its starting point, and with many of the people who are living witnesses of its first introduction to the public notice, has collected and published some additional particulars in amplification of this primary history of Brigham Young's empire, which are essential in perfecting the chapter of fraud and hypocrisy forming its basis.

In making up this third sketch, the article, of the Times is adopted, with some corrections and supplements.

The plates on which it was alleged the Mormon Bible was engraved, was pretended to have been found by Smith and his companions while they were digging for gold in a hill in the town of Manchester, some three miles from Palmyra, Wayne county, now known as "Mormon Hill." This hill is situated in a detached valley, and being small sugar-loafed affair, seemed to bear out the declaration of Smith, that it was a mound in which had been buried the scattered remnant of the lost tribe of Nephi. -- To this hill the Prophet claimed to have been directed by an angel in a vision.

The manner in which Smith "translated" these plates was by placing himself behind screen in a darkened room, and putting on a pair of magic spectacles and looking through a stone of the same supernatural character, which were found in the mound beside the plates, thus reading the ancient hieroglyphics with perfect ease! Cowdry, the impostor's scribe or amanuensis, stood outside, and as Smith translated, wrote down his words in ordinary manuscript. The sheets as they were finished, were carried to the printing office, as already explained. The manuscripts were carefully watched by the messengers during the progress of the type-setting, and each day withdrawn to prevent loss or profanation. Despite Smith's cunning precautions, he declared that he lost one hundred and eighteen pages of his translations before the printing began. It might be supposed that with his "plates" before him, and with the benefit of the Divine aid which he assumed, the Prophet might easily have supplied a perfect duplicate of the missing pages. And so he no doubt would have done, had he really been the translator of the Book, as he pretended. But to explain his inability on this score, he cunningly pretended to have received a revelation from the Lord that his enemies had altered portions of the lost manuscript, with a view of confounding him, and to have been forbidden to rewrite it. Some suppose that the lost pages of manuscript alluded to were lacking in the original copy surreptitiously obtained by Rigdon from the widow of Spaulding, and others that Smith only pretended to have lost them, in order to make a still stronger impression on the minds of the superstitious. The truth of the matter is, no doubt, that Harris, to whom these first translations had been loaned for his admiring perusal by Smith, in order to make sure of his victim in the printing expense, incautiously left them within the reach of his "infidel" wife, who burned them to ashes. This was charged by Harris at the time, and was the chief cause of the quarrel which led to his subsequent separation from his wife.

It was only by the successful experiment upon the superstition and self-sacrificing generosity of Harris, that Smith was enabled to get his fictitious Bible into print, and it was probably a foresight of the moral and pecuniary ruin of her husband that prompted Mrs. H. to avert, if possible, the calamity by destroying the manuscript that fell within her reach. He followed Smith and the deluded fanatics of both sexes whom he was able to gather in Western New York, to Kirtland, Ohio, where he remained for a short time, but finally for some reason, fell under the ban of the Prophet's displeasure, lost caste in the Church, and as he had been forewarned by the thoughtful and friendly Grandin, bankrupted himself by his fanaticism.

We have before us "The Book of Mormon." It is printed in duodecimo form, on coarse type, and with a middling good quality of paper. The Prophet precedes it with preface, in which he alludes to his real or pretended loss of manuscript in this manner:

[1830 Preface follows]

This pretended translation or Mormon Bible is divided into the first and second Books of Nephi; the Book of Jacob, the brother of Nephi; the Book of Enos; the Book of Jarom; the Book of Omni; the Words of Mormon; the Book of Mosiah; the Book of Alma, the son of Alma; the Book of Helaman; the Book of Nephi, the son of Nephi, which was the son of Helaman; the Book of Nephi, which is the son ot Nephi, one of the disciples of Jesus Christ; the Book of Mormon; the Book of Ether; and the Book of Moroni. In style, it is an attempted imitation of the Bible, and it contains some plagiarisms from it, chiefly from the Book of Isaiah, but so abounds in modern phrases, inconsistencies and inaccuracies, that the ordinary observer might not fail to discover the imposture in reading its pages. -- It lays down the rules of Mormon theology, and paves the way for the recognition of Smith as a Prophet of the Most High -- abounding in the most shameless blasphemies and falsifications of sacred history. No allusion, however, is made to polygamy, now one of the distinctive dogmas of the Mormon Hierarchy. It was afterwards developed by Smith, when he thought the time fully ripe for carrying out his sensual designs, in a "Special revelation."

Smith deemed the testimony of witnesses necessary to aid the promulgation even of the words of the Most High, as revealed through him. He therefore appended to his Bible the following certificates:

[three and eight witnesses' testimonies follow]

Oliver Cowdery was the scribe who wrote the maraculous Bible as Smith "translated" it; Harris was the poor dupe who paid three thousand dollars for the printing of the work, and ruined himself by giving Mormonism a "start;" the Whitmer family were respectable farmers, "converts" to the new revelation; Joseph Smith was the father of the Prophet, who previous to this dispensation supported himself by digging and peddling "rutes and yarbs," selling "cake and beer," &c. Hyrum Smith was the brother who was killed with the Prophet at Nauvoo; and Samuel H. [sic - William?] Smith is the brother who recently denounced Brigham Young as an "impostor, a renegade and a traitor."

And from such insignificant seed sprang the giant evil which now on the soil of distant Territory threatens the troops of the United States, subverts all principles of law, order and'social right, builds a mighty hierarchy of falsehood and lasciviousness, and will draw millions of dollars from the Treasury for its suppression. -- "Tall oaks from little acorns grow."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Wayne  Democratic  Press.

Vol. III.                             Lyons, N.Y., Wednesday, June 30, 1858.                            No. 7.

The First Mormon Preacher.

In a sketch of the origin and authorship of the Mormon Bible, published in the Democratic Press, several weeks since, Sidney Rigdon was referred to as having performed an important part in the outset of that imposture, and shortly afterwards disappearing from the public observation. This Rigdon, it will be remembered, was the first preacher of the pretended Mormon revelation, and is supposed to have furnished the composition purporting to have been Joe Smith's translation of the "golden plates" found in Mormon Hill near Palmyra. Our article having been republished in the Buffalo Express and numbers of other papers, (credited by mistake to the "Palmyra Democrat") it met the eyes of a correspondent who favors us with information of Rigdon's present whereabouts, in the following communication: --

HORNELLSVILLE, N. Y., June 15, 1858.      
Mr. Editor: I have just read in the columns of the Buffalo Express an article from your paper in relation to the printing of the first edition of the "Book of Mormon," and the connection of Sidney Rigdon with that stupendous deception of modern times. In the article rcferrod to you seem to be entirely unacquainted with the present whereabouts of Rigdon; and thinking, therefore, that you and your readers would like to know, I would state that he is now (or was a few weeks since,) residing in the town of Friendship, Allegany county, in this State, where he has relatives. From what I have heard, I think he is living a secluded life. -- I have been told that he has been solicited to prepare and publish an authentic history of the "golden records" discovered near Palmyra by the "Prophet" Joe Smith in 1829, but that he refuses to do so from fear of Mormon vengeance. Perhaps Mr. Rigdon, if so minded, would give a better reason in the matter.  H.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Democrat.

Vol. ?                         Ithaca, New York, Friday, September 3, 1858.                         No. ?


Speedsville, Aug. 27th, 1858.      
Mr. Editor: -- It may not be be wholly uninteresting to your readers to know the truth with respect to the former residence of the renowned Joe Smith, the Mormon Elder whose spirit, long since left its clayey tenement for a Mormon paradise.

Very many indeed are said to be the places, of Joe Smith's former residence aad where the Mormon Bible was found or written. But his Home, the real place where he wrote or dug from the Bowels of the earth his Bible, is upon the North Bank of the winding Susquehanna. As you pass along on the New York and Erie Railroad, about midway between Great Bend and Susquehannah, may be seen the rustic cottage once the Home of this noted man. And it was here, too, where he diligently sought for his Spanish treasure, but sought in vain.

The House is quite ordinary, and presents an ancient figure. It is situated upon a fine elevation, overlooking the waters of the placid Susquehannah as they wind their way to the bosom of the Chesapeake.

I understand that there is a copy of this Bible, now in the possession of one of the inhabitants of that section, who received it from the hand of Smith.

This information I gained from a Mr. P___ of Susquehannah, a gentleman of truth and great candor.   B. F. H.

Note: A rare early mention of the Joseph Smith, Jr. property obtained from Isaac Hale at Harmony. The writer, "B. F. H." appears to have been uncertain as to whether the original source of the "Mormon Bible" was discovered in the Great Bend area, or merely composed there in modern times. Most newspaper mentions of the Smith house and property come from a later date, such as the Broome Republican of Apr. 4, 1877, the Amboy Journal of Apr. 3, 1879, the Syracuse Express of Nov. 14, 1888, the Otsego Farmer of Nov. 14, 1890, and the Jan. 18, 1900 Oneonta Herald.



ns. Vol. III.              Canandaigua, New York, Thursday, September 9, 1858.              No. ?


[introductory paragraph missing]

GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, July 23,1858.            
To _____ _______.
      I received your letter dated Canandaigua, May 5, 1858.

I will give you a short sketch of my history. I was born in Whittingham, Windham County; Vt., June 1, 1801. My father and family removed to Smyrna, Chenango County, N. Y., when I was about eighteen months old. We lived in the place until 1813. Shortly after the commencement of the late war with Great Britain, my father and family removed to the town of Genoa, Cayuga County, N. Y., in which county I lived until 1829. I then moved to Mendon, Monroe County, and in 1830 removed from thence to No. 9, Canandaigua, into a small house owned by Jonathan Mack, situated on the west side of the, road, opposite to where Mr. Mack then lived. I helped to finish his new house, so that he moved into it before I left the place.

I left Canandaigua in the first part of 1832, and returned to Mendon. April 14, same year, I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I did not live in any other house during my residence in Canandaigua, than the one before mentioned. I never saw Sena Goff to my knowledge. I never held meetings in partnership with any person, nor ever preached, or pretended to, while I lived in the town of Canandaigua, nor ever spoke in meeting, except once in a prayer-meeting, in the house I lived in, when probably I occupied from two to five minutes. There is a possibility of my having spoken in prayer-meeting at other times, but I have no recollection of it. If I had, I think I would have remembered it, for I found myself materially frightened when I found myself in the meeting I have mentioned. After I had joined the Church, I became somewhat accustomed to public speaking. Once in passing through No. 9, I stopped and preached in the school house north of Mr. Mack's.

I have thus far marked out my path with some particularity. Since then, the events of my life are before the world. I will, however, state, that after my return to Mendon I removed to Kirtland, Ohio, from thence to Farwest, Mo., from thence to Nauvoo, Ill., and from thence to the mountains.

There are five brothers of us, in the following order: John, Joseph, Phineas H., myself and Lorenzo D. The two former never lived in No. 9. Phineas H. and Lorenzo D. did live there, but removed long before I came. The five of us, with my two living sisters (I have three dead), are here; and although some of them are past three score and ten years of age, yet by living in a judicious manner, and through the blessing of the Lord, we have good health, and are surrounded by an abundance of the comforts of life.

Your opponent in the controversy (Beebe) I have no recollection of whatever. He relies on his fancy for his arguments, and his imagination for his facts.

Through the faith and prayers of the Saints, and the visible dealing of the Almighty, we are blessed with peace, and again delivered from the grasp of our enemies who have sought all the day long to trample in the dust, and extinguish that sacred light which God, through his revelations to Joseph, the prophet, has implanted in our breasts.

My heart yearns toward my friends of bygone years, and blessed, indeed, will be the day when they receive the light of the new and everlasting covenant, when I can join hands with them and feel that my God is their God, and that where I worship there also will they offer up devotion to the Throne of Grace.

The war is ended, the troops are partly withdrawn, and we have returned to our comfortable homes; our trees are loaded with fruit, we have the best country in the world for vegetables; our crops are most abundant. Wheat is our staple grain. At many times we have harvested three crops from one sowing, by what we call voluntary wheat springing up the second or third season.

Although I have been in this valley only eleven years, I have had peaches for seven years, and this year will have an abundance of apples for family use; we've apricots, almond trees, plums, cherries, and the finest grapes I have ever seen; they grow in bunches weighing from eight ounces to two pounds.

I have a fine family of boys and girls, a part of whom are married. I have fifteen living and two dead grand-children.

Present my warmest regards to your father and hia family. I really desire you to let me know where they are living, and how they are situated.
BRIGHAM YOUNG.          

Note 1: This letter was reprinted in the daily New York Tribune of September 14th and portions of the text have been quoted in numerous different articles and books relating to the early years of Brigham Young. However, no copy of an original has ever been located in the Brigham Young papers preserved in Salt Lake City -- so the reliability of the Republican Times text may be somewhat in doubt.

Note 2: The "citizen of Canandaigua" who wrote to Brigham Young on May 5, 1858, evidently mentioned a certain Sena (or Sienna) Goff, whose reputation as a Reformed Methodist prophetess had previously been cited in the columns of the Republican Times (see the issues of Aug. 27 and Sept. 10 1857). She was evidently active in Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio, but probably did not cross paths with Brigham.



Vol. XIX.                     Auburn, N.Y., Wednesday, May 11, 1859.                     No. 19.

UTAH. -- Mr. Buchanan is confident that the troubles, especially between Gov. Cummings and Col. Johnson, can be arranged. As far as we can learn, Gov. C. is right. There is no doubt now but that the Mormons were involved in the massacres of emigrants. (Dr. Forney has rescued seventeen children captured from emigrants by the Indians at the massacre of the Arkansas train.), but to proceed harshly against all as a body, and give them no chance in the routine of law, as the U.S. Judge urged the Grand Jury to do, was unjustifiable. -- Give the worst fair play, is the rule of justice. Gov. C. condemned the course of the Judge, and Col. J. refused to obey Gov. C. This matter, so ruinous to order in Utah, is now being adjusted in Washington.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXI.                             Albany, N.Y., Sat., April 7, 1860.                             No. 9035.


The Hundred and Twenty Men, Women
and Children Murdered.


The Salt Lake Valley Tan of February 29th, the last number of that newspaper issued before its suspension, contains a statement from Wm. H. Rogers, in regard to the massacre at Mountain Meadows, in Sept. 1857, when 120 men, women and children, emigrants from Arkansas, were murdered by Mormons. In company with Dr. Forney, Superintendent of Indian affairs for Utah Territory, Mr. Rogers, about a year since, traversed the district of country where the massacre occurred. The scene of the tragedy is thus described: --

(see original article in Utah paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Frederick Douglass' Paper.

Vol. XIII.                             Rochester, N.Y., May 25, 1860.                             No. 21.


THE MORMONS ARE COMING.-- Joe Smith, Jr., and his followers, numbering several thousand persons, have made extensive purchases of real estate in this county, and may be expected among us in a short time. The advance guard will be along in a few weeks, and others will follow as early as they can dispose of their property to the east of us, so that we may confidently look for an influx of at least ten thousand Mormons within the year.

As stated last week, Florence is to be their head-quarters. We understand that agriculture is to be the principal occupation of these people, while they have also among them artisans and workmen skilled in the various mechanical arts. They are said to be an industrious and orderly people, who have always lived in peace and harmony with their Gentile neighbors in other parts of the wirld. As such they cannot fail to be a valuable accession to Nebraska. They will open farms and improve them; construct houses and aid in the improvement of our towns, and in a thousand ways assist in developing the resources of this Territory. We most cheerfully welcome them to Nebraska, and sincerely hope that nothing may ever transpire to render their residence among us unpleasant to themselves or annoying to others. -- Omaha Nebraskan.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXXII.                     Albany, N.Y., Thursday, April 11, 1861.                     No. 9348.

Correspondence of the N. Y. Commercial.

Thurlow Weed's First Apprentice.

SENATE CHAMBER.            
Madison, Wisconsin, April 5, 1861.           
Messrs. Editors: -- Your Albany correspondent, in a late letter, says that George Dawson and David K. Carter -- the one newly appointed postmaster at Albany, and the other Minister Resident at Bolivia, are the "only ones living" of Thurlow Weed's "former apprentices." As I have many relatives and friends in New York and other Eastern States, who know that I was the first apprentice Mr. W. had after his removal to Rochester, if not the first he ever had, it may be a matter of gratification to them to be informed that I "yet live." Be so kind, therefore, as to ventilate this note. I may here add that my said apprenticeship commenced in the month of August, 1825. Yours, &c., J. A. HADLEY.

This signature awakens a great many pleasant reminiscences. When in 1827, the writer of this paragraph took his degree of P.D. (Printer's Devil), Hadley had removed to Palmyra, Wayne Co., where he made fair wages in working on the Mormon Bible -- Smith, its reputed discoverer, having in vain sought to enlist any of the printers in Rochester in the enterprise. After spending several years in that village, Hadley returned to Rochester, where he worked as a journeyman and foreman, in the Democrat office, until about 1843, when he removed to Wisconsin, became Editor, Justice of the Peace, County Treasurer, Farmer, Peace-Maker, and a leader in politics and every good work generally. He now dates his epistle from the "Senate Chamber" of Wisconsin, of which body he is an influential and honored member. In common with all his associates of the olden time, "long Jonathan" -- who measures six feet three in his stockings -- remembers gratefully the early kindness of his first employer.

In the Rochester Democrat office we were in daily association with Mr. Hadley for several years. He was, and of course is, one of the most candid and genial of men. When he went to Watertown, with a small printing press and some second-hand type, he found a small village, in a new country. Yet it was the best step of his life, in a business view at least. His paper was in immediate demand; he grew with the village and the surrounding country, and got along very prosperously. It is pleasant to note the continued progress in position and means of a man so worthy of the smiles of fortune.

Note: The above report was evidently written by George Dawson, then an Associate Editor of the Journal. His charge, that Jonathan A. Hadley had made "fair wages in working on the Mormon Bible" was countered almost immediately by one of Hadley's former journalism associates -- see the Wayne Democratic Press of Apr. 17, 1861. See also notes appended to the Lowell Courier article of July 28, 1842.



Vol. XVII.                         Syracuse, N.Y., Friday, Apr. 12, 1861.                         No. 87.

Pleasant  Reminiscences.

Correspondence of the N. Y. Commercial.


Madison, Wisconson, April 5, 1861.     
Messrs. Editors: -- Your Albany correspondent, in a late letter, says that George Dawson and David K. Carter -- the one newly appointed Postmaster at Albany, and the other Minister Resident at Bolivia -- are the "only ones living" of Thurlow Weed's "former apprentices." As I have many relatives and friends in New York and other Eastern States, who know that I was the first apprentice Mr. W. had after his removal to Rochester, if not the first he ever had, it may be a matter of gratification to them to be informed that I "yet live." Be so kind, therefore, as to ventilate this note. I may here add that my said apprenticeship commenced in the month of August, 1825.
                Yours, &c.,     J. A. HADLEY.


This signature awakens a great many pleasant reminiscences. When in 1827, the writer of this paragraph took his degree of P.D. (Printer's Devil), Hadley had removed to Palmyra, Wayne Co., where he made fair wages in working on the Mormon Bible -- Smith, its reputed discoverer, having in vain sought to enlist any of the printers in Rochester in the enterprise. After spending several years in that village, Hadley returned to Rochester, where he worked as a journeyman and foreman, in the Democrat office, until about 1843, when he removed to Wisconsin, became Editor, Justice of the Peace, County Treasurer, Farmer, Peace-Maker, and a leader in politics and every good work generally. He now dates his epistle from the "Senate Chamber" of Wisconsin, of which body he is an influential and honored member. In common with all his associates of the olden time, "long Jonathan" -- who measures six feet three in his stockings -- remembers gratefully the early kindness of his first employer.

In the Rochester Democrat office we were in daily association with Mr. Hadley for several years. He was, and of course is, one of the most candid and genial of men. When he went to Watertown, with a small printing press and some second-hand type, he found a small village, in a new country. Yet it was the best step of his life, in a business view at least. His paper was in immediate demand; he grew with the village and the surrounding country, and got along very prosperously. It is pleasant to note the continued progress in position and means of a man so worthy of the smiles of fortune.

Note: The writer is mistaken about Hadley's supposed connection to the Book of Mormon publication. See the Lowell Courier article of July 28, 1842, the Palmyra Freeman for Aug. 11, 1829, and the Wayne Democratic Press of April 17, 1861.


Wayne  Democratic  Press.

Vol. V.                                Lyons, N.Y., Wed., April 17, 1861.                               No. 47.

Pleasant  Reminiscences.

The Albany Journal copies J. A. Hadley's note to the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser and says -- "the writer" being Mr. Geo. Dawson:

This signature awakens a great many pleasant reminiscences. When, in 1827, the writer of this paragraph took his degree of P.D. (Printer's Devil,) Hadley had removed to Palmyra, Wayne county, where he made fair wages in working on the Mormon Bible -- Smith, its reputed discoverer, having in vain sought to enlist any of the printers in Rochester in the enterprise.

Mr. Dawson has got things slightly mixed. When the writer of this paragraph took the degree of "P.D." in the village of Palmyra, in the spring of 1829, Mr. Hadley was then publisher of an anti-Masonic newspaper in that village, called the "Palmyra Freeman." He soon after removed his office to Lyons, where he commenced the publication of the "Lyons Countryman" -- Myron Holly being its reputed editor. We presume Mr. Hadley went from Lyons to Rochester, but we are positive he never worked upon the Mormon Bible, which was printed in the office of the "Wayne Sentinel." The work was commenced in the fall of 1829, and completed in the spring of 1830 -- Mr. Hadley published the "Freeman" at the time.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XVII.                         Syracuse, N.Y., Wed., Apr. 17, 1861.                         No. 91.

Reminiscences  Corrected.

The Lyons Democratic Press corrects some statements in the Albany Journal, in reference to Mr. J. A. Hadley. Mr. Weed's oldest apprentice. The Press says:

"Mr. Dawson has got things slightly mixed. When the writer of this paragraph took the degree of 'P.D.' in the village of Palmyra, in the spring of 1829, Mr. Hadley was then publisher of an anti-Masonic newspaper in that village, called the 'Palmyra Freeman.' He soon after removed his office to Lyons, where he commenced the publication of the 'Lyons Countryman' -- Myron Holly being its reputed editor. We presume Mr. Hadley went from Lyons to Rochester, but we are positive he never worked upon the Mormon Bible, which was printed in the office of the 'Wayne Sentinel.' The work was commenced in the fall of 1829, and completed in the spring of 1830 -- Mr. Hadley published the 'Freeman' at the time."

We think Mr. Hadley went from Lyons to Penn Yan, where he published an anti-Masonic paper about one year; and it was. we think, some years after that, that he went to Rochester.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXXIII.                   Rochester, N. Y., Fri., Nov. 14, 1865.                   No. 504.

A Mormon Trouble Brewing.

Seditious Preaching in Salt Lake City.

Great Salt Lake City, Oct. 8th.    
[Brigham Young spoke as if that polygamy would soon die out in Utah...] I do not say that he willfully deceived us; but he certainly gave us this idea... In this faith I endeavor to write of the people and leaders, with the utmost kindness; to say nothing of their disloyalty in the past; nothing of the grave crimes alleged to have been committed in the name of the Church...

But Brigham simply deluded us. Within a few hours after the interview with Mr. Colfax and his friends, he solemnized three Polygamous marriages. One of the bridegrooms was Mr. John Myers, keeper of Myers' Stage station at Bear Lake. The other parties will be named if the statement is authoritatively denied.

The public tone of all the leaders has radically changed. They preach that Polygamy is their religion, that they will adhere to it, living or dying, even by force of arms, if necessary; that the people and Government of the United States are their bitterest enemies, and desire to destroy them, but must be resisted to the death if they adopt violent measures. I have heard sermons here so disloyal that they brought the blood to my cheeks; but first let me quote from two which I did not hear.

At Toole City, Sunday, Aug. [25th], several of the leaders addressed a congregation. Portions of their remarks are thus recorded by James W. Gibson, a soldier in the United States service. He is ready to make an addidavit to the literal accuracy of the report; and Colonel Milo George, of the 1st Nevada Volunteers, commandant of this port, vouches fully for his veracity. George A. Smith is one of the Twelve Apostles, the highest authority of the Church after Brigham and Heber Kimball -- Among other things he said:

"The Lincoln Administration did not want peace with the South, but wanted to destroy and devastate all the good Southern people, and, that in order to do so, the party in power had laid aside the Constitution entirely, and were the main ones who rebelled, and the South was right. The Northern army burned and destroyed everything in the South, and abused, by force, all their women, and said they would be here some day to treat the fair women of Utah in like manner, and that all, both old and young, should have plenty of arms. When they approached, God would fight the battles and the saints would be victorious. He said our Government was not at peace; and he damned it and hoped to see the day when it would sink to hell. Nothing in the shape of a free government could ever stand on North American soil that was opposed to Mormonism and polygamy!"

The following sentences are from the "sermon" of rom Brigham Young:

"Our Constitution has been violated and misused; the whole nation and the whole world and the whole world has been arrayed against the Latter Day Saints; our Government had tampered with the Mormons when it had no right to; he had told the Government often that he was willing to be tried here by the law for any accusation brought against him, and nothing could be done with him. The Mormons had the law in their own hands and would do as they pleased."

The Congregation -- amen!

Brigham -- "If they undertook to try him in a Gentile court, he would see the government in hell first, and was ready to fight the Government the rub. He had his soldiers and rifles, and pistols, and ammunition and plenty of it, and cannon too, and would use them.. -- He was 'on it!' The Governor of this territory was useless and could do nothing. He (Brigham) was the real Governor of this people, and by powers of the Most High he would be Governor of this territory forever and ever. If the Gentiles did not like this, they could leave and go to hell. Nine-tenths of the people of the territory were Southern sympathizers; the North was wrong, and this people sympathized with the South."

...The Church of Rome, in its palmiest days, never expected and received more perfect allegiance from its followers than is rendered to Brigham. No Mormon jury could be empanneled which would convict of polygamy -- indeed, of anything -- contrary to the mandate of Brigham. Hence the law is not only a dead letter, but a scoff and a bye-word...
A. D. Richardson.    

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XVII.                       Rochester, N.Y., Saturday, January 6, 1866.                     No. 1.


Lieut.-Gov. Bross, of Ilinois, who has been visiting the Mormons, explains the source of their prosperity as follows:

Within the last few years they have grown wealthy. The sources of their riches are easily understood. During all the California emigration, scores, and in some years hundreds, and even thousands of emigrants would arrive at Salt Lake with their teams broken down, or half of them dead, and, therefore, unable to proceed. Of course, the Mormons were ready, in true Yankee style, to trade good animals for those that were about worn out, pocketing a handsome difference in hard cash. In a few months at most, those broken down animals would be fat and sleek, and Mr. Mormon elder was ready to trade with the next emigrant that came along. Of course, many goods and provisions were sold to emigrants. Within the last four years there has been a great rush of emigration to Montana and Idaho, and the Mormons have been able to sell all their surplus grain and provisions at fabulous prices. With corn at three to six dollars a bushel, and wheat at eight to ten dollars, and provisions of all kinds at proportionate figures, the Mormons have become rich far sooner than other people upon the continent. Now, the hundred thousand people of Utah give a tenth of all they produce to the church. Brigham Young and his elders are the church, and hence the untold wealth they have been able to place in their coffers. Two of the merchants of Salt Lake assured us that their freight bills alone would amount, during the present year, to $150,000.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Palmyra  Courier.

Vol. XXV.                             Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, May 10, 1867.                             No. 6.


[opening paragraph not copied]

...we hasten to a conclusion, by saying that the "Good enough Morgan" story originated in a joke, and though read with effect, politically, for many years, was known at Rochester by all who cared for the truth, to be wholly unfounded. We never uttered the expression. What we did say to Ebenezer Griffin and others, who were insisting that the body found at Oak Orchard Creek, was that of Timothy Monroe, and in reply to the question of "what will you do for Morgan," was: That is a good enough Morgan until you bring back the one you carried away.

It was also well known that we of all others, took the greatest pains, and gave the widest notice of the inquest to be held over that body, and that after the investigation in the presence of two hundred witnesses, the body was, in accordance with the views of every person present, recognized as that of Wm. Morgan. Subsequently, when it was claimed by the widow and son of Timothy Monroe, after all the strange, contradictory and bewildering testimony was heard, we alone, of all the members of our committees, and of those to whom Morgan was known, entertained aboubts upon the subject.

The allusion in this paragraph to Washington came from the Herald, whose editor, in 1827, as Washington correspondent of the Courier and Enquirer, invented a slander about Mr. Clay which, like the "good enough Morgan" cry, was used with effect, like other slanders, for several years.

Morgan finished his book in a house adjoining that in which we resided at Rochester. Mr. Dyer, his friend, after enjoining secrecy, showing us the manuscripts, and asked us to print it. We did not think that a man who had taken such oaths to keep secrets, at liberty to reveal them, and declined the printing of the book which created all that excitement.

We lost another opportunity for imprint fame, by declining to print "Joe Smith's" Mormon Bible. He came to us from Palmyra, with his then unpublished manuscripts. Upon reading a few pages of unintelligible jargon, we inquired if he was in earnest about publishing such trash, when, placing what he called a "Golden Tablet["] in his hat, he read from it another chapter of revelations. Still we were incredulous and advised to burn instead of printing. Soon afterward he came again, bringing Arnold [sic - Martin?] Harris, a well-to-do farmer and convert, to mortgage his farm as security. But we advised Harris to eschew Mormonism and keep his farm. Like Dandle Diamot, who, when Counsellor Playdell refused his retainer, resolved to employ another lawyer, "Joe" went across the street to Elihu Marshall, another printer, who took the job, got his pay, along with the glory of being the first printer of a Mormon Bible.

Note 1: The last paragraph was copied from Thurlow Weed's remarks in the New York Commercial Advertiser, where he repeated his earlier mistakes concerning the Book of Mormon. The editor of the Troy Times responded to Weed's problematic paragraph in that paper's number for May 6, 1867, by saying: "Thurlow Weed's reminiscences in the New York Commercial are racy and interesting, but not always strictly correct. For instance, in his article on Saturday he repeats a mistake about the printing of the first Mormon Bible made by him in the Albany Journal some years ago, and which he subsequently corrected.... The first edition of the Mormon Bible was printed in the Wayne Sentinel office at Palmyra by Egbert Grandin. It was Martin Harris (not Arnold) who mortgaged his farm as security. Mr. Marshall did not take the job at all, nor had anything whatever to do with it. To convince Mr. Weed of his error we placed in his hands a copy of the first printed edition of "The Book of Mormon" at the time be made the erroneous statement in the Journal which is now repeated in the Commercial; he admitted his mistake then as no doubt he will now."

Note 2: Mr. Weed's earlier careless recital of pre-Mormon history no doubt inspired Pomeroy Tucker to write his two articles (more or less as a reply), which were published in the Lyons Wayne Democratic Press of May 26, 1858 and June 2, 1858. This wealth of historical information, along with a follow-up article, provided the original basis for what became Tucker's Mormonism: It's Origin and Progress, published a decade later. If Weed was then paying attention to his old digs at the Albany Evening Journal, he must have been embarrassed to see Tucker correct his historical errors once again, in a full-fledged book, previewed in that paper on June 17th.



Vol. XL.                        Rochester, N. Y., Wednesday, May 22, 1867.                         No. 121.

SERIOUSLY ILL. -- We regret to learn that the vetern printer, B. F. Cowdery, is lying seriously ill at his residence in this city of pneumonia, and his recovery is past looking for.

Note 1: The Virginia City Daily Trespass published this notice during the summer of 1867: "Benjamin F. Cowdery died in Rochester, N. Y., on the 25th of May, aged something over 77 years. Deceased was a journeyman printer in the office of the Rochester American: did his regular work at the case up almost to the day of his death; and wrote a clear, legible hand, and good sense. He was the father of our friend J. F. Cowdery, Attorney, San Francisco. He has set type and published papers in half the states of the Union, printed the first Book of Mormon, traveled over the continent, did almost everything, by turns, that honest men do for a livelihood, an at length, weary with long wandering, settled down, perhaps not more than twenty or thirty years ago, to work at the case. Peace to his ashes! We trust his form is made up for glory."

Note 2: The writer of the Daily Trespass notice was probably William J. Forbes, who was originally from Ohio and who may have met printer B. F. Cowdery when the latter worked at Oberlin. Forbes was employed as a printer with various pioneer California and Nevada newspapers. He purchased the Virginia City Daily Union, early in 1867 and re-named it The Trespass. Although Forbes arrived a few years too late to operate as a rival to that city's Territorial Enterprise, while Mark Twain was still on its staff, he may have known the humorous journalist in San Francisco. Possibly Forbes was also a friend of Jabez Franklin Cowdery, Esq. (1834-77), who moved to San Francisco in 1865 and remained in the city for the rest of his life.

Note 2: B. Franklin Cowdery's terminal illness, as noticed by the Daily Union, was pneumonia at Rochester either on May 25 on May 26, 1867. Although he was a cousin of the Mormon Elder, Oliver Cowdery, he had no direct association with the Latter Day Saints and took no part in the publication of any edition of the Book of Mormon.


Vol. XXXVII.                       Albany, N.Y., Monday, June 17, 1867.                       No. 11,263.

A History of Mormonism.

Some time, we shall estimate rightly the magnitude and importance of the infamous Mormon delusion. At present, it is very imperfectly comprehended. We know that upon the far-away borders of the Republic, exists a community of men and women, numerous, wealthy and powerful, who deny the cardinal tenets of religion, set at naught the philosophy of social ethics, and live in constant and flagrant violation of the laws by which the family has been maintained during all the ages. But we do not know how numerous these people are, how their fanatic faith originated and received its growth, what proportions the organization has assumed, or how it threatens the future stability and loyalty of the vast region now in its possession.

The Mormon war, conducted during the Administration of PIERCE, under Generals JOHNSTON and CONNER, was a rude premonition of what we may possibly expect in future. As the Pacific railroad is pushed out upon the borders, and the advanced agents of civilisation come in contact and conflict with the fanatic chiefs, disorders must necessarily occur of a most serious character. The joint existence of Mormonism and of our political system, in the same territory, is an impossibility.

The history of the Mormon Church has never been fully and correctly written. Several works are extant which profess to embody it; but they are incomplete, and full of the most ridiculous blunders. Most of the books heretofore promulgated on this subject deserve to be considered as fictions, rather than as reliable narratives.

Messrs. APPLETON & Co., of New York, are about to supply the existing literary want. They will publish in a short time a full History of Mormonism, tracing it from its inception at Palmyra, in the Western part of this State, down to the present time, and giving a succinct review of all the influences which have contributed to its extension.

The author of this work is Mr. POMEROY TUCKER, a well-known Editor, and a gentleman of marked literary ability. Mr. Tucker was in every way qualified to perform his self-imposed task. He was a resident of Palmyra at the time the movement began. He knew intimately Jo. Smith, the shiftless vagabond who figured as original Prophet of the new faith. He was personally cognizant of the so-called sorceries and second sight performances, by which the ignorant and credulous were duped into support of the swindle. He helped to "bring out" Sidney Rigdon, the adroit schemer who first "discovered" the manuscript of the "Book of Mormon," and who hoped probably to be the Chief of the new dispensation, until supplanted by the superior genius of Smith and Young successively. He knows personally all the facts connected with the printing of the Mormon Bible, read the proofs of that work, and has in his possession some of its original "copy." And he is therefore able to correct by the production of indisputable evidence, many popular errors which now prevail in reference to these matters.

We have had the good fortune to see in advance several chapters of this work, and judge from them that it is to be a most valuable and interesting production. Mr. Tucker tells his story in a straightforward and earnest manner, without any attempt at useless rhetoric, or florid ornamentation. He brings to light a very large amount of matter never before presented to the public. His history is continued down to the present time, and all the facts bearing upon it have been carefully collected and strikingly presented. In short, the purpose in view -- that of presenting a full and accurate history of Mormonism -- is fully accomplished.

The appearance of the book will be awaited with much interest by the reading public.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XL.                         Rochester, N. Y., Saturday, September 28, 1867.                         No. 231.

From the Troy Daily Times

A  Forthcoming  Book.

The Appletons are soon to publish a book entitled "Mormonism: It's Origin and Progress: Biography of its Founders, and History of its Church of Latter-day Saints. Personal remembrances and historical collections hitherto unwritten, By P. Tucker." The author, Mr. Tucker, is well qualified for his task -- was intimately acquainted with Joe Smith, the first Mormon prophet, when in Palmyra -- had the chief direction of the printing of the original edition of the Book of Mormon from the manuscripts -- and knew all the principal actors in the Imposture from its commencement. The plan of the work, as we have reason to know, is a candid, truthful, authentic history, dating from the beginning of the Mormon invention, and chronologically tracing the new sect from its insignificant starting point to its present monster proportions. The Union Vedette of Great Salt Lake City, (gentile) has a notice of the forthcoming book on Mormonism, in which, referring to a statement of its author, the editor remarks:
"We are glad to learn from him that it is not written up in the style we had apprehended, If the Book of Mormon, and knows all about the origin of these 'Saints' who have become distinctly rich and powerful in proclaiming that "gospel," it will be interesting to know from his book all the facts -- naked, substantiated facts. These are what the inquiring mind wants, and the sky blue coloring that often takes the place of a round, unvarnished tale. We shall notice the work at length when it comes to hand."
Much that is very interesting about the Mormons has already been published. Mr. Bowles in his Overland Journey to California, told us a deal concerning Utah and the Saints, which was new and entertaining; Mr. Richardson in his volume "Beyond the Rocky Mountains," has likewise entertained and instructed the public on the same subject; while Hepworth Dixon, the English writer, in his work on "New America," has perhaps told us more than all the others about everyday Mormon life, institutions, and character of leaders and people. But there is wanting in all these histories and allusions to the Mormons, the link which makes the whole historical chain. None of the writers pretend to have any but the most vague ideas of the origin and early history of the imposture itself -- the delusion, which has spread itself to all quarters of the globe, made its converts among the nations, which has almost peopled an empire, and which to-day wields a political, social, and pecuniary power certainly not second to many well established governments. Where did Mormonism originate? Who and what were the men who presided over its birth, reared its infancy, fought its early battles, and identified themselves with its struggles? When did the "Book of Mormon" originate; who and what were the men who first palmed it off to credulous people as a revelation from God? Who and what was Joe Smith? Who and what were his apostles -- the men who followed him from Western New York to Illinois? And what became of these early believers and followers, whose connections with Mormonism were marked and prominent long, long before Brigham Young was heard of?

There are men in Western New York -- the number rapidly diminishing, however -- who can intelligently answer all these and many more like interrogatories, with the intelligence and reliability which come from a personal knowledge of all the facts. Pomeroy Tucker, Esq., of Palmyra, author of the work above alluded to, is one of these. He was a young editor and printer before "Jo Smith" budded into fame -- in fact when the "Prophet" was known about Palmyra as a most unpromising sort of village lounger, living by his wits -- a capital so scant as to frequently involve him in need. Mr. Tucker was connected with the printing office to which the "Book of Mormon" was brought to be printed, and in which, subsequently, it was printed, Mr. T. himself acting as proof-reader for a part of the work. His position brought him to contact with Smith and his associates. Willing to hear all that the Saints had to say, Mr. T. volunteered, as a member of a literary society, to secure the use of a public hall in the village, in which the Mormons could hold a meeting. This was the first Mormon meeting ever held on the earth below. With all the subsequent doings of the leaders in that vicinity, Mr. Tucker was perfectly familiar at the time; and he has naturally from that day to this kept in the view the whole movement. He has seen Mormonism from the day when, in his village it was "no bigger than a man's hand," magnifying itself so as to attract the attention of both continents, and to become a power among the so-called religious sects of the world. Never had man such a temptation "to write a book." He was frequently and earnestly urged to put his facts and recollections in print. He was told that to do so was a duty he owed to the public, and especially to those who in coming years are very likely to see even more of the delusion and its victims than have his own generation. It was not until last year, however, that he replied with these requests. He then set about adding to his already fair stock of reliable and authentic material, and soon afterwards went earnestly at the work.

The result is a book which, we venture to say, will be exceedingly well received by the public at large, and prized as a valuable addition to the general knowledge. The author writes tersely and clearly. Himself perfectly familiar with his subject at every turn, he goes straight to facts, gives days and dates, and deals with all the leading men of Mormonism in embryo, and Mormonism matured, familiarly, and draws their characteristics, good, bad and indifferent, graphically, and we doubt not justly. The simple recital of facts contained in the book is all the refutation needed of the preposterous assumptions of the "Latter Day Saints." We see the origin -- the character of the men who inaugurated the delusion -- and that is quite enough.

The wonder is -- and wonder it will ever be -- how the thing ever secured the success which has attended it. Much of its prosperity must be ascribed, first to the indifference, the contempt, with which the public at first, and for many years, treated Mormonism and its followers; and secondly, to the ill-advised persecutions which the early "friends of the cause" suffered and endured at the West. The killing of Jo. Smith by a mob of Illinoisans doubtless proved "seed" for the Mormon Church. The removal of the believers to Utah was beyond question a master stroke of policy. In that then far off and isolated territory, they secured not only a foothold on the soil and exemption from neighboring molestation, but attracted to themselves attention as a religious sect disposed to withdraw from the busy world in order to enjoy their peculiar faith.

The sect, while in Illinois, would have "gone to seed," or been swallowed up by attrition with the flood of emigration from the New England and Middle states, while in Utah they have flourished as no people have flourished -- if worldly wealth and power be the standard -- on this continent, in the same short space of time. And, sad to say, their progress, instead of being checked, is onward. Mormon missionaries are in every part of the world; the "Book of Mormon" has been translated into nearly every modern language; and not a week passes but ship loads of emigrant converts from foreign countries are landed upon our shores.

Mr. Tucker's book is to prove most interesting to the present generation, in this country and in Europe; but we assume that, spite of all present opposition, Mormonism is to hold its power for some time to come, and is to increase rather than diminish in the number of its adherents. Material wealth, such as the sect now has, united with religious enthusiasm, a sincere zeal, a blind faith, is not a power to be overcome in a day. The organization may be driven out of Utah, but it will plant itself elsewhere, and in the smoke and heat of "persecution" new converts will be born to it by thousands and thousands. It is in this view we regard it as most fortunate that Mr. Tucker has prepared a book replete with authentic facts, and literally going to the root of the imposture. The work will be illustrated with portraits and engravings and brought out within a few days in the best style of the publishers, the Messrs. Appletons, of New York.

Note: The above glowing recommendation was obviously penned by John M. Francis, editor of the Troy Times and a son-in-law of the author. It first appeared in the Times of September 24th. -- Pomeroy Tucker did not just begin his writing on the subject of early Mormonism in 1866-67. See also his earlier contributions on this topic, in the Wayne Democratic Press of May 26, 1858 and June 2, 1858.



Vol. XL.                          Rochester, N. Y., Tuesday, October 1, 1867.                          No. 233.

For the Union & Advertiser.

Joe  Smith,  the  Mormon  Prophet.

Messrs. Editors: -- In your last evening's paper (Saturday) in speaking of Mr. Tucker's forthcoming book on Mormonism, you ask who and what was Joe Smith, and you spoke of men in Western New York who can intelligently answer these and more questions from personal knowledge.

I knew him well before his book was published. He was then a wood-cutter on my farm, more willing to live by his wits than his axe, and worked through the winter in company with some twenty or thirty others, rough backwoodsmen. He and his two associates built a rude cabin of poles and brush, covered with leaves and earth, in the woods open to the south, with a camp-kettle in front for cooking; and here, at night, around a huge fire, he and his companions would gather, ten or a dozen at a time, to tell hard stories and sing songs and drink cheap whiskey, (two shillings per gallon), and although there were some hard cases among them, Joe could beat them all for tough stories and impracticable adventures, and it was in this school, I believe, that he first conceived his wonderful invention of the golden plates and marvelous revelations. And as these exercises were rehearsed nightly to his hearers, and as their ears grew longer to receive them, so his tales grew the more marvelous to please them, until some of them supposed that he also believed his own stories. But of this fact, there is no proof. He was impudent and assuming among his fellows, but ignorant and dishonest, plausible and obsequious to others, with sufficient low cunning to conceal his ignorance, but in my estimation, utterly unqualified to compose even such a jumble of truth and fiction as his book contained.

The most probable theory of the origin that I remember to have heard, is that it was that strange work of an eccentric Vermont Clergyman, written to while away the tedious hours of long confinement by nervous debility, and this idle production, after his decease, fell into Joe's hands, and that having learned something of the gullibility of his cronies, this incidental matter incited in him the first idea of turning his foolish stories to account, and thus enable him to make the surreptitious manuscript the text book of his gross imposition. I speak understandingly in saying he was shameless as well as dishonest, and I relate a small matter to prove it. During the winter he was chopping for me. I was in the habit of riding through the clearing daily to see that the brush was piled as agreed, the wood fairly corded, and no scattering trees left uncut, and in this way became well acquainted with the conduct of every man; and on each Saturday took an account and paid the hands. My mode was to ride around while each party measured their ranks and turned a few sticks on the top to show they had been counted. In this way I one day took Joe's account, he accompanying me and removing the sticks on the top of each rank. After thus going the rounds and returning to the shanty, he said that he had another rank or two that I had not seen, and led me in a different direction in a roundabout way, to wood that I had already measured, but the sticks on top had all been laid back to their places. I saw the trick at once, and could only make him confess his attempt to cheat, by re-measuring the whole lot; and all this he thought would have been a fair trick if I had not found it out. So much for the man in small things.

After he left in the spring, I lost sight of him, until my friend Judge Whiting (long deceased) of the very respectable firm of Whiting and Butler, Attorneys, who was then loaning money on mortgages for a trust company, asked me if I knew anything about Joe Smith. I told him that I knew him for a great rogue in a small way, when he informed me that he pretended to be a prophet, and was about publishing a Book of Revelations, and had induced two credulous men in Palmyra to apply to him (Judge W.) for money on mortgages to publish it.

I learned afterward that Joe and an associate had prevailed on a worthy citizen of Waterloo (Col. C.) who was then in a state of great depression from the recent loss of his wife, to join their fraternity and cast in his lot among them; and that while they were at his home taking inventory of his effects for the purpose, his son, a spirited young man, came in and on finding what they were about threatened them so strongly with a prosecution as swindlers, that they left for the time until his father had recovered from his delusion and escaped them.

I know nothing further of his doings here, but after his removal to Ohio, when he established a bank that failed, I was shown one of his bills, and I recollect that on examining it I thought the device on the face of it was most admirably appropriate, viz.: a sturdy fellow shearing a sheep.      T. D. B.

Note 1: The identity of the correspondent published as "T. D. B." was actually Thomas D. Burrall of Geneva, Ontario Co., NY. This fact is related on p. 358 Charles F. Milliken's 1911 History of Ontario County, where the historian says that Burrall occupied his Geneva farm "from 1814 to 1856;" and that "During the ownership of Mr. Burrall, Joseph Smith ('Joe Smith') was for a while a foreman, but in the end being ignominiously discharged as an arrant rogue and a conscienceless swindler, the future prophet vindicated himself by discovering the 'Golden Plates of Mormon' and becoming the founder of a new religion." Milliken evidently obtained his information from the pages of old Geneva newspapers, but he provided no date for Smith's supposed employment. Those old newspaper reports allow for a period running from 1814 to about 1827. For example, the Geneva Advertiser of Mar. 23, 1886 stated: "Among those whom [Burrall] employed to cut the timber and pile it into cordwood was Joseph Smith... In his transactions with Mr. Burrall this Jo. Smith was far from honest and square. The work of cutting was paid for by the cord. Joseph followed the man whose duty it was to measure the wood, and removed the marks of measurement, through which means he received double pay for his work." Joel Henry Monroe, on pp. 40-41 of his A Century and a Quarter of History: Geneva From 1787 To 1912, guessed that "Joe Smith from about 1812, was a laborer on the farm in what is now the northern section of Geneva. It was said of him at this time that he was in every way unworthy of confidence." Monroe's unattributed date is an impossibility for a farm laborer known to have been born at the end of 1805 and the supposed identification of Burrall's old "foreman" with Joseph Smith, Jr. remains unvarified. Burrall's son, E. J. Burrall, delivered a paper, relating "some interesting scraps concerning the early life of his father," before the Geneva Historical Society on Jan. 12, 1885, which "related to his employment of Joe Smith, in assisting to clear the timber off the land now known as the Torrey Farm" -- see the Geneva Advertiser of Jan. 13, 1885.

Note 2: The "Col. C." mentioned in this account may have been the mysterious Rev. James Covill (or Civill) who reportedly was briefly associated with the Mormons early in 1831, but did not remain a member. A more promising candidate for Burrall's reminiscence is Col. Jacob P. Chamberlain of "The Kingdom" at Seneca Falls, NY -- see notes appended to his biographical sketch in the 1876 History of Seneca County. As for there having been a second financier for the Book of Mormon, (other than Martin Harris), see D. Michael Quinn's 2nd ed. of Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, pp. 51-58, where he says: "In the Smith family's immediate neighborhood, most of the funding for the treasure-quest came from one man... a Mr. Fish... There were different benefactors in other locations... first Oliver Harper and later Josiah Stowell provided the funding... Jacob Chamberlain apparently financed Smith's treasure-quest in the area of Junius/Waterloo." The various "Daniel Hendrix" statements, regarding a Mr. Andrews of Auburn, NY having furnished money to Joseph Smith, are spurious -- copied largely from Joseph FranklinPeck, who makes no mention of any "Andrews."

Note 3: Mr. Burrall's recollection of Joseph Smith, Jr. having been a wood-cutter at one point in his young life may well be a true one. Various early accounts tell of the Smith family men hiring out as temporary common laborers in the Palmyra area, or even farther afield. A Mrs. J. B. Buck recalled Smith having worked at "lumbering" in 1818 or shortly thereafter, this being "some years before he took to 'peeping', and before [money] diggings were commenced under his direction." Also, a corporate agreement between Joseph Smith, Jr. and eight others -- executed at Harmony, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 1, 1825 -- included provision for "the widow Harper," wife of the late Oliver Harper. Harper's business interests included timber sutting and the shipment of logs down the Susquehanna and it appears that Joseph Smith, Sr. and his son Joseph Smith. Jr. were employed as early as 1822 by Harper, in various capacities, up to the time of his murder in May of 1824. E. L. Welch stated in 1903 that Smith had "obtained such funds as he required, by days' work at cutting timber, burning brush and digging ditch."


Vol. XXXVII.                     Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, November 12, 1867.                     No. ?

"History  of  Mormonism."

Appleton & Company, of New York, have just published a volume which is certain to attract much attention from thoughtful readers. Its title is, "Origin, Rise and Progress of Mormonism. Biography of its Founders and History of its Church. Personal reminiscences and historical collections hitherto unwritten." The author, Mr. Pomeroy Tucker, is a veteran editor of Western New York; a gentleman of high culture and unbending integrity; himself an observer of, and to some extent a participant in the scenes which he descrives, connected with the development of this most astonishing mental phenomenon and religious swindle.

The Mormon delusion is an [anomaly]. Originated by cupidity and indolence; its founder a coarse, ignorant and vagabond character; its early apostles all men without reputation, ability or position; its Bible and Creed a compound of blasphemy, folly and cant; its pretended "spiritual manifestations" the boldest and most preposterous humbugs that were ever palmed upon the credulous as evidences of the supernatural -- how does it happen that such a delusion has advanced from its obscure beginnings in a little country town, until its followers are numbered by tens of thousands of deluded men and women, who hold possession of one of our richest territories, control a vast aggregate of material wealth, maintain in this civilized land all the features of a barbaric policy, and deliberately set at naught the laws of God, as recognized in the forms of modern society?

This is a question which future philosophers must discuss. Mr. Tucker has dealt less with its metaphysical aspects -- though not neglecting these -- than with the material facts which furnish a standpoint for their consideration. It was his mission to supply a link heretofore wanting in the chain of Mormon history; to trace it back to its foundation, and show upon what a foundation of fraud and lies this monster superstructure of villainy has been erected. The various works on Mormonism heretofore extant, have been deficient in this important particular. Since the Latter day Saints became numerous enough to attract persecution at Nauvoo, the world has been made familiar with their record, the nature of their institutions, their religious and civil polity, their material progress, and their infamous system of sexual prostitution. But of the beginnings, little has been known, and that little confused and obscure.

Mr. Tucker was probably better fitted to meet this want than any other living man; both by reason of his talent and fidelity as a writer, and on account of the opportunities he had for becoming familiar with the facts. He was a printer in Palmyra when Smith -- the original "Prophet" -- was vagabondizing around that town. He knew the Smith family in all its outgoings and incomings. He was cognizant at the time of all the circumstances connected with the finding of the "Book of Mormon." He aided in bringing before the public SIDNEY RIGDON, the first Mormon preacher. He established the Wayne Sentinel, and was editorially connected with its office when the original edition of the Mormon Bible was there printed -- reading many of the proofs and comparing them with the manuscripts. He learned at an early day the history of this "wonderful" work, and gives facts to show that it was written as a literary recreation by a clergyman named SPAULDING. came into the hands of RIGDON, and was intended by him to be used in a scheme of which ignorant Jo. Smith was merely an instrument. These, and other matters germaine to the subject, and most important in their bearings upon it, Mr. Tucker relates from no hearsay testimony, but of his own personal knowledge. And the proofs he adduces in support of his statements, are ample and conclusive.

The style of this narrative is well chosen and admirable. There is no attempt at pretentious writing or round-about moralizing. The author tells what he has to tell in a clear, terse and direct manner. Beginning with a biography of Jo. Smith and a graphic sketch of his family, he proceeds naturally to an account of Smith's money-digging, his pretended finding of a magic stone, his ultimate discovery of the Golden Bible. The manner in which his swindle was received by fanatics and dupes, is very happily delineated. An account is then given of the building of the first Mormon Church, the printing of the Bible with funds drawn from a superstitious farmer named Martin Harris, the appearance of Rigdon as a preacher, the gradual growth of the sect, and its ultimate emigration to Ohio. From this point, the facts more familiar to the public are rapidly sketched, including the expulsion from Nauvoo, the rise of Brigham Young, the introduction of polygamy, and the remarkable social and civil growth of the sect, down to the present time. The whole makes a complete and comprehensive narrative.

A work of this character, so well framed, cannot fail to find thousands of appreciative readers. It throws light upon one of the most singular phenomenons of the age, and illustrates the power of unrestricted error upon the minds of the weak and superstitious. Mr. Tucker has done the public, and the cause of truth, good service, by putting his knowledge in this accessible and attractive form. The book is for sale by S. R. Gray.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Utica  Morning  Herald

Vol. XXI.                               Utica, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 23, 1867.                               No. 20.

New Books.

Palmyra, N. Y. New York: A. Appleton & Co.

Hitherto no authentic history has been written of the origin of Mormonism. Several books have been written upon the subject of this institution, but they have had to do with it after it became a power in the land. The birth of this gigantic prodigy took place within the memory of men but little past middle age, and yet no one has been found, heretofore, to gather up and preserve in a book the facts connected with that birth. The author of the volume before us was induced to undertake the task he has accomplished, more from a sense of duty than from a desire to appear in print. He is a resident of the place where Mormonism [originated], was a neighbor of its founder, and is as well acquainted with all the circumstances connected with its origin as a man can be with the affairs of his nearest neighbor in the country. This fact goes far to give value to his work. It renders it invaluable as history. Mormonism long ago passed beyond the time when it could be winked at or treated as a visionary upstart of an institution. It has made history for itself, and in doing so, it has added a page to the history of this country that cannot be ignored. It became an absolute duty, therefore, for some one, who was present at its beginning, to write up the facts in the case for the use of the future historian.

Joseph Smith, the petative father of Mormonism, was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, on the 13th [sic] of December, 1805....[remainder not transcribed]

Notes: (forthcoming)


Syracuse [     ] Journal.

Vol. XXIII.                   Syracuse, N.Y., Monday, December 16, 1867.                  No. 299.


...In the summer of the year of the first publication of the Mormon Bible (1830). Prophet Joe Smith, the assumed author of the book, came to Victor on foot, with a basket of his marvelous Bibles for sale. Stopping at the tavern, then kept by the hospitable William C. Dryer, he sought entertainment in exchange for a book, pleading that he was "out of money." The appeal was successful, and after breakfast next morning, Mr. Dryer voluntarily paid his penniles guest three shillings as balance of account. With the aid of this money the "prophet" indulged in whisky potations until (as my informant expresses the idea) "he couldn't navigate;" when the mischievous boys of the town threw him into the horse watering trough at the pump, near the bar-room door and pumped water upon the successor of Nephi until he was sufficiently sobered to bid good bye to Victor and the unbelieving "gentiles."

Note 1: Victor is the second township west from Manchester, Ontario co., NY. If any part of this story is to be believed, the name of its chief character will most likely have to be changed from "Prophet Joe Smith," to "Joseph Smith, Sr., father of the prophet." The pedestrian peddling of copies of the Book of Mormon was a typical activity of the elder Smith during "the summer of the year... 1830."

Note 2: See also Samuel D. Green, who gave this strange recollection in 1877: "[Joseph] Smith went to Victor and in a schoolhouse opened his doctrine. At the close of his speech he fell flat on the floor, and claimed that God had met him, who did Paul at Damascus, and had converted him to the true doctrine of Mormonism. Some said Smith was drunk and fell down, but Smith held to the fact that Mormonism was approved of the Almighty..."


Palmyra  Courier.

Vol. XXV.                             Palmyra, N. Y., Friday, December 20, 1867.                             No. ?

Mormon  History -- Prophet  Joe Smith.
(From  Correspondence  of  the  Troy Times.)

Victor, N. Y., Dec. 10, 1867.     
... At Palmyra and here, the Appleton edition of the new Mormon History by Pomeroy Tucker, is a topic of interested discussion, both in reference to [the reputation] that has been attained in the civilized world by the disciples of Joe Smith and his successors in the short period of forty years, and to the effectual and entertainingly written exposure of the great imposture now first published. The world's history might be searched in vain for the parallel of the success attending the vicious career of Smith, from the commencement of his "religious" delusion to the period of his "martyrdom," as this is so graphically and fully delineated in Mr. Tucker's book.

The obscure origin, rapid growth, and achieved power of the Mormon church, is certainly one of the most peculiar and interesting sectarian problems of the age. -- Forty years ago there was no such thing as a Mormon on the whole face of the globe; to-day that sect numbers a hundred thousand in the territory of Utah, and probably a million throughout the world; while their missions and churches are diffused almost co-extensively with the limits of civilization, making converts to the false faith among the ignorant and superstitious. Such an exposition of the falsehood and imposture on which the Mormon hierarchy is founded -- and Mr. Tucker's book, as remarked by the New York Observer, "tells the whole story from the beginning" -- might be thought by enlightened minds to be sufficient to undermine and bring to naught "Satan's kingdom" in this case; and it is to be ardently hoped that may ultimately be the reward of its publication. But it is apprehended, after all, that this unveiling of delusion and falsehood will serve more to illustrate the facility with which benighted fanaticism and bigotry are controlled for the base designs of crafty pretenders and hypocrites, than it will, immediately, in circumventing the purposes, or stopping the progress of the Mormon imposture.

Joe Smith (according to the very interesting volume with illustrative engravings now before me) made his dupes believe that he took the "Golden Bible" from the "Hill Camorah" in the town of Manchester. I passed that humble bluff of land on my way hither from Palmyra, and had pointed out to me the identical pit where, in spite of the menaces of ten thousand evil spirits with their suffocating fumes of brimstone, the false prophet was enabled by a protecting "Angel of the Lord," to fulfill his celestial "command."

A good story in point is related to me here, and on the most reliable authority for its truth. In the summer of the year of the first publication of this Mormon Bible (1830), Prophet Joe Smith, the assumed author of the book, came to Victor on foot, with a basket of his marvelous Bibles for sale. Stopping at the tavern then kept by the hospitable William C. Dryer, he sought entertainment in exchange for a book, at the "revelation" price of ten shillings, pleading that he was "out of money." The appeal was successful, and after breakfast next morning, Mr. Dryer voluntarily paid his penniless guest three shillings as balance of account. With the aid of the money the "prophet" indulged in whisky potations until (as my informant expresses the idea) "he couldn't navigate," when the mischievous boys of the town threw him into the horse watering trough at the pump, near the bar room door, and pumped water upon this successor of Nephi until he was sufficiently sobered to bid good bye to Victor and the unbelieving "gentiles." C. J. L.

Note: The final paragraph is from the editor, and recounts an incident not told of in the 1867 Tucker book. All attempts to locate such correspondence in the 1867 Troy Times have been fruitless,



Vol. XII.                                    Lowville, N. Y., April 1, 1868.                                    No. 34.

The  Mormon  Split.
(From the Chicago Journal.)

There being many newspaper items afloat purporting to set forth the present condition of the Mormon Church, the various secessions, offshoots and outgrowths of the same, together with some of the tenets or dogmas of faith to which they severally hold, I thought, with your permission, through the medium of the Journal, to make some statements which may serve in a measure to correct the ideas which must inevitably have been gathered from the items lately and extensively published. The organization of the Church was effected April 6, 1830.

(read text of this article here)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XX.                       Rochester, N.Y., Saturday, January 2, 1869.                     No. 1.



Pen and Pencil Sketches Illustrating their Early History. I.


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Here Joe Smith claimed that the Golden Bible was found. The above is taken
from the road a little to the North of the "Big Tree," called "Joe Smith's Willow."

The rise of a new religion in the midst of the nineteenth century, under the very eyes of our most intelligent civilization and in the very center of one of the most highly favored districts of Western New York, is an event that may well excite the attention and interest of every thoughtful mind. The birth of a new faith, the promulgation of a new revelation, is far more rare and strange than the beginning of a new nation. Yet many of the first organizers of the Mormon Church are still alive. The first preacher still lives. Many still remember the first prophet and seer, who gravely asserted his divine commission to discover and translate a new volume of the word of GOD, and to introduce a new and complete dispensation of doctrines, prophecies and miracles, with new promises of earthly prosperity and new securities for eternal salvation.

It is exceedingly desirable to gather up and record in some reliable form all the authentic information that can be obtained concerning this strange movement which has had such wonderful success, and which, in less than forty years has grown into one of the most compact, efficient, ecclesiastical organizations for self-defense, self- perpetuation, and extensive propogation. It may have in it the seeds of its own speedy dissolution, but these do not yet appear. The locomotive may plow through its barriers and dissipate its strange forces, but so far as we now see its numbers and wealth, its superstitious bigotry and fanaticism are all increasing with astonishing and alarming rapidity. Probably one million converts and their children have given their assent to the divine authority of the Mormon creed. Flourishing missions are established in Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, France, Malta, India, China, Australia, South America and the Sandwich Islands. The Mormon Bible has been translated into German, French, Italian, Danish and Welsh languages. Adriot, energetic missionaries -- easy, unscrupulous and Jesuitical -- go everywhere, among the poor, ignorant, and discontented masses of the old world and promise them a home and land of their own, with an easy religion, with sanctified indulgences suited to every taste and passion, all covered with the garb of both respectability and piety. All this has grown out of the efforts of a family of shiftless, lazy, dreamy, superstitious SMITHS, to get a living without work.

The Smith family, from its great numbers, must be acknowledged to be an ancient, prolific, industrious and therefore unquestionably honorable family, and like all ancient and honorable families, have some branches that are decayed and worthless.

Yet many Smiths have forged out worthy deeds and noble names, and deserve to have a sledge and an anvil for their armorial device. Many have made their mark in the world; some have cut their marks so deep and broad as to turn them into the very currents of history.

None of the world-renowned Smiths have made the family name more notorious, famous, or infamous than the first apostle, prophet and seer of the Mormons, JOSEPH SMITH, JR., generally and less respectfully called Joe Smith. It is not yet clear whether his renown is owing to his genius, his impudent imposture, his adroit shrewdness, or to a more lucky strike into a rich vein of superstitious credulity and ignorance which runs underneath even the highest civilization. Perhaps we shall not be far from the truth if we say that his success was owing to all these combined, except the first. Joe Smith was not a genius. He was the lazy son of a superstitious, visionary father -- an ignorant Vermonter, who came to Western New York, and settled in the village of Palmyra, Wayne county. He gained a scanty living by chance jobs of well-digging, gardening, hiring out to farmers, and sometime after added the trafficin gingerbread, root beer and candies. In his well-digging, he professed the most implicit confidence in the witch-hazel wand. With a solemn air of profound mystery he would obey the magic twig, and point out the very spot where water would surely be found. His confidence in this also extended to other things besides water hid in the bowels of the earth. He soon professed to discern silver mines or buried coin in the banks and hills of the farms around the village, and many a night he superintended excavations, with laborious digging and with large promises of treasure which would speedily enrich them all. It is said that he nearly or quite ruined several of his credulous neighbors through those schemes of money-digging. It is also stated that when his credit as a seer was well nigh exhausted, he buried a few silver coins to keep up the hopes of his victims. He found it expedient to remove from his old neighbors to a rough, neglected wood lot of about eight acres, in the edge of the town of Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y.

Joe was now about fifteen years of age and a "chip of [sic] the old block," inheriting a disposition to see and hear all sorts of mysterious things -- dreamy, taciturn, lazy, and fully expecting to get rich without work -- as the height of his earthly hopes. He became, also, expert in the use of the hazel wand, and his visions of mysterious treasure even went beyond those of his father. All this delighted his father, who often boasted of his wonderful powers. A new impulse was given to the superstitious visions of father and son, by finding a piece of semi-transparent quartz in digging a well for a Mr. Chase, of Palmyra. Smith, senior, and the elder sons were digging the well and the lazy Joe looking on. The diggers threw out a curious looking white stone which Joe at once appropriated. This stone he professed to use as a wonderful revealer of lost or stolen goods or of buried treasure, and the digging was renewed with greater enthusiasm then ever before. This was chiefly at night. The day was spent in lounging, drinking whisky, reading novels and stories about Captain Kidd and his buried booty. His taste for reading increased and at length took a serious turn. He read the Bible, especially its historical narratives and prophecies. He once made some profession of special interest in religion and thought of joining the Methodist class. He, however, held strange and conceited views of Scripture, and begun to dispute all the commonly received notions of religion. From some source he adopted the theory that a former race of high civilization and wealth inhabited this country. This again gave additional plausibility to his wonderful promises of buried treasure, but this could not last long with the uniform failure of all the divining and digging. His credit was at stake. Something must be done -- something new must turn up. About this time a stranger was seen to visit the home of the Smiths. It has been asserted that this mysterious stranger must have been SIDNEY RIGDON, to whom has been very generally attributed the furnishing of the manuscript from which the Mormon Bible was printed. Rigdon, who is now living, and with whom the writer recently had a personal interview, positively denies all knowledge of the Book of Mormon until after it was printed. If Rigdon's denial be admitted, this stranger remains unknown; and whoever he was, unquestionably aided in placing the fabulous romance in the hands of the arch impostor.

Joe Smith began now with his magic white stone to utter prophecies of a buried revelation, which, when discovered and interpreted, would tell the history of the ancients races and usher in a new dispensation. He employed men to dig in solemn silence, he holding the hazel wand and pointing where the spade should strike. He asserted that on two occasions they had just reached the buried chest, or coffer, and an unlucky word broke the charm and the chest moved itself away from their reach. He averred that he himself seized hold of the mysterious box and by the wiles of the devil, it was violently snatched away. He then declared that a sacrifice would be necessary to drive away the infernal powers, whose malicious wrath knew no bounds in prospect of a new religion so much superior to all the old religions of all past ages, and so much more damaging to the kingdom of Satan. A sacrifice was offered; a fine, fat, black sheep was contributed by a farmer, and yet the digging was unsuccessful, although the Smith family shared the greater part of the fat mutton for their own table.

At length, when alone on the sacred hill, called in the language of the Mormon Bible, Camora, Smith succeeded, as he affirms, in seizing and holding the refractory chest. He had before been fully informed of its sacred contents and had been directed how to proceed. His efforts were crowned with complete success and the golden plates of the Mormon were in his hands.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XX.                       Rochester, N.Y., Saturday, January 23, 1869.                     No. 4.



Pen and Pencil Sketches Illustrating their Early History. - II.


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The two most important personages in the earliest days of Mormonism, next to the chief seer, Smith, were Martin Harris and Sidney B. Rigdon. Harris furnished money and Rigdon "brains" for the new movement, for the Smith family were lamentably wanting in both these important requisites for a new religion. Harris was the first convert who had property. All the rest were dependent on their daily labor for a precarious livlihood. Harris had a good farm and was in comparatively easy circumstances. He was, however, a weak, credulous man, very ignorant, and yet a constant reader of the Old Testament. It is said that he learned the whole of it so as to be able to repeat it from memory, and could give chapter and verse for almost any passage. He seemed to himself to have conquered the whole province of revelation, including narratives, doctrines, prophecies and mysteries; and, like a greater personage of olden time, he sighed for a new world to conquer. Familiar with the old Hebrew prophets in his way, and with his own interpretation of their sublime visions, which he of course readily exhausted, he was ready to hail with delight a "live prophet," even if he did, to all human vision, seem like an idle vagabond. This doubtless added to the sacredness of his prophetic character, in his eyes. It perhaps was the weird eccentricity of one familiar with strange visions and mysterious revelations. At any rate, Harris gave all the mind he had and all the influence he could command to the new prophet. He was most thoroughly convinced of the divine mission of Joe Smith. He devoted his time to the new faith, and at length mortgaged his farm to raise means for printing the new Bible. His wife, who had no sympathy for what she fully believed to be the insane delusion of her husband, refused to sign the mortgage, and the alienation became so serious that they separated. Harris persisted in his efforts to publish the New Scriptures of the Mormon faith, and at length an edition of 5,000 copies was printed at a cost of $3,000. One of the printers has now in his possession the original sheets from which the first edition was printed.

Harris retained his influence through all the early years of the new enterprise at Palmyra, at Kirtland, O., and for a time at Independence, Mo. At this latter place Smith discarded him and expelled him from the company of the saints, and Harris left the community as an excommunicated Mormon. But little is known of his subsequent history, except that with all his bitterness against his rivals, and disgust at their conduct, he continued to believe most devoutly in the inspiration of the Book of Mormon, and the truth of, at least, the earliest revelations of Joe Smith.

SIDNEY B. RIGDON was the master intellect of the whole movement prior to the settlement of the "Saints" at Nauvoo. A few weeks ago the writer visited this original apostle, the first preacher, the ablest lecturer of all the early days of Mormonism, and the principal materials for this sketch were communicated from his own lips. He has resided for nearly twenty years in the village of Friendship, Alleghany Co., N. Y. He is now a venerable old man of nearly eighty years, with snowy beard and a keen eye. His health seems good; his mind clear and vigorous. He has indeed a quick, excitable manner, and a fondness for strong, emphatic expression, which seem to be the relics of his old fanaticism. He appears communicative and frank; yet in the short interview above mentioned he carefully avoided minute particulars of his Mormon associations and history. Like Martin Harris, while with almost fierce invective he denounces his associate leaders of the Mormon Church and colony, he still clings to his faith in the inspiration of Smith and his Bible. Rigdon professes to believe that as Paul, by the abundant revelation vouchsafed to him, was tempted by the devil to vanity and self-confidence, as he himself declares, so Smith was exalted above measure until he fell into the condemnation of the devil, and became corrupt in morals and an apostate from the truth which had been revealed to him. Rigdon claims that he saw the secret tendencies which afterward developed into the system of "sealing spiritual wives," but which the outside world persists in calling polygamy.

Rigdon narrates his early history with entire freedom, and with an old man's pardonable pride in the early proofs of remarkable talents and extraordinary successes.

The father of Rigdon was a planter in Maryland, owning considerable land and a number of slaves. From conscientious scruples in regard to the lawfulness of slavery, he at length manumitted his slaves, sold his peoperty, and moved into the southwest corner of the State of Pennsylvania. Here young Rigdon was brought up to hard farm work, with extremely limited advantages of education. He became acquainted with a Baptist minister and his attention was called to personal religion. He received baptism not far from the time in which he attained his majority. He now struck out boldly from the homestead and spent a number of months in the family of his new friend and spiritual counsellor, the Baptist minister before mentioned. Here he found what seemed to him a perfect paradise of books and intellectual companionship. He found in himself an insatiable thirst for reading. He read history, divinity, and general literature, without much method or aim, except to gratify his intense love of reading. He gave great attention to the Bible, and made himself very familiar with all parts of it. He readily committed to memory and thus stored up large portions of the most attractive portions of the Bible.

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This extraordinary love of serious learning and remarkable aptness in the study of Scripture, very naturally suggested to his own mind and to others the idea of his becoming a preacher. He was licensed, according to the custom of the Baptists, that he might prove his gifts and try his calling.

If we credit his own account, his early pulpit ministrations created a great sensation throughout that part of the country, and especially in the western part of Ohio, where the labors of the young preacher were in great demand. He was here employed as a kind of evangelist -- without a settled charge. About this time he married, and with his wife visited Pittsburgh. A Baptist church was then vacant and he was invited to spend the Sabbath and supply the pulpit. The result was an engagement with the congregation to remain as their regular supply. Here he met with great success as a preacher, and built up a strong church. His intense love of investigation and new modes of thought here continued to grow upon him. He claims that he thoroughly reviewed the Scriptures, and reached down to their profoundest depths. Dissatisfied with all ordinary interpretations, he began a series of new and original explanations of doctrine, of history and of prophecy. These novelties soon appeared in his preaching, and at length he announced to his congregation that he could not preach the doctrines or receive the interpretations of Scripture which the church professed to believe. He resigned his charge; but a large number sympathized with him and wished him to form a new congregation. He, however removed to Ohio as an Independent Baptist, preaching what he pleased and contradicting whomsoever he pleased. He himself stated that not unfrequently he would attend a service and take his seat among the congregation, and after the sermon arise and ask the liberty of adding a few remarks, and then quote passages of Scripture to show the erronous doctrines which the preacher had just uttered, and close by inviting the congregation to come and hear him at his next appointment. This kept the community in a ferment and secured for him crowded houses. He seemed just on the point of forming a new sect which should overthrow by learning, logic and eloquence all the creeds and religious systems of the world!!

In this part of his narrative the old fire gleamed from his keen eye, his cheeks flushed with excited ardor, and with an oratorical sweep of his hand he said: -- "Yes, if I were only young again I could sweep away all your religions from under the whole heaven.

Here the orbit of his wandering star was crossed by a Mormon missionary, or, in plainer English, a peddler of Mormon Bibles, Oliver Cowdery, Joe Smith's amanuensis, who was about the only one who could write a respectable hand, and who prepared the manuscript for the printer, came along with his pack. He had heard of the erratic and heretical preacher. He presented him with a copy of the golden Bible. Rigdon solemnly affirms that this was his first personal knowledge of Joe Smith and the Mormons. After a few days Cowdery returned and held a long interview with Rigdon. Rigdon had read a considerable portion of the book. He questioned Cowdery about Smith, and found that he was entirely illiterate. Rigdon expressed the utmost amazement that such a man should write a book which seemed to shed a flood of light on all the old Scriptures, and give them perfect consistency and complete system. In his fresh enthusiasm, he exclaimed that if God ever gave a revelation surely this must be divine. Thus Mormonism gained its first clerical convert, and from this time Rigdon became one of the great lights and leading spirits of the Mormon movement.

He at once left Ohio and went to Palmyra. There he made the acquaintance of Harris, and delivered the first Mormon sermon in Palmyra, in the hall of the Young Men's Association. He declared that he was called of God to preach the new revelation. He took a text from the new Bible:

First Book of Nephi, Chap. iv. -- "And the angel spake unto me saying, These last records which thou hast seen among the Gentiles shall establish the truth of the first, which is of the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them, and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues and people that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and Savior of the world: and that all men must come unto Him or they cannot be saved."

He stood up, holding the Book of Mormon in his right hand and the old Bible in his left, and claimed that each was necessary to the other; that the old Bible could not be properly interpreted except by the aid of this new revelation. This sermon was heard by a very small audience, and attracted no favorable attention beyond the few "saints" who were already convinced. Rigdon says that his first introduction to Joe Smith was at the house of the Whitmers, in Fayette, Seneca Co., near the school-house in which one of the first Mormon meetings was held, and where a few converts had been added to the new faith, and had received baptism by night, by the hands of Oliver Cowdery.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XX.                       Rochester, N.Y., Saturday, March 20, 1869.                       No. 4.



Pen and Pencil Sketches Illustrating their Early History. - III.


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To keep the Devil away when the golden plates of the Mormon Bible were found (?)
(See first article on Mormonism.)

It is unquestionable that Sidney Rigdon was the real master spirit of the Mormon Church from the time he united his faith and his fortunes with the new movement. He was a ready speaker, a fluent controversialist, having at command new and plausible theories, with a love of contradiction and startling novelties of interpretation. He had gathered a congregation at Mentor, Ohio, of such materials as would naturally cluster round such a man. He had evidently unsettled his own faith and that of large numbers of his hearers in the generally received interpretations of the Old Bible. He was eccentric and bold, and among plain, uneducated people, passed for an oracle. He was ripe for a new religion -- ready to listen to a new revelation.

But we meet with great difficulty in ascertaining the exact truth as to his agency in furnishing the materials for the Mormon Bible. It has been strongly affirmed that Rigdon furnished Smith with the whole manuscript, which, it is said, he obtained in Pittsburgh from a printing office. It is undoubtedly true, according to Rigdon's own account, that he was living in Pittsburgh at the time of the supposed revelation. He claims he was a settled Baptist minister in that city, and denies having any knowledge of any such manuscript. A considerable amount of evidence exists that Smith obtained possession of a fanciful romance, written in Scriptural style, not unlike the quaint Chronicles that are sometimes written by ingenious school girls or academy boys. The author of this is said to have been one Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College, and president [sic] for a time, of Salem, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. This manuscript has been traced to Pittsburgh; and, whether Rigdon knew of it or not, was according to the most undeniable testimony, the principal material out of which the Book of Mormon was composed. It was no doubt prepared by some one beside Joe Smith. For, weak and absurd as much of it is, it is plainly beyond the ability of a shiftless, ignorant young man, who could hardly write a legible hand or construct a single correct sentence. If Rigdon had any hand in this, it was with the utmost secrecy that he gave his assistance to Smith. It is due to Rigdon, who now stands well for veracity and integrity among all who know him, to give full weight to his positive denial of such a share in the production of the so-called new revelation. At least we must admit, unless his memory is treacherous, or a long habit of denial has distorted his own conviction and belief that such a denial from a respectable and honorable man of his age, soon to render up his account, is entitled to credit.

We now turn from this period of doubtful facts and conflicting testimony as to the origin of the Book of Mormon, (which will form the topic of a future sketch,) to follow the fortunes of Rigdon in his new character as the Aaron of the new Moses -- the mouthpiece, the doctrinal expounder, the ecclesiastical organizer of the new church.

Joe Smith at once took Rigdon into his fullest confidence, and Rigdon professed the most implicit faith in the frequent revelations which the young prophet boldly uttered in the name of God. These so-called revelations were carefully recorded, and they now make up a volume of Sacred Scripture among the Mormons, bearing this title: -- "The Book of Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Selected from the Revelations of God by Joseph Smith, President. Third European Edition -- Liverpool and London. Sold at the Latter Day Saints' Book Depot, 35 Jewin Street -- 1852."

This volume contains, first, a system of doctrines under the title of "Lectures on Faith." These lectures show considerable ingenuity, with some of the most absurd blunders; for example, in developing the thought that faith is an element of all power, the writer affirms that God himself acts by faith when he creates, and quotes as a proof text, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God," and explains this to mean as if transposed thus: We understand that through faith the worlds were framed by the word of God; and then adds, "Who cannot see that if God framed the worlds by faith that it is by faith He exercises power over them, and that faith is the principle of power." These lectures are drawn mainly from the Scriptures, and contain many valuable statements of practical truth, adapted to uneducated minds. They are accompanied by a sort of Catechism for review. Rigdon was the author of all these lectures. He was the acknowledged authority -- the expositor and doctrinal oracle of the new church.

It seems to correspond with Rigdon's denial of any agency in the production of the Golden Bible that his name does not appear in the record of Revelations until more than a year after the professed discovery of the golden plates. Nearly, or quite all, the new converts of the first year have "honorable mention" by name. These men have a record as the special favorites of heaven, and a few illiterate, deluded men have gained a strange immortality. Harris, Pratt, Cowdery, Whitmer, Phelps, Gilbert, Knight, &c. are constantly named in the so-called revelations. Even the wife of the prophet, Emma Smith, was honored with a long message direct from heaven, which closes with the excellent advice: -- "Continue in the spirit of meekness and beware of pride. Let thy soul delight in thy husband and the glory which shall come upon him. And verily, I say unto you that this is my voice unto all. Even so. Amen."

Mention of Rigdon "by revelation," appears in the following announcement to Edward Partridge, given December, 1830, (see page 209,) -- "Thus saith the Lord God the mighty one of Israel, Behold I say unto you my servant Edward that you are blessed and your sins are forgiven you, and you are called to preach my Gospel as with the voice of a trump; and I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom, and you shall declare it with a loud voice saying, Hosanna, blessed be the name of the most high God."

The divine call revealed to Rigdon, assumes to be given in the name of Jesus Christ. It is enough to make one shudder to read such bold blasphemy. The message is in these words: -- "I am Jesus Christ, the son of God, who was crucified for the sins of the world, even as many as believe on my name that they may become the sons of God. Behold, verily I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works, I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work. Thou art blessed for thou shalt do great things. Behold thou wast sent forth, even as John, to prepare the way before me. Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto thee a commandment that thou shalt baptize by water, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, even as the apostles of old. I am God, and mine arm is not shortened, and I will show miracles and signs and wonders unto all those who believe on my name."

Another revelation, dated December, 1830, reads thus: -- "Behold, I say unto you (Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon), that it is not expedient in me that ye should translate any more until ye shall go to the Ohio. And again I say unto you that ye shall not go until ye have preached my gospel in those parts, and have strengthened up my church, expecially in Colesville, for behold they pray much unto me."

In March, 1833 Rigdon attained the second place in the Church as the Chief Counsellor, and with Frederick G. Williams, formed the two assistant presidents under Smith. These were the "three mightiest" names of the new church. The revelation ran thus, addressed to Joseph Smith, Jr.: "Again, verily, I say unto thy brethren, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, their sins are forgiven them also, and they are accounted as equal with thee in holding the keys of the last kingdom."

The early operations of Smith and Rigdon were conducted chiefly in sprase rural Fayette, about two miles south of Waterloo, N. Y. Here in a small stream the first baptisms were administered. Here, a so-called church was organized in a school house, which is still standing. In Broome Co., at Colesville, another cluster of converts was gathered, and also a few in South Bainbridge, Chenango Co. Here Joe Smith found his wife, Miss Emma Hale. Something was also accomplished in the interest of the new faith in Harmony, Pa. In all these districts, however, success was not at all satisfactory. In Palmyra and Manchester, the home of the Prophet and the scene of his first visions and labors, everything was "played out."

At the instance of Rigdon, and under his lead, the new church emigrated from the vicinity of the Sacred Hill Camorah, by revelation, "to the Ohio." Here the Saints gathered together in the town of Kirtland, near Mentor, Lake Co. Here Rigdon had numerous disciples, over whom he exerted a strong influence. Many of these accepted the new faith of their erratic leader and late pastor. Here in Kirtland was the first colony of Mormons. Here they purchased property, and Smith, by convenient revelation, obtained control of t5he tithings and most of the property of the Saints beyond their mere support. Here he opened the Kirtland bank and issued a large circulation of what in those days were known as "wild-cat" bills. He also had a mill and store. Here, by revelation, the Saints were commanded to build a commodious dwelling for the prophet, and things went on swimmingly until the bank became insolvent and general bankruptcy ensued. Smith and Rigdon, to escape arrest, left in haste and by night. This was the hegira of the prophet to the Land of Zion -- twelve miles [sic] west of Independence, Mo., -- where the Saints had before purchased a refuge and selected a site for a temple, and where Rigdon had the chief command for a considerable period previous to the difficulties at Kirtland. It was on a casual visit from the West to the former scene of their operations that the two principal leaqders were in such imminent danger as to make it convenient to leave in great haste.

At Kirtland a new convert was gained who was destined to exert a most powerful influence upon the history and success of the Mormon Church. This was Brigham Young, and all his family. This was in the year 1832. His department was that of Foreign Missions, and all the wonderful success of the Mormons abroad has been due to the early plans, shrewd management and thorough organization which he gave to this feature of the new Church of Latter Day Saints. Brigham soon began to be a power in the new church. The first few years, while Rigdon was rising, Young was more or less abroad, gathering converts and organizing the admirable emigration plans which have given life and power to the Mormon Church.

The emigrants were of course devoted to Young, and knew little of Rigdon; and when, by the death of Smith, a successor was to be chosen, Brigham Young out-generaled Rigdon and reached the Presidency; and to this day Rigdon cannot conceal his disgust for his old rival. He says he wonders how Satan himself can consent to make use of such a blockhead?

Notes: (forthcoming)


Plattsburgh (   ) Sentinel.

Vol. XIV.                               Plattsburgh, N. Y., Friday, June 4, 1869.                             No. 51.

New York Correspondence.

New York, May 20, 1869.   
THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS OR MORMONS have public worship every Sabbath, at 145 Grand street, E. D., at the hours of 3 and 7 o'clock P.M. Several Prominent Elders and Missionaries from Salt Lake City will be present Tomorrow.

Have we Mormons among us? This question, suggested by the above notice, will be answered to the satisfaction of any one who will take the trouble to visit the place where they have stated preaching every Sunday. Your correspondent, moved by curiosity and a desire to gather items for the Sentinel, attended the "public worship" announced above, and saw and heard about as follows:

In nn upper room in the city of Williamsburgh, and in the street which is called Grand, were assembled about one hundred and fifty men, women and children, with a liberal sprinkling of babies. The lattor leading and influential class of the ministy, are seldom allowed a representation in our fashionable churches. But the Mormons are more liberal, and less elusive. The congregation consisted principally of persons of foreign birth, and apparently not of the most intelligent and refined class.

The first speaker was introduced as Elder Stewart. He appears like a coarse, rough specimen by nature, and not much modified by art. His oratory is of the noisy, brawling style. His remarks consisted of "words, words, words," much sound and fury, little sense, and nothing worth remembering.

He was followed by Elder Pratt, celebrated apostle of Mormonism. The Elder is getting well along in life. His gray hair and white beard, (side and chin whiskers) tell of more than three score years. He has rather an agreeable face, and speaks in such an impressive and candid manner as to command respectful attention. There is no rant in his style. He tells a straight forward story, in plain and earnest language. He believes in the truth of all he says; or, he is a most accomplished imposter.

According to Elder Pratt: The Mormons, or "Latter Day Saints," accept the scriptures as contained in the Old, and New Testaments, as the word of God. The faith they teach is the same as that delivered to the early Saints -- the same that was taught by the apostles. But in addition to the revelation of the Bible they have a new revelation. And in this wise received they it: The prophet, Joseph Smith, found certain plates of stone [sic], bearing inscriptions in an unknown language, which no man could read, but by the guidance of divim inspiration. This was given through the medium of an angel who appeared to Smith and talked with him. The same angel afterwards appeared to three other men at the same time, and testified to the truth of the inscription on the stones, and to the fidelity of Smith's interpretation thereof, which was then finished and now constitutes the "Book of Mormon." The angel commanded these men to go and preach this gospel to all the world. He shewed them the sacred tables and permitted them to take them in their hands and examine them. The hour of this visit from the heaven ly messenger was not in the night, but in the day time and in the full light of the sun. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white and glistening.

The inscription on those stones was the work of holy prophets who lived on the American continent ages before its discovery by Columbus. What is there incredible in this narrative? Have not angels appeared to men with messages from God, and are not the records of these occurrences in the holy scriptures which we all believe? Is not God the same to-day that he was in the days of the old patriarchs and prophets, and in the latter days of the Apostles? The truth of the Book of Mormon rests upon as good evidence as does that of any part of the Bible. Who among us has seen any of the original manuscripts of the books of our Bible! Who for hundreds of years past has seen any of those writings! And yet we believe that they existed, and that their substance and spirit do now exist in the language of the Old and New Testaments. He (Elder Pratt) never saw the original of the Book of Mormon. But he has seen and known and conversed with the three men, besides the prophet Smith, who saw the tables. His belief in this matter is more than faith. He knows those men saw, and talked with, an Angel of the Lord. He knows the Book of Mormon is true. That Book has been already translated from the English language into the French, German, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Welsh, and the language of the Sandwich Islands.

It is not necessary that a prophet should work miracles as an evidence of his divine commission. John the Baptist was a great prophet, yet he did no miracle. Noah resorted not to miracles to convince the scoffers that his faith in the impending destruction of mankind came from God. -- But if the evidence of miracles is required to support the faith of the Latter Day Saints there is an abundance of such evidence. -- They have been wrought in all nations in which the Mormon faith has been preached. If he were to ask those Saints present who had seen such miracles as the restoring of sight to the blind, healing the sick, &c, to bear witness by standing up, doubtless two-thirds of that congregation would arise. -- During the prevalence of cholera many were raised, by miraculous power, from the very door of death to life and health.

Why should it be said that the days of miracles have past? The Savior, before ascension, gave unto his disciples the power to heal the sick, cast out devils and do many wondrous works, and this has never been taken away. Christians should exercise it now as freely as did the immediate followers of the Lord. And they would do so, did they but live up to that strength which it is their privilege to attain.

The Elder having finished his discourse, a patriarchial appearing gentleman with long hair, and a full development of beard, both white like snow, arose and desired to ask a question. Permission being granted by, he preambled by stating that he had seen the sick healed, the bliud restored to sight and the lame made to leap for joy. These things were done by the Spiritualists. They did not pretend that they wrought through divine aid, but Only by a natural gift which some possessed. He mentioned the somwhat celebrated Dr. Newton as one of the gifts. Now the question he desired to ask was this: By what power do the Spiritualists work their miracles?

Elder Pratt arose and said that he knew nothing of the works of Spiritualists and he would give no opinion in relation to the influence through which they operate; he could only say for the Latter Day Saints that their power came from the Lord, and they would not, if they could, exercise authority from any other source "If," said he, "we could of ounselves, and in our own strength, say to that mountain be thou removed and cast into the sea, we would not do it, for whatever we do, we do in the name of the Lord."

This answer seemed satisfactory to the Saints, if not to the Spiritualists. A hymn was then announced by one of the elders, and the chorister pitched the tune, and the choir pitched into tune and hymn and executed both, without mercy. Then Brother Joseph Young closed the service with a brief prayor.

After meeting, some time was spent in friendly greeting and conversation. Your correspondent also tarried that he might observe the Saints and ask questions. -- "Who is the Spiritual gentleman?" I inquired of sundry friendly looking Mormons. No one could tell his name; but one, better informed than the rest and doubtless perfectly reliable, assured me that he was the "Grand Master of the Lodge of Spiritualists in New York." My Informant's ideas may havo been a little mixed, but there is such an order and such an office, quite likely the white bearded old gent occupies that exalted position.

The Brother, Joseph Young, who made the closing prayer, is no less a personage than a son of the great Brigham Young. He is rather a cute looking youth, aged about 23 or 24. He wears a round top light colored hat with a broad black band, which is quite the style in New York this spring and will be all the rage in Salt Lake City, "when Joey come marching home again." The rest of his apparel is no more clerical than the aforeaaid hat; and his general make up indicates a cheerful, easy, good-enough young fellow. He talked and laughed with the glrls in a free worldly sort of a way, just as if he was not a saint. He seemed to enjoy being lionized, (which is natural enough) and, though so far away from his illustrious Pa, and his many little brothers and sisters, and his several affectionate mothers, he is doubtless having good time.

Elder Pratt after conversing with the Spiritual gentleman and the brethren, came down from the desk and shook hands with the sisters in a polite and kindly manner -- just as any Elder might do. Neither of the speakers alluded to the peculiar institution of Mormonism, polygamy. They would of coarse justify the practice by scriptural precedent.

The rise and progress of Mormonism is wonderful. Among the religious delusions there is not found its equal, in the history of the world, since the foundation of Islamism. Hardly forty years have passed and the Mormons have increased from the prophet and his three immediate co-laborers, to a community of one hundred thousand; constituting a flourishing, and in many respects an insolated nation, in tbe midst of our United States.   CASSIUS.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Utica  Daily  Observer.

Vol. XXII.                               Utica, N. Y., Mon., Aug. 2, 1869.                             No. 83.

A  Mormon  Sensation.

The Sons of Joseph Smith Propose to Disestablish
Brigham's Pet Institution -- Brigham
Blasphemes the "Elect Lady of God."

From the Utah Daily Reporter, July [24].

A few days ago we mentioned the fact that William [sic] Alexander and David Hyrum, the younger sons of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, were on their way to Salt Lake City to set up the standard of the reorganized or anti-polygamy church. A singular interest attaches to the name of David Hyrum. A few months before Joseph's death, he stated that "the man was not born who was to lead this people, but of Emma Smith should be born a son who would succeed in the presidency after a season of disturbance." Joseph Smith was killed June 27, 1844, and the son, named from his father's direction David Hyrum, was born at the Mansion House in Nauvoo on the 17th of the succeeding November. This prophecy is secretly dear to thousands of Mormons who are weary of the tyranny of Brigham Young, and yet hold to their faith in Joseph Smith. A few days ago the young men reached Salt Lake City, and soon called upon Brigham Young and announced their intention to organize their church at once, asking permission to defend their faith in the Tabernacle, proposing to argue with the Brighamites from the original Mormon books.

We have but scant reports of the interview, but it is said to have been very warm. Brigham was very angry at their presumption, and denied them the use of the Tabernacle, sending word at the same time to the Bishops to shut them out of the ward meeting houses. The brothers, at one point of the conversation, denied that their father ever practiced polygamy, citing their mother's testimony; to which Brigham retorted that their mother "was a liar, and had been proven a thief," with much more of the sort. Be it remembered that the lady thus spoken of is the _Electa Cyria,_ or "Elect Lady of God," in Mormon theology, who was the glory of their early history. Like Pope Pagan, of the "Pilgrim's Progress," Brigham doubtless gnaws his nails in vain rage that he cannot, as in former times, let loose the vengeance of his Nauvoo Legion upon these sectarians and crush the rebellion in blood. If his power were now equal to his feelings, we should have repeated the story of the Morrisites, when a high civil functionary of Utah led the Legion in broad day to slaughter men and women who had surrendered themselves prisoners. But nothing more than petty persecutions will be attempted at this late day, and we earnestly hope the young men will succeed in their enterprise. Of their religious principles as opposed to Brighamism, we know little, but recognize in them tolerant men, good citizens and loyal subjects of the United States.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. I.                               Auburn, N. Y., Thurs., Aug. 26, 1869.                             No. 50.


SACREMENTO, CAL. Aug. 15th, 1869.      
Editor Democrat. -- In my trip across the continent, at Salt Lake City, I spent three days with Gov. Seward and party, enjoying unusal opportunities to become acquainted with the peculiar institution of Mormonism. You will naturally expect that I should have formed some very decided opinions of these "latter day saints," and I will confess to you that I have, and for the enlightenment of the "gentile" world I propose to give your readers the result of my observation and opinions.

That a bold and crafty fanatic, such as Joe Smith, should have had his followers. need, in this day of "-ism," excite no wonder. That he should have been believed to be a prophet then, and deified since by his followers as the equal of Jesus Christ, is a matter of no great surprise to the moralist and philosopher.

But that so transparent a humbug as is this whole mormon pretence to be a religion should have flourished and thrived with its polygamy,in open violation of law, and that, too, under the protection of, or in defiance of, the laws of the United States, is to me, I confess, a matter of amazement. Let us for a moment glance at the history of mormonism, before speaking of its results as seen in Utah. The pretence everywhere proclaimed by mormons is that Joe Smith was a divinely inspired prophet, to whom was revealed the existence of the "Book of Mormons," [sic] and the exact spot in a hill near Palmyra, N. Y., where for four thousand years the plates from which it was afterwards printed had lain buried. That Smith had a "revelation" to exhume said book, and as the chosen prophet of the Almighty, -- taking this book as his creed of faith -- to establish mormonism, with the features which to-day make it an abomination in the land. Of this pretended religion -- with its impostors and fanatical believers -- I propose to give briefly the facts of its history.

Some thirty years ago, what is how published as the "Book of Mormon" was written by an eccentric clergyman then residing at Palmyra, N. Y. [sic] Joseph Smith, an exhorter and agitator, secured possession of this manuscript, which in hours of leisure had been writen for pastime, and caused it to be buried upon the farm of a Mr. _____ into whose confidence Smith ingratiated himself as a prophet. In due time Smith's plans developed; the writer of the manuscript died; the farmer with whom Smith lived became a believer in Smith as a prophet, sold his farm and was swindled out of his money by his guest. Smith now proclaimed that he had received a "revelation" to dig in a certain hill of said farm, and that he would find a book revealing to the world a new faith --the creed of Mormon.

I have personally visited the spot where "The Book of Mormon" was dug up, have conversed with many who knew the facts here stated. I have been in the office of The Palmyra Gazette, where the book was first printed, and conversed with one of the compositors who set a portion of the type.

With this beginning, it is unnecessary to trace Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, though his career as an adventurer, imposter, horse thief, and "prophet," to his death at Nauvoo.

The exodus of his fanatical believers to Salt Lake valley in 1845, furnishes the second gross imposture of mormonism. In 1844, Smith pretended to have a "revelation" of the existence of Salt Lake valley. He appointed a commission of twenty-five persons to go out and explore, and rereport, with a view to removal thither next year. Smith with his followers and polygamy, became obnoxious, and were driven out of Illinois. Smith was killed, and the commission never started. Next year, however, one hundred and forty three mormon emigrants went to Salt Lake and founded their present city.

Now, a word in regard to Smith's "revelation" concerning the existence of Salt Lake. In 1842 and '43, Fremont explored the whole basin of Salt Lake. This report was published in 1844, but previous to its publication, Judge Caton of Illinois had read it and from the Judge's own lips I have his statement that in 1843 he told Joe Smith of Fremont's discovery of Salt Lake, and advised him to emigrate there with his mormon followers, and thus get beyond the reach of those to whom he was obnoxions. This was about one year before Smith had had his Salt Lake "revelation." Upon these two "revelations," "The Book of MormOn" and the flight of the "saints" to their promised land after the death of Smith; Brigham Young and his apostles have built up a mormon empire in a desert, which to-day numbers one hundred thousand inhabitants.

What is mormonism, as it exists today, and what shall be done with it, are the two questions which naturally strike the traveler upon a visit to the mormon capital. To all christians and good citizens, the pretensions and practices of these "latter day saints" and bigamists is disgustingly wicked and unlawful. _Mormonism as a government,_ is simply the submission of an ignorant emigrant population, procured by an adroit system of transportation of human beings chiefly from the most debased boroughs of England, Scotland and Wales, to a territory where the power of the church with its "tithes" and terrors of "excommunication" hold the bodies and souls of its subjects in a thraldom as debasing as the serfdom of Russia or the inquisition of ancient Spain. The church is the government -- and Brigham Young is the church! He rules with a [-----] scepter. Outwardly his people appear contented and prosperous, but underneath this exterior life lies the upas which is sapping society to its root. Why is it necessary the United States government should keep a garrison of troops within sight of Brigham Young's city to protect such of its "gentile" citizeus as have dared to brave the cupidity and hatred of the saints?" Why are just claims against mormons defeated in the United States courts of the country, when, if the same claims were submitted to Brigham and the church -- thus acknowledging his authority -- it is promptly settled and paid? Scores of such cases were presented me; while everywhere, under the superscription of "Holiness to the Lord," the "Zion Co-opperative Mercantile Association" warns the mormon that he must not trade with the "gentile," (a term applied to all those who are not mormons) under penalty of offending the church, and for repeated offences excommunication from its salvation.

Though you be not a mormon, it you but agree with them; glide along without interfering with their authority, you will be tolerated and unmolested; but let any mormon withhold a full return of the "tithes" to the Church, (ten per cent, of his goods;) let him trade with a gentile because he can purchase cheaper than of a mormon; let him show signs of "apostacy" and a desire to get out of the territory; and then the iron rod of mormon tyranny descends upon him with blight and vengeance.

During the building of the Pacific railroad, Brigham had a "revelation" that his people must not eat pork. As a result the price of pork declined; Brigham purchased it and sold it to the railroad laborers for high prices.

Title to nearly all the real estate of the territory is held in the name of the church. For the "tithes" paid into its treasury no receipt is given, and most of the products raised by the farmers are sold upon orders or promises to pay in goods, scarcely any money being given in return for their crops.

I will not deny that outwardly the better class of mormons were civil to us, and, in some instances, polite; but it was plain to see that policy underlies their actions. Socially considered, the mormons have really no character whatever. Their men are crafty and sagacious; they hold no intercourse with visitors, except, as in our case, when those distinguished as governor Seward and his friends come among them. They seem to care nothing for your presence. but if you speak your opinions of their peculiar institutions, you will notice that you are listened to and spied upon.

There is a secret and general system of espionage, extending from the teachers of mormon schools, who arc authorized to question every, pupil regarding all that may happen at their homes, to the chief of their police, who causes his spies to "shadow" every suspected man in the territory.

The effect of this damnable inquisition and espionage is to depress and kill every generous impulse; hence nearly all wear a mask. The men look suspicions; the women pale, haggard and unhappy; the children -- the few who are ever seen -- have no joyousness -- they never play in the streets; nobody laughs. You are never invited to the home of a mormon, and beyond the threshold nothing is known beyond the common belief that with his plurality of wives, and their promiscuous children, they live contentedly together. No joyousness, no music, no [soul] throbbing life, blooming cheeks and bright eyes, if a pall had fallen upon your spirit, a skeleton seems ever walking by your side.

Of polygamy, as practiced in Salt Lake City, but little can be said; and judging from the physiognomies of the seven thousand "saints," mostly females, whom I saw on a Sabbath at the "tabernacle;" it is questionable whether these mormon women possess any moral sense which discriminates between the pure, soul elevating virtue of a wife, who for love of her husband, will not commit adultery, and one whose highest appreciation of matrimony is a gratification of the passions.

This is difficult to believe of a people who proclaim that Jo. Smith was the equal of our Savior, and that the humbug "book of mormon" is equally divine and older than the gospel of Christ. My opinions of what mormonism is, you are now familiar with, and my opportunities for acquiring them were such as to warrant what I have written.

In regard to the baleful influences of mormonism upon society -- the argument is closed -- the verdict is rendered. It pollutes woman's virtue, and poisons, at the very fountain of our existence, all that we hold most sacred. The half idiotic and stupid appearance of the children I saw in Utah, furnishes prima facie evidence that the promiscuous intercourse of a mormon among his plurality of wives, degrades them to the condition of concubines, and puts the stamp of moral and physical degredation upon the offspring.

If you ask mo what shall be done to remedy this mormon curse, I wiH refer you to the "God and humanity" moralists at Washington, who engrafted conspicuously upon their Lincoln platform a proposition to extirpate the "twin relics of barbarism, slavery and polygamy."   MAC.

Notes: (forthcoming)

(all NY articles for the years 1870-99 have been moved here)
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