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Vol. I                         Ithaca, New York, Thursday, June 30, 1870.                         No. ?

We have received from the National publishing Company of 20 South Seventh Street, Philadelphia, a copy of a work bearing the rather horrible title of "Mysteries and crimes of Mormonism." It is to be sold by subscription only, and agents for it are desired in every county. The title is surely a taking and a selling one. With a copy of the book under his arm, an agent having a glib tougue, and a smooth presence, aided by the "loud" designs which, poorly engraven, occupy a number of the pages of the book, should be able, as he wanders through the country, to sell a large quantity. The history of the Mormons is certainly a remarkable one. It has no parallel, at least in this century, where a people springing from such low and degraded origin, grew so quickly into such vast importance. This book gives a vivid idea of the means by which such a result has been achieved, though, of course, the gullibility of human nature has as much to do with the matter as ought else. One is taken through the whole Mormon history, from its rising under Joe Smith to the present moment, and many of the features heretofore hidden from public view are boldly displayed in all their vileness. If there are any in danger of becoming Mormons, surely this work would make them and their religion so hideous that the danger would pass away, and if it helps to drive out from our borders this disgrace to civilization, the book will be doing a good work.

Notes: (forthcoming)

The Ogdensburg Journal.

Vol. ?                       Ogdensburg, New York, Tuesday, May 23, 1871.                       No. ?

Reminiscences  of  the  Burg.

By Nathaniel H. Lytle.


A few years after the discovery of the hidden plates, by Joe Smith, the first prophet of the latter day saints, and the organization of the Mormon church, an apostle of the new creed reached Ogdensburg in prosecution of his missionary labors, and succeeded in making several converts. Among them were a well-to-do farmer who resided about three miles from the village on the Canton road, on the Lovely hill, a portion of the grounds incorporated in J. H. Morgan's celebrated Ayrshire breeding farm, and Levi Chapin, who resided in that portion of Oswegatchie now known as New Zion, and which took its name from the fact of its becoming a hot bed for Mormonism. One of the peculiarities of the new religion, was the frequent descent of the "Holy" Spirit" upon the brethren while assembled in the service of the Lord, and under the influence of which they spake in "unknown tongues." Mr. Chapin was one upon whom the spirit delighted in finding a resting place, and in the very infancy of his conversion he spake, certainly, as man never spoke before. The news of this conversion and miracle, spread far and wide, and confirmed, in the minds of many, the truths of the new revelation as incorporated in the Mormon religion. Notice was circulated in the year 1834, or 35, that the people of Ogdensburg were to have an opportunity of hearing the truths and witnessing a genuine Mormon miracle. A meeting was appointed to be held in a barn which stood on the ground now occupied by A. A. Babcock's pump factory, on Montgomery street, one fine spring Sunday morning. The attendance was not exceedingly large, but that did not prevent the spirit from working forcibly and strikingly. The Elder preached a discourse of nearly an hour's duration. He had no sooner taken his seat than the "spirit" descended on Levi, who rose as if impelled by a superior force and passing rapidly over the tops of the seats spake most rapidly and in the most vehement manner, the following, or words to that effect:

"Pharo queeno culo mavo; queeno maro culo; maro culo pharo queeno; culo queno maro!" For more than fifteen minutes Levi rang the changes of these words of an unknown tongue. During their delivery his movements were not dissimilar to those of a canine while attempting to relieve itself of an immoderate application of turpentine, and the tone and pitch of his voice were fully as emphatic.

At the end of this miraculous demonstration the astonished assemblage waited patiently for the translation, was usual for the "spirit" to impress upon some other brother, the interpretation thereof. But on this occasion uncle Levi had propounded a conundrum that no one could guess, not even the Elder, who had come fresh from the prophet, dared undertake to give an explanation. This fact however only went further to elucidate the mysteries and spirituality of Mormonism, and the new converts were strengthened in the faith. Mr. Davis was so completely taken up with the new religion, that he accepted a revelation from the Almighty, that it was his duty to sell his farm and other possessions and assist his less favored brethren to the New Jerusalem, which at that early day was supposed to be at Nauvoo, in Illinois. The success of Mormonism in this place again demonstrated the fact that it is not possible to inventreligious doctrines and tenets so ridiculous, thas none will be found to accept them. The pilgrimage of Davis to the modern Jerusalem was not equal to his anticipations. His wife died on the road, and he reached Nauvoo to find that his new religion was not exactly the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth.

In the early days of Mormonism, polygamy was not thought of. The twin relic of barbarism was interpolated upon the faith by Brigham Young after the arrival at Salt Lake, and resulted in a schism, which must ultimately overthrow the Mormon church. The first prophet and the original discoverer of the word, Joe Smith, was not a polygamist, and his son is the leader of the schism which opposes it.

Note 1: Levi Chapin probably became acquainted with the fundamentals of Mormonism by hearing David W. Patton or some other local convert preaching on the subject in 1833-34. In the summer of 1835 a majority of the LDS Council of the Twelve Apostles visited the area and Chapin likely encountered Heber C. Kimball at that time. At any rate, a year later Elder Kimball returned by himself, baptized Chapin and ordained him to the office of a Mormon priest in June of 1836. At that time Levi's father-in-law, Alvin Simons was made presiding elder of the Ogdensburg branch. In 1838 this congregation (including converts John Walker, Lydia Holmes Walker, etc.) moved to Missouri, leaving the Chapin and Simons families behind. Evidently they never associated with the Mormons after that time.

Note 2: For additional information concerning the mid-1830s Mormon missionary effort in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties, see notes appended to the Salt Lake Tribune notice of April 4, 1901 regarding Zina Huntington, and accompanying links.


Auburn  Daily  Bulletin.

Vol. V.                                 Auburn, N. Y., Sat., January 20, 1872.                               No. 594.


A project is on foot, in Pittsburg, Penn., to erect a monument over the remains of Rev. Mr. Spaulding, in Amity churchyard, Washington county, Penn., who, as it is claimed, wrote for his own amusement and that of his friends, a romance, which afterwards became the "Book of Mormon." Mr. Spaulding is said to have placed his manuscript in the hands of Rev. Robert Patterson, father of one of the editors of the Presbyterian Banner, of Pittsburg. It was copied by Sidney Rigdon, then in his employ, by whom it was afterward conveyed to Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet. It might be thought, however, that a sufficient manument to Rev. Mr. Spaulding and his eccentric production had already been erected in the city of Salt Lake.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Palmyra  Courier.

Vol. XXXI.                             Palmyra, N. Y., Fri., May 10, 1872.                             No. 4.

Old Newspapers -- No. 23.

[continuing Harris account from previous issue] This famous trout lived to grow, and thrive under the liberal hand of Nathan who often spent the pleasant hours of mid-day, catching grasshoppers for his favorite fish, feeding them directly into its month with his own hand. Here he used to while away hours together, while Rhoda and the boys were planning where to plant the corn or prognosticating the map of the weather. He possessed, to a remarkable degree, a spirit of rest. He did not allow the onerous duties of the farm to weigh heavy on his mind and his zeal for letting things run, as the saying is, was so great that he let the [stile] of his barn rot away with the accumulation of barn yard material. If the necessities of the farm demanded the attention of Nathan, he would exhibit symptoms of a decline, but if a "huskin frolick" or a "logging bee" was [-- the -----], his youthful exhubrance was unbounded. On such occasions he was the centre figure of the group, and whatever in the way of joke that was aimed at "Uncle Nathan," was always received in the best of humor. He was a public man; ready for fun on public occasions but willing that others should accept of public duties as well as public honors.

At the time of Harris' advent to the settlement, there was heavy timber on the hills and in the valleys below his farm and also to the west of it. Wintergreen Hill and the land to the west for some distance was what was termed "openings," or "barrens," and after the clearing was well under way to the north and south of Nathan's there was left a strip of woodland, joining the timber on the east with that of the west. This strip was a little south and west of Nathan's house and through it the wild game used to find covert [sic - cover?] in going from one piece of timber to the other. It was called a "runway" and hunters used to train their hounds to drive the game in the direction of it, when they would strive to escape by going through to the east or west woods as the case might be. The custom of Nathan was to mount his old grey mare when he heard the hounds and post himself in the road, which was little better than a path through the woods, and there await the appearance of the deer or whatever the game might be. The old mare knew her business, and as soon as Nathan had discharged his rifle, she would turn and gallop away down the road, and in a short time bring up on the west road, near where is now the residence of Mr. Pratt; Nathan in the mean time loading his gun with mare under full headway. Here he would arrive before the game, and get another shot, often taking two deer, one at each crossing.

Whatever may have been the idiosyncrasy of Nathan Harris, he was a man of most excellent good judgment of which his land purchase fully attests. Though be may not have been a thorough practical farmer, he was nevertheless far-sighted and a good judge of land. The purchase which he made in 1754 for $300 is now worth more than $100,000 if we include the railroad, and some of the best farms in this vicinity are included within its boundaries. Watered by Red creek and the various springs that flow from the hillsides, and with plenty of good uplands, they are fitted for all practical purposes, whether agriculture or the dairy. But there is another feature of this purchase which must not be overlooked in our sketch, and that is the farm now owned by Thomas H. Chapman: the farm that was sold to raise money wherewith to pay for the printing of the "Book of Mormon" or Mormon Bible as it is called. This farm was deeded by Nathan to his son Martin and in our next we will give some sketches of the life and times of this founder, as we might say, of the Church of Latter Day Saints, which is now drawing the attention of the civilized world toward their harum in the Salt Lake valley.

Nathan Harris lived where he first settled until the fish and game became scarce, when he began to exhibit symptoms of uneasiness, and had there been no Eldorado for him to flee unto, he might have went into a decline and left his bones here. But the much-longed-for region was to be found in Ohio and thither he went; where the deer still continued to roam free, and where his unerring rifle continued for several years to send its deadly bullet to the fore-shoulder of his favorite game. Nathan lived to be quite an old man, though his age at death we are unable to state. His life was a quiet one, and he was universally honored by his neighbors for his kindness of heart and willingness to assist those in need. In the settlement of this town he was a prominent feature and his remembrance is still cherished by the remaining few who knew him personally.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Palmyra  Courier.

Vol. XXXI.                             Palmyra, N. Y., Fri., May 24, 1872.                             No. 6.

Old Newspapers -- No. 24.

Martin Harris was born 1786, and came here with his parents when only eight years old. He inherited the longevity as well as the energy and activity of his mother, of whom it is said that she could spin a day's work at the age of eighty-seven, and as I have never as yet learned of his death, it is safe to mention his longevity, for he was an octogenarian several years ago, and if still living, has [recently] attained the age of his mother at her decease. Of those who formerly resided in this vicinity, perhaps there was no man who received so many rebuffs, and whose acts incited so many unfeeling comments as did those of Martin Harris. Until he had arrived at the age of thirty-five years, he was an industrious, hard-working farmer, shrewd in his business calculations, frugal in his habits, and what was termed a prosperous man in the world.

Martin Harris received of his father, Nathan Harris, Oct. 5, 1813, the farm now owned by Thomas H. Chapman, one and one-fourth miles north of this village. This farm contained 121 acres. Stephen Phelps and Ira Selby were witnesses to the deed. Jan. 4th, 1814 he received an addition from the same of 25 acres; Stephen Phelps and Daniel Twadell witnesses. Dec. 7, 1814, Emor Harris deeded an addition of four acres on the east side of Red Creek, making In all 150 acres, the present area of the farm.

Martin Harris married his own cousin, Dolly Harris; a union which though contrary to laws and customs, proved to be a pleasant one for both until Martin became estranged by the Mormon delusion. On this farm they together toiled early and late from the time of their marriage until the summer of 1828. Shortly previous to this he had become somewhat religiously awakened and began the study of the Bible. He also became quite skeptical, as well as superstitious, believing in miracles, wonderful dreams, spiritual interposition, special providences, &c. He pursued the study of the Bible with great tenacity, committing to memory whole books, and at the time of the Mormon incubation, could quote chapter and verse with surprising correctness. When Joe Smith first [revealed] to him the wonders of him new religion, it found a fertile soil in Martin's brain, where it took root, and he became an incurable monomaniac in religious matters. Yet only in this was Martin deemed insane; on other subjects he exhibited all of his former clearness of brain; he could drive a good bargain, and manage his farming matters, as well as ever, only when he had his "spells" on.

The cunning foibles of Joe Smith so preyed upon the superstitious mind of Martin that he became his most efficent tool, and in June 1828, consented to a contract with Smith in which he was to secure [the profit from] printing the Book of Mormon. With this consenting the trouble of Martin began. Had it not been for this, I might have closed the record here, there would have been much less notoriety attached to Palmyra as the birth-place of Mormonism, and Martin Harris might have lived and died on his farm instead of becoming an alien from his native place, a wanderer without a home, or, if not living, filling an unknown grave. But Martin became infatuated with the [idea] of a new church as described by Joe, and the promise of being an apostle, led him on, contrary to the advice of his friends and the pleadings of his wife who denounced the whole affair as a piece of ridiculous nonsense." Prior to the printing of the Book, and while Martin was considering the proposition made by Smith in which he was to be paid $1.25 for the books and the [first cost?] would only be about 60 cents, Martin was permitted to take home a portion of the manuscript to read, and during the long winter evenings he would sit by the great open fire-place and study his new text, stopping now and then to pour a little inspiration into the ear of Aunt Dolly, who usually answered by telling him to "shut up." This farce became so [obnoxious?] to the good wife, that finally she determined to end it, and. accordingly, one night when Martin was dreaming that "he dwelt in marble halls," Aunt Dolly [rose] quietly and taking the roll of manuscript, went to the fire-place and laid it between the charred logs and ere the morning came, it had ascended in smoke through the throat of the great chimney. The next morning Martin sought for the manuscript telling his wife the most fearful consequences would follow its loss; to which she turned a deaf ear, refusing to give any clue to the whereabouts of the paper. This was the final [point] of their separation, which was mutually adjusted the following summer and a portion of the farm set off and deeded to her exclusively. Martin believed that she had the manuscript, or had given it to some other person, which was also the opinion of Smith and his followers, and this suspicion was embodied in the preface of the Mormon Bible, as a safeguard against any future contingency that might arise therefrom. It reads as follows:
"To The Reader. -- As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again -- and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish this evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy, accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New York.   THE AUTHOR."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Palmyra  Courier.

Vol. XXXI.                             Palmyra, N. Y., Fri., May 31, 1872.                             No. 7.

Old Newspapers -- No. 25.

Martin Harris continued for many years in ignorance of the fate of the manuscripts, and I believe that Joe Smith did not live long enough to learn the history of their destruction; that the later editions of the Book or Mormon also contain the same saving preface as given in my last article. This piece of mischief on the part of Aunt Dolly had no beneficial effect on Martin to wean him from the fate that awaited him, but rather impelled him onward. He vowed that he would not allow her in his room and she declared she would [never] trouble him on that score. So determined were they in occupying separate apartments, that both expressed themselves to the hired man, that if he ever knew of their occupying the same sleeping room, they would give him their best cow.

Now this hired man had some originality about him, and one night when all was still and very dark without, he took a tin lantern, tied it to a pole, lighted the candle and put it up to Aunt Dolly's window, her room being directly over Martin's. He would slide the lantern along the window-sash, making a noise and then drop It suddenly, putting out the light. Lighting up again he would repeat the operation and Aunt Dolly was soon heard going down stairs and entering Martin's room, who demanded what possessed her to come there at that hour of the night. That hired man did not fail of having a witness present, and the next morning they relinquished their title to the best cow according to agreement. Martin and his wife settled their points of difference by a division of the property, as I stated in a previous article.

The printlng of the Mormon bible began in August 1829, and was finished about the same time the following year. This first and only edition printed here, consisted of 5000 copies, for which Martin Harris was to pay $3,000 and Smith and his followers were to pay him at the rate of $1.25 per copy, which was not a bad investment, providing the contract was fulfilled on their part. But this they failed to do, and in the spring of 1831 Martin was put to his trumps to raise the money wherewith to pay off the mortgage on his farm, which had been put there two years before to raise money with which to start the work. He did not look long, and before me on the table now lies "Articles of agreement made and concluded this first day of April, in the year Eighteen hundred and thirty-one, between Martin Harris of the one part, and Thomas Lakey of the other part, both of Palmyra" &c. The farm was sold for twenty dollars per acre and immediate possession given. One-third of the purchase money was to be paid on the first of May following, and the balance in two annual instalments, payable in the month of October. The purchaser was to have one-half of the wheat on the ground, the other half belonged to Mr. Dike who had sown it on shares. They bound themselves in this agreement in the sum of $500 and three weeks thereafter the money was paid, bonds given and deed executed by Martin, with only his signature, the instrument being now before me.

Shortly after the completion of the printing of the Book of Mormon, Martin Harris began to sell the work, and was dally seen on the streets inviting his friends and neighbors to buy. His form was conspicuous, with a grey suit of homespun, his head surmounted by a large stiff hat, while under his arm he carried several copies of the book.

Chade Southwick, the father of W. H. Southwick, resided on the same lot where the latter now does. He was a man who regarded the doctrines of Jno. Calvin in rather a vague light, but as a neighbor and citizen was respected by all. He loved fun, and a good joke was better than a dainty morsel.

One day in the spring of '32, Martin met Southwick on the street crossing near the Hotel, and Invited him to buy a book. It was a wet, muddy time and the streets were then in a very primitive condition, in regard to side-walks, and as the two stood talking, Southwick asked Martin what his position was in the new church. Martin said he was an apostle endowed with power to preach. "Ah! then thee's an apostle, is thee?" said Southwick. "And can thee follow out the injunction of our bible, wherein it says "If they smite thee on one check turn the other?" "Surely I can." said Martin, at the same time turning his cheek up [towards Uncle Chade] in a meek manner. This was more than Chade could stand; there was too much fun there to be lost, and drawing his heavy hand he laid Martin scrawling in the mud, his bibles in one direction and his hat in another, while Chade who was lame and used a cane, stamped it for home as fast as he could go, and just made oat to escape the hand of Martin, by closing his front door and turning the bolt in the lock. Martin having picked himself up, left his apostolic mantle of charity with the hat and bibles, and ran with all his might to overtake Chade, and now stood leaning over the gate daring the latter to come oat: offering all kinds of invectives and illustrating by his motions how he would thrash the ground with him if be dared to put has foot without the gate. Chade did not see fit, however, to go out, he only opened the door slightly and told Martin that he knew what would await him if he came out and he preferred to stay where he was. This only added fuel to the flame and Martin resorted to the office of H. K. Jerome, then a young justice of the peace, and demanded a warrant for Chade Southwick. Jerome, after much hesitation on the part of Martin, got him to tell the whole story, which looked so ridiculous that he gave vent to a peal of laughter, which was participated in by others present, and so enraged Martin that it was difficult to keep him from administering a flagellation to the young squire. He was induced, however, to go and pick up his bibles, [assume] his apostolic garb and return to his [duties]....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Palmyra  Courier.

Vol. XXXI.                             Palmyra, N. Y., Fri., June 7, 1872.                             No. 8.

Old Newspapers -- No. 26.

At the time of the establishment of the Mormon church, which took place in 1830, Martin Harris was no doubt, the only real believer in the doctrines, if any there really were, of the new dispensation. By command of Smith, which he claimed to have received by revelation, Martin was not permitted to sell the Book for less than $1.25, while the father of Smith was, by the same revelation permitted to sell at less figures, or even barter it away for necessary household and table expenses. But we find among some old papers,a bill of goods left by Martin Harris with certain persons, among which is [---ed] [300] copies of the Book of Mormon, which these persons were to sell for $1.25 and receive 25c for their commission. As the revelator, Smith possessed no very extensive knowledge of the rules of business, the commission clause was left out of the revelation but adopted by Martin; who did not believe it a sin under the circumstance; though he had great regard for the revelation, and believed that if he sold the books for less than the stipulated amount he could be struck dead in an instant.

Though Martin showed a business tact in disposing of the books, they were nevertheless dead property and the revenue derived from the sale was small indeed. Martin had longed and waited years for something to turn up that would feed his imagination better than barren hope. He had read of the wonders to come in the latter day, and now believed that day had arrived, and that his peculiar fitness to act a seer and prophet, was not to be overlooked by the powers that controlled the future. It was an auspicious time. He felt that his longings after spiritual wonders was about to be satiated; and the prospects of filling his pocket also with the material wealth of earthly prosperity, was a pleasing feature of the drama; for he loved money and was willing to receive it though it came without labor. But when he found that he was not to realize the remuneration for which he sought in the sale of his books, he grew despondent and Joe Smith had to resort to another revelation to keep him steadfast in the faith. By artful cunning and deceitful flattery, he made him believe that he was to become one of the great spiritual lights of the world, and that he was called to preach, baptize and prophecy. He essayed to preach and at first seemed to be making progress in this direction as his knowledge of the Scriptures gave him ample scope to illustrate his peculiar ideas, and many came to listen for the novelty of it. But his audience soon diminished to such an extent that he was obliged to give up his preaching. In baptism he succeeded no better, for want of converts and his animal organization was not adapted to the cold water of Red creek, and in this he made signal failure. But he could prophecy, and in this particular he seemed for a time to succeed very well, [---] no one cared to turn away from him, for all believed he was honest in his convictions, while they pitied him in his delusion.

The following story illustrates one of the prophecies of Martin Harris, and also the spirit in which his prophetic knowledge was received by the people of Palmyra:

In 1832 Martin went to Ohio and joined the other Mormons who had preceeded him at Kirtland. He had made a signal failure in his endeavors to save the people of Palmyra or turn them from the evil of their ways, for which he had so labored, and shaking the dust from his feet, he made a prophecy before his departure. This prophecy was made in the hearing of several different persons and a Mr. Fred Smith, who was then a Justice of the peace took it down in writing and persuaded Martin to [sign it ---- perfecting] a binding contract.

It was to the effect that if Palmyra did not sink before he returned, he would give his head for a football, or that he would surrender to Smith that most important function of his animal organization to have and to hold of his own. This paper Smith kept safely until 1836, when Martin returned to visit again his old home; which he had heard was still to be found hereabout. Shortly after Martin's arrival, he was quietly seated in the store of Zebulon Williams, with his back toward the front door, conversing with several of his old acquaintances, and telling them of the beauties of Kirtland and the welfare of the new church of Latter Day Saints. when in came Smith who walked directly up behind Martin and putting his arm about his head turned to walk off carrying the head with him. Martin was dumbfounded for a moment: then by a powerful movement released himself at the same time asking Smith what he meant by such usage. "I mean," said Smith, "to take that head for it's mine," and again made demonstrations to that effect. Martin eluded him, still expostulating and Smith insisting on having the head. At this others interfered, and then Smith took out his wallet and coolly produced the paper declaring the head was his and demanded of the bystanders if his claim was not good. Like Shylock he insisted on having his own. Martin acknowledged the signature, bat asked that more time be granted, for the Lord had put off the day of retribution, through the prayers of his patron saints, himself and Brother Joseph Smith, whom he had left in Ohio. Esquire Smith who was in no way related to Joseph, only that he belonged to the universal family of that name, consented to let Martin continue the use of his head, and only remembered it thereafter as a [p----al] joke.

Martin Harris followed the Mormons to Missouri but did not give up his abode in Kirtland Ohio, until [1841?] when he again visited Palmyra and [then] went to the former State where he continued to reside until within a few years. Shortly after his first settlement in Kirtland, he married again and [raised] a large family. His wife was a woman of strong Mormon faith and [after] the settlement in Utah, [she went with ---] of the [Saints] to Salt Lake taking her children. Martin paid his last visit to Palmyra about [1848] and, if report is correct, joined his family in Utah about [1868]. Whether he is now living or not, I cannot say, but his history proves the fallacy of the faith he espoused, and we may wrap the mantle of charity around the poor, broken-down old man, who might have lived to be a blessing to mankind and an honor to the place of his nativity.

Since writing the foregoing, I have learned from a gentleman right from Salt Lake, that Martin Harris was there last fall; that he now resides somewhere in the territory, with his family; that he had not learned of his death and that he is well taken care of by the Mormon Government.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Rochester Evening Express.

Vol. XIV.                         Rochester, N. Y., Monday, September 16, 1872.                         No. 211.


A Party of Emigrants Murdered in Cold Blood by the Mormons --
An Affidavit by One of the Participants --
Mormon Cruelty and Revenge.

The following is the published affidavit concerning the Mountain Meadow massacre by Mormons, a synopsis of which has already been given by telegraph. After the usual formal opening necessary in an affidavit, the deponent says:

I was residing at Cedar City at the time of the massacre at Mountain Meadows, in said territory of Utah. I had heard that a company of emigrants was on its way from Salt Lake City, bound for California. Said company arrived at Cedar City, tarried there one day, and passed on for California. After said company had left Cedar City, the militia was called out for the purpose of committing acts of hostility against them. Said call was a regular military call from the superior officers to the subordinate officers and privates of the regiment at Cedar City and vicinity, composing a part of the militia of the territory of Utah. I do not recollect the number of the regiments I was at that time the Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Cedar City. Isaac C. Haight was President over said church at Cedar City and the southern settlement in said territory. My position as bishop was subordinate to that of said President. W. H. Dame was President of said church at Parowan, in said Iron county. Said W. H. Dame was also Colonel of said regiment. Said Isaac C. Haight was Lieutenant-Colonel of said regiment and John D. Lee, of Harmony, in said Iron county, was major of said regiment. Said regiment was duly ordered to muster, armed and equipped, as the law directs, and prepared for field operations. I had no command nor office in said regiment at that time, neither did I march with said regiment on the expedition which resulted in said company's being massacred at the Mountain Meadows in said county of Iron. About four days after said company of emigrants had left Cedar City, that portion of said regiment then mustered at Cedar City, took up its line of march in pursuit of them. About two days after said company had left Cedar City, Lieutenant-Colonel I. C. Haight expressed in my presence a desire that said company might be permitted to pass on their way in peace; but afterwards he told me that he had orders from headquarters to kill all of said company of emigrants except the little children. I do not know whether said headquarters meant the regimental headquarters at Parowan or the headquarters of the commander-in-chief at Salt Lake City.

When the said company had gone to Iron Creek about twenty (20) miles from Cedar City, Captain Joel White started for the Pinto Creek settlement, through which said company would pass, for the purpose of influencing the people to permit said company to pass on their way in peace, I asked and obtained permission of said White to go with him and aid him in his endeavors to save life. When said White and myself got about three miles from Cedar City we met Major John D. Lee, who asked us where we were going. I replied that we were going to try to prevent the killing of the emigrants: Lee replied, "I have something to say about that."

Lee was at that time on his way to Parowan, the the headquarters of Colonel Dame. Said White and I went to Pinto Creek, remained there one night, and the next day returned to Cedar City, meeting said company of emigrants at Iron Creek. Before reaching Cedar City we met one Ira Allen, who told us that "the decree had passed devoting said company to destruction." After the fight had been going on for three or four days a messenger from Major Lee reached Cedar City, who stated that the flight had not been altogether successful, upon which Lieutenant Colonel Haight ordered out a reinforcement. At this time I was ordered out by Capt. John M. Higby, who ordered me to muster "armed and equipped as the law directs." It was a matter of life or death to muster or not, and I mustered with the reinforcing troops. It was at this time that Lieutenant Colonel Haight said to me that it was the orders from headquarters that all but the little children of said company were to be killed. Said Haight had at that time just returned from headquarters at Parowan, where a Military Council had been held. There had been a like council held at Parowan previous to that, at which were present Col. Dame, Lieutenant Colonel I. C. Haight and Major John D. Lee. The result of this first council was the calling out of said regiment for the purpose already stated. The reinforcement aforesaid was marched to the Mountain Meadows, and there formed a junction with the main body. Major Lee massed all the troops at a spring, and made a speech to them saying that his orders from "Headquarters were to kill the entire company except the small children." I was not in the ranks at that time, but on one side talking to a man named Slade, and could not have seen a paper in Major Lee's hands. Said Lee then sent a flag of truce into the emigrant camp offering said emigrants that "if they lay down their arms he would "protect them" they accordingly laid down their arms, came out from that camp and delivered themselves up to said Lee. The women and children were then, by the order of said Lee, separated from the men, and were marched ahead of the men. After said emigrants had marched about a half mile towards Ceder City, the order was given to shoot them down. At that time said Lee was at the head of the column. I was in the rear. I did not hear Lee give the order to fire, but heard it from the under officers as it was passed down the column. The emigrants were then and there shot down, except seventeen little children, whom I immediately took into my charge. I do not know the total number of said company, as I did not stop to count the dead. I immediately put the little children in baggage wagons belonging to the regiment and took them to Hamlin's Ranch, and from there to Cedar City, and procured them homes among the people. John Willis and Samuel Murdy assisted me in taking charge of said children. On the evening of the massacre, Col. W. H. Dame and Lieut.-Col. I. C. Haight came to Hamlin's, where I had the said children, and fell into a dispute, in the course of which said Haight told Col. Dame that if he was going to report of the killing of said emigrants, "He should not have ordered it done; "I do not know when or where said troops were disbanded; about two weeks after said massacre occurred, said Major Lee (who was also Indian Agent) went to Salt Lake City, and, as I believe, reported said fight and its results to the commander-in-chief; I was not present at either of the before-mentioned councils, nor at any council connected with the aforesaid military operations, or with said company; I gave no orders except those connected with the saving of the children, and those after the massacre had occurred, and said orders were given as bishop and not in a military sense. At the time of the firing of the first volley I discharged my piece; I did not fire afterward, though several subsequent volleys were fired. After the first fire was delivered I at once set about saving the children. I commenced to gather up the children before the firing had ceased. I have made the foregoing statement before the above entitled court for the reason that I believe that I would be assassinated should I attempt to make the same before any court in the territory of Utah. After said Lee returned from Salt Lake City, as aforesaid, said Lee told me that he had reported fully to the President (meaning the commander-in-chief) the light at Mountain Meadows, and the killing of said emigrants. Brigham Young was at that time the commander-in-chief of the militia of the territory of Utah; and further deponent saith not.
                                                            PHILIP KLINGON SMITH.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XII.                                         Buffalo, N. Y., Fri., Sept. 27, 1872.                                       No. ?

The Mountain Meadow Massacre --
Mormon Emigrants.

The correspondent of the Pioche Record endorses Phillip K. Smith, formerly bishop of the Mormon church, and says he is ready to return to Utah and give testimony in person relative to the Mountain Meadow atrocity.

Six hundred Mormon emigrants from Europe arrived to-night. Ample shelter and food was provided.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXXII.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Thur., Oct. 17, 1872.                            No. 42.

The  Conferences.

The Central New York and Northern New York Conferences met this week: the first in Palmyra, and the other in Rochester. We hoped to be able to give our readers the entire proceedings, with the appointments, in this paper, but shall not be, as the sessions are more prolonged than usual. The reports are given so far as could be, without delaying our issue unseasonably. Next week they will be completed....

Palmyra, at which village the Central Conference held its session, with Bishop Peck in the chair, is one of the many beautiful and thrifty villages with which Central and Western New York abounds. It lies twenty-three miles east of the city of Rochester, on the direct N. Y. Central R. R. In addition to its own inherent excellencies, it has fame, as the location where the notorious Joseph Smith originated that gigantic imposture -- "Mormonism." Many of the elder citizens remember him as a lazy boy, of a shiftless family, employed as a day laborer. He, with his father before him, was filled with superstitious notions, of which the whole country gave evidence in the numerous holes dug by them to find hidden treasure. Joe was in the habit of carrying a mysterious stone in his hat, by the light of which he professed to see into the earth. When only about eighteen or nineteen years old, he professed to find the golden plates. The hill is near Palmyra, a small, conical hill, and the hole is still pointed out, we believe, which was dug to obtain them. With the plates, he professed to find a pair of spectacles, by which he was enabled to read the characters of the mysterious writings. This he could do, and professed to do in the dark. He would sit in dark room alone, and read aloud, and Sidney Rigdon, [sic] his accomplice in another room, wrote down what he delivered. It was suspected, however, that Sidney, who was a fanatical minister, among the "Disciples," and had some education, was author as well as amanuensis. Smith had no education. No one ever saw these plates hat Smith. He satisfied his dupes by showing them, as he said, sewed up in, a canvas bag, and affirming that the Almighty would strike any one dead, who presumed to look upon them uncovered, except himself.

Martin Harris, a farmer of the town, worth $10,000 was seduced to furnish the means, about $5,000, for the publication of the Mormon Bible, which was printed in Palmyra. Harris' farm, which was hypothecated for the purpose, still goes by the name of the "Mormon Farm," and is now advertised for sale, as we saw in the Palmyra paper. Martin Harris is still living in Salt Lake City.

P. P. Pratt, from Ohio, the citizens say, gave Smith the first assistance, He was passing through Palmyra on the canal, and heard of the wonder, and stopped to enquire, and espoused the cause. He and Rigdon gave shape and influence to the movement, and made its first headquarters at Kirtland, Ohio, where they lived. The imposture gathered strength, and soon Smith and his leaders had wealth in abundance, and the vagabond boy became a prophet

Palmyra has about three thousand inhabitants, and is well built up. It has four churches standing on four opposite corners, representing Methodism, Presbyterianism, the Baptists and Episcopalians. The M. E. Church is a very handsome structure, built recently, of brick, with stone trimmings and symmetrical spire. Though the village is small, and the Conference large, the hospitality of the people is equal to the demand. The ministers are well entertained, and we heard Brother Farmer, the pastor, say that he had homes to spare. We have recently observed, the larger the city in which our Conferences are held, the greater the difficulty in securing accommodation. We would recommend that the sessions be held where the Conference is wanted, and the people are hospitable. There are a large number of such villages in Central and Western New York....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Utica  Daily  Observer.

Vol. XXV.                                     Utica, N. Y., Thur., Dec 19, 1872.                                     No. 201.


The Albany Times, commenting on the announcement that Mr. Sidney Rigdon, of Friendship, N. Y., has recently had a severe attack of paralysis, revives some interesting reminiscences concerning this remarkable man. He was one of the founders of the Campbellite or Christian faith. But he finally abandoned the Church, quit preaching, and devoted himself to journalism and the study of geology [sic]. While thus engaged he made the acquaintance of Joe Smith, the founder of Mormonism. Those who ought to know, assert that the "Golden Bible or the Book of Mormonism" is the product of Sidney Rigdon's mind and pen. He became an active Mormon, and went with Smith to Kirtland, Ohio, and afterwards to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he ranked in the Church, only second to Smith. He renounced Mormonism when the polygamy revelation was made. Mr. Rigdon is said to be a man of great intelligence, and of remarkably pure life. Before he dies he ought to tell the world what he knows about the Mormon Church.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXVI.                               Syracuse, N.Y., Sat., Dec. 21, 1872.                               No. 202.

A  Noted  Character.

Sidney Rigdon, of Friendship, Alleghany county, recently had a severe attack of paralysis. In connection with the fact the Albany Times presents a statement regarding Mr. Rigdon that will be now to most people: "He was early a member of a Christian church, and became a minister of the denomination of which he was a member. He was really the foundor of what is now known in the Campbellite, or Christian faith. He was urging the non-sectarian idea of Christianity when Campbell first sought to give it a place in the world as an organised church. Mr. Rigdon finally lost faith in the religion of his adoption, abandonod the pulpit, and devoted himself to journalism and the study of geology. In the latter he was astonishingly proficient. While thus engaged, the pretended revelations of Joe Smith attracted the public attention. They were not long in finding a defender in Sidney Rigdon, and the Golden Bible, or the Book of Mormon, we have no doubt, is the product of his mind and pen. He became an active Mormon, and went with Smith to Kirkland, Ohio, and from thence to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he ranked in the church only second to Smith. When the polygamy revelation came, Rigdon promptly declined to accept it as a part of his faith, and left the Mormon city for his old home in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. His religion was not coupled with immorality. For many years past he has resided at Friendhip, Alleghany county, in this State, with his children who are settled there. He in man far advanced in years. In 1863 the editor of the Times endeavored to learn, in conversation, the religions views of Mr. Rigdon, and utterly failed; and he believes that the most intimate friends of Mr. Rigdon are no bettor informed on the subject.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XII.                                     Buffalo, N. Y., Sat., Dec. 21, 1872.                                   No. 299.


==> Sidney Rigdon, of Friendship, N. Y., has recently had a severe attack of paralysis. He was one of the founders of the Campbellite or Christian faith. But he finally abandoned the Church, quit preaching, and devoted himself to journalism and the study of geology [sic]. While thus engaged he made the acquaintance of Joe Smith, the founder of Mormonism. Those who ought to know, assert that the "Golden Bible or the Book of Mormon" is the product of Sidney Rigdon's mind and pen. He became an active Mormon, and went with Smith to Kirtland, Ohio, and afterwards to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he ranked in the Church, only second to Smith. He renounced Mormonism when the polygamy revelation was made. Mr. Rigdon is said to be a man of great intelligence, and of remarkably pure life.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XIV.                                     Buffalo, N. Y., Thurs., Jan. 9, 1873.                                   No. 7.


Personal Recollection of One of
the Founders of Mormonism.


In anticipation of the death of Sydney Rigdon, which has since occurred, the Dubuque Times publishes the following reminiscences of his career:

Sydney Rigdon, for so many of these later years entirely lost to public view, was born in Alleghany county, Pa., Feb, 19, 1793: consequently is now a few weeks less thau eighty years old. When a boy he learned the printer's trade, and at the age of nineteen we find him in a printing office at Pittsburg. Solomon Spaulding (born at Ashford, Ct., 1761, a graduate of Dartmouth college, a minister for four years, a merchant at Cherry Valley, N. Y., for some time, removing thence to Conneaut, O., in 1809, to Pittsburg in 1812, to Amity, Pa., in 1814, and dying there in 1816), among a number of novels possessing so little merit that he could find no publisher for them, in 1810, 1811 and 1812 wrote a romance pretending to show that the Indians of America were the descendants of the "Lost Tribes" of Israel -- which was placed in the printing office where young Rigdon was working, and which, years afterward, came out -- certain religious doctrines being interpolated here and there -- as the Mormon Bible. The portion of Rigdon's life which is identical with Mormonism we touch lightly, as it is not our purpose to repeat what can be found elsewhere. Suffice it to say, Rigdon helped Jo. Smith organize the first Mormon church, at Manchester, N. Y., April 6th, 1830; led the little body of believers to Kirtland, O., in 1831; the two were mobbed, tarred and feathered on the night of March 22, 1832; received Brigham Young as a convert late the same year; started a bank. Smith president, Rigdon cashier, which broke in January, 1838, and the twain fled to Missouri: alter much wrangling and finally civil war, settled at Nauvoo, Ill., April 6, 1841, and laid the corner stone of the Mormon temple there; July 12, 1843, the revelation of polygamy came; this, Rigdon declares he never accepted; but a riot with citizens resulted. June, 1844, in which Jo. Smith was shot dead; Rigdon aspired to become head of the church, but Young was selected; Rigdon rebelled, was cut off from communion with the faithful, and formally "delivered to the devil to be buffeted in the flesh for a thousand years." He accordingly returned to Pittsburg, and finally drifted to Friendship. Allegany county, N. Y., where the writer hereof found him about 1848. His daughter married Mr. Hatch, the first principal of the then newly erected Friendship Academy. In the debating school connected with that academy, the writer was the youngest member; and Rigdon, when present, which was not infrequently the case, was usually invited to take part. He was remarkably proficient in the sciences for that date -- especially astronomy and geology. His arguments were always unique, bizarre, startling. Something that everyone would have sworn could have no possible connection with the subject under consideration, would be, first anyone knew, brought into the field of argument with a rebound that demolished all opponents. Doubtless there was much sophistry there; but that lyceum didn't contain the reasoner who could expose it. He was at least as familiar with the Bible as any man we ever met. The ordinary, unsuspicious, half fledged, and therefore supercilious theologians in that vicinity used sometimes to thoughtlessly, on first acquaintance, "catch up" some careless remark of the rough, unshaven countryman, and "pitch into" his positions. Then he would let drop onto their bewildered heads texts enough to amount to five or ten and twenty chapters of Scripture, as the case might seem to demand, compel or betray them into positions they never thought of taking before, and then saunter off to his home by "the creek" with the most innocent air, as if utterly unconscious that he had left his assailant inextricably entangled and standing on his head. What his own religious views were no one was ever shrewd enough to elicit from him. We have heard him argue everything, from Catholicism, via the strictest Calvinism, to the loosest Mormonism. He was gentlemanly, though sometimes scathingly sarcastic; temperate, not profane nor obscene; kind, so far as came convenient, with his character for honesty and morality untarnished. It seems to us that with a little intenser and differently directed ambition, a higher and more positive purpose, and a feeling that it was worth the while to carry out that purpose. Sydney Rigdon might have been one of the great men of the century. But with a half majestic and half careless calmness not to be ruffled by anything that this world or any other, could give or take away, he has lived a long, eventful and useless life.

Note: This article evidently first appeared in the Dubuque Times near the end of 1872, when Sidney Rigdon's deteriorating health received some attention in the popular press. Some article reprints state that Mrs. Hatch was the "first principal of the then newly erected Friendship Academy," which is an obvious error. Jeremiah Hatch (1819-1862) was chosen to head up the new school soon after its organization meeting, held on Feb. 5, 1848. Hatch's extended family was largely Mormon, as far back as the Nauvoo era, and Jeremiah (then living in that LDS city) determined to follow the prophetic leadership of Sidney Rigdon during the summer of 1844. He must have been baptized a Mormon a year or two before. At any rate, he joined Rigdon in the east and was made an apostle in Rigdon's church in April of 1845. Hatch subsequently married Rigdon's daughter Lacy at Greencastle, Pennslyvania and moved to the Friendship, New York area in 1847. History does not record whether or not Jeremiah remained a Rigdonite after accepting employment at the Friendship Academy.


Jefferson  County  Journal.

Vol. IV.                                    Adams, N. Y., Thurs., Feb. 6, 1873.                                    No. 44.


Westward on Foot, Forty Years Ago.



At this day Port Gibson is hardly known out of its own county, but at the time of the boy's visit there, the place was making most solemn promises to grow up into a large thriving village at least, perhaps a small city, at no distant date....

At the time of the boy's visit to Port Gibson, the region about there was wild with religious excitement. Joseph Smith the Mormon prophet, had just introduced his Nephi, or golden Bible, and had recently baptised earth's first batch of Mormon converts, and laid, in Palmyra, the bottom of the first church of latter day saints. Joe's home was but a very short distance from Port Gibson, so the boy was in the very midst of the frolic. He read Joe's golden Bible, heard him preach, heard him and his grandfather debate Mormonism, was introduced to him, had long talks with him and heard his history repeated by his neighbors, and was satisfied, perfectly satisfied, that Joe had received a Divine revelation, (by way of Gabriel) just as much as Mahomet had. -- He was fully satisfied that Joe was as keen, shrewd, cunning, foxy, and unprincipled a human devil as ever lived outside of the pit.

That boy found that he was related to this holy, annoiated, chosen Joe Smith, not by consanguine mixing up; no, for not a drop of the prophet's scarlet blood ran in the veins of that boy -- how sad the thought -- but still, Joe's brother, Hiram, married a cousin of his father's. That ought to have excited him, for Joe hinted strongly that this tie brought him near the fount of blesssings. Joe felt that sublime fact and talked it, but the boy did not take, so Joe talked more fiercely, but the boy said, grimly: "hold on Joe;" and Joe held.

Finally the-Divine Joseph became convinced that the boy was not built right about the brains and mouth for a Mormon, and so he closed out his hopes about the Western New Jerusalem, but, nevertheless, the boy learned many things about the new religion trod its founders that may be interesting to some readers.

This region was not only noted as being the place where the infant was born that now lives at Salt Lake City, but was noted as the section where Morgan wrote his expose of Free Masonry. In an upper chamber in a public house, owned by a distant relative of that boy, in the village of Orleans, a few miles from Port Gibson, Morgan wrote his book. In Canandaigua jail, a few miles south of the Port, Morgan was first confined, and from it he was taken before his final disappearance. Years afterwards, when the boy was a man (that is, in stature), he lived some time in that neighborhood, and became well acquainted with many men who had known Morgan and Joe Smith, and their histories.

By the way of this boy then, the boy is prepared to give some facts about the two men, not generally known. One of these men tried to build up an institution; the other tried to tear one down. The public have the general result, but many of the incipient steps of both in their struggles to obtain their respective ends are not well understood, and I propose to keep the boy with me until next week, and pump him well, and give the result in my next article. Then we will trudge along again on the journey, and see it we cannot get on faster by hurrying up things on the way.


Notes: (forthcoming)


Jefferson  County  Journal.

Vol. IV.                                    Adams, N. Y., Thurs., Feb. 13, 1873.                                    No. 45.


Westward on Foot, Forty Years Ago.



People generally suppose that Mormonism is really the entire offspring of Joseph Smith, that he was the sole originator of the scheme. This is a great mistake; a Christian gentleman and two keen, unscrupulous rascals were the trinity that gave Mormonism to the world.

Solomon Spaulding, an educated Congregational Clergyman, lost his health, gave up his charge, and traveled considerably in what was then called the far west. He became much interested in those old mounds that abound in the regions of the Ohio river and its tributaries. He possessed a vivid and speculative mind, and at once began to try not only to account for the ancient remains, but to decide the question of who and what were the people who raised them up.

Priestly [sic - Josiah Priest?] takes the ground that the present Indian tribes are the descendants of the ten lost tribes of Israel, and that the mound builders were a prior race. Spaulding takes the descendants of the lost tribes to be the true authors of these remains, and our Aborigines to be their extermimators. I think Priestly has the most evidence for his theory, but both lack substantial facts. However, Mr. Spaulding had his notions, and jotted them down in his notes, and when he went home he drew them out into a manuscript, and called it Nephi, in honor of an ideal being his dreaming fancy saw as leader and prophet of these children of the lost tribes, who he imagined were the authors of these old monuments. Soon after the completion of his manuscript, Mr.Spaulding became very much poorer in health, and at the same time was greatly embarrassed for means to get along; his friends advised him to publish his work, and he sent it to a publisher in Pittsburgh in the hope of realizing some help from it; but soon after Mr. Spaulding died and his family lost sight of the manuscript.

At that time Sidney Rigdon was employed in the printing office where the manuscript of Spaulding had been left, and, as was afterwards clearly shown, he took possession of it. About the same time Joseph Smith visited that vicinity; indeed, the sublime Joe, found the seraph Emma there, afterwards exalted to the bosom of the prophet, becoming thereby Mrs. Emma Seraph Joe. Chance, or fate, or some other genial harmonia, brought Smith and Rigdon together. Joe had already made pretensions to a Seership, or, in other words, to be gifted with the power of second sight. He had obtained some money, and a great but peculiar notoriety in finding stolen property. Most people agreed with Joe in this, that he found it very often by second sight, for they foolishly imagined that he had seen the stolen things before. Joe had led several expeditions in digging for buried money.

When these men met and formed an acquaintance each felt the other's spirit pulse, and sighted each other's character. Here the first tangible idea of Mormonism was born in the brain of Rigdon, and it came forth like Juno from the head of Jove, a full-sized Goddess -- like Richard the Third, it was born with teeth, and was lame and unfashionable. The idea was this: Joe was already a Seer, it was but one step more for him to become a prophet, have a revelation about hidden leaves, written over in an unknown tongue, then, as a Seer, to follow up these revelations, and find the golden plates, then by Divine inspiration decipher them into plain English, and find a few fools to furnish the money for publishing the new gospel; -- get Rigdon to print the bibles; then let Joe take them and preach from them; organize new churches, of latter day Saints; and, lastly, have a second revelation, declaring Sidney Rigdon tobe the High Priest of the new dispensation, and the thing would be done.

This was Rigdon's plan. By this plan Joe was to be Rigdon's cat's paw. Joe consented, but Joe was not caught. Joe would bring it all about except the second revelation, and the cat's paw business. Joe could see the High Priest dodge, and so kept the head of the church to himself, and gave his friend Sidney the second place. The Mormon church with characters reversed was Joe's idea. As the serpents of Moses swallowed those of the Magi, so Joe's idea swallowed Rigdon's. Joe beat, and the Mormon church was born.

Some years after this, one Hurlburt, Mormon Elder, prosecuted Smith for threatening his life. At this time the Saints abode at Kirtland, Ohio. The trial came off at Paynesville. During that trial it was fully proved that Joe's golden plates, Joe's revelation, and Joe's unknown tongue, that had been crystalized into the Nephi, or Golden Bible, was really nothing more than Spaulding's manuscript, stolen by Rigdon, and altered and garbled by Joe into what they called Golden Bible or book of Mormon. The low cunning of early Mormon history, came from Joe Smith, but for many years Sidney Rigdon furnished brains for the whole concern. He was the power behind the throne that ruled the king.

Smith, by cunning falsehood and fraud, of which he was a perfect master, succeeded in oganizing a few churches. He ordained and sent out many Apostles and scattered his Golden Bible far and near; then he led the host to Kirtland, and became the outside soul of the enterprise, leaving Rigdon to choose between the second place in the kingdom, or to back out entirely. Sidney did not back much; no, he gracefully yielded to his hard necessity and the cunning prophet.

Since that date the history of Mormonism is better known and more truthfully told. I have no more space for facts in this article, but, by the way of the boy, I have learned many anecdotes of the Divine Joseph that are rich and rare, silver clues to his Divine nature. One of these times, dear reader, when you want something to stir your intercostals, when you feel that peculiar all-over-ishness, that can not be satisfied without a fat, wholeSome, full-sized laugh, perhaps I can give you a few small slices of Joe.

Singular results and singular opinions follow the history of some men. Many grand men that have struggled hard for human good, have gone to their graves unnoted and unsung, and others of the same class have gone from time covered with obliquity. Another class of low, vulgar, hard-hearted, revengeful spirits have fallen upon curious times, have served the purposes of politicians or other questionable men, and thus are honored as heroes, philanthropists and martyrs. Of this class was Morgan, ambitious, dictatorial, quarrelsome and revengeful. He wanted the fraternity to help him to office, but they knew his unfitness and would not consent. He got into quarrels and lawsuits with his neighbors, he wanted the masons to back him up in his falsehoods and wrong doing, and because they would not, he swore revenge. He said he would rip them up, tear them down, pay them off; under this state of mind he wrote his exposure.

There was one man in the country in particular with whom Morgan had a great deal of trouble, that resulted in quarrels, fights and lawsuits. This man was not a mason. He swore out a warrant and shut Morgan up in Canandaigua jail. Soon there was a rumor that Morgan's friends were going to break open the jail and set him at liberty. To avoid this result the sheriff took a posse of men and removed Morgan to a safer place of confinement. -- A mob collected at the time of his removal and strove to liberate him and a fight ensued, but suffice it to say the sheriff succeeded and removed the prisoner. All this happened in the region near Port Gibson.

The boy at the time of his visit and the man years since has been well acquainted with scores of reliable men who knew Morgan well and knew his history minutely up to the date when he was removed from Canandaigua jail. The facts after his removal are under a cloud. No one has ever appeared to swear positively to his fate. -- One class contend that he was murdered, and pretend to tell how it was done, but of this there is no evidence except that Morgan has not been seen in this country since. Another class contend that he was sent in disguise to Europe, and has never dared to return or expose himself. Even there these persons allege that he has been several times seen and identified. Among these uncertainties a few things are certain: first, Morgan's exposure was an act of pure revenge; second, he was untruthful, quarrelsome and revengeful; third, he was first imprisoned by an anti-mason for alleged crime; fourth, he was removed from Canandaigua by the sheriff for fear of a mob liberation; fifth, Morgan has not been seen in this country since; sixth, his body nor any of his clothing has ever been identified; seventh, no positive evidence of his taking off has ever been produced. And there the matter stands to-day, and there it probably will stand until God lays bare all human secrets and rights all the wrongs of time. I believe in this great day of justice because I believe in an infinite God. Then, praise our Heavenly Father, truth and love shall triumph over all things else.

The writer, might go on with this history and draw fine moral lessons from it, but there is not room in this article, and he is pledged in the next to move on in the journey.

Well, the boy has had his visit out, he has been the rounds saying good-bye to uncles has eaten his last good bits with his aunts, has heard his grandfather's best story repeated, has hugged his kind hearted old grandmother, has kissed his female cousins, (for he was a boy you know, and had no taste for kissing boys; it was more trouble he thought to shake hands with male cousins). Now he and the writer are ready next week to shoulder the pack and resume the journey on foot once more.


Notes: (forthcoming)


Lewis  County  Democrat.

Vol. XVII.                                    Lowville, N. Y., April 23, 1873.                                    No. 36.

Brigham  Young.

The story of Brigham Young's life is more marvelous than romance. His active career is drawing to a close. He is not "Spoiling for a fight" any more.... Brigham Young is neither more nor less than a shrewd, thoroughbred Yankee adventurer. Mormonism did [not?] make him, but he made Mormonism. He is entirely devoid of devotional sentiment, and what seems stranger in view of the place he fills, he seldom affects the sentiment. He was born in Whittington, Vermont, on the first of January, 1801. In 1830 Joseph Smith, a vagabond in Palmyra, in this state, declared that he had discovered the Book of Mormon graven on plates of stone [sic] by the hands of the angelic host. It was an absurd idea, but he found believers who, notwithstanding his notorious character, were ready to follow him. It is a suggestive fact that no draft ever drawn on the credulity of mankind failed to be honored by a respectable number of the human family. Smith acted in collusion with Sidney Rigdon, who wrote the Book of Mormon. Rigdon, who long ago deserted the faith, is still living, and if he were so inclined he could a tale unfold which would be entitled to a place in the world's history. It was in 1832 that Brigham Young joined the Mormons. He had everything to make and nothing to lose. He acquainted himself with the doctrines, which at that time were neither peculiarly absurd nor grotesque. The Book of Mormon was fairly written and inculcated good morals. We believe it promised that true believers should inherit the earth, or a good share thereof. It was on this point that Brigham Young dwelt. He was profuse in promises of temporal blessings, and the tempting bait was taken by scores of overworked farmers and hard-driven mechanics. When the Mormon settlement was made in Illinois Brigham Young had raised to a high rank in the church, and in 1844, on the death of Joseph Smith, he was chosen as president of the Mormon body. Before this, Smith's revelations had been so common that they excited no great interest among his followers. But shortly before his death he received his "revelation" justifying polygamy. This created a decided stir among the Latter Day Saints, and also among the Gentiles. Illinois became too hot to hold the Mormons. They journeyed to the farther west, and under the able management of Brigham Young they prospered after a fashion. In 1847 he led the emigration to the Great Salt Lake. He went far beyond the bounds of civilization into a region almost unknown to white men, and there he founded his colony. He sent his missionaries through all the countries of the old world and proselyted thousands of men, women and children. Among the ignorant, starving peasants of England, Germany and the Northern countries his agents found plenty of men and women who were captivated by the stories told of the New Land and New World, and they jumped at the chance to be transported gratuitously across the ocean to take up their abode with the faithful. They had been accustomed to tyranny in various forms, and they yielded without much murmuring to the despotic rule of Young....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Jamestown  [     ] Journal.

Vol. ?                                    Jamestown, N. Y., December 26, 1873.                                    No. ?

Neighboring Localities.

Sidney Rigdon, the early Mormon preacher, may be seen daily in the streets of Friendship, where he has made his home mostly for forty [sic - thirty?] years. He was a fluent speaker and used often to be called out on public occasions. He now leans upon his staff, being over eighty years of age.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Auburn  Morning  News.

Vol. IV.                                    Auburn, N. Y., Mon., Feb. 23, 1874.                                    No. 511.

The  Original  Mormons.

Mr. Westcott, editor of the Dundee, Yates county, Record, gives the following reminiscences of the original Mormons:

From 1816 to 1828 we lived in Mendon, Monroe county N. Y., and about or between 1825 and 1828 Brigham Young's father came into Victor, Ontario county N. Y., and Brigham and other sons and daughters were of the family.

They lived southeast of Mendon Corners, or East Mendon, just in the edge of Victor, were in low circumstances in life, and worked in a variety of businesses, and remained in that vicinity till Joe Smith came out with his translation of what was called the Book of Mormon, and began to preach his new theory. The Young family were some of them united with what was termed Reformed Methodists, and were a class of excitable, visionary people, and were ready to embrace Mormonism on short acquaintance and a slight investigation, and were among the first fruits of Mormonism in that region.

In September, 1828, we had an interview with the father and mother of Joe Smith, in Romulus, N. Y., at the public house then kept by Judge Demon, and heard them give a description of the wonderful plate [sic] and the singular stone which Joe had found, and that he was then in some place in Pennsylvania translating the hieroglyphics on the plate by means of looking through the stone.

In October of that year we went to Otsego county,, N. Y., and returned to Mendon again in October, 1830, and during this period the Mormons had come there from near Palmyra, N. Y., and the Young family, we think all of them, with C. [sic] Kimball and wife, John Morton and wife, Levi Gifford and wife, and others, had become Mormons, and the Youngs, Kimballs and others had gone to Kirtland, Ohio, to build a city to the Lord, and convert the world to the only saving faith.

Kimball and wife and Morton and wife were members of the Baptist Church, then and now existing at Mendon. Kimball lived at Tomlinson's Corners, in the southeast part of Mendon, was a potter by occupation and we have seen piles of brown earthenware of his making. Young lived not over three miles northeast of him, and he and the family repaired wagons, made baskets and splint brooms, framed barns, and worked by the day for farmers. They kept' dogs, and hunted, fished, and trapped for small game.

The Young family, previous to coming to Victor, lived in Reading, or Tyrone, Steuben county, N. Y., and John T. Andrews of Dundee, or S. S. Benham, of Watkins, N. Y, will assure any one wishing to know, that they in their boyhood days attended a common school with Brigham Young.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle.

Vol. XVI.                          Poughkeepsie, N. Y., Mon., Nov. 2, 1874.                          No. 4252.



The Latter-Day Saints.

"The saints shall in herit the earth," says God. Resolved, that we are "the Saints," therefore we "inherit the earth." By the logic of this curt syllogism the Mormons or "Latter-Day Saints," as they call themselves, claim the right of universal possession.

The Mormons are just now attracting an unusual share of public attention; and there are indications that the more gross and forbidding features of their religious and social system will soon disappear with the brutish men who have so long ruled over the earthly [--------] of that people in [an] arid continent, and that their territory, purged of its foulness, will soon take its place as a flourishing state of our Union.

The History of Mormonism is a marvellous tale among those which set forth the various theological systems which, from time to time, have ensnared the judgments of man. Its vitality has been remarkable. The reason for it may be found in the forces of credulity and lust.

The founder of Mormomism, Joseph Smith, was a bad scion of a bad stock. His family went from Vermont to Palmyra, in Wayne county, New York, when "Joe," as he is commonly called, was ten years of age. These Smiths were of the class such as figure in Thompson's Vermont story of "May Martin, or the Money Diggers," which the older readers of the "Poughkeepsie Telegraph" will well remember. The avoided honest labor; loved rum better than water, falsehood better than truth, immorality better than virtue, and were suspected of sheep-stealing and kindred crimes. Joseph was the worst of the family. Such was the united testimony of sixty of the respectable inhabitants of Wayne County, who knew the family well.

According to Joe's own story, when he was fifteen years of age he began to have supernatural visions. On the night of September 21, 1826, the angel Moroni appeared to him and announced that in the bosom of a certain hill he might find golden plates, upon which was written a record of the Ancient inhabitants of America and of God's dealings with them; and that with the plates would be found two transparent stones set in silver frames, like spectacles -- the veritable _Urim and Thummim_ of the Scriptures -- through which the record, written in the Ancient Egyptian language, would become plain to him. In 1827, the "angel of the Lord" put these plates and the means for their interpretation into the hands of the idle, vicious, drunken Joe Smith, then twenty-two years of age.

With mysterious movements, and with a young dupe or confederate, Oliver Cowdery, as a scribe, the shrewd Joe, it was said, made a pretended translation of the inscriptions on the plates. It was printed in 1830, in a volume of several hundred pages, with the title of "The Book of Mormon; an Account written by the Hand of Mormon, upon plates taken from the Plates of Nephi." It was simply a corrupt version of a religious romance concerning the lost tribes of Israek, called "The Manuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding in 1809, and left in manuscript by him. Smith soon found many believers, and when the truth of his statements were questioned, "Smith told me," said Peter Ingersoll, one of his intimate friends, "the whole affair was a hoax; that he had no such book, and did not believe there was such a book in existence; but, he said, 'As I have got the damned fools fixed, I shall carry out the fun.'"

In this "fun" others with more brains than Joe participated, for the sake of profit. Among these was Sidney Rigdon, a man whom Spaulding had employed twenty years before to copy his romance, and who retained a copy of it. Rigdon was Joe's shrewd associate in the wicked scheme.

Smith and Rigdon set themselves up as prophets, and pretended to have revelations from God. They made enough silly people believe that the "Book of Mormon" was "divine" to form a church, which was organized in Manchester, Monroe [sic] County, N. Y. in the spring of 1830. The next year Joe had a revelation that the whole body of the "Saints" must go to Kirtland, Ohio, and there found the "New Jerusalem." -- These converts rapidly multiplied, and put money into the purses of Smith and Rigdon, who went into Missouri and dedicated a new site for the New Jerusalem, to which the saints might repair at the end of five years. Meanwhile in Illinois, where they began building the city of Nauvoo, and a great temple.

In 1843, when the licentiousness of Smith became notoeious, he had a pretended revelation by which God authorised polygamy among the Mormons. The revelation was so scandalous that the church then publicly denied it; but in 1852 it was publicly avowed and commanded, and has ever since been the most conspicuous and shameful characteristic of the Mormon community.

Outrages committed by Smith and his followers, in Illinois, caused him and his brother to be lodged in jail, where they were both shot by a mob. Thus a strife for the Presidency of the community and headship of the church arose between Rigdon and Young. The latter was the successful competitor who consigned Rigdon to the Devil, to be "buffeted a thousand years." Soon after [sic], Smith and Rigdon set up a bank at Kirtland; defrauded the people; were dragged from their beds and tarred and feathered, and [lastly], in 1838, fled in the night to avoid arrest and imprisonment, and took refuge in Missouri.

In 1833, Brigham Young, another Vermonter, became a convert to Mormonism. -- A gross [sensualist], with much force of character, he soon became a shining light in the Mormon church and a successful missionary to the Eastern states. Other missionaries were sent to Europe. Thousands flocked to the church of the "Latter Day Saints," who emigrated to Missouri, where their offenses against society created a civil war that was suppressed by military force. The people charged the Mormons with all sorts of crimes. Dissentions arose among the "Saints" themselves, and Smith was openly charged by the Mormons with great crimes ] the whole body of the Mormons commenced their remarkable exodus and marvelous journey through the wilderness, to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in the middle of our continent.

With Brigham Young at their head, the pioneers of the Mormon host, reached the Salt Lake in the summer of 1847. In the summer of the following year the main body of the Saints joined them. The organized an energetic emigration system, by which thousands of Europeans, chiefly of the laboring class, were induced to join them. In 1849, a convention held at Salt Lake city, adopted a political constitution and organized a state. The National government refused to organize the new state, but proceeded to establish the Territory of Utah. In 1850. President Fillmore appointed Brigham Young its Governor.

Young arrogantly set the National Government at defiance. The feeble administration of Pierce failed to assert the National authority. Incited by inflamatory sermons preached by Young, the Mormons finally drove the National officers out of Utah, by violence. Finally President Buchanan sent troops there in 1857, to enforce obedience, and in 1858, quiet was restored and submission promised. But from that time to this, that bold bad man who wields despotic power over his deluded followers, has kept a spirit of defiance alive in the Territory. -- In the face of the Christian world, and of our boastful civilization, and with the shamelessness of pagan Asiatics, he indulges in all their volumptuousness without any of their real virtues.

It is burning disgrace to our government and our Christianity that this moral plague spot should have been allowed so long to remain upon the Republic, and a man like Young permitted to be the Governor of a Territory. A refusal to admit the Territory of Utah, as a State of the Union, so long as its people practice polygamy, is the only rebuke of the foulness of that community, which our government has administered.

The Mormon community is governed by a Presidency and twelve Apostles, the latter being a traveling high council. The hierarchy consists of two other orders, the Melchisedec priesthood and the Aaronic priesthood. To the former, which is the highest, belong the offices of Apostle, Seventy, Patriarch, High Priest and Elder. To the latter, the offices of Bishop, Priest, Teacher and Deacon. Their theology teaches that there are many gods, and that eminent Saints become gods in Heaven, differing in celestial glory. That "eminent saint," Joe Smith, is regarded as the God of this generation. His superior god is Jesus, whose superior god is Adam, above whom is Jehovah, and above Jehovah is Elohim. These gods have many wives and children; and they are the fathers of souls upon the earth.

It is one of the strangest of moral phenomenas, that a system so gross should abide so long in the light of this portion of the 19th century, and in our enlightened country.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. L.                          Rochester, N. Y., January 23, 1875.                          No. 19.


The somewhat accidental origin of the Mormon sect is a matter of history and pretty well known in this section of the country. Occasionally dome incident revives reminiscences of the event, and affords an opportunity to refer briefly to the old story for the benefit of the rising generation. A day or two since a notice appeared in an Elmira paper that Sidney Rigdon is the oldest man residing in Friendship, Alleghany county. The mere mention of his name calls up the subject referred to, and a contributor of the Elmira Advertiser presented a few facts which give, in a nutshell, the origin of the Mormon bible. He reminds the public that this somewhat remarkable production was written by a Presbyterian clergyman by the name of Spaulding residing in Ohio, as a kind of religious novelette founded upon the lost tribe of Israel which is reported as having wandered east. The manuscript (we quote from the version referred to) was taken by him to Cincinnati [sic] with a view to its publication and there he made the acquaintance of Sydney Rigdon, who had some connection with a printing office with whom it was left for perusal. Mr. Spaulding shortly after died and nothing was done with it until Mr. Rigdon fell in with Joe Smith, who borrowed the manuscript. He was a shrewd, credulous adventurer who needed everything and was as willing to impose upon others as he was to be imposed upon himself. He invented the story that the golden plates from which the book of Mormon were said to have been translated, were found in a bluff hill situated on the road between Shortsville and Palmyra, and that he was directed to dig for them in a certain place by revelation, and this is still pointed out where the excavation was made. His first material convert was a man by the name of Chamberlain, who lived near a place called Kingdom, between Seneca Falls and Waterloo. This man owned a good farm, and through his aid and others the Mormon bible was first published. Preaching now became easy. Any number of miracles were wrought, and when any particular want was felt, Joe Smith, like Mahomet, fell into a trance or dream and the command came from heaven. That the Book of Mormon is genuine is attested by a great number of signatures, whose writers testify that they have seen the golden plates from which it was translated from an unknown language by miraculous aid; but the plates, like the Ark of the Covenant, have been sedulously concealed from modern profane eyes. After this Joe Smith passed through his reported "trials and tribulations," and finally succeeded in forming a society in Ohio. After Joe Smith was killed Rigdon tried to become the head of the Church, but he was opposed by Brigham Young, then in the prime of life, who succeeded, and Mr. Rigdon left the community, either from disgust or fear of his life, and has since resided in Friendship with or near his son, who is a merchant there.

Note 1: On page 129 of the 1876 History of Seneca Co., Joseph Smith, Jr. is described as having once been "a day-laborer" who sometimes worked "for old Colonel Jacob Chamberlain, and occasionally for others, when not engaged with his mineral rods digging for gold in various places." According to Daniel S. Kendig, Joseph Smith started working for Jacob Chamberlain about 1820, when he was "an odd-looking boy, clad in tow frock and trousers, and barefooted. He hailed from Palmyra, Wayne County, and made a living by seeking hidden things" Jacob P. Chamberlain (1802-1878) was the owner of flour mills in the vicinity of Kingdom Lock, a junction on the road between Waterloo and Seneca Falls. After the Mormons had left that area, Chamberlain bought and ran the Lower Red Mills near Kingdom.

Note 2: Jacob P. Chamberlain was apparently still on good terms with Joseph Smith, Jr. during the winter of 1830-31, when some of the Joseph Smith Sr. family members were temporarily living at Kingdom, in the home of Chamberlain's neighbor, "Mr. Kellogg." A different "Jacob Chamberlain" (1779-aft.1859) is listed in the Kirtland Council Minute Book as having been an LDS Teacher who attended the June 13, 1831 Conference at Kirtland -- writer Michael Quinn confuses the two men. In Jan. 1834, at Kingdom, Jacob P. Chamberlain gave Elder Orson Hyde "one hundred dollars to be sent to Kirtland for the assistance of the brethren." Whatever his early interest in money-digging or Mormonism may have been, Chamberlain joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in Seneca Falls in 1841 and remained a member until his death on October 5, 1878. For Chamberlain's possible early dissatisfaction with the Mormons, see the letter of Mar. 12, 1831, (probably from Abner Cole in Palmyra) published in the Mar. 22, 1831 issue of the Painesville Telegraph. There the NY correspondent says: "Their [Mormons'] number may be 20 in this vicinity, and but two or three of them own any property to our knowledge. Near Waterloo there is said to be about 40, three or four being men of property. Chamberlain and Burrows, two of the principal ones, it is said, have refused to sell, or obey Jo any longer."



Vol. I.                         Mount Morris, New York, Thursday, March 4, 1875.                         No. 1.

Mrs.  Ann  Eliza  Young.

This popular lecturer will appear before the citizens of Mt. Morris, at Livingston Hall, on Monday evening, March 8h. The Boston Daily Globe, of a recent date, thus comments on this charming woman:

"Mrs. Ann Eliza Young has had a memorable career as a lecturer. Indeed, taking all the circumstances of her life into account, her success in the lyceum has been without parallel. It began in an obscure town in the far West, on the 6th of December, 1873. On the 1st of January, 1875, she had lectured 338 times -- from Portland, Me., to San Francisco, Cal.; from Washington to St. Paul, Minn. Wherever she went, she overcame prejudice and obloquy by her sincere and modest presentation of the wrongs of her sisters in polygamous bondage. Driven, by her own agony and the impelling voice of conscience, to attempt their liberation from the degrading slavery in which the women of Utah are kept; undeterred by the slanders with which the agents and hirelings of the Mormon priesthood have pursued her, she has aroused everywhere a sentiment of righteous indignation against them, as well as against the Congressional inaction which is responsible for the perpetuity of the infamous institution in the United States. She proposes to continue her crusade until polygamy shall be abolished by the same power which crushed Southern slavery.

The question is often asked by persons who do not duly estimate the almost omnipotent influence of early education: How is it that a refined woman, who shows that she is able to write lectures that rank among the best, should have become a Mormon at all, and especially that she should consented to be the nineteenth wife of Brigham Young? The answer is that she was born and educated in the Mormon Church, and never, until after her marriage with the prophet, conversed with the believers or read the manuals of any other creed. She drew in an unquestioning faith in the Mormon religion with her mother's milk and her father's words. What we look on as a great wickedness -- the practice of polygamy -- was shown to her as the crowning glory of saintly womanhood."

The reserved seats are selling very rapidly, and those who desire a good seat should procure their tickets at once.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXV.                 Canandaigua, New York, Wednesday, June 17, 1875.                  No. 24.

For the Ontario County Times.

Manchester in the Early Days.



...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 back-woods 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 in a while 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; amid, 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....

Note: The exact wording and full content of this June 17, 1875 article have yet to be determined. An updated transcript will be posted here when it becomes available.


Vol. XXV.                 Canandaigua, New York, Wednesday, June 23, 1875.                  No. 25.

For the Ontario County Times.

Manchester in the Early Days.



As was stated in the preceding article, the Smith family were firm believers in the truth of various legends which designated Mormon Hill as the depository of large amounts of untold treasure. -- Night after night had the father and sons, Alvah and Joseph, delved and dug in different spots, but so far as the outer world knew their search was never rewarded with success. Occasionally they would tell of important discoveries, but these stories were always related to some person whose pecuniary or other substantial assistance they desired, and so their marvelous tales soon came to be received with many grains of allowance, and finally were greeted with the cold stare of unbelief. They claimed to have in their possession a miraculous stone which although it was densly opaque to ordinary eyes, was still luminous and transparent to the orbs of Joseph, Jr. This stone was one of the common horn blende variety, some of which may be picked up any day on the shores of lake Ontario. It was kept in a mysterious box, carefully wrapped in cotton. As an illustration of the ludicrous manner in which this stone was made to innure to the physical prosperity of its owners, the following well authenticated anecdote is related: It was claimed that Joseph, Jr., by placing it in a hat could discover by looking into the hat the precise spot where the hidden treasure was buried. Among the many dupes which were victimized by this story, was one William Stafford. They repeated the tale to him time and time again, with such solemn asseverations of its truth, that at last he began to believe that there might be something in it, and so consented to join them in one of their midnight expeditions. When the evening which had been agreed upon came around, he hied him to the Smith domicile, and there awaited developments. Soon Joseph joined the circle before the hearth, bearing with him the stone carefully concealed in a well worn and antiquated beaver. Seating himself, he placed his face where his pate ought to have been, and after peering intently into the recesses thereof, made the encouraging announcement that he saw a pot full to overflowing with glittering shiners, and that he could lead the assembled coterie to the precise spot, where by a little dilligent digging combined with a strict observation of all the conditions imposed, they could speedily exhume the same, and make a pro rata division of the contents thereof. -- No time was now lost in getting under way, and arming themselves with shovels, pick axes and implements of a like nature, they started forth with Joseph and the magic stone at the head of the column. "Tramp, tramp, tramp" they went "marching on," through the forests and across the fields, until after a long and weary march their leader commanded a halt. Joseph, Sr. now came to the front and produced a piece of twine with a sharp pointed stake attached to each of its ends. A solemn injunction to preserve the strictest silence was now laid upon every one of the party, as it was said that the Evil One was around listening, that if he heard them, he too would then know where the buried gold was, and before they could dig down to it, would spirit it away to some other locality, and thus deprive them of the fruits of their nocturnal travels and labors. Joseph now advanced on tip toe to the spot he had selected, and taking one of the stakes from his father, forced the same into the soil, while his worthy sire unwound the string, and firmly grasping the other stake in his hand proceeded to strike out, and "swing around," the magic circle within which the treasure was to be found. Work was now commenced in earnest. Silently and mysteriously the delvers delved. Not a word was uttered, not even a whisper disturbed the profound and unearthly silence; the laborers hardly dared to breathe, and the only sound which was heard was that which was made by the instruments of excavation as they went deeper and deeper into the bowels of the earth. Time rolled on, the minutes lengthened into hours, the pile of disturbed earth grew larger and larger, the hole grew deeper and deeper, the laborers grew wearier and wearier, until they began to be doubtful of success. The advent of the coming morn was near at hand when the [sic - pseudo?] prophet with drew himself into a thicket, and after looking into the cavernous depths of the superannuated chapeau, dolorously announced to his followers, that some of the prescribed conditions had been violated, and that Satan had carried off the concentrated riches to some other locality. They dug no longer but went to their homes, where it is suspected that they did ample justice to the matutinal meals. Before separating however, Joseph took another look into the hat, and made the encouraging announcement that his precious pebble had revealed to him the precise spot where Le Diable had secreted his ill gotten and recently acquired wealth. He said further, that inasmuch as the father of lies had now got the lucre into his possession, it would be necessary when they dug again to use some extraordinary means of enchantment to drive him away; that he had a mortal aversion to blood drawn from any bleeding animal, and that the stone had revealed to him the important fact, that if a black bell wether should be led around the circle with its throat cut and bleeding, Satan would be completely outwitted, and their recovery of the treasure would be the certain result. Now it so happened that Mr. Stafford was the owner of an animal which fully answered to all the prescribed conditions, but of course Jo did not know this fact! Oh no, he was a prophet and a seer, and therefore could not burden his mind with such small matters, as to which particular one of all his neighbors was the owner of a lusty, black bell wether. But some of the party remembered the fact, and brought it to the attention of Joseph. Immediately Mr. Stafford was importuned by one and all to consent to the sacrifice of his sheep, which he finally did. What was one sheep in comparison to the untold wealth which had haunted his dreams, and which when acquired, was to bring to him comfort and ease luxury for the balance of his life? This little matter having been satisfactorily adjusted, and having agreed upon the time when the performance should take place, the party separated. The appointed night again came on and the same party was again assembled in the best room of the Smith mansion, but outside the door might have been heard the occasional jingling of a bell, which told that the black bell wether was on hand, prepared and ready for the sacrifice. The same performance of hat gazing was again gone through with, and once again they started forth. At length they arrived at the designated spot, far removed from the former one. Again the same cautions as to silence were uttered, again the stakes were planted and once again the magic circle was drawn. The wether led by the hand of his master was brought to the circle, and as his mild eyes rested confidingly upon the group, he received the death dealing stroke. -- His throat was severed, as per directions of the horn blende pebble, and as his life blood welled forth, he was led around the ring pouring it on the ground as he staggered and stumbled along. -- The single revolution was at length completed and poor bell wether was left to expire as best he might, while his cruel and avaricious executioners seizing their implements commenced eagerly to throw out the earth. Will you believe it, dear reader? They didn't find a dollar; there was no money there, nor no pot to put money in. How long they worked is unknown, but it was until the prophet in embryo had again consulted the stone, and so gave to his dupes some reason for their failure, which undoubtedly was as simple and foolish as the whole proceeding had been. But now a singular circumstance occurred; Mr. Stafford on looking for the carcass of his black bell wether, undoubtedly having in view a broiled leg of mutton, was somewhat nonplussed to find that it had disappeared as mysteriously as the coveted riches; he also made the farther discovery, and a singular coincidence it was, that the seer's paternal progenitor was also missing. The fact was that while Stafford had dug, Smith had dressed the carcass, and when its absence was discovered was far advanced on his homeward route. When Mr. Stafford learned, as learn he did, that for a few days the Smiths had regaled themselves on mutton chops, &c., he lost all faith in human nature, the scales fell from his eyes and he saw that he had been victimized. It may be that the investment of the black bell wether in the course of time proved to be a profitable one, as it assuredly did, if thereby he was saved from a belief in the Bible hoax. They might have made a Martin Harris of him, but knowing that a hooked fish is not apt to bite the second time, they never attempted to hoodwink him again. Many instances of a similar nature occurred, always resulting in some substantial gain to the exchequer or the cellar of the Smiths, but this one must suffice as an illustration of them all. -- Soon other stories of a more mysterious and uncanny nature still began to be put in circulation, the most notable of which was the following: They pretended that "while digging for money at Morman [sic] Hill they came across a chest, three by two feet in size, covered with a dark colored stone. In the center of the stone was a white spot about the size of a six-pence. 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." This palpable fraud was whispered in the ears of the credulous, with what design cannot be told, but that they had some sinister object in view cannot be reasonably doubted. Among the other methods which the Smith family employed to "keep the wolf from the door," was that of manufacturing and selling oil cloths. This work was principally performed by Mrs. Smith. She wove the threads and painted the cloths herself, and when a sufficient stock was found to be on hand, it was her custom to start out herself and hawk her wares from door to door. This afforded a good opportunity for the dissemination of her doctrines and she improved it. It was while she was thus engaged that she commenced to prophesy the advent of a new religion of which her son was to be the prophet. By this means, a sense of expectation for the coming of some great event, was diffused thro the community, and so when it was announced that Joseph had actually found the massive golden tablets, there were some whose credulity led them to believe that the story was a truthful one, because it had been predicted, while still another class who had doubted the prophecy, began to have faith in it because of the seeming confirmation of it which was made by the discovery of the tablets. But by far the major portion of the community had sense enough to see that neither the prophecy nor the event had any proof of their verity, except what came from the Smiths, and to see that if their statements were to be unquestionably accepted as the truth, it was easy enough to manufacture any pretended event, to confirm the prophecies which had fell from their lips. While these mysterious hints were being circulated thro the community, the conspirators had excavated for their own use a hole in the ground. This was nothing more nor less than an artificial cave which they had dug in a side hill now owned by the Chauncey Miner heirs. This hill may be found at any time on lot 77 of the original survey, to the south of the highway running from the Palmyra Plank road to the residence of Mark Johnson. It is situated about equi-distance between the terminii of the road and faces to the north. The entrance to this cave was guarded by an iron-plated door. The cave itself was about sixty feet in length and ten feet high. From the door for a distance of forty feet, there was a hall fifteen feet wide which led to the chamber beyond. This chamber or audience room was twenty feet square, and was furnished with one rude table and half a dozen uncouth stools. It was here that the secret meetings of the plotters were held up to the time they commenced holding public meetings for the purpose of making converts. In this small recess, secure from any interference by skeptical persons, by the flaring light of a tallow candle, was the plan of operations fully discussed and decided upon. It is stated that Darius Pierce, one of the sons of Nathan, at the head of a party of his associates surprised the parties when they were assembled together in one of their nocturnal consultations and that a lively time ensued. And now the fulness of time had come, "all things had conspired together for good," and the incipient fraud was on the eve of its consummation. -- One morning as the settlers went to their daily work a strange rumor was passed from mouth to mouth that the night before, the Smiths in one of their midnight expeditions had commenced digging on the north-western spur of Mormon Hill, and had been rewarded by the discovery of several heavy golden tablets, which were covered with hieroglyphics. The rumor spread from house to house, but dilligent inquiry failed to discover any evidence beyond that of the Smiths themselves, which would serve in the least to verify the statement. But the seed had been implanted in the minds of the credulous, and for a brief time was left to grow of its own volition. Other rumors soon began to circulate, to the effect that Joseph, the prophet, was engaged in a translation of his discovered record of antiquity, which was soon to be printed in common English and submitted to the inspection of an unregenerated world.

Note 1: The above text was "Episode 34" in a series of articles published in the Canandaigua Ontario County Times between October 21, 1874 and July 14, 1875. A microfilm copy of the original June 23, 1875 text was discovered through the research efforts of H. Michael Marquardt in 2014. -- The Shortsville Enterprise (also an Ontario County newspaper) appears to have reprinted the entire old article series in 1904. "Manchester in the Early Days" by "Veritas," were installments from the pen of Charles W. Brown (1848-1897). The Ontario County Journal of Oct. 22, 1897 published this short notice: "The death of Charles W. Brown occurred at his home on High street on Thursday evening, from an attack of malaria fever. The deceased was about 49 years of age and was a son of Hiram L. Brown, from whose residence his funeral was held on Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock. The community mourns the loss of one of her best citizens for he was respected and beloved by all. He had served for some time as one of the magistrates of the town...."

Note 2: Mr. Brown was obviously born too late to have been an eye witness to the earliest days of Ontario County's Farmington township (eventually divided into Farmington and Manchester township), and thus had to rely upon preserved records and memories of the old settlers for the history he compiled. Among the sources he consulted would have been surviving members of the local Stafford family -- his own father-in-law, Dr. John Stafford (1805-1905) had lived immediately south of the Joseph Smith, Sr. family, on Stafford Road. In a subsequent article, published in the Reorganized LDS Saints' Herald in 1881, Dr. Stafford appears to have backed off a little from confirming certain accounts previously circulated relating to his family's early interactions with Joseph Smith and the first Mormons. However, Mr. Brown's 1874-1875 historical sketches can probably be relied upon as providing an unvarnished version of past events, told to him as representations of the factual recollections of early northern Ontario County residents. It appears to have served as the foundation for the first substantial township history, published in book form in 1876.

Note 3: For the reprint of Episode 34, see the Shortsville Enterprise of March 11 and March 18, 1904. -- The following editorial comment is found in the latter issue's accompanying article, "Celebrated His Ninety-ninth Birthday" -- "Dr. Stafford is well acquainted with the beginnings of Mormonism. He knew the Smith family well, and was present at the first baptism, when old Granny Smith and Sally Rockwell were 'dipped' and came up 'white as snow'..."


The  Syracuse  Daily  Journal.

Vol. ?                             Syracuse, N.Y., Thurs., December 2, 1875.                             No. ?

Joseph Smith -- His Early Attempts at Imposture.
To the Editor of the Syracuse Journal:

The earliest attempt of Joseph Smith to deceive the credulous and ignorant was by the aid of a stone, to which he professed to have been directed by a dream. It was an ordinary pebble of zone sandstone; and he concealed it by placing it in his hat and by then shading his face in the hat.

His first excursion from Ontario county, N. Y., where he had attained only a neighborhood notoriety, it was thought, was to the vicinity of Lanesborough, Susquehannah county, Pa. A tradition existed among the credulous that a large amount of silver coin had been melted into bars, and buried, a few miles from that place by a band of Spanish adventurers, early in the history of our country, and that the ghost of one of the band who had been murdered was guarding the treasure. The ghost, it had been ascertained in some way, would strike the man dead whose instrument should first reach the treasure, his spell would then be broken and possession could then be taken without any further danger. In confident expectation that one of their number would fall a victim to the spectre's blow, they were pale with apprehension, but strongly resolved to brave the danger for the silver. The most cruel of men are often the most superstitious, and it is a matter of tradition, perhaps of history, that the piratical buccaneers of the seventeenth century were accustomed to kill some one, of less value to their enterprise, and bury him with their treasure, believing that his spirit would haunt the spot and leep away intruders. Instances of such tradition are often met.

The men engaged in this enterprise were men of some means and of ordinary respectability; some of them of a religious character. Wheb visited by my informant, Smith was sitting in the shade, with hat and stone, a lubberly fellow of some twenty or twenty-two years of age. He frequently told them that they were within a few feet of their coveted treasure, and from time to time told them that the ghost had removed the bars, and finally informed them that the bars were spirited away to a distance that made it useless to pursue the matter farther.

Some short-lived efforts were afterwards made under the directions of Smith in search of precious metals near Windsor, Broome county, in this State. He was afterward in the employment of one of his former dupes, a few miles north of Windsor, where from his ignorance, awakwardness and vulgarity, he was the subject of much raillery. One instance of this was related to us many years ago in the neighborhood of its occurrence. Returning from a neighboring grist mill, with a number of bags of flour upon a naked reach and axel of his wagon, one of them was lost. Some boys who saw it fall, secreted it in the straw of a barn, beside the road. When the incipient prophet made persistent inquiry and repeated search, they bade him look in his hat to consult his divining stone. It was some weeks before the Deacon and his man obtained their property.

After this he lived some time in Bainbridge, and was taken up as a vagrant. A mock trial of some three or four days' continuance was held for the amusement of a company of equally idle men and boys. A young doctor not overtasked with business at the time, now residing in Greene, Chenango, county, took copious notes of the trial. It was he who described the divining stone to the writer. It was a fine-grained, reddish sandstone, curiously striped, originally hardened from a sandy sediment, broken into a fragment and rounded by natural attrition. He said upon the trial that its power arose from the fact that its layers, or stripes, corresponded with the number of weeks in the year.

After this, Smith returned to his Lanesborough haunts and married Emma Hale, since then the elect Lady of Mormonism. A cousin of his informed the writer, that for some months after they were married, Emma and Joe were closeted and secretly writing out something which they said would make them and their friends independent. Smith made proposals to an uncle of his wife to co-operate in his plans and share the spoils. The old man was an original character, sagacious and pious, and an owner of Clarke's Commentary. Joe said he had found a pair of spectacles or transparencies of some kind, by which he could read all the languages of earth. The old man offered to test him with the Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, &c., of his Commentary, and the result was that Smith said no more on that subject.

We knew the family of Emma Hale. She was regarded as a tolerably well meaning, but rather stupid girl. Her father was eccentric, the old lady pious, Emma stupid, -- all tolerably well to do, and respectable.

The whole is not without its humiliating lesson. How such a blundering blockhead, could have found adherents in this land of schools and Bibles, will be the wonder of the ages.

SYRACUSE, N. Y., Nov. 30, 1875.                         E. G. B.

Note: See Chenango Union of May 27, 1877 for the "Historical Reminiscences" of the "young doctor... residing in Greene, Chenango, county."


Jamestown  [     ] Journal.

Vol. 50.                                Jamestown, N. Y., Friday, December 3, 1875.                                No. 31.

An  Old  Relic.

Mr. Stearns, who occupies the farm of John A. Hall, in pulling to pieces a part of the old residence of the late Sam Hall, found a Burdick's Arithmetic. It was printed in 1831, at Fredonia, by Hanry C. Frisbie... Soon after this work was issued, Burdick joined the Mormons who sent a missionary here who was quite successful in making Mormon converts. About 1833 or 4, Burdick with some others from this vicinity left Jamestown and joined the Mormons, first at Kirtland, O., and then at Nauvoo....

Sidney Rigdon was the Mormon preacher who came to Jamestown about 1834 or 5. He was one of the earliest Mormon proselytes and a very eloquent man. Burdick and his wife (who was a sister of Dan Higley) became Mormons under Rigdon's preaching at Jamestown, as did Mrs. Sanford Holman, two young Winsors and numerous others.

About 1837 Burdick removed to Kirtland, O., and afterwards to Nauvoo, where he was a school teacher instead of a preacher.... After Joe Smith's murder Sidney Rigdon refused to follow the new dispensation under Brigham Young, and with a portion of the church seceded, and settled in Pennsylvania, where they were starved out and broke up. Rigdon settled near Friendship, Allegany county, where he died but a few years ago [sic]. Burdick followed the Mormons to Salt Lake, but some years ago left Salt Lake and settled with his family in southern California, near Los Angeles, where he was living two years ago....

We were a small boy, (nine years old) when the Mormons had their revival in Jamestown, but we recollect of their claiming to speak with tongues at their meetings, as the apostles did at Pentecost, and they did get off a jargon that nobody could understand, a habit which is characteristic of some preachers of the present day. They also claimed to work miracles, and did heal some sick folks, who were sick probably from some imaginative disease. They created a good deal of excitement in Jamestown until their removal to Kirtland, O., and afterwards to Nauvoo, after which Mormonism played out in these parts.

Note: See F. P. Brackett's 1920 History of Pomona Valley, pp. 89-90 for more on "Judge" Thomas Burdick (1795-1877). He became to Mormon Postmaster at Kanesville and remained there until 1853, when he moved to the LDS colony at San Bernardino. Other early converts from the Jamestown area included Marvel C. Davis, John Fent, Anna Higley, J. Sanford Holman, Hannah A. Barker, D. P. Hurlbut, and Willam Barker. See the Oakland Expositor of July 1885 as well as G. W. Hazeltine's 1887 The Early History of the Town of Ellicott, pp. 343-45.


Broome  Republican.

Vol. 54.                           Binghampton, N. Y., Wed., February 2, 1876.                           No. ?


Some New Facts Respecting the Early
Life of the Mormon Prophet in
Western New York -- An Interesting
Letter from "Gilgal."


About two miles south of the village of Palmyra, [on] the way [from] the direct road leading to Canandaigua, stands a [plain] [old-fashioned] farm house. To one side is a larg gate opening [upon] a lane which runs back over the farm to a piece of timber, or piece of woodland. Its eastern portion spreads over a broad level, covered with large trees, and here, beneath the thick-topped maples and beeches, the children of the Sabbath and other schools often congregate on summer afternoons, to feast on pic-nic pantry, play in games of childish fancy, or oscillate back and forth in the great swings suspended from the branches of the trees. The western portion of this wood reaches over a high hill or ridge running north and south, and the little voices are often heard calling attention to a mound of earth, overgrown with young trees, as the location of "The Prophet's Cave." I was present on one of these occasions, a few years ago, and visited the place to find only such remams as forty years of time could not obliterate. The entrance was wholly closed by the yielding earth, which year after year has been dropping into it and hiding its inner walls from the prying eye of the hunter of curious relics of the past. It was here that Joe Smith pretended to interpret the golden plates of Camorah. Here he sat behind the screen and announced to Oliver Cowdrey, the village schoolmaster and scribe of the prophet, the translated word which was to be the scriptural guide of the church of Latter Day Saints, This cave was said to have been large enough to contain thirty persons, that it was strongly guarded by a plank door, three inches thick and provided with [locks]and bars within. However, the story can hardly be true judging from the outward appearances as now seen. It was here that Joe used to slay the fat lambs of Calvin Stoddard's flock of sheep, and offer them to the Lord, as Calvin supposed, for he was one of the early converts to Joe's church and believed in the prophet to the letter, but somehow it always happened that Joe failed to get a communication with the Lord if any body was present, and when they were all gone, the father of the prophet would come down over the hill, shoulder be sheep, calf or pig -- It made but little difference which -- and carry it home, where it was offered up to the hungry mouths of the Smith family each day, as long as it lasted. This was one of the secret motives that compelled Joe to be a dutiful son to his parents, and at the same time demanded a corresponding amount of consideration from them.

The hill Camorah, where Joe unearthed with his money-digging spade the plates of Nephi, rolled them up in a while napkin and carried them home, is located about two miles south of "cave hill," on the same road, that somewhat resembles the former, only that it is much larger. Though this hill has been searched many times, there has never been found any signs of the digging which Joe claimed to have done, and this partly corroborates the story he used to tell, how that having gained possession of the plates of the " first dispensation," he stepped upon a rock, and, holding the napkin above his head, commanded the obliteration of the mark be bad made, and immediately the soil was smoothed over and there rose above it an immense growth of fire-weed. At this time Joe had become possessed the power of prophecy, and had received a revelation to the effect that the first revelation was to him; that during some subsequent period, another revelation would be made, and that it would be dug from the same place in this hill, and in similar form as the first. A few years ago a prominent elder of the church from Salt Lake, stopped here and visited this hill, and while conversing with some of the citizens of this village, advanced the same theory, showing that it had become a fixed belief among the faithful adherents of Mormonism.

Thougth it may be said of Joe Smith that he possesed a more than ordinary amount of native sagecity, he was nevertheless liable to make mistakes, just the same as common mortals do, as was shown when he used to work in haying, and harvest, among the farmers. This he sometimes, did, in order to replenish his scanty wardrobe, before he became a prophet though he never gained the reputation of being other than a shiftless fellow

Note 1: This article communicated one of the few early reports on the artificial cave dug by Joseph Smith and his followers in "Miner's Hill." See the Auburn News & Democrat of Oct. 7, 1886 for a near-contemporary description reprinted from the Chicago Times. The Arcadian Weekly Gazette of July 26, 1893 published a denial of the Joseph Smith cave -- a strange attempt at refuting Pomeroy Tucker's 1867 claim for an "artificial cave... said to be one hundred and sixty feet in extent." The Gazette's refutation was rendered all the more absurd by the New York Herald's June 25, 1893 report on the cave. For more on Joseph Smith's association with Miner's Hill, see notes attached to the Rochester Times-Union of April 25, 1974.

Note 2: The "Gilgal" correspondent makes an unusual claim -- that Calvin Stoddard had a "flock of sheep" from which Joseph Smith obtained lambs for occasional animal sacrifices at or near the Miner's Hill cave. This part of the 1876 report may be merely an expansion of what Tucker wrote about Smith in 1867. However, the Smith family's probable use of the cave site for animal slaughter is substantiated by David Booth's testimony, as published in 1881: "Abel Chase, who lives upon the Palmyra Road... has been in the cave with the Smiths where the sheep bones were found." Wallace Miner, a member of the family that owned the hill, had this to say in 1932: "I once asked [William] Stafford if Smith did steal a sheep from him. He said no, not exactly. He said, he did miss a black sheep, but soon Joseph came and admitted he took it for sacrifice but he was willing to work for it."


Auburn  Daily  Bulletin.

Vol. XII.                                     Auburn, N. Y., Wed., March 22, 1876.                                   No. 1797.

Something  about  the  Mormons.

However much most people hear about this religious sect, it comes mostly of vague reports which now and then appear in the newspapers, growing out of troubles which have been increased since the Pacific railroad opened up a highway into their hitberto almost inaccessible country, where the Institution of Mormonism has flourished for nearly 30 years. Of course all know that the followers of Joseph Smith, who, with Orson Pratt, and another, originated the thing, is based mainly on "Polygamy." That is to say, not only tolerating, but enjoining polygamous marriages, as a "divine revelation." It is a strange fact, that, in this enlightened State of New York, and not far from its centre, has originated, 1st, the impostor Jemima Wilkinson and her infatuated followors -- she pretending to be a prophetess and able to work a miracles, so as to be able to walk upon the water -- if her believers had faith; 2d, the sect called Spiritualists, or more properly spiritist -- beginning with the notorious Fox family, and spreading far and wide till numbering, it is said, millions; and 3d, the Mormons.

At the time when Smith and others pretended to have found the plates of the Mormon Bible, in a hill in Wayne county, (I think,) Brigham Young, the present head of "the Mormon Chureh of Latter-day Saints," as they call it, was not with them. I heard him say that he was born in the State of Vermont, and he lived in Auburn about 1828. He labored, he said, as a mason, on the stone building known as the Theological Seminary; and also on the brick residence of Judge Miller, so long the residence of the late Secretary Seward. A relative also mentioned the fact that he labored in 1812, in an iron manufactory on the Owasco creek, owned by Mr. Wadsworth. The Book of Mormon, it is claimed, was written by a clergyman in Pennsylvania, as a literary romance, or queer attempt at strange fiction. The few persons who originated the idea of banding together in a community of goods, and a plurality of wives -- were compelled to remove to the banks of the Mississippi, in Illinois, and there, under their leader, Joseph Smith, the prophet, began building a stone temple, the ruins of which I saw several years ago, in the city called "Nauvoo."

Their principles became so obnoxious to the surrounding inhabitants, that they were forcibly driven away by an armed body of Illinois militia. Fleeing into Missouri, they had a brief respite, and again had to fly before an outraged community. They set their faces toward California, not knowing exactly where they would go and be safe from a people who would never tolerate their anti-Christian practices.

On visiting the city of Salt Lake, in 1870, in company with some members ef Congress and leading gentlemen from Eastern cities, and at an interview with Brigham Young, we learned much about the Mormons. He invited freedom of conversation, and for about an hour it went on. He claimed, that, as they went to Deseret at the time it was Mexican Territory, and outside of the United States, the general Government had no right to meddle or interfere with them. He said fhey were now receiving revelations from heaven. I was curious to know whether he claimed "a revelation" for guiding them to the fruitful land they possessed. -- I said, "please tell me how you came here?" "Well," said he, "we were journeying this way, and sending a party ahead to prospect, and we learned from returned miners from California, and others, that this was a fruitful soil, and so we came on and took possession." Sunday morning, we attended their tabernacle service, after I had held service in the hotel there, (and preached at Camp Douglass in the afternoon), at which service they had a communion, the elements being (bread and water. Young preached some strange doctrines, but his discourse was egotistical, somewhat political, and showed a mind uncultivated, and, of course, bigoted and full of assumptions of importance as the favored people of Jehovah.

A Methodist minister, who happened to be travelling to California, (though not of oar party), created a little confusion in the interview on the day previous, by asking if all the wives got along in perfect harmony? The reply was, "No." "Of course, all wanted a husband apiece, but the smartest one ruled the roost."

The clergyman (Episcopal) who was with me, declined an inclination to preach in the tabernacle, in the afternoon; but, just before, a Methodist Bishop accepted the offer, and was foolish to de so, because Young's policy is to make a show of liberality -- at the same time reserving to himself the privilege of saying a few words at the close, or else, on next occasion, turning the matter into ridicule, as he did at the time referred to.

Bishop King, while making a tour of observation 'round the world, accepted Young's invitation to hold forth. This matter was thus related to us by Young, and by others. The text was, "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Rom. xiv:17.

The Bishop said, at the close, "Now, my friends, I want to say that all who love the Lord Jesus when they come to die -- if they have faith in Christ, will be welcomed with joy, and carried by angels to Abraham's bosom." Brigham got up and said: "I agree with all our brother has said, only he don't go far enough; but we have revelations and know more about these things, and you see he says a good word for us, because polygamy is right, and Abraham was the greatest polygamist the world ever saw." This, of course, wasn't true; it was a whoppor, but it served his purpose as an argument ad hominem.

Young's power is as absolute as that of the great Mogul, or the Emperor of Russia, and he is a tyrant. Just before our arrival, Dr. Robinson, who owned a valuable sulphur spring and bathing establishment, because he refused to sell it to the church, was called out one night, under pretence of visiting a patient, and a crowd of several Danites standing near his residence shot him dead. These Danites, or destroying angels, are a secret body who do all such things at Young's behest.

The land is very fruitful, as the water for irrigating is never-failing. It flows down from the snow covered mountains some ten miles distant, into large reservoirs, and is carried out to the fields by officers duly appointed.

The Salt Lake, in sight of the city, of course, gives the name to the stronghold of Mormonism.

The stores and marts of trade are nearly all under the control of the church, and if a Mormon is tempted to enter a Gentile's store where better bargains are offered, a spy is pretty sure to enter and compel the person to drop the goods and walk out.

The sigas over all Mormon stores reads thus:


With the All-Seeing-Eye in the centre.

The Chief Justice of the Territory has quite recently charged the Grand Jury in such language as cannot fail to bring about some action, He said the people of the United States have declared by law their abhorrence of polygamy, and the difficulty has been to find juries who will see that the laws were executed. But now the time had come, be the consequences what they may, that the laws shall be enforced. This means business. It may be that force will have to be used at first, but a government which cannot enforce its laws, has sunk into deserved contempt in the eyes of its own people, and has become a by-word among the nations of tho earth. The subject is full of interest, but I have time only to show that the army is competent to deal with disloyalty.

Col. Connor, a man of pluck, was ordered to Salt Lake, with a battery, before the war of the rebelion. As he approached the city, Brigham sent word to the colonel to halt, and by no means to enter the city. At once the company marched through the streets and passed on three miles to a plateau, and there encamped, and there, ever since, has been Camp Douglas with a regiment of soldiers.

After the war broke out, Mr. Chase devised the greenback currency, and it was a legal tender for all dues, except customs, &c.

As gold and silver had been the only circulating medium in Utah, Brigham set his face against this new device to maintain the nation's credit.

Rising in the tabernacle one Sunday morning, he said he had a revelation from the Lord, that the Saints were not to take "greenbacks as money, but only gold and silver."

This reached Col. Connor's ears, and he sent a Lieutenant with a note demanding him to take back such a atatenweat, as it was disloyal to the United States Government. Young refused to comply with the order. Then the Colonel sent in a note, in the evening, stating that he had his guns trained on the Mormon temple, and he would give him just 30 minutes to revoke his commands, and, if not done, he would shell the tabernacle. Brigham got up and told his people that he had received another revelation from the Lord, "that he was to take greenbacks." E. B. T.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                             Friendship, New York, Tuesday July 18, 1876.                             No. ?

Death  of  Sidney  Rigdon.

Sidney Rigdon, who died last Friday, came to our village about the year 1847, where he has resided without interruption ever since. He was born in Allegheny Co., Pa. in 1793, before he had reached the ripe age of 83 years, thirty of which he passed in comparative retirement in our village, and of course was a very familiar figure to our citizens and a person of interest to all who became acquainted with him only in the latest years of his life, when the disabilities of old age were strong upon him, and we judge that some of the intellectual fire of manhood had abated, but still he gave the impression as being no ordinary character. His temperament was that of a thoughtful, nervous man, communing much with himself, and when warmed up in controversy exhibited a fluency and discissiveness, which, had it been tempered with the exact knowledge of the schools, would have given him preeminence in any profession, but especially in that of teacher, minister, lawyer or public speaker. As it was, without any advantage of training and apparently without any ideas except such as were acquired by observation and not from books, he was always ready to discourse upon a variety of topics at any length, and never failed to obtain interested hearers.

Of course the connection of Mr. Rigdon with the rise of Mormonism made him an historic character, and many pilgrimages have been made to obtain from him further information concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon, but without success except in the coroboration of the prevailing notions of the early Mormons on this subject. Mr. Rigdon held language of the utmost scorn and contempt for the writers who charged him with conscious imposture, and there was nothing in his character revealed to his neighbors during thirty years of acquaintance to lend support to the theory that he was capable of perpetrating the deliberate imposition charged in the common accounts of the origin of the Book of Mormon. Of course we speak without definite knowledge, but we venture to say to those who still entertain the hope that there is among Mr. Rigdon's papers any authentication of these accounts, that this is entirely unfounded, and that a true theory of his agency in Mormon history must leave his honesty unimpugned. In fact we have long been of the opinion that the current statements of bold imposture on the part of Smith, Young, and other leaders are conceived in gross error or require great modification.

Mr. Rigdon leaves a large and respected family. Many of our citizens followed him to his grave and the Masonic order conducted the obsequies. Of this order Mr. Rigdon was long an active and conspicuous member.

The following, which is especially interesting at this time, is from the pen of one who has long known Mr. R., and we doubt not the statements are correct and reliable:


This name is known throughout our community, as well as in foreign lands. It is remembered in connection with the rise and progress of the Mormon Church under the Supremacy of the Prophet Joe Smith. The public generally insisting that he was the author of the Book of Mormon, or otherwise known as the Mormon Bible. His shrewdness together with a most masterly eloquence rarely equalled and never excelled, enabled him to masterfully aid in the establishment of the Church upon a basis that promised well for its future greatness and which might have been a mighty instrument in augmenting our yearly immigration from the old world, and beautifying many a desert spot in our Western Wilds. He had already acquired a celebrity as a most remarkable preacher. First, in the Baptist Church at Pittsburgh, Pa., and subsequently in company with Alexander Campbell in the establishment of the church and faith, now known as the Christian Church -- or Campbellite faith.

In the immediate vicinity of Campbell, they were known as Campbellites, and in the vicinity of Rigdon (Northern Ohio) they were denominated Rigdonites. About the year 1830, while still residing in Mentor, Geauga County, Ohio, Mr. Rigdon was visited by three men. who were proselytes of the Prophet Joe Smith, viz: Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery and Ziba Peterson, who presented to him the Book of Mormon or Mormon Bible. It was then a printed and bound volume, and was the first printed copy he ever saw of that work. The assertions of the American Encyclopedia to the contrary notwithstanding.

Mr. Rigdon never pretended to have seen the golden plates, from which that book is said to have been translated. But he read the copy presented to him carefully through several times, and soon announced himself as a believer, and thus commenced his career as a co-laborer with the Prophet Smith. His eloquence as a preacher soon gathered great numbers as proselytes of the new faith, and gave to him a power and influence, not even excelled by Smith himself. The Prophet seemed to rely implicitly on Rigdon, and hence kept himself within proper limits as a christian, and his church as a christian community, until an evil hour overtook him at Nauvoo, Illinois, where he (perhaps too willingly) acquiesced and secretly promulgated that curse to all communities -- Spiritual Wifery -- which caused the death of Smith, and is to-day the deadly poison to the Mormon Church, and the accursed curse to Brigham Young, who upon the death of Smith, seized the reins of government, the better to perpetuate and promulgate this curse to the human race. The death of Smith, and coup de etat of Brigham Young forever severed the connection between the Church and Rigdon, and for nearly thirty years now past, the community in which Mr. Rigdon lived, and formed intimate associations, knew nothing of his religious belief, or professed faith. His lips were sealed from the time of the two great events happening as related above. This community, in the midst of whom he has lived so long, knew him as a social being, of a very active and busy brain, devouring eagerly the current news of the times, discussing freely all topics of the day, and freely expressing his opinions on all occasions. If in his closing years of a life of near four score and four, he may have seemed harsh, unreasonable, or positively unfriendly to many who remembered him only in his better days and with kindness, let all such cover him with the mantle of charity and remember that he too was like all of us, human.


At a regular communication of Alleghany Lodge, No. 225, F. &. A, M., held July 15th, 1876, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

Whereas, It has pleased the All-Wise Father of the Universe to remove, by the hand of death, our venerable and beloved brother, Sidney Rigdon, Sr.; and

Whereas, Brother Rigdon's ripe old age, scholarly attainments, kindly sympathies and historic life have endeared him to a large circle of relatives and friends; therefore.

Resolved, That while we bow in humble submission to the will of the Great Architect who rules over all, we deplore the loss of our brother as one of the oldest and most venerable members of our fraternity, whose counsel and advice always challenged our respect, and whose pure life was a practical exemplification of the principles we profess.

Resolved, That we extend our warmest sympathies to the bereaved widow and relatives, and earnestly commend them to that kind and beneficent Father who tempers the wind from the shorn lamb, and will absolutely administer consolation to all who seek Him in an abiding faith.

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the bereaved family of our brother, and spread upon the minutes of this Lodge and published in the Friendship Register.

Resolved, That our Lodge room be draped in mourning for the next thirty days.

W. D. Renwick, }
F. M. Alvord, }  Com.
R. A. Scott. }
E. J. Cannon, Secretary.

Note: Sidney Rigdon died at Friendship, NY, on Friday, July 14, 1876. Additional obituaries of Sidney Rigdon appeared in the Friendship Standard, (where he is remembered as "a compound of ability, versatility, honesty, duplicity, and mystery"), in the July 18th issue of the Pittsburgh Telegraph, (where he is accused of having taken a Spalding mansucript in his youth), in the July 24th issue of the New York Times, which merely reprints the Telegraph, the Aug 5th and Aug 12th issues of the Christian Standard, where he was made responsible "for much of the trouble in Missouri" experienced by the Mormons, and in the Aug. 15th Saints Herald, which says very little, having reviewed Rigdon's life in an earlier issue.


Vol. VII.                             Friendship, New York, Thursday July 20, 1876.                             No. 29.

Death  of  Sidney  Rigdon.

Sidney Rigdon died in this village on Friday last at the advanced age of eighty-three years. He was born in St. Clair township, Allegheny county, Pa.. in February, 1793. Your readers are familiar with the main features of his career, as they have been set forth by historians of the Mormon sect. Since his excision from the ruling body of the church, at Nauvoo, he has been living in our village, in the main very quiet, repelling rather than courting the curiosity which his prominence in one of the most extraordinary social phenomena of times, drew upon him. He has often been interviewed by those intent upon clearing up some of the mysteries and delusion, that attended the origin of Mormontaun, but invariably without success. On these occasions he would defend the Mormon account of the origin the Book of Monnonlsm and also the chief doctrine, ot the early Mormon church, and in many way. exhibit sympathetic interest in its prosperity. His mind had a natural religious bias; and ht. conclusions respecting Bible doctrines subject to diverse interpretations, were conservative. In his prime he took an active part in the theological controversies that raged so fiercely in this and western states, and was then and always familiar with the Bible, and had in him the material for a useful minister of any denomination, yet for many years past he held himself aloof from the church affairs in his vicinity, and his whole conduct held naturally to the inference that his religious ambitions were buried at the time he was superseded by Young, or perhaps at the time when the polygamous doctrines of Joseph Smith were promulgated. The reader will bear these statements in mind when the motives of Mr. Rigdon in connecting himself with Mormonism come under review. As a preacher, Sidney Rigdon must have exercised great power over pion-

Note: ...


Jamestown  [     ] Journal.

Vol. 51.                                    Jamestown, N. Y., Friday, July 21, 1876.                                    No. 112.

Death  of  Hon. Sidney Rigdon.

On Friday last Hon. Sidney Rigdon died at his home in Friendship, Allegany Co., aged 86 years. Mr. Rigdon was connected with Joseph Smith in the foundation of the Mormon church in this country, and on his death aspired to the leadership of the Mormons, which was given to Brigham Young. He was not a polygamist, and never supported Young in his views on this question. He was buried on Saturday with Masonic honors.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Elmira  Daily  Advertiser.

Vol. ?                                    Elmira, N. Y., Friday, July 21, 1876.                                    No. ?


One of the Earliest Mormons.

Death of Sidney Rigdon at Friendship, Allegany County

Friendship, July 16, 1876        
Sidney Rigdon died in this village on Friday last at the advanced age of eighty-three years. He was born in St. Clair township, Allegheny county, Pa., in February, 1793. Your readers are familiar with the main features of his career, as they have been forth by historians of the Mormon sect. Since his excision from the ruling body of the church, at Nauvoo, he had been living in our village, in the main very quiet, repelling, rather than courting the curiosity which his prominence in one of the most extraordinary social phenomena of the times, drew upon him. He has been often interviewed by those intent upon clearing up some of the mysteries and delusions that attended the origin of Mormonism, but invariably without success.

On these occasions he would defend the Mormon account of the origin of the Book of Mormon, and also the chief doctrines of the early Mormon church, and in many ways exhibit a sympathetic interest in its prosperity. His mind had a natural religious bias and his conclusions respecting Bible doctrines subject to diverse interpretations, were conservative. In his prime he took an active part in the theological controversies that raged so fiercely in this and western states, and was then and always familiar with the Bible, and had in him the material for a useful minister of any denomination, yet for many years past he held himself aloof from the church affairs of his vicinity, and his whole conduct led naturally to the inference that his religious ambitions were buried at the time he was superseded by Young, or perhaps at the time when the polygamous doctrines of Joseph Smith were promulgated. The reader will bear these statements in mind when the motives of Mr. Rigdon in connecting himself with Mormonism come under review.

As a preacher Sidney Rigdon must have exercised a great power over pioneer hearers, by virtue of his fluency alone. Add to this his Biblical knowledge and a self-confidence that led him into many speculations wholly apart from religion, with boldness and enthusiasm, where now the learned tread with caution, and hesitancy, and we have a person whose advocacy of any cause would commend attention as the apostle of the doctrines of the Latter Day Saints.

He was very successful and unexcelled by any of his coadjutors, leaving Parley Pratt far to the rear. It seems probable that as a minister of any denomination he would have demonstrated equal title to superiority.

In the histories of Mormonism Mr. Rigdon, along with others, is made to appear as the cold-blooded, designing author of what has since proved to be most stupendous imposture, the Mormon Bible, but a more complete and philosophical survey of the whole subject than I have yet seen, will, without denying for him a considerable agency in getting the Book of Mormon before the world, relegate the methods involved to that class of mental phenomena illustrated by the pseudo-inspirational literature of Mahomet, Swedenborg, Andrew Jackson Davis and others. It is surely a misnomer to call these men imposters, although the science of mind is yet so imperfectly understood that we have no resources of classification except such as are implied in the terms of dreamers, enthusiasts, Spiritualists, clairvoyants, &c. It is to such minds that we owe on the one hand a thousand stimulants to noble life, and on the other some of the monstrosities of civilization that are the despair of the moralist.

It is claimed for Mr. Rigdon by one was close to his person for many years, that he never saw the Book of Mormon until it was presented to him in Ohio, in its present condition, by Pratt and others. I have heard Rigdon aver very earnestly that he never saw the plates that Joseph Smith claimed to have found, and I am positive that a theory of Rigdon's connection with the book that impugns his honesty cannot be true. His mistake is giving adhesion to Mormonism finds abundant parallel in the history of religious thought. Indeed the record is monumental with follies which arrest the attention of the devout and at least suggest a speculation as to whether the world at times would not have been better off with less of so-called religion. Religionists above all others above all others should be competent to find some explanation of the success of Mormonism without resorting to the charge of wholesale imposture.

Whatever feeling existed between Brigham Young and the church and Rigdon, on account of the latter's excommunication and the former's usurption, disappeared long ago Some years since one of Mr. Rigdon's sons visited Brigham Young at Salt Lake City, who received him very cordially, and sent a message to his father to visit the capital of Mormonism. We believe that Mr. Rigdon's advanced age precluded the acceptance of the invitation.

Mr. Rigdon leaves a wife, five daughters and three sons, who are almost all nearby residents and highly respected. His funeral was attended by many of our citizens, and by the Masonic fraternity of which he was long an active member. For five years past the infirmities of old age weighed heavily upon his frame, but his mental vigor remained substantially unimpaired until near the close of his life when he became entirely helpless, and death came to him as a happy relief.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. LI.                                 Rochester, N. Y., July 28, 1876.                                  No. 174.

Death of Founder of Mormonism.

The fact of the death of the venerable Sidney Rigdon, an event of no little interest in western New York, seems to have been overlooked hereabouts. This well-known character died in Friendship, Allegany County on the 14th inst., at the age of eighty-three. We reproduce the following sketch of his life and the nefarious work of founding a vile religious heresy in which he has the reputation of having played an important part, published in the Troy Times of yesterday:

The death of Sidney Rigdon recalls to mind the prominent part he once took in that stupendous deception whereby the church of the "Latter Day Saints" was foisted upon the world. He was not the apparently moving spirit of the imposture, but came in about the second hour, to give its voice and an oratorical respectability that it did not have before his appearance. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1793. At first a Baptist preacher in Pittsburgh, he afterwards drifted to the side of Alexander Campbell, the founder of the organization now known as the Christian church. In the meantime the extraordinary career of Joseph Smith, Jr., had begun near Palmyra, in the western part of the State. Smith came of a low family that immigrated from Vermont, noted more for illiteracy, whisky drinking and shiftlessness than for any cardinal virtues. Of such a [-----] was to spring the prophet and principal founder of Mormonism. He was indolent, with a vagabond turn, but developed a taste for scriptural studies and disputes on religious subjects. In [182?] a curious stone was found by a neighbor when digging a well on his farm. It fell into the hands of Smith, and from that event his career of vulgar jugglery and deception dates. He soon gave out that the stone possessed wonderful properties, with which he was enabled to reveal things existent and things to come. By its aid he pretended to discover the whereabouts of deposits of gold and silver in earthen pots and iron chests, buried in the earth. It was not long before he had a company of [fools] digging at midnight hours for the hidden treasures. Nothing was ever found, but the ingenious impostor contrived to satisfy his [dupes] that some sinister "condition" battled their efforts, and thus maintained his [necromantic] reputation intact. Soon after followed his spiritual visions: "the angel of the Lord appeared to him," denounced all the religious denominations as believers in false doctrines and promised to reveal to him at some future time the "fullness of the gospel." Several visitations from this divine messenger [succeeded] and soon after Smith announced that obeying the instructions of the "angel," he had taken out of the hill a metallic book of great antiquity, which was a record, in mystic letters, of characters of the long lost tribes of Israel, who, he said, formerly inhabited this country. Smith related marvelous stories of a [celestial pyrotechnical display] he witnessed on that occasion. The good angel stood upon one side, encouraging him, while upon the other myriads of [denizens] from the pit strove in vain to deter him from unearthing the book. The utmost pains were taken to keep the precious prize from "gentile" eyes, and after much tribulation, chiefly for lack of funds, a copy of the new revelation was printed.

The manuscript was found to be a wretched imitation of scripture [exposition?] containing extensive plagiarisms from the Bible, especially from Isaiah, Jeremiah and Matthew. Christ's sermon on the mount was incorporated almost without an alteration. The grammar of this [distasteful?] work was in utter [defiance of rules]. A more contemptible insult to common sense was never before offered under the guise of inspirational writings. [But it] found credulous believers among the most ignorant and superstitious class of the community. The Mormon Bible, or "Book of Mormon" as it was called, was printed at Palmyra in 1830. The origin of this manuscript has been traced to its source. It was the work of [one Rev.] Solomon Spaulding of Ashtabula county, Ohio, who wrote the work to [elucidate] the theory that the American continent had been [settled] by a colony of the ancient Israelites. [This vision?] of [his] brain he submitted to a printer in Pittsburgh, Pa. The latter engaged to print it, but the contract was never carried out. Soon after the clergyman died. The manuscript fell into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, who gave it to Smith, and then followed the [concoction?] of the scheme to found a new religious sect. Soon after the appearance of the romance as the Mormon bible, Rigdon went to Palmyra and entered upon the [scheme?] of propagating the new doctrines. He was [clearly?] possessed of a considerable degree of eloquence, together with a peculiarly magnetic personality, which crowned his efforts with much [success] among the classes [whence] Mormonism has ever drawn its support. He never pretended to have seen the mysterious plates Smith dug out of the hill, but there is little question that the imposture was the joint production of Smith and Rigdon, even while the latter was a "preacher of righteousness," but it must be said a very eccentric one, even then. The leaders of Mormonism next moved to Kirtland, Ohio, had a brief career there, and then the "church" went further west. At Nauvoo, Ill., as is well known, Smith first proclaimed the doctrine of spiritual wifehood and polygamy, which has become the principal characteristic of Mormonism. As a candidate for the seat of the murdered Smith, who was shot by a mob, Rigdon was defeated by Brigham Young and expelled from the church. He returned to this State and spent his last days in the place where he died. He ceased to be an active champion of Mormonism, and was generally respected by his neighbors and acquaintances.

We believe that it was only after he had himself voluntarily withdrawn from the "church" that he was formally expelled. Those who adhered to his views came in conflict with the rest of the Saints on the question of polygamy. The bold innovation prevailed and Rigdon abandoned the movement. It is difficult, however, to understand why a man who could conscientiously lend his aid to the propagation of a wicked religious imposture, should find himself unable to agree with the majority on adding polygamy to the scheme.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Weekly  News  and  Democrat.

Vol. V.                           Auburn, N. Y., Thurs., Aug. 8, 1876.                          No. 31.


==> Sidney Rigdon, the original founder of Mormonism, died at Friendship, Allegany county, a few days since, at the age of 83 years. He was ousted by Brigham Young, formerly of Port Byron, in this county, from the position of leader of the Mormons, and retired from the church, many years ago.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Troy Daily Times.

Vol. XXVI.                       Troy, New York, Saturday, March 31, 1877.                       No. 236.

Joe  Smith's  Bible.

According to an item which is taking the rounds of the press, one of the rarest books printed in the nineteenth century is the first edition of the "Book of Mormon," published at Palmyra, N. Y., in 1830, and it is stated that the historian Macaulay tried In vain for years to procure a copy of it. The Buffalo historical society possesses a copy of the original edition of the so-called Mormon Bible, presented to it several years ago by one of our citizens, and we presume it would not be very difficult to procure another, in the town where it was printed. The first Mormon prophet resided in or near Palmyra, and pretended that he transcribed the book of Mormon from inscriptions on metal plates which he found in a hill near the village, as revealed to him in a vision. But poor "Joe Smith," as be was then called, was regarded a careless, lazy, dissolute fellow, and it was a long time before he could persuade anybody to take enough stock in his "new departure" to pay for printing the book. At last, however, the work was undertaken, more to "fill up time" in the slack business of a country printing office than with any expectation that the proprietor would realise a fair profit on the job.

The printer who did ail the press work on the book, we believe, is still living at Palmyra, and he undoubtedly preserved a specimen of his handiwork, according to the custom of those days. A note of inquiry, addressed to the postmaster at Palmyra, N. Y., would probably result in putting the writer in communication with a person who could supply an authentic copy of the very first sheets of the original Book of Mormon. -- Buffalo Commercial.

The Mormon bible was printed at the office of the Wayne Sentinel, Palmyra, by Egbert Grandin, at that time the temporary publisher of the paper named. Pomeroy Tocker, however, was the owner of the establishment, which was conducted under his active supervision. Both Mr. Grandin and Mr. Tucker are dead. The proof sheets of the original Mormon bible were read by Mr. Tucker. There are few copies of this first edition of the book now extant. A copy preserved by Mr. Tucker is now in possession of his son, H. O'R. Tucker of the Troy Times. Its mechanical execution is excellent. The publication was not undertaken to "fill up time in the slack business of a country printing office," but the job was paid for at a fair profit, a deluded follower of Joe Smith, Martin Harris of Macedon, Wayne county, mortgaging his farm to raise the means for that purpose. The venerable Major John Gilbert, still living at Palmyra, did the press work. We very much doubt whether copies of the first edition of the Book of Mormon could now be obtained at Palmyra or elsewhere. The only authentic account of the origin and progress of Mormonism is contained in a volume published by Appleton & Co. some 10 years ago, of which the late Pomeroy Tucker was the author. It presents in detail the facts, incidents and personages connected with the rise of this stupendous imposture, tbe author himself residing in the same town with Joe Smith, and knowing all about his proceedings and methods of deception.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Broome  Republican.

Vol. 55.                           Binghampton, N. Y., Wed., April 4, 1877.                           No. 40.




Mrs. Doolittle, mother-in-law of Chief of Police Johnson, who has been stopping in this city for a few days, has some personal recollections of the early career of Joe Smith, the founder of Mormonism.

Mrs. Doolittle is now seventy-five years old, and when she was seventeen years of age she was personally acquainted with Miss Emma Hale, who a short time afterward married the Mormon prophet. Emma was the daughter of Isaac Hale, who resided about a mile and a half this side of the present borough of Susquehanna, Mrs. Doolittle remembers her as a very pretty and amiable young lady, with fine accomplishments for that period of our inland history.

Mrs. Doolittle is the granddaughter of Benjamin McKune, another patrlochlal settler in Mr. Hale's neighborhood. Her parents resided, in Sullivan county, and she came to Susquehanna occasionally to visit her grand parents. That was long before the days of the Erie Railway, and before any well kept system of wagon roads or saddle paths, and people acquainted with the make-up of the country between Susquehanna and Sullivan county can well suppose that pleasure trips were not made frequently. Mrs. Doolittle was at Susquehanna sufficiently to become well acquainted with Miss Hale, but her marriage to the Mormon, the Mormon excitement and conversions in the neighborhood, and the emigration of the Prophet and his saints westward, she knows about only from the neighborhood legends.

The story is that Joe Smith came to the neighborhood to dig for money, and made several large excavations down into the ground. It was never known that his labors in that direction were rewarded. But while he was thus employed he became acquainted with Miss Hale. Her parents opposed the proposed marriage, and the young couple eloped to Windsor to be married.

They returned and settled down upon a farm adjoining the lands of Mr. Hale and Mr. McKune. There was already a small house upon the farm, a story and a half frame building, and Joe put on a small addition. The farm and house is now the property of Benjamin McKune, a grandson of Joseph McKune. This same McKune farm is again becoming somewhat famous in consequence of preparations to bore into it for oil a short distance from, the prophet's first domicile.

While Joe was upon his farm he had the Mormon Bible. Whether he professed to find it before or after his marriage Mrs. Doolittle does not remember. Her grandfather was once privileged to take in his hands a pillow-case in which the supposed saintly treasure was wrapped, and to feel through the cloth that it had leaves. From the size and weight of the book. Mr. McKune supposed that in dimensions it closely resembled an ordinary Bible in the print of those days.

Further up the river they have also reminiscences of Joe Smith, which continue Mrs. Doollttle's narrative. In the town of Afton, not far from the Broome county line, is a small lake nestled in the hills, and a portion of it is in sight of the Albany & Susquehanna Railroad. It is said that Joe Smith baptised his first Mormon converts there; and it is claimed that the Mormon Church was really begun there, instead of being founded at Manchester, Ontario county, the home of the Smith family, and where the first printed copies of the Mormon or Golden Bible were distributed about ten or twelve years after the prophet's first appearance in Susquehanna county to dig for money.

Note: The above report first appeared in the daily Binghampton Republican of March 29th. See its partial reprint in the Chenango Union of Apr. 12th for comments.


Auburn  Daily  Bulletin.

Vol. XIII.                                   Auburn, N. Y., Thur., Apr. 12, 1877.                                 No. 2123.

The  Mormon  Bible.

The Lyons (Wayne county) Democratic Press in its last issue gives some interesting reminiscences concerning the printing of Joe Smith's famous "Gold bible," or the Book of Mormon. The book was printed at the office of the Wayne Sentinel, in Palmyra, owned by Egbert B. Grandin, and was completed in March, 1830. The job of printing it was paid for by a deluded follower of Joe Smith, Martin Harris by name, who lived on a farm, about one mile north of the village, in the town of Palmyra, which he owned and which he mortgaged for the sum of $3,000 to Mr. Grandin, to defray the expense of printing an edition of 5,000 gold bibles.

The press work was performed by J. H. Burtlee, and "Tom" McCauley the former doing the "pulling," and the latter the "beating." The work was done on a hand press, on paper manufactured at Shortsville, by Case & Brown -- size 22x32. At that time inking rollers were unknown, and the ink was applied to the forms by the dexterous use of "balls." Major Gilbert set the type for the work, from the manuscript of Lyman [sic - Oliver?] Cowdery, who acted as amanuensis to Joe Smith in its translation from the hieroglyphics inscribed upon the plates of gold -- whence the term "gold bible" originated. These characters baffled the skill of the most learned men of America (so said Smith, Harris & Co.), to whom samples were sent for translation; and could only be deciphered by the chosen prophet, Joe Smith, by the aid of a pecular stone found with the plates. This stone was placed in a hat, and the hat placed close before the face of the prophet, and on a table before him the mysterious golden plates.

The editor of the Democratic Press, Mr. Wm. Van Camp, was one of the "boys" in the office when the bible was printed, and he relates these facts from his own knowledge. He adds that while Harris was completely infatuated, and deluded into the belief of the Divinity of of the "lost history," his wife, Lucy, took no stock in it; and when her husband mortgaged his farm, she withheld her name from the obligation. She was a woman of good sense, and felt deeply humiliated at the conduct of her husband.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 30.                     Norwich, N. Y., Thursday, April 12, 1877.                     No. 30.


The Binghamton Republican publishes some personal recollections of Mrs. Doolittle, a lady seventy-five years old, who is now visiting with her son-in-law, Chief of Police Johnson of that city. She was personally acquainted with the first wife of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, Miss Emma Hale, whom he married near Susquehanna, Pa.

From her statement it appears that Joe came to the neighborhood of Susquehanna to dig for gold, and made several excavations for that purpose, but it never was known that his labors in that direction were rewarded. While thus employed he became acquainted with Miss Hale, whose parents opposed the proposed marriage, and the young people eloped to Windsor, where they were married.

They returned and settled down upon a farm adjoining the lands of Mr. Hale and Mr. McKune. There was already a small house upon the farm, a story and a half frame building, and Joe put on a small addition. The farm and the house is now the property of Benjamin McKune, a grandson of Joseph McKune. This same McKune farm is again becoming somewhat famous in consequence of preparations to bore into it for oil a short distance from the prophet's first domicile.

While Joe was upon his farm he had the Mormon Bible. Whether he professed to find it before or after marriage Mrs. Doolittle does not remember. Her grandfather was once privileged to take in his hands a pillowcase in which the supposed saintly treasure was wrapped, and to feel through the cloth that it had leaves. From the size and the weight of the book, Mr. McKune supposed that in dimensions it closely resembled an ordinary Bible in the print of those days.

Further up the river they have also reminiscences of Joe Smith, which continue Mrs. Doolittle's narrative. In the town Afton, Chenango County, not far from the Broome County line, is a small lake nestled in the hills, and a portion of it is in sight of the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad. It is said that Joe Smith baptized his first Mormon converts there; and it is claimed that the Mormon Church was really begun there, instead of being founded at Manchester, Ontario County, the home of the Smith family, and where the first printed copies of the Mormon or Golden Bible were distributed about ten or twelve years after the prophet's first apearance in Susquehanna County to dig for money.

Note: In the second edition of the first volume of his A New Witness for Christ, Francis W. Kirkham reproduces the Mehetable Doolittle recollections on pages 474-75, adding these comments: "One article of particular interest follows. It was written by Mrs. Doolittle, a lady seventy-five years old who claims to have been acquainted with Emma Hale, the wife of Joseph Smith. No mention is made of a trial of Joseph Smith.... Apparently the first printed account in New York state of an alleged trial of Joseph Smith before the "Book of Mormon" was printed is the article by W. D. Purple in 1877. As already noted, Oliver Cowdery states that Joseph Smith was arrested but mentions no trial." Kirkham thus attempts to use the 1877 Doolittle account as evidence supporting the Mormon contention that Joseph Smith was not brought before Justice Albert Neeley for a hearing in March of 1826. This sort of "evidence" is pratically useless, and its attempted application by Kirkham ignores totally the 1831 A. W. Benton letter and other relevent sources.



Vol. 30.                     Norwich, N. Y., Thursday, May 2 [3], 1877.                     No. 33.

Joseph  Smith  The  Originator  of  Mormonism.

Historical  Reminiscences  of  the  town  of  Afton.



More than fifty years since, at the commencement of his professional career, the writer spent a year in the present village of Afton, in this County. It was then called South Bainbridge, and was in striking contrast with the present village at the same place. It was a mere hamlet, with one store and one tavern. The scenes and incidents of that early day are vividly engraven upon his memory, by reason of his having written them when they occurred, and by reason of his public and private rehearsals of them in later years. He will now present them as historical reminiscences of old Chenango, and as a precursor of the advent of that wonder of the age, Mormonism.

In the year 1825 we often saw in that quiet hamlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., the author of the Golden Bible, or the Books of Mormon. He was an inmate of the family of Deacon Isaiah [sic] Stowell, who resided some two miles below the village, on the Susquehanna. Mr. Stowell was a man of much force of character, of indomitable will, and well fitted as a pioneer in the unbroken wilderness that this country possessed at the close of the last century. He was one of the Vermont sufferers, who for defective titles, consequent on the forming a new State from a part of Massachusetts, in 1791, received wild lands in Bainbridge. He had been educated in the spirit of orthodox puritanism, and was officially connected with the first Presbyterian church of the town, organized by Rev. Mr. Chapin. He was a very industrious, exemplary man, and by severe labor and frugality had acquired surroundings that excited the envy of many of his loss fortunate neighbors. He had at this time grown up sons and daughters to share his prosperity and the honors of his name.

About this time he took upon himself a monomaniacal impression to seek for hidden treasures that he believed were buried in the earth. He hired help and repaired to Northern Pennsylvania, in the vicinity of Lanesboro, to prosecute his search for untold wealth, which he believed to be buried there. Whether it was the

"Ninety bare of gold
"And dollars many fold"

that Capt. Robert Kidd, the pirate of a preceding century, had despoiled the commerce of the world, we are not able to say, but that he took his help and provisions from home, and camped out on the black hills of that region for weeks at a time, was freely admitted by himself and family.

What success, if any, attended these excursions, is unknown, but his hallucination adhered to him like the fabled shirt of Nessus, and had entire control over his mental character. The admonition of his neighbors, the members of his church, and the importunities of his family, had no impression on his wayward spirit.

There had lived a few years previous to this date, in the vicinity of Great Bend, a poor man named Joseph Smith, who, with his family, had removed to the western part of the State, and lived in squalid poverty near Palmyra, in Ontario County. Mr. Stowell, while at Lanesboro, heard of the fame of one of his sons, named Joseph, who, by the aid of a magic stone had become a famous seer of lost or hidden treasures. These stories were fully received into his credulous mind, and kindled into a blaze his cherished hallucination. Visions of untold wealth appeared through this instrumentality, to his longing eyes. He harnessed his team, and filled his wagon with provisions for "man and beast," and started for the residence of the Smith family. In due time he arrived at the humble log-cabin, midway between Canandaigua and Palmyra, and found the sought for treasure in the person of Joseph Smith, Jr., a lad of some eighteen years of age. He, with the magic stone, was at once transferred from his humble abode to the more pretentious mansion of Deacon Stowell. Here, in the estimation of the Deacon, he confirmed his conceded powers as a seer, by means of the stone which he placed in his hat, and by excluding the light from all other terrestrial things, could see whatever he wished, even in the depths of the earth. This omniscient attribute he firmly claimed. Deacon Stowell and others, as firmly believed it. Mr., Stowell, with his ward and two hired men, who were, or professed to be, believers, spent much time in mining near the State line on the Susquehanna and many other places, I myself have seen the evidences of their nocturnal depredations on the face of Mother Earth, on the Deacon's farm, with what success "this deponent saith not."

In February 1826, the sons of Mr. Stowell, who lived with their father, were greatly incensed against Smith, as they plainly saw their father squandering his property in the fruitless search for hidden treasures, and saw that the youthful seer had unlimited control over the illusions of their sire. They made up their minds that "patience had ceased to a virtue," and resolved to rid themselves and their family from this incubus, who, as they believed, was eating up their substance, and depriving them of their anticipated patrimony. They caused the arrest of Smith as a vagrant, without visible means of livelihood. The trial came on in the above mentioned month, before Albert Neeley, Esq., the father of Bishop Neeley, of the State of Maine. I was an intimate friend of the Justice, and was invited to take notes of the trial, which I did. There was a large collection of persons in attendance, and the proceedings attracted much attention.

The affidavits of the sons were read, and Mr. Smith was fully examined by the Court. It elicited little but a history of his life from early boyhood, but this is so unique in character, and so much of a key-note to his subsequent career in the world, I am tempted to give it somewhat in entenso. He said when he was a lad, he heard of a neighboring girl some three miles from him, who could look into a glass and see anything however hidden from others; that he was seized with a strong desire to see her and her glass; that after much effort he induced his parents to let him visit her. He did so, and was permitted to look in the glass, which was placed in a hat to exclude the light. He was greatly surprised to see but one thing, which was a small stone, a great way off. It soon became luminous, and dazzled his eyes, and after a short time it became as intense as the mid-day sun. He said that the stone was under the roots of a tree or shrub as large as his arm, situated about a mile up a small stream that puts in on the South side of Lake Erie, not far from the Now York and Pennsylvania line. He often had an opportunity to look in the glass, and with the same result. The luminous stone alone attracted his attention. This singular circumstance occupied his mind for some years, when he left his father's house, and with his youthful zeal traveled west in search of this luminous stone.

He took a few shillings in money and some provisions with him. He stopped on the road with a farmer, and worked three days, and replenished his means of support. After traveling some one hundred and fifty miles he found himself at the mouth of the creek. He did not have the glass with him, but he knew its exact location. He borrowed an old ax and a hoe, and repaired to the tree. With some labor and exertion he found the stone, carried it to the creek, washed and wiped it dry, sat down on the bank, placed it in his hat, and discovered that time, place and distance were annihilated; that all intervening obstacles were removed, and that he possessed one of the attributes of Deity, an All-Seeing-Eye. He arose with a thankful heart, carried his tools to their owner, turned his feet towards the rising sun, and sought with weary limbs his long deserted home.

On the request of the Court, he exhibited the stone. It was about the size of a small hen' a egg, in the shape of a high-instepped shoe. It was composed of layers of different colors passing diagonally through it. It was very hard and smooth, perhaps by being carried in the pocket.

Joseph Smith, Sr., was present, and sworn as a witness. He confirmed, at great length all that his son had said in his examination. He delineated his characteristics in his youthful days -- his vision of the luminous stone in the glass -- his visit to Lake Erie in search of the stone -- and his wonderful triumphs as a seer. He described very many instances of his finding hidden and stolen goods. He swore that both he and his son were mortified that this wonderful power which God had so miraculously given him should be used only in search of filthy lucre, or its equivalent in earthly treasures, and with a long-faced, "sanctimonious seeming," he said his constant prayer to his Heavenly Father was to manifest His will concerning this marvelous power. He trusted that the Son of Righteousness would some day illumine the heart of the boy, and enable him to see His will concerning him. These words have ever had a strong impression on my mind. They seemed to contain a prophetic vision of the future history of that mighty delusion of the present century, Mormonism. The "old man eloquent," with his lank and haggard vissage -- his form very poorly clad -- indicating a wandering vagabond rather than an oracle of future events, has, in view of those events, excited my wonder, if not my admiration.

The next witness called was Deacon Isaiah Stowell. He confirmed all that is said above in relation to himself, and delineated many other circumstances not necessary to record. He swore that the prisoner possessed all the power he claimed, and declared he could see things fifty feet below the surface of the earth, as plain as the witness could see what was on the Justices' table, and described very many circumstances to confirm his words. Justice Neeley soberly looked at the witness, and in a solemn, dignified voice said: "Deacon Stowell, do I understand you as swearing before God, under the solemn oath you have taken, that you believe the prisoner can see by the aid of the stone fifty feet below the surface of the earth; as plainly as you can see what is on my table?" "Do I believe it?" says Deacon Stowell; "do I believe it? No, it is not a matter of belief: I positively know it to be true."

Mr. Thompson, an employee of Mr. Stowell, was the next witness. He and another man were employed in digging for treasure, and always attended the Deacon and Smith in their nocturnal labors. He could not assert that anything of value was ever obtained by them. The following scene was described by this witness, and carefully noted: Smith had told the Deacon that very many years before a band of robbers had buried on his flat a box of treasure, and as it was very valuable they had by a sacrifice placed a charm over it to protect it, so that it could not be obtained except by faith, accompanied by certain talismanic influences. So, after arming themselves with fasting and prayer, they sallied forth to the spot designated by Smith. Digging was commenced with fear and trembling, in the presence of this imaginary charm. In a few feet from the surface the box of treasure was struck by the shovel. on which they redoubled their energies, but it gradually receded from their grasp. One of the men placed his hand upon the box, but it gradually sunk from his reach, After some five feet in depth had been attained without success, a council of war, against this spirit of darkness was called, and they resolved that the lack of faith, or of some untoward mental emotions was the cause of their failure.

In this emergency the fruitful mind of Smith was called on to devise a way to obtain the prize. Mr. Stowell went to his flock and selected a fine vigorous lamb, and resolved to sacrifice it to the demon spirit who guarded the coveted treasure. Shortly after the venerable Deacon might be seen on his knees at prayer near the pit, while Smith, with a lantern in one hand to dispel the midnight darkness, might be seen making a circuit around the spot, sprinkling the flowing blood from the lamb upon the ground, as a propitiation to the spirit that thwarted them. They then descended the excavation, but the treasure still receded from their grasp, and it was never obtained.

What a picture for the pencil of a Hogarth! How difficult to believe it could have been enacted in the nineteenth century of the Christian era! It could have been done only by the hallucination of diseased minds, that drew all their philosophy from the Arabian nights and other kindred literature of that period! But as it was declared under oaths in a Court of Justice, by one of the actors in the scene, and not disputed by his co-laborers it is worthy of recital as evincing the spirit of delusion that characterized those who originated that prince of humbugs, Mormonism.

These scenes occurred some four years before Smith, by the aid of his luminous stone, found the Golden Bible, or the Book of Mormon. The writer may at some subsequent day give your readers a chapter on its discovery, and a synopsis of its contents. It is hardly necessary to say that, as the testimony of Deacon Stowell could not be impeached, the prisoner was discharged, and in a few weeks left the town.

Greene, April 28, 1877.

Note: William D. Purple (1803-1886) was the son of Edward V. Purple (1769-1834) and Lydia (Conway) Cowdery (1757-1856). Lydia was the daughter of Thomas Cowdery and Mary Anderson. William D. Purple's grandfather, Nathaniel Cowdery, was also the grandfather of William Cowdery, Jr., the father of Oliver Cowdery. Several related members of the Cowdery family lived in the Colesville area of Chenango Co., NY when William D. Purple resided there. He later moved a few miles west to Greene, in the same county. see more notes here


Bainbridge  Republican.

Vol. ?                         Bainbridge, New York,  Thursday,  August 23, 1877.                         No. ?


Deacon Stowell's Long Hunt for Gold --
His Belief that Smith Could See Fifty Feet into the Earth.

Half a century ago there lived on a farm in Afton, Chenango County, then called South Bainbridge, a good settler named Isaiah [sic - Josiah?] Stowell. He was strait and strong in dogma, and filled the responsible position of Deacon in the Presbyterian Church to the edification of all people. By hard work and frugality Deacon Stowell accumulated a moderate competency, and his large family of broad-shouldered sons and rosy-cheeked daughters were the envy of the neighborhood. But like many other good men the Deacon had his little weakness, and would make haste to get rich. There was no Stock Exchange in those days or he might have "gone broke on Jersey Central." As it was he contented himself with the faith (and practice) that untold sums of gold had been hidden the earth by extinct tribes of Indians or highwaymen or something of the sort, that it was to be his especial good luck to find all this gold. Northern Pennsylvania, near Lanesboro and Susquehanna, was believed by him to be the gold-bearing region, and with assistants and proper tools he made frequent journeys to the wild country about Starrucca Creek and spent weeks in delving in the rocky mountain sides at the rise of the Blue Ridge range. During his searches Deacon Stowell and his party camped put in the woods, living upon the provisions he brought from home in the fertile Chenango Valley and the game that filled the region in abundance. The concealed wealth that occupied his sleeping and waking thoughts he never found, but his constant failure and fresh outlays of money did not dampen his ardor. His family and the members of his hurch remonstrated with him, to no purpose.

It was during one of his digging excursions near Lanesboro that Deacon Stowell heard of the remarkable powers which Joseph Smith, a young fellow who had lived near Great Bend, about twenty miles south on the Susquehanna river, was [reputed] to possess. Smith, it was said, could see objects which lay fifty feet below the surface of the earth with entire distinctness. At this time, [however], his father, a poverty-stricken man, had removed with his family from Great Bend to the neighborhood of Palmyra, N.Y., and left only the fame of the son behind. But the stories told by the country folks were enough to fire the imagination of crazy Deacon Stowell, and he was determined to have the assistance of young Smith at all odds. Stocking a wagon, with enough provisions to last him for the journey, the Deacon harnessed a team and started for Palmyra. Young Joe Smith, who afterwards became the Mormon Prophet, was at this time about twenty years old, [and] the neighbors looked upon him as ungodly and to be avoided. His spare moments were occupied in meditation, and he very rarely joined his boyish acquaintances in their rustic sports. He pretended to possess the power of second sight, and had hesitation in saying that he had been brought into the world by God to work out certain plans of the Almighty on earth. It is said that he was regular at his meals, however arduous his solitary wrestlings in spirit, and his pre-occupation probably had a good deal to do with his father's poverty.

Crazy Deacon Stowell became Smith's disciple at once, and Smith told him the story of a wonderful stone he had found. According to this story Smith, when quite a boy, heard of a young girl living within few miles of his father's house, who possessed a magic glass, by looking into which she could see objects that were invisible to others. Young Joe was seized with an irresistable desire to see this wonderful glass, and obtained that boon. The glass was put into a hat to exclude the light, and the boy gazed. For a long time he saw nothing, but finally a speck appeared which assumed the proportions of a small stone, seemingly a long way off. The stone grew brighter and brighter, until it finally glowed, like a calcium light or -- since this was 1820 [sic] -- like the sun at noon-day. At last the glass showed him that the stone was hidden under the roots of a small tree near a small stream on the south side of Lake Erie, not far from the boundary line between New York and Pennsylvania. Often afterwards Smith looked in the glass, seeing only the same sight, and, after thinking and pondering on the subject for several years, determined to find the stone. Equipped with a few shillings in cash and a bundle of provisions, he started on foot towards the West. When money and food gave out he [supported] himself by working at [farmers'] houses on the way until he was able to renew his travels. After walking 150 miles he found himself at the month of a creek which he remembered seeing in the glass. A farmer lent him a pick and shovel, and he soon found the tree and the magic stone. The latter he carried to the creek, washed the dirt from its smooth surface and gazed "into" it. To his great joy he found that he was possessed of an all-seeing eye, whose vision penetrated water and annihilated space. The stone was of the size of a hen's egg, curved in the shape of a high-instepped shoe, and was composed of layers of different colors, passing diagonally through it. Joseph returned his borrowed tools, and with glad heart turned towards the rising sun and walked home.

The good Deacon used his powers of entreaty so well that young Smith agreed to return with him and aid in the search for gold. Meantime Deacon Stowell purchased a farm at Susquehanna and moved his family there from Afton. The young prophet was installed therein not exactly to the satisfaction of the other members of the family. Smith, by the aid of the magic stone, ascertained that many years before, a band of robbers had buried a box of treasure in certain flat lands on the Deacon's farm. To protect this treasure, Smith said the robbers had by sacrifice laid a charm upon it, so that it could not be recovered except by faith and certain talismanic influences. The diggers prepared themselves for work by fasting and prayer for several days. Smith assured the Deacon that it was utterly useless for him to begin digging without an absolute faith that the labor would be successful. When the Deacon had banished all doubts the party went to work with awe in the presence of the charm. A few feet from the surface a shovel in the hands of the Deacon touched a hard substance, and hastily throwing back the dirt he discovered the top of a square wooden chest, bound with hoops of iron. But while Smith, Stowell, and his assistant, one Thompson, were gazing with awe and wonder on the sight, the box gradually sank in the ground and was soon gone. They dug and uncovered it again, and it disappeared again. This was kept up till it ceased to be amusing, and Smith was called upon to dispel the charm. He gave Deacon Stowell some instructions. The latter, sending his Presbyterian training to the winds, went to his stock yard and selected an ewe lamb, the finest in the fold, with pure white skin and fleece. It was washed until it was perfectly spotless. Meantime darkness had settled down over the Susquehanna Valley and the rites for the propitiation of the demon who guarded the treasure were carried on by the light of a single lantern. The lamb was brought to the edge of the pit, and a bowl placed in readiness to catch its blood. The Deacon got upon his knees and prayed, probably to the demon, while Smith drew the sacrificial butcher-knife across the lamb's throat, and then moved in circles about the pit, sprinkling the blood around it. Then the party resumed their picks and shovels, but couldn't even find the top of the box any more.

Deacon Stowell and Joe Smith kept up this circus in various promising places for a while, but the Deacon never got any hidden [treasure], and slowly but surely was spending the competence he had amassed. His sons became very much incensed against Smith, alleging, that ho had unlimited control over the actions of their father and caused him to foolishly squander his property. In February, [1826], the sons caused Joe's arrest as a vagrant, and the trial occurred before Albert Neely, Esq., father of Bishop Neely, of Maine. The country folks for miles around attended the trial. The affidavits of the sons were read, and the prophet was put upon the stand. He testified to but little concerning the charge on which he was arrested, but gave the history of his youthful days, told about the finding of the magic stone, and claimed to possess all the powers which the infatuated Deacon believed to reside in him. The magic stone was exhibited in court. Joseph Smith, Sr., the father of the prophet, who is described as having been a most disreputable looking person, testified in his son's behalf, describing his wonderful success as a seer. Deacon Stowell also testified in the prophet's behalf, and gave many circumstances corroborative of the supernatural powers possessed by the young man. Young Smith, he said, could, see things fifty feet below the surface of the ground as plainly as he could see the articles on the Judge's table.

"Deacon Stowell, do I understand you as swearing before God, under the solemn oath you have taken, that you believe that?"

"Do I believe it?" was the reply. "Do I believe it? No; it is not a matter of belief, I positively know it is true."

Thompson, one of the employees of Deacon Stowell, related the story of the mysterious sinking, of the box told above. Smith was discharged mainly on the testimony of Deacon Stowell, and he continued to reside in the neighborhood. About four years after, it is said, Smith, by the aid of his magic stone, found the Book of Mormon. This Elder Pratt, of the Mormon Church, says was when he was but fourteen years old, but the people of Susquehanna say he was nearer twenty-five.

Note 1: The greater part of the above account is simply a paraphrase of W. D. Purple's May, 1877 article, published in the Norwich Chenango Union. The Bainbridge editor adds a few words of embellishment to Purple's story, but nothing so substantial, as to indicate reference to any independent source (such as A. W. Benton's 1831 letter or the hearing transcript published in the Feb. 1873 issue of Fraser's Magazine).

Note 2: This article was reprinted in the Montrose Democrat of Sept. 19, 1877, as well as in a later issue of the New York World. From there it was copied into the Roman Citizen of May 3, 1878, under the title "Deacon Stowell's Gold."


Vol. ?                             Albany, N.Y., Thursday, August 30, 1877.                             No. ?

The  Death  of  Brigham  Young.

De mortuis nil nisi bonum is not a rule to be universally a|pplied, and as the country reads to-day that Brigham Young died at Salt Lake yesterday afternoon, it will heave a sigh not of regret but of satisfaction. It will be the verdict of his countrymen from the Atlantic to the Pacific that ''nothing in his life became him like the leaving of it." They have long known him as the chief corner stone of that refuge of lies and uncleanliness, Mormonism, and will take heart at the thought that ruin will soon overtake that social and religious system now that Brigham Young is permanently eliminated from it.

The story of the, life of the great Utah prophet, priest and king is not eventful apart from the history of the church with which he was closely identified. He was born at Whitingham, in the State of Vermont, June 1st, 1801, and was the son of a farmer who had been a soldier in the Revolution. He early had his attention drawn to the "Book of Mormon" and to the labors of Joseph Smith and other self-styled Latter Day Saints in expounding it and in building up a church founded upon peculiar doctrines which it set forth. Smith, directed as he said, by divine revelation, in the spring of 1831 led the whole body of believers to Kirtland, Ohio, which was agreed upon as the seat of the New Jerusalem. A year later Young had become so infatuated by all that he had read and heard of the new and startling religious movement, that turning his back on his Vermont [sic - New York?] home, he hastened to the New Jerusalem in Ohio and cast in his lot with Joe Smith and the rest. He was kindly received, and such was his talent and shrewdness that he soon rose to prominence among the Saints. In 1835, when the quorum of the twelve apostles was instituted, he was ordained as one of the band and sent out with the other eleven to commend the new doctrines to the outside world, lying in wickedness and error. Henceforth he was a recognised and ever increasing power among his brethern. His mission as an apostle was chiefly in the Eastern States and great was his success in bringing in converts into the true fold. But his opportunity did not arrive until 1844. Early in the summer of that year poetic justice overtook Joe Smith. He was shot while attempting to escape from jail in which he was confined for destroying the presses of the newspaper that showed up the hideous pecularities of his patent religion. The death of the "only original" prophet cast a gloom over Mormonism for a little time, and there was some perplexity experienced in electing a successor. The choice fell upon Brigham Young, and he was duly installed as first President of the Church. His administration of the duties of his office during the next thirty odd years, and until he died, was in many respects a remarkable one. He built up a great autocracy in the midst of a republic and boldy defied the laws of the land. "It will be one of the marvels of future historians," it has well been said, "that this untutored man actually succeeded in the nineteenth century in building up a spiritual and temporal dominion more absolute than that of the Mikado ever had in Japan."

By 1848 all the established Jerusalems had become too hot for the Morrnons, and in that year the main body of the Saints set out for Utah. And then Brigham set to work in downright earnest, and developed his rare qualities as a leader. He founded Salt Lake City, and put large tracts of land under cultivation; he established an emigrant fund and organised a system under which he received large accessions to his ranks from the working classes of many foreign countries. In 1849 his trouble with the government began. He organized a State to suit himself but Congress refused to recognize it and reorganized the country occupied by the Mormons into the territory of Utah. Young was made Governor of this new territory by President Fillmore but was subsequently removed for various rebellious acts. His course during the next few years was marked by repeated instances of flagrant defiance of constitued authority. He made war on United States officials at every opportunity, and more than once broke up courts and compelled judges to flee for their lives. He issued a formal proclamation denouncing the United States troops, who were sent into the territory to preserve order, as a mob, forbade it to enter his domains and called upon the Mormons to repel its advance. In fact it was not until 1858 that he began to behave himself decently. By that time he had reached the conclusion that he was no match for the United States, and in a response to the offer of President Buchanan offering pardons to all Mormons who submit to the Federal authority, he and his fellow leaders kindly allowed a body of United States troops to enter the Salt Lake valley unmolested. Once in the valley, the troops remained until the spring of 1860, when they were withdrawn. In regard to Young's life since 1860 little need be said. Refraining for the most part from overt acts of lawlessness, he took occasion in season and out of season to show his contempt for the Government. He furnished a conspicuous sample of the school of reprobates who sin "because grace abounds." He knew that the people of the United States, hoping that the Mormon question would settle itself sooner or later, were disposed to wink at his misdeeds, and he had the vulgar courage of his knowledge and was insolent, mean and cruel.

The telegram states that he died yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock, but he really died months ago when the mystery that had at surrounded the Mountain Meadow massacre was unveiled at the lips of a dying man. From the hour that Lee's confession was given to the world, Brigham Young and the system that depended upon his administrative powers were practically at an end. There was still the form of dissolution to be gone through with, but nothing more. Brigham has accomplished that form, and Mormonism, let us hope, has also quite spent its inevitable hour. They were thoroughly disreputable in their lives, and in their death they should not be divided. Strong of will, strong of common-sense, strong of energy, strong in his knowledge of the springs that control human-nature in its simple inexperienced forms, a great organizer, a marvelous developer of resources, of tireless industry and perseverance -- thus will Brigham Young be characterized by future biographers. But it will have to be added that he was the consummate hypocrite and charlatan of the age, who devoted his great powers to building and perpetuating a lie and an orgy which he called religion.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Utica Morning Herald

Vol. ?                         Utica, New York,  Friday,  August 31, 1877.                         No. ?


The death of Brigham Young occurs at a time and under circumstances almost certain to precipitate a crisis among the Mormons, They are not naturally a harmonious or homogeneous body, and there is much in their peculiar faith and practices whose natural tendency is towards disintegration. Their whole history, up to the last fifteen years, was a remarkable and unbroken series of fraud, rapacity, internal and external dissension, defiance of civil and moral law, a perpetual scandal to the denomination itself, and to the communities which tolerated its presence. In its past we may read its immediate future. There is likely to be one marked distinction, however, between the past and the future of Mormonism. In its early days the State governments of Illinois and Missouri on the one hand, and the national government on the other, dealt with Mormon crimes and Mormon pretensions in a pusilanimous, temporizing and altogether disgraceful way. The sect flourished, spritually and temporally, upon the imbecility of a government which tolerated its crimes and left its leaders unpunished. It is not likely to have any more such nutriment.

Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, was an impostor, a knave, a sensualist, and a grossly ignorant man withal. He had read of Mahomet, and set out to imitate him. Lacking the genius of Mahmet, he stole the "Book of Mormon" from the manuscript of a man who attempted by an acknowledged fiction, to trace the American Indians to a Hebrew origin. The fraud was too clumsy to be concealed for an hour; but the history of the whole world is proof that no fraud is too glaring for religious fanatics, when engineered by skillful rogues. After Smith's exploits in fraudulent banking, after he was tarred and feathered by his indignant victims, after another fraudulent bank had failed, and its founder had fled from justice, to find it at length at the hands of another mob, Joseph Smith was made the "God of this generation" of the Mormons, and his immediate superior in their spiritual calender is Christ. No more accomolished villain ever lived in this country; and the catalogue of the crimes that have been had at his door embraces them all.

The late Brigham Young was well qualified to become the successor of such a man as Smith. His death would discover some virtue in him, if there were any there. Young was as ignorant as Smith and as audacious and soulless. But he was more skillful, both in the management of men and affairs. Smith was continually beset by "schisms" as he called them, that is to say, by quarrels with his "apostles" over the division of the spoils and the direction of affairs. Time after time he was pronounced an arrant fraud and criminal, by affidavits of his chosen saints. He had the energy necessary to conquer them all. Young, in addition to equal energy, has had the adroitness, yoked with the force and individuality, to suppress insubordination, and to rule his church with the iron hand of a despot. He is but one of three, who together, under the system of Mormon government, constitute the presidency. Young's companions have been George A. Smith and Daniel H. Wells, but they have shared his authority only in name. After them has come a long hierarchy of apostles, patriarchs, priests and elders modeled somewhat after the Hebrew forms. Thus the discordant and unorganized mass which in 1846 fled from Illinois... obeying one head, responsive to one will, kept under by a religious fanaticism strangely akin to worldly avarice and phenomenonally nursed by the man who is now dead.

It is twenty-eight years since President Fillmore committed his great error in judgment and made Brigham Young the first Governor of the newly erected Territory of Utah. It is twenty years since President Buchanan sent a new Governor and new judges, backed by an army of United States troops, to assert the authority of the federal government in the territory and bring the defiant Brigham Toung to terms. Then was the time for the government to have dealt summarily with Mormonism. It was a case of rebellion, pure and simple. Young was guilty of treason, and it was the most flagrant case the country had known since the foundation of the government. The Buchanan administration, [----ing] the imbecility which became more conspicous when a greater rebellion broke out, compromised with the rebels, hobnobbed with the heads of the church, and Mormonism, by surrendering the shadow of civil power in the territory, retained its substance, and has continued to retain it until recently....

We shall now learn what twenty years of absolute supremacy of this remarkable man has been able to do for Mormonism. He has not lifted it above the grossness with which Joseph Smith invested it; that we know. Whether he has been able to make its religion any more real, its creeds any less depraved, its regard for authority any more complete, we shall know. But to give to Mormonism a self perpetuating cohesiveness, was not in the power of Brigham Young, or of any human being. For the basis of his church is a crime and a fraud, and its superstructure is honeycombed with weaknesses and wickedness. It will perish from the face of the earth; and men will soon marvel that such a monstrosity was able to call itself a religion and to be the companion of our civilization.

Note: The writer is mistaken in saying that, "After Smith's exploits in fraudulent banking, after he was tarred and feathered by his indignant victims...", which give the reader the impression that Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered by "indignant victims" of the 1837 Kirtland bank failure, or some other "fraudulent banking" episode in early Mormon history. The 1832 tarring and feathering at Hiram, Ohio, was not related to any unfortunate "banking" schemes.


Vol. ?                             Albany, N.Y., Saturday, Sept. 1, 1877.                             No. ?


If the time for disciplining him had not long since expired we would move that Rev. Mr. Spaulding, late of Ohio, be deposed from the ministry. For it is clearer now than ever before, when it was tolerably clear all the while, that had it not been for Spaulding there would not have been any "revelation," on gold plates or otherwise, to Joe Smith. And had there not been any revelation to Joe Smith there would have been no Mormonism; and, in the absence of that sort of religion to tempt him to Ohio, Brigham Young would most likely have remained in Vermont and lived a cleanly life in that State of steady habits. And therefore were Spaulding still in the flesh it would be the proper thing to decorate his breast with the scarlet letter M.

The charge against the parson is no new thing, but facts that have just been brought to the attention of the Springfield Republican, taken in connection with the death of Brigham Young, serve to direct fresh attention to it. Mr. J. A. McKinstry, of Longmeadow, a grandson of Spaulding, tells the story of his grandfather's part and lot in Mormonism as it was handed down in the family, and the Republican reproduces it. It is not substantially different from the narrative with which the public has been familiar, but contains some fresh details. Spaulding, who was a college bred man and a graduate of Dartmouth College, while living near Palmyra, Ohio, about the year 1810, wrote a romance. At the time, he was out of the active ministry and engaged in running a small iron foundry. The weaving of his romance was the work of his leisure moments, and he had for inspiration the accounts, then attracting much attention, of the work of the mound-builders on this continent. He called his production, "Manuscript Found," and cleverly availed himself of the current interest by pretending that he had dug the romance out of one of the Ohio mounds. As his work advanced, he read it to his neighbors, among whom were Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Smith not only heard the manuscript, but, as Rev. Mr. Spaulding's widow frequently testified before her death, "he borrowed it for a week or so, giving as a reason that he wanted to read it to his family who had been unable to attend on Mr. Spaulding's readings." Not very long after the borrowing, Smith came out with his preposterous claim that an angel had made a revelation to him. Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter compared the Joe Smith bible, the Mormon bible, with Rev. Mr. Spaulding's romance, and found that they were essentially the same. Mrs. Spaulding died some 25 years ago, but before her death a gentleman, claiming to represent some Christian people who wished to expose Mormonism, induced her to allow him to take the original of the romance to Boston, with a view, he gave out, of publication. "Nothing was ever heard of it again," says Mr. McKinstry, "and the family have always considered that the bland young gentleman was an agent of Brigham Young to destroy this convincing evidence that Joe Smith'd Mormon Bible was of very earthly origin."

Of the essential truth of this statement there is not the shadow of a doubt. And yet upon this flimsy foundation a vast structure of superstition and wickedness has been erected. We have had many accomplished "confidence men" in this country since Joe Smith's day, but his place at the head of his profession has never been disturbed. In one of his essays, Mr. Carlyle, after stating that this globe of ours contains a great many million inhabitants, adds with characteristic savagery, "most of whom are fools." And if history did not contain so many instances of wide-spread, self-perpetuating, prospering and to prosper gullibility, Carlyle's remark would not have so sharp a point.

The reports from Utah indicate that the death of Brigham Young made no profound impression. Indeed, a very considerable element of the Mormon organization recognizes in it the long-desired opportunity for a change in the spirit of the Mormon rule. The question, of the successor may not be determined for a month, but it is generally supposed that Brigham's son, John W., will be chosen. He is the only one of the sons that has any capacity, and he hasn't much.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Syracuse  Daily  Journal.

Vol. XXXIII.                           Syracuse, N.Y., Mon., September 3, 1877.                           No. 20?

The Origin of Mormonism.

Remarkable local testimony has been discovered by the Republican sustaining the charge that the religion of Joe Smith and Brigham Young had its origin in a romance written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding of Ohio of half a century or more ago. the story is furnished by Mr. J. A. McKinstry of Longmeadow, a son of the late Dr. McKinstry of Monson, and grandson of Rev. Mr. Spaulding. Mr. McKinstry is employed in the Main street store of Newsdealer Brace. Rev. Mr. Spaulding's widow, who afterward became Mrs. Davison, came east from Ohio to live with her daughter at Monson many years ago, bringing the manuscript of his romance with her. She died some twenty-five years ago, but before her death a plausible young man from Boston came to Monson to see and get the Spaulding writing. It was a time of considerable excitement concerning the Mormons, and he claimed to represent some Christian people who wanted to expose Mormonism, He therefore begged the loan of the manuscript for publication. Much against the wishes of Mrs. Dr. McKinstry, Mrs. Davison consented to let her husband's unpublished romance go. Nothing was ever heard from it again, and the family have always considered that the bland young gentleman was an agent of Brigham Young's to destroy the convicting evidence that Joe Smith's Mormon Bible was of earthly origin.

The story of how Rev. Mr. Spaulding came to prepare his romance, which Mr. McKinstry remembers as a child to have seen, is fresh and interesting. He was out of the active ministry in Ohio -- the name of the place Mr. McKinstry does not recollect, but it was near Palmyra, we believe -- running a small iron foundry, and being a man of literary tastes, employed his leisure moments in weaving a romance. It was a time when the work of the mound-builders was creating wild interest, the implements of cookery and war being unearthed showing the existence of a forgotten race. This furnished the inspiration for the chronicles of the story-writer. He entitled his production "Manuscript Found," the idea being that the romance woven by the ex-preacher was dug up out of one of the mounds in the region. It was a history of ancient America, not all written at once, but as leisure spells and the fancy fell to him Mr. Spaulding would add to it. His writing was no secret in the neighborhood. In that then frontier region, with few opportunities for literary enjoyment. Rev. Mr. Spaulding was prevailed upon to read his production to his neighbors as it progressed. It was written in Bible phraseology, and made as quaintly olden as possible, so as to carry out the conceit of its alleged mound origin. Among the attentive listeners at these readings were Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon, the same who founded Mormonism. Not only did Smith hear the manuscript read, but on one occasion, as Mrs. Davison frequently testified before her death, he borrowed it for a week or so, giving as a reason that he wanted to read it to his family, who had been unable to attend on Mr. Spaulding's readings. Not long afterward it will be remembered, Smith claimed that an angel had revealed to him the existence of a buried history of aboriginal America, the plates of which it is alleged were dug up, and the book of Mormon made as a translation of their inscriptions. the widow of Mr. Spaulding and her daughter, Mrs. Dr. McKinstry of Monson, compared the Smith Bible with the parson's romance, and they were essentially the same. The similarity was so overwhelming as to leave no doubt that Smith copied in full Rev. Mr. Spaulding's writing, and made out of it bodily his divine "revelation."   Springfield (Mass.) Republican.


Full Description or the Mormon Prophet's Funeral.

His Directions Strictly Carried Out.

No Mourning to be Bought or Tears Shed....


A dispatch from Salt Lake City, Utah, says that the funeral of Brigham Young on Sunday was an impressive demonstration. Nearly 19,000 persons saw the corpse while it was lying in state. It was arrayed in endowment robes. The coffin was of California red wood without ornament, and the lining of white satin. The corpse rested on a wool mattress.


The arrangements were all in accordance with written instructions given by Brigham Young in 1873, which instructions were read at the funeral.

He desired that the body should be made clean and kept from one to four days; that the coffin be of red wood, two inches longer than the body and three inches wider, with a canopy top giving the appearance of his being able to turn over if he desired; that he rest on a cotton bed and be dressed in his tomplo robes; that the females of the family buy no black to wear at the funeral, but they could wear such if they had it, and that the males wear no crape; that the services consist of singing and prayer, and if friends desired to speak a few words they be at liberty to do so; that the body be carried on a bier to the southeast corner of his private burying ground, on a hill east of the Lion House, and deposited in a cut stone vault covered with slabs and earth, then roofed over, and there he desired to rest until the resurrection.

He desired no obe to cry or exhibit signs of grief.

If he lived until the saints went to Jackson county, Missouri, he wished to go with them and be burled there; otherwise as above. These instructions were signed and ordered read at the funeral.


From 9 o'clock the organ had been playing "The Dead March in Saul," Mendelssohn's funeral march and a march composed for the occasion by a Mormon. Geo. Q. Cannon was master of ceremonies, and at noon announced the hymn "Hark from Afar," which was sung by the Tabernacle choir of two hundred and twenty voices. The opening prayer was by Apostlo Richards, a hymn was then sung and brief addresses were made by David H. Wells, Apostles Woodruff, Snow, Cannon and Taylor.


Ten tiers of seats in front of the stand in the Tabernacle were occupied by the family and relatives of the deceased. John W. Young, Daniel H. Wells, Brigham Young, Jr., and George Q. Cannon were in the upper stand. The ten apostles were next below, aud the high council still lower. Not less than twelve thousand persons were in the building.


The speakers confined themselves to laudations of Brigham Young and exhortations to the saints to remember and obey his counsels to proceed with the erection of the Temple, the foundation for which has been laid. A hymn composed for the occasion and the benediction by Orson Hyde, closed the ceremonies.


At [1:30] o'clock the family gazed for the last time on the corpse. All the wives and children, with a few exceptions, were present, and many scores of grandchildren and relatives more distant. The demonstrations of grief were few though all seemed sad.


The procession then formed and marched to the cemotery, half a mile distant. Forty thousand persons were in line with uncovered heads.


The ceremonies at the grave were brief, there being only hymns and prayers. Brigbam's first wife stood by the grave some time, leaning on the arm of Amelia, the favorite. Spectators were allowed to pass the tomb, after which it was closed and sealed.


John W. Young Reclaimed to the Mormon Faith.

John W. Young, Brigham's apostate son, who renounced polygamy several years ago along with two wives to marry a handsome Philadelphia widow, has been lured back into the polygamist fold once more by the charms of one of his brother's widows, a daughter of Mrs. Stenhouse, who is now lecturing against Mormonism. Clara Stenhouse is the only member of her family that still clings to that religion, and she is so bigoted and fanatical that for a long time after her parents, apostatized she refused to even speak to them, and treated them with the utmost contempt. John Young is the youngest child of the prophet's legal wife, and is the smartest and has seen more of the outside world than any other of Brigham's children. He is a shrewd business man, a railroad magnate in a small way; and has been a very frequent operator in Wall Street. Ula contact with the Gentiles in his long and frequent visits to the large eastern cities has not tended to increase his faith in Mormontom, and it has long been well known that be only remainsin the church for the emoluments which his father's position afforded him. Of course, tbcae privileges, including the handling of church tithing, were very convenient, but otherwise he had no belief in the doctrines of this gigantic religious fraud. Like the majority of prominent Mormons, John W. embraced polygamy, but for several years he been been a monogamist. His first wife was from Philadelphia, and it was while on a visit to her relatives that he met the woman for whom he discarded both first and second wives. He was a handsome, attractive man, and she a dashing young widow, and it seems it was a desperate case of love at first sight. She knew very well about his matrimonial entanglements, at his first wife was her own cousin. but that did not prevent her accompanying him to Utah under promise to marry him after their arrival if he would discard the other wives, which he accordingly did. This new marriage of course puts out of joint the nose of the monopolising Philadelphia wife, but the popular verdict is that it served her right, as she came out to Utah with the calm determination of betraying her own cousin by defrauding her of her husband, and carried her point with dogged pertinacity. She was an Eastern born and educated girl, had already been once married, and could not find shelter under the excuse that she was rained in Mormonlam and had been taught that polygamy was right. She may, perhaps, have loved John W., but most people believe that her course was actuated by pure selfishness.

Note: See the New Haven Palladium of Sept. 3, 1877 for notes on a lengthier version of the McKinstry item.


Broome  Republican.

Vol. ?                          Binghampton, N. Y., Wed., September 5, 1877.                          No. ?


This great disgrace to modern civilisation died on Wednesday afternoon at Salt Lake City. He was born at Whittingham, Vermont June 1st, 1801, and was, therefore, a trifle over 76 years of age. His early calling was that of a painter and glazier. In 1832 he went to Ohio and joined the Mormons at Kirtland, on the shore of Lake Erie, a few miles west of Cleveland.

The vicissitudes of the Mormons up to that date had been of a peculiar nature. Joseph Smith, the founder, was the junior by several years of Brigham Young, the great developer and final chief of the sect. Smith was born in Vermont; but moved in early childhood to Palmyra, Wayne county, in this state. The family avoided honest labor and were addicted to drunkenness and the visionary pursuit of hidden treasure -- and Joseph was the worst of the tribe. When he was about 15 he was taken with a sudden attack of "visions," and during one of these spells of lunacy he claimed the discovery of the "Book of Mormon," which he dictated from behind a curtain, while others wrote the precious words as they fell from his lips.

The "Book of Mormon," we may remark en passant, was based upon -- and to a great degree copied from -- a romance written by Solomon Spaulding, who was born in Ashford, Conn., in 1761; graduated at Dartmouth College; preached for a number of years and then became engaged in mercantile pursuits in Cherry Valley, N. Y.; removed to Conneaut Ohio, thence to Pittsburg, and from that city to Amity, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1816. His romance was based upon a theory, then quite prevalent, that the Indians are the descendants of the Lost Tribes ot Israel. In 1812 Spaulding left this manuscript at a printing office in Pittsburg for publication. Sidney Rigdon was connected with the office and copied the manuscript. Rigdon then left the office and commenced to preach his peculiar doctrines. In 1829 he met Joseph Smith and the two proceeded to adapt and alter Spaulding's manuscript so that it became the Mormon Bible. Spaulding [sic! - Mrs. Spalding?] recognised his manuscript after the Bible was published.

Rigdon and Smith commenced their partnership by announcing that the millennium was at hand and that the Saints were about to assemble at some place in the interior of the continent to be known as the "New Jerusalem." Other doctrines of the Mormon Bible were shaped to conform with some of the doctrinal questions which were agitating the villages of Western New York about that date (1830). Infant baptism and polygamy were condemned. Freemasonry was denounced; although Smith and his leading followers afterwards became Freemasons and organised their Church in imitation of the system of degrees of that order.

A few of Rigdon's [sic - Smith's?] previous followers from Manchester and Fayelte, N. Y., joined the Mormons at Kirtland in 1831. Brigham Young came as a convert in 1832. His Yankee shrewdness made him so prominent that in 1885, he was ordained one of the new order of "The Twelve Apostles" and was sent to the east to proselyte. Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered in 1832 and were obliged to flee to Missouri in 1838 on account of irregnlarities in business transactions. In Missouri they found a number of lawless Mormons and so dangerous to safety were they oonsidered, that the militia was called out against them. A compromise was effected by the agreement of the Mormons to leave Missouri.

We next hear of Smith and his followers at Nanvoo, Illinois. The Legialatare of that State gave them unlimited privileges which they were not slow to use to their own advantage. A military colony was organized and the Mormons might have remained in that locality to this day had not Smith -- on the 12th of July, 1843 -- received a revelation authorising polygamy. This so incensed some of his followers that they withdrew and started a paper -- The Expositor -- for the sake of exposing both himself and Rigdon. A party of Mormons under Smith attacked the Expositor office and destroyed it. Warrants were issued for the arrest of Smith and others. The Mormons drove the constable out of Nauvoo and civil war became imminent. Smith was persuaded to stand a trial, but a mob broke Into the jail and he was shot on the 27th of June, 1844.

Rigdon aspired to be the successor of Smith; but Young was elected to that office, and Rigdon being contumacious, was cut oft from fellowship. The charter of the [city of] Nauvoo having been repealed by the Legislature of Illinois, it became as necessary for the Mormons to move once more. In 1846 they gathered at Council Bluffs, Iowa, having been driven from Nauvoo at the cannon's mouth. Then commenced a two years' migration over the plains to Salt Lake City -- a State having been organised under the name of "Deseret."

Of Brigham Young's subsequent acts and his conflicts with the United States government, it is not necessary to speak. On the 29th of August, 1852, he introduced polygamy as a divine institution. From that time his hold upon the Mormons became more and more grasping. He was a man of indomitable will, and was gifted with a most impressive eloquence. His talents for organization and for business shrewdness were of the most decided character. With his death the power of Mormonism becomes broken; and although the prophet not long since sought to perpetuate his name and dynasty by the appointment of his son as his succceror, yet the indications are that the hetrogenuous elements of the organisation will soon fly in pieces. Such a consummation is devoutly to be wished by all who believe that slavery and Polygamy are the twin relics of barbarism.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 30.                   Norwich, N. Y., Thursday, Sept. 6, 1877.                   No. 51.


==> Sidney Rigdon, whom Brigham Young unceremoniously deposed from the Presidency of the Mormons at Nauvoo, after Jo Smith was killed in 1844, has since resided in a very unpretending manner at Friendship, Allegheny County, in this State. A tall, erect old gentleman, verging upon eighty, and very dignified, he could have been seen but a few years ago, on pleasant days slowly and thoughtfully moving about the streets of that village. When drawn into conversation he was found both intelligent and interesting. Those who have heard him in his younger days say that his natural gifts of oratory were of the first order. He established the society of Mormons at Kirtland, in Ohio, and stood next in power to Smith at the time of the latter's death. He died about two years ago.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Syracuse  Daily  Journal.

Vol. XXXIII.                           Syracuse, N.Y., Wed., September 12, 1877.                          No. ?


The Springfield, Mass. Republican narrates a story concerning the origin of the "Book of Mormon," on which the huge imposture of Mormonism was founded. It professes to have found evidence that the "Book of Mormon" was founded on a romance written by the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, of Palmyra [sic], about ancient America, which he entitled "Manuscript Found." Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon borrowed the manuscript story, and from it constructed the Mormon Scriptures, pretended to be found inscribed on plates of gold. The Cleveland Herald says the story told by the Springfield Republican was published at much greater length in a volume by Mr. Howe, issued at Painesville, O., forty years ago under the name of "Mormonism Unveiled," the evidence of the fraud perpetrated by Smith and Rigdon being conclusive.

The new Mormon President and Prophet, John Taylor, is an Englishman. He has been one of the twelve Mormon Apostles for some years. Formerly he was the editor of The Mormon, in New York City, which prospered until immigration fell off. He was always a favorite of Brigham Young. When Joe Smith was killed at Nauvoo, Taylor was severely wounded by a gun shot.

Note: The Spalding article also appeared in the Oswego Daily Times of Sept 14th and the Cleveland, NY, Lakeside Press of the 22nd.


Broome  Republican.

Vol. ?                Binghampton, New York, Wednesday, September 26, 1877.                 No. ?


The Springfield "Republican" on the death of Brigham Young takes occasion to re-publish the old story of Solmon Spalding and his "Manuscript Found" as the source and origin of the Book of Mormon. The "new and startling evidence" produced by the "Republican" does not seem to add anything to what was already before the public. This story was first published by Mr. Spalding's widow in the Boston "Journal" in 1839, repeated by E. D. Howe in his History of Mormonism in 1840, and by Henry Howe in his history of Ohio in 1847. Since that it has appeared at different times and in various publications. It has been verified by the widow and brother of Spalding, by cizens of Conneaut, O., where Spalding once lived and by others who had seen and read both the "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon. It has never been refuted, nor, so far as I we know, has any plausible attempt at refutation been made. Having been before the public in this manner for more than a generation, it seems to us that it is entitled to a place among the facts of history without any further, "new and startling evidence."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Journal  and  Courier.

Vol. XIV.                   Little Falls, New York, Tuesday, October 2, 1877.                   No. 40.

For the Journal & Courier.


Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon sect, began his public career in and near tbe village of Palmyra, Wayne county, in this State. He was born in Vermont. In 1820 [sic - 1816?], and with his parents, removed to this State at an early age, the family being in humble circumstances. He was occasionally employed in Palmyra, and bore the reputation of a lazy and ignorant young man. Smith and his father were persons of doubtful moral character, addicted to disreputable habits, and moreover extremely superstitious, believing in the existence of witchcraft. Such is the testimony of those who knew them. At one time they dug for money in various places, using a mineral rod in searching for it. He also placed a singular looking stone in his hat, and pretended by the light of it to make many wonderful discoveries of gold, silver, and other treasures deposited in the earth. About three miles from Palmyra, at a place now called Mormon Hlll, Smith said he dug from the earth the plates which contained the record, the original Mormon Bible. He commenced his career as the founder of the new sect when less than twenty years of age, and appointed a number of mentings in Palmyra for the purpose of announcing the revelations which he said were made to him. He failed to produce much excitement, as few could be found who had curiosity sufficient to listen to him. Being without means to print his revelations, he called upon Mr. Crane, of the Society of Friends, declaring that he was moved by the spirit to call upon him for assistance. The good Quaker bid him go to work, or the State prison would end his career. He then applied to Martin Harris, a thrifty farmer of Palmyra with whom he had better success, and who afterwards became one of his leading disciples. By Harris' assistance 5,000 copies of the Mormon Bible (so called,) were printed at an expense of about $3,000.

This bible is a duodecimo volume, containing 500 pages, and is perhaps one of the weakest productions ever attempted to be palmed off as a divine revelation, being mostly a blind mass of words, interwoven with scriptural language and quotations, without much of a leading plan or design. It was in fact such a production as might be expected from a man of Smith's abilities and turn of mind. At the close of the book is the testimony of three witnesses, in which they state unto all nations, kindred, tongues and people, that they have seen the plates containing the record, and the engravings upon them, &c.

In the preface. Smith states "that the plates of which have been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county. New York."

Persons who lived in Palmyra stated that when he exhibited these plates to his followers, they were done up in a canvass bag, and Smith made the declaration, that if they uncovered them the Almighty would strike them dead. It is said that no one but Smith could read what was engraved upon them; which he was enabled to do by looking through a peculiar kind of spectacles found buried with the plates.

Smith, with his disciples, soon went west, from which time the history of this peculiar sect is familiar to all readers.
                    J. O. N.

Note: Although most of the writer's assertions regarding Joseph Smith appear match well with those made by Pomeroy Tucker in 1867, the mention of Smith using a "mineral-rod" must have come from some other source. Probably "J. O. N." obtained this information from page 580 of Barber & Howe's 1841 Historical Collections of the State of New York, which published one of the earliest references to Smith's using a "mineral-rod" (rather than a simple divining rod) and which represents Smith's operations in words similar to those of "J. O. N." Eber D. Howe also associated the younger Smith with a "mineral-rod" on pp. 31-32 of his 1834 book. Joseph's father is mentioned with the same connection on page 232. The latter account equates a "mineral rod" with a twig cut from a "witch hazle bush," (which would generally have been termed a "divining rod").


Plattsburgh  Sentinel.

Vol. XXIII.                     Plattsburgh, New York, Frday, October 5, 1877.                     No. 18.

Arrest  of  a  Mormon  Murderer.

The Herald's Salt Lake despatch reports the indictment and arrest of Orin Porter Rockwell, the notorious Mormon murderer and chief the Danites, for participation in the Aiken Massacre in 1858. Rockwell was the ready tool of the Mormon leaders. He was accused in 1840 of tho attempted assassination of Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs, of Missouri. It is believed that Rockwell and associates murdered Secretary Almon W. Babbitt and companions on the plains in 1857. The massacre of a party of apostate Mormons is also laid to his charge. Several additional murders are imputed to him. He promises to make a confession.

Notes: (forthcoming)


St. Lawrence  Plaindealer.

Vol. XXII.                   Canton, New York, Thursday, November 8, 1877.                   No. 18.

The Book of Mormon.


(read original article from Boston paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXXVIII.                Rome, Oneida County, N.Y. Friday, May 3, 1878.                No. 49.

Deacon Stowell's Gold.

Hunting for Hidden, Treasures with Joe Smith in Anti-Mormon Days --
The Sinful Rites into which a Good Presbyterian Farmer was
Led by Thirst for Riches.


From the New York World.

Half a century ago there lived on a farm in Afton, Chenango county, then called South Bainbridge, a good settler named Isaiah [sic - Josiah?] Stowell. He was strait and strong in dogma, and filled the responsible position of Deacon in the Presbyterian Church to the edification of all people. By hard work and frugality Deacon Stowell accumulated a moderate competency, and his large family of broad-shouldered sons and rosy-cheeked daughters were the envy of the neighborhood. But like many other good men the Deacon had his little weakness, and would make haste to get rich. There was no Stock Exchange in those days or he might have "gone broke" on Jersey Central. As it was he contented himself with the faith (and practice) that untold sums of gold had been hidden the earth by extinct tribes of Indians or highwaymen or something of the sort, that it was to be his especial good luck to find all this gold. Northern Pennsylvania, near Lanesboro and Susquehanna, was believed by him to be the gold-bearing region, and with assistants and proper tools he made frequent journeys to the wild country about Starrucca Creek and spent weeks in delving in the rocky mountain sides at the rise of the Blue Ridge range. During his searches Deacon Stowell and his party camped put in the woods, living upon the provisions he brought from home in the fertile Chenango Valley and the game that filled the region in abundance. The concealed wealth that occupied his sleeping and waking thoughts he never found, but his constant failure and fresh outlays of money did not dampen his ardor. His family and the members of his church remonstrated with him, to no purpose.

It was during one of his digging excursions near Lanesboro that Deacon Stowell heard of the remarkable powers which Joseph Smith, a young fellow who had lived near Great Bend, about twenty miles south on the Susquehanna river, was reputed to possess. Smith, it was said, could see objects which lay fifty feet below the surface of the earth with entire distinctness. At this time, however, his father, a poverty-stricken man, had removed with his family from Great Bend to the neighborhood of Palmyra, N.Y., and left only the fame of the son behind. But the stories told by the country folks were enough to fire the imagination of crazy Deacon Stowell, and he was determined to have the assistance of young Smith at all odds. Stocking a wagon, with enough provisions to last him for the journey, the Deacon harnessed a team and started for Palmyra. Young Joe Smith, who afterwards became the Mormon Prophet, was at this time about twenty years old, the neighbors looked upon him as ungodly and to be avoided. His spare moments were occupied in meditation, and he very rarely joined his boyish acquaintances in their, rustic sports. He pretended to possess the power of second sight, and had hesitation in saying that he had been brought into the world by God to work out certain plans of the Almighty on earth. It is said that he was regular at his meals, however arduous his solitary wrestlings in spirit, and his pre-occupation probably had a good deal to do with his father's property.

Crazy Deacon Stowell became Smith's disciple at once, and Smith told him the story of a wonderful stone he had found. According to this story Smith, when quite a boy, heard of a young girl living within few miles of his father's house, who possessed a magic glass, by looking into which she could see objects that were invisible to others. Young Joe was seized with an irresistable desire to see this wonderful glass, and obtained that boon. The glass was put into a hat to exclude the light, and the boy gazed. For a long time he saw nothing, but finally a speck appeared which assumed the proportions of a small stone, seemingly a long way off. The stone grew brighter and brighter, until it finally glowed, like a calcium light or -- since this was 1820 -- like the sun at noon-day. At last the glass showed him that the stone was hidden under the roots of a small tree near a small stream on the south side of Lake Erie, not far from the boundary line between New York and Pennsylvania. Often afterwards Smith looked in the glass, seeing only the same sight, and, after thinking and pondering on the subject for several years, determined to find the stone. Equipped with a few shillings in cash and a bundle of provisions, he started on foot towards the West. When money and food gave out he supported himself by working at farmers' houses on the way until he was able to renew his travels. After walking one hundred and fifty miles he found himself at the month of a creek which he remembered seeing in the glass. A farmer lent him a pick and shovel, and he soon found the tree and the magic stone. The latter he carried to the creek, washed the dirt from its smooth surface and gazed "into" it. To his great joy he found that he was possessed of an all-seeing eye, whose vision penetrated water and annihilated space. The stone was of the size of a hen's egg, curved in the same shape of a high instepped shoe, and was composed of layers of different colors, passing diagonally; through it. Joseph returned his borrowed tools, and with glad heart turned towards the rising sun and walked home.

The good Deacon used his powers of entreaty so well that young Smith agreed to return with him and aid in the search for gold. Meantime Deacon Stowell purchased a farm at Susquehanna and moved his family there from Afton. The young prophet was installed therein not exactly to the satisfaction of the other members of the family. Smith, by the aid of the magic stone, ascertained that many years before, a band of robbers had buried a box of treasure in certain flat lands on the Deacon's farm. To protect this treasure, Smith said the robbers had by sacrifice laid a charm upon it, so that it could not be recovered except by faith and certain talismanic influences. The diggers prepared themselves for work by fasting and prayer for several days. Smith assured the Deacon that it was utterly useless for him to begin digging without an absolute faith that the labor would be successful. When the Deacon had banished all doubts the party went to work with awe in the presence of the charm. A few feet from the surface a shovel in the hands of the Deacon touched a hard substance, and hastily throwing back the dirt he discovered the top of a square wooden chest, bound with hoops of iron. But while Smith, Stowell, and his assistant, one Thompson, were gazing with awe and wonder on the sight, the box gradually sank in the ground and was soon gone. They dug and uncovered it again, and it disappeared again. This was kept up till it ceased to be amusing, and Smith was called upon to dispel the charm. He gave Deacon Stowell some instructions. The latter, sending his Presbyterian training to the winds, went to his stock yard and selected an ewe lamb, the finest in the fold, with pure white skin and fleece. It was washed until it was perfectly spotless. Meantime darkness had settled down over the Susquehanna Valley and the rites for the propitiation of the demon who guarded the treasure were carried on by the light of a single lantern. The lamb was brought to the edge of the pit, and a bowl placed in readiness to catch its blood. The Deacon got upon his knees and prayed, probably to the demon, while Smith drew the sacrificial butcher-knife across the lamb's throat, and then moved in circles about the pit, sprinkling the blood around it. Then the party resumed their picks and shovels, but couldn't even find the top of the box any more.

Deacon Stowell and Joe Smith kept up this circus in various promising places for a while, but the Deacon never got any hidden treasure, and slowly but surely was spending the competence he had amassed. His sons became very much incensed against Smith, alleging, that ho had unlimited control over the actions of their father and caused him to foolishly squander his property. In February, 1826, the sons caused Joe's arrest as a vagrant, and the trial occurred before Albert Neely, Esq., father of Bishop Neely, of Maine. The country folks for miles around attended the trial. The affidavits of the sons were read, and the prophet was put upon the stand. He testified to but little concerning the charge on which he was arrested, but gave the history of his youthful days, told about the finding of the magic stone, and claimed to possess all the powers which the infatuated Deacon believed to reside in him. The magic stone was exhibited in court. Joseph Smith, Sr., the father of the prophet, who is described as having been a most disreputable [looking] person, testified in his son's behalf, describing his wonderful success as a seer. Deacon Stowell also testified in the prophet's behalf, and gave many circumstances corroborative of the supernatural powers possessed by the young man. Young Smith, he said, could, see things fifty feet below the surface of the ground as plainly as he could see the articles on the Judge's table.

"Deacon Stowell, do understand you as swearing before God, under the solemn oath you have taken, that you believe that?"

"Do I believe it" was the reply. "Do I believe it? No; it is not a matter of belief, I positively know it is true."

Thompson, one of the employees of Deacon Stowell, related the story of the mysterious sinking, of the box told above. Smith was discharged mainly on the testimony of Deacon Stowell, and he continued to reside in the neighborhood. About four years after, it is said, Smith, by the aid of his magic stone, found" the Book of Mormon. This Elder Pratt, of the Mormon Church, says was when he was but fourteen years old, but the people of Susquehanna say he was nearer twenty-five.

Note: See the Baindbridge Republican of Aug. 23, 1877.


Vol. XL.                             Albany, N.Y., Tues., Oct. 22, 1878.                             No. 14,733.


The Cleveland Herald lately took occasion to characterize the Book of Mormon as "a bogus supplement to the Bible," and in so doing aroused the lion that slumbered in the breast of one Samuel L. Barnett. Barnett replies to the Herald in a letter a column long, devoted to the vindication of the Mormon's sacred book, and what he says is interesting as showing the genius which he and those of his ilk have for being bamboozled, and because it gives the Mormon's theory of the origin of the work.

Barnett starts off with the sweeping assertion that "the authorship of no book extant is better established than the English translation of the book known as the Book of Mormon as the sole production in every line and syllable of Joseph Smith the prophet." As to this, it is sufficient to say that the Book no doubt is fully as authentic as Joe Smith's claim to being considered a prophet. A prophet is a man who is directly inspired of God, but more than half a hundred of those who had had the best opportunity of becoming intimately acquainted with Joe once testified under oath that the family of which he was a member was of an immoral, false and fraudulent character, and that he was the worst of the lot. The Book of Mormon is no more bogus than this ignorant, drunken, coarse fellow's pretence to the gift of prophecy. Mr. Barnett follows up his assertion with a reference to the fact that a number of persons, those who were engaged in transcribing the Book and others, bear witness to its authenticity. But he makes no mention of another fact, a fact most disastrous to his position, that the three chief witnesses to the supernatural character of the book live4 to renounce Mormonism and avow the falsity of their witnessing. Mr. Barnett next avers that "the history contained in the Book of Mormon does not run parallel with that of the Bible." He might have added that the Book, as a whole, is a bungling and coarse imitation of the Bible, and that many of its best passages are appropriated without acknowledgment directly from the Bible. Those who have taken pains to compare the two, report that the Book contains no less than 300 passages that appear in the Bible.

According to Barnett, the essential difference between the Bible and the Book is that the former concerns itself with the history of God's dealings with the inhabitants of the Eastern continent, and the latter with the history of those dealings toward the inhabitants of the Western continent. And he further affirms, and on this point lays special stress, that the matter of the Book is so fully in unison with archaeological developments that have been made since it first appeared, that "it ought to have commanded the attention of the learned had not prejudice and bigotry shut their eyes and stopped their ears." The archaeological developments to which reference is made, are those in Central America, particularly such as were brought to the attention of the world by John L. Stevens, the traveler and savan. Barnett declares that the secrets of the early history of this continent, as brought to light by the Central American explorers, are also revealed in the Book of Mormon. If the Book in this particular is what Barnett so confidently proclaims it to be, it simply goes to show than Yankees are mighty good at guessing. For it is now pretty generally conceded that Samuel [sic] Spaldlng, a Connecticut man, wrote the Book of Mormon. And, since Spalding wasn't born until 1761, and didn't begin the work until 1810 or thereabouts, and didn't pretend to be a prophet but only a bit of a romancer, it is plain that what he wrote which was in unison with subsequent archaeological developments in Central America, was uncommon guessing.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Syracuse Morning Standard

Vol. XXVIII.                               Syracuse, N.Y., December 13, 1877.                               No. 266.


The Aged Man Who Printed its First Copy Tells
Story of Interest.

Major J. H. Gilbert, of Palmyra, N. Y., is in the city on a visit to his son, Charles T. Gilbert, of Nevia & Mills. He is a printer; was formerly proprietor of the Wayne Sentinel, and is the man who set up the Mormon Bible from the original manuscript. It was the custom of the printers, as the sheets were run through iho press, to take one of each form for preservation. Major Gilbert did this, and now has with him in this city the unbound sheets of the Mormon Bible, as he then took them from the press. These he cheerfully exhibits to any person who has a curiosity to look at them. The book was a quarto of 580 pages. The coutents were subdivided into chapters, broken into frequent paragraphs, but the verses were not numbered as they are in later editions. Upon tho title page appears tho name of Joseph Smith as "Author and Proprietor." In all subsequent editions he appears simply us "Translator." This change was rendered necessary to carry out the theory arferward adopted that Smith dug up those writings and translated them from "reformed Egyptian" by means of a pair of supernatural spectacles. A reporter of the Post and Tribune met Maj. Gilbert on Saturday, and had a very pleasant chat with him about the early days of Mormondom in Wayne county, N. Y., in which the modern religion started. He found the veteran printer 75 years of age.

One pleasant day in the summer of 1829, Hiram Smith, Joe's brother, came to the office to negotiate, for the priming of a book. The arrangements were completed. Five thousand copies of the book were to be printed for $3,000. A well-to do farmer named Martin Harris, living in the neighborhood, agreed to become security for the payment of the money, and the work was at once put in hand. Maj. Gilbert set up all the type of the book, except some 20 or 30 pages, and did nearly all the press work. It was all worked off on a hand press.

The copy was brought to the office by Hiram Smith. It was written on foolscap paper in a good, clear hand. The handwritimg was Oliver Cowdery's. There was not a punctuation mark in the whole manuscript. The sentences were all run in without capitals, or other marks to designate where one left off and another began, and it was no easy tusk to straighten out the stuff. Maj. Gilbert, perceiving that large portions were stolen verbatim from the Bible, used to have a copy of that book on his case to aid him in deciphering the manuscript and putting in the proper punctuation marks.

At first Smith used to come to the office every morniug with Just enough manuscript to last through tho day. But it was so much bother to put in the punctuation that Gilbert said; "Bring me around a quantity copy at a time, and I can go through it and fix it up evenings, and so get along faster with it." Smith replied: "This is pretty important business young man, and I don't know as we can trust this manuscript in your possession." Finally his scruples were overcome, and he consented to this arrangement. Then he would bring around a quire of paper, or forty-sight pages, at a time, and this would last several days. When the matter had been set all the copy was carefully taken away again by Smith. It took eight months to set up the book and run it through the press. Maj. Gilbert was not much interested in the book, thought it rather dry and prosy, and to this day has never thought it worth his while to read it a second time.

There were nine children in the Smith family. Joe was then about twenty-three years of age. He was a lazy, good for-nothing lout, chiefly noted for his capacity to hang around a corner grocery and punish poor whisky.

It is now pretty well established that the "Book of Mormon" was written in 1812 by the Rev. Solomon Spalding. of Ohio, as a popular romance. He could not find anyone to print it. The manuscript was sent to Pittsburg, where it lay in a printing-office several years. Spalding was never able to raise the money to secure the prlntiug of the story, and. after his death in 1824 [sic - 1816?] it was returned to his wife. By some means, exactly how is not known, it fell Into the hand of one Sidney Rigdon, who, with Joe Smith, concocted the scheme by which it was subsequently brought out as the work of Smith. The dealings with the outside world in respect to it were manipulated by Hiram Smith, an elder brother of Joe. Maj. Gilbert's recollection of all those persons is fresh and vivid, and he has a fund of antecdote and incident relating to them.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. LIII.                Rochester, New York, Wednesday, November 20, 1878.                 No. 276.

The Origin of Mormonism.

So much has been written on this subject that it is futile to endeavor to produce anyththing new, but there will be found something of interest to many in the following from the New York Star: "A great-niece of the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, who wrote the book called the Mormon Bible, resides in this city. Mr. Spaulding was a retired clergyman in ill health and to pass his time agreeably wrote a romance, which after his death was stolen in manuscript from his wife at Palmyra, in this State, by Joseph Smith, who pretended to have found it in a cave near that village. Mrs. Spaulding made a statement to this effect, which was published in the Tribune some years since, and to the day of her death it was an affliction to her to know of the evil resulting from, the innocent pastime of her deceased husband."

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Geneva  Courier.

Vol. L.                               Geneva, N.Y., Wednesday, April 16, 1879.                               No. 16.

( From  Sunday  Afternoon. )



One Joseph Smiih, Jr., in 1820, had a revelation, as he was in a solitary place, that his sins were forgiven him. Two glorious messengers appeared and announced to him that all denominations of professing Christians were holding erroneous doctrines and that God had acknowledged none of them as His "Church and Kingdom." Smith was promised that the true doctrine should in due time be revealed to him. But Joseph "fell away" and not until 1823 did he have any further communication from heaven. In September of that year an angel Maroni by name, announced by authority that Joseph Smith, Jr., was chosen to introduce a new dispensation, that the American Indians were a remnant of the Israelites, who in early ages emigrated to this country and had their prophets and inspired writings, that such of these writings as had not been in various ways destroyed were deposited in a certain hill near Manchester, N. Y., that they contained revelations concerning the last days of the World, and that, faithful, he should have wisdom to bring forth to men these hidden and hitherto unknown truths. On a second visit the angel told Joseph where the writings were to be found and ordered him to go and look at them. He went to the hill called C umorah, near Palmyra and Manchester, N.Y., dug down, and found a water-tight stone box and certain engraved plates containing writings. But for some reason it seems that Joseph was not permitted then possess these buried treasures. It was four years after this and after several meetings with the angel that he came into possession of the plates. Orson Pratt, the greatest Mormon preacher, describes them thus: "The plates appeared to be gold. Each was 7 by 8 inches in size, and thick as common tin. They were fastened like the leaves of book and were filled on both sides with Egyptian characters. The volume was six inches thick. A part of it was sealed. A curious instrument was found with it, called by the ancients Urim and Thummim. It was two transparent stones set in the rims of a bow. By this he received revelation of things distant, both past and future." Mr. Pratt further says: "The news spread. Rumors also, false and slanderous, were repeated. Joseph left the region for Pennsylvania to save his life and the treasures. In a bag of beans he hid the plates and thus conveyed them in safety to the house of his father-in-law. Here he translated the records. He sat behind a screen with the two stones in his hat and read off the sentences which one Oliver Cowdrey wrote down, and thus we came to have our Golden Bible." Translation was a work of nearly three years....


The real author of the book of Mormon was Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College in 1785. His health failing, he engaged in business, and, in 1809 was living at Conneaut, O., where there are numerous Indian mounds. He then wrote a romance, setting forth the not new theory that the North American Indians were representatives of the lost tribes of Israel. Mr. Spaulding took advantage of his surroundings and connected his story with the relics which were found in the mounds. In a fictitious introduction to his novel which he entitled "The Manuscript Found," he speaks of the book as one of the exhumed relics of a past age. He makes use of the Scripture style of expression. He tells of the departure from Palestine of a Jewish father, Lehi, and his four sons, Laman, Samuel, Lemuel and Nephi, of the various journeys and their voyage to this Western Continent. Dissension and division are frequent. The descendants of the brothers develop into hostile tribes. Then came quarrels and wars, and finally a decisive battle, and in short, the substance of all that is found in the "Golden Bible" of Joseph Smith. Indeed the Book of Mormon seems to be only a modified but mutilated edition of Rev. Mr. Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." There is abundant internal evidence that the later is a reproduction of the earlier work. Spaulding used to read the chapters of his story to his neighbors, who were deeply interested in its progress, and were greatly entertained by the ingenuity of the author. He worked upon it three years, or until 1812, when he moved to Pittsburg, Pa. There he put his manuscript into the hands of a printer by the name of Patterson. He expected to publish the book and it was announced in the papers in 1813 as forthcoming. It never was published, however, probably because Spaulding had not the money to pay the bills. Spaulding died in 1816. The original copy was returned to his widow who kept it until the Book of Mormon was published, and then she produced it in proof of her assertion that Joseph's pretended revelation was a fraud. In the Boston Journal, of May 18, 1839, she told the story of the Manuscript. The evidence is complete that Smith discovered only what he and some associate had hidden in a box of their own making in a hole of their own digging. Smith came into possession of a copy of the work of Spaulding made by Sidney Rigdon, a workman in Patterson's printing office. Rigdon confessed the fact afterward when he was cut off from the Mormon Church by Brigham Young. The three witnesses also quarreled with Joseph and Rigdon, and confessed to having sworn falsely. Rigdon, on leaving the work of printer became a preacher of peculiar doctrines. Smith had quite a large following in certain views peculiarly his, and these two religious Ishmaelites coming together, set to work to give the world a new Bible. Smith, adding what was suited to his purpose, dictated Spaulding's story to Oliver Cowdrey from behind a screen, and the work was done, "and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as divine."

The new prophet seems to have had but vague notions of what doctrines the new church should hold. Rigdon held to some doctrines which Smith did not. But they both agreed on the question of the second Advent, then exciting their section of country. They made that doctrine prominent in their Bible. The idea was "the end is at hand; the Indians are to be speedily converted; America is the final gathering place of the saints, who were to assemble as near the centre of the continent as possible." This was a doctrine and this they preached and this chiefly at first. It may be said in brief that the religious teachings of the Book of Mormon relate to very modern questions. The discussions of 1830 and thereabouts seem to furnish the new leaders with themes. Millenarianism is the main question. Infant Baptism, however, quite an ancient institution, is denounced, and wonderful to relate, polygamy, a much more ancient, and for this country a very modern institution, is emphatically and repeatedly condemned. Polygamy as a duty was proclaimed by a revelation, much later in the prophet's life.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Evening  Gazette.

Vol. XI.                               Port Jervis, N.Y., August 2, 1879.                               No. 49.





From the Philadelphia Times.

MONTROSE, Pa., July 28. -- The name of Brigham Young has been so intimately associated with the history of the Mormons by the present generation that the first so-called prophet and founder of the sect is almost forgotten. Even here in Susquehanna county, where Mormonism had its birth, the story of Joe Smith is familiar to few of the present day, and it is referred to, when thought of at all, as one of the fading romances that linger among the traditions of the early settlers of the Northern wilderness. But the strange history of the origin of the Mormon delusion, that has since convulsed two states and finally created an empire of its; own in the heart of the far Western mountains, is well preserved in Susquehanna county, and little or nothing is left to conjecture as to the manner of the man who was its author.

Some time about the year 1830 an indolent and ignorant adventurer, known as Joe Smith,made his advent into what is now Oakland; one of the extreme northern townships of this county. It borders on the New York state line and is divided by the Susquehanna river as it forms its great bend, from which a thrifty village on the Erie railway takes its name. Railroads were then unknown, and what is now Oakland district was then one of the most primitive of the forest settlements.


A high order of intelligence is not one of the common characteristics of pioneers, and the scattered population among whom Joe Smith made his first, appearance as the possessor of supernatural powers were no exceptions to the rule, but they furnished few believers as stars for his crown. He had made a precarious living for some years as a lazy lumberman. He was without culture, and beyond a streak of low cunning, that served a most useful purpose in his petty frauds in "peeping," he possessed no qualities which marked him as anything else than a thriftless adventurer, ready for anything that promised him bread without earning it. Many of the early settlers accepted, to a greater orless degree, the superstitions of the Indians, and "peeping?" or "seeing" was a profession by which some one esteemed wiser than his fellows would tell where water or minerals might be found. What was called "a seeing stone" was in the custody of one of the residents, and it was claimed that lost valuables and even a lost child had been found through the deliverances of the little dumb oracle, a stone described of about the size of a goose egg, green in color, with brown irregular spots on it. Some dusky soothsayer of the forest had probably invested the stone with its astounding virtues, and there was enough of ignorance and superstition prevalent in the neighborhood to make even the doubting cherish a secret reverence for it.


Joe Smith was then an idler in the community with an unconquerable aversion to labor and without the intelligence or ingenuity to live by his wits. He finally became the possessor of the magic stone, and devoted himself to "peeping" for water and minerals. Finding a people about him ready to deal in the marvelous, he extended his "peeping" for the ordinary wants of Settlers to "seeing" hidden treasures, and so forth. A tradition of buried treasure somewhere on the upper Susquehanna was seized upon by Smith as his first venture in the line of the miraculous. By his magic stone he located the treasure on Turkey Hill and deluded a well-to-do farmer named Harper residing across the New York line, to furnish the capital for unearthing the hidden money. On the farm of Mr. Skinner, near the northern line of this county, are yet visible the diggings made by the victims of Smith from 1822 to 1825. One pit is 20 feet deep and fifty in diameter and several smaller pits are yet traceable in the fields. When several thousand dollars had been expended by Harper without the discovery of the treasure, he refused to proceed further, his faith having perished with his fortune, but for several years thereafter there was more or less digging by various parties who half believed in Smith's power of "seeing" derived from his magic stone. At times the digging would be done only at night, showing that there were victims of Smith's pretentions who were unwilling to confess themselves to their neighbers. When a party wearied of the work and abandoned it, Smith would give out that the Almighty was displeased with some of them and call for the blood of an entirely white dog as a mediation. Finally, having exhausted the credulity and contributions of treasure-seekers, Smith decided to turn to profit the religious superstition that he found largely diffused among his neighbors, and the speculation of an ignorant and thriftless impostor led to the founding of the Mormon Church or the sect of the Latte-Day Saints.


In 1825, while engaged in money digging, Smith had made the acquaintance Isaac Hale, one ot the early settlers of Oakland, then Harmony township, Susquehanua county. He is described by Mr. Hale, in a statement made in 1834 over his signature and attested by the Justice and Postmaster, as "a careless young man, not very well educated and very saucy and insolent to his father." Referring to the "Book of Mormon," Mr. Hale says, in the same statement, that he had a good opportunity to know Smith and his associates and that the so-called Mormoia Bible "is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, gotten up for speculation and with the design to dupe the credulous and unwary, and in order that its fabricators might live upon the spoils of those who swallowed the deception." But the want of respect for Smith manifested by Hale did not extend throughout his entire family, as he discovered in 1825, after money-digging delusions had vanished, when Smith asked Mr. Hale's consent to his marriage with Emma Hale, the daughter of the incredulous farmer. The father refused his consent because of the general worthlessness of the suitor, but the daughter seems to have had more faith in the pretentious adventurer, and in February, 1826, Emma ran off with the future prophet to New York and married him. She was a simple-minded rustic maiden, and the strata of superstition that she honestly inherited or absorbed from surroundings, made her readily dream of success for the sorcerer who sought her hand mainly for the sake of a home, as the sequel proved.


After struggling with poverty at Palmyra, New York, for a while, both Smith and Emma came repentant to Mr. Hale, asked to be allowed to return to the Hale homestead, Smith declaring that he "was willing to work hard for a living." They were brought home by [Alva] Hale, but if any "hard work" was done for their living, it was done by Emma, for Smith brought with his scanty household stores a sealed box about the size of a common window-glass box, and surrounded it with the mystery that so readily deludes the ignorant by declaring that none but the appointed one could look into it and live. The practical father-in-law notified Smith that he proposed to look into every box kept about the premises, regardless of sanctity with which they might be invested, and Smith secreted the box in woods rather than permit Hale to inspect its contents. Smith claimed that the hieroglyphic plates of the new revelation were contained in that box. None were alllowed to see the plates. Even the two scribes, Martin Harris und Oliver Cowdry, who wrote out the Book of Mormon as Smith interpreted the distant and hidden plates by gazing at the magic stone, never were allowed to see the contents of the box. Smith declared that only his first-born child, which was to be a son, could look into the box and live; but as the first-born of Joseph and Emma was a girl [sic] the chapter of Mormon history recording the first inspection of the plates is a lost link in the story of the new religion. One Martin Harris, whose history is lost in the obscurity of his previous and subsequent life, was Smith's first scribe. A man of his name and alike unknown to the people this region, broke jail at Wilkeabarre some 20 years before, and the Mormon scribe is believed by some to have been tbe escaped convict, but it cannot be asserted as a fact.

Mr. Hale tells how Smith interpreted the plates: "The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat and his hat over his face, while tbe book of plates was at the same time hid in the woods." Harris disappeared, no one seemed to know whither, before the work was done, and Oliver Cowdry, whose name has since been prominently associated with the Mormons, became scribe. He continued until the interpretation was complete, and the Mormon Bible was thus invented because of the failure of the "peeping" profession to furnish Smith a living. The only analogy between the Mormon prophet and the ancient prophets was in the failure of Smith to command honor as a religionist in his own country. He seems to have had no followers in the region where he was best acquainted and where the history of the pretended revelation on the mysterious plates was known. In 1831-2 the local papers of the county make note of "two or three wretched zealots of Mormonism" creating some excitement, but this field was speedily abandoned, and Smith and a few followers located the "promised land" near Painesville, Ohio, whither they departed, leaving only the rude pits on the Skinner farm as monuments of the work of Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, in Susquehanna county.


There are other stories about the origin of the Book of Mormon, but the circumstantial statement of Isaac Hale, father-in-law of Smith, written as early as 1834 to D. P. Hurlburt of Ohio, in answer to inquiries about Smith and the Mormons, is doubtless correct, as Smith and his wife lived with Hale at tbe time and he spoke from personal observation and knowledge. The hlstory of Smith after he located in Ohio is familiar to all. He and his followers were driven from Ohio to the Mississippi and thence they fled the jurisdiction of the country after Smith had been murdered in his own temple [sic] at Nauvoo. Brigham Young soon after usurped the rulership of the Mormons, deposing Sidney Rigdon by trickery. He gave to his followers the special revelation commanding the adoption of polygamy, and the "Josephites," the followers of Smith, who refused to accept polygamy, were driven from the fold in Utah and now have their home at Malada, in Idaho. Smith's widow yet lives, I believe, among the followers of her husband, and he has sons who uphold his faith away in the Northwestern Territory. A. K. M.

Note: See also Emily C. Blackman's 1873 book, History of Susquehanna Co, from which some of the above article was paraphrased.



Vol. VI.                   Mount Morris, New York, Saturday, March 25, 1880.                   No. 38.


Mrs. Froiseth's Stories of Home Life
Among the Mormons.

Mrs. Jennie Froiseth, Vice-President of the Women's National Anti-Polygamy Society, and editor of the Anti-Polygamy Standard, is the wife of a civil engineer employed by the Territorial Government of Utah. She has been in Utah nine years, and writing of what she saw, she says: "Revolting as polygamy is among the opulent Mormons of Salt Lake City, the polygamy of the settlements throughout the Territory far worse. I accompanied my husband recently on a surveying expedition. At about sundown one afternoon, when we were on the outskirts of a small settlement, a part of the harness on one of our horses broke. My husband went to the nearest house to get a tool that he needed to repair the harness. When he returned to the carriage he said: "Great heavens, Jennie, if you want see Mormonism in its worst form, make some excuse for entering that house.' I did so, and, in a room about eighteen feet square, I saw a rough-looking man, three women, and a number of children, ranging from infants almost to young men and women. I found that the women were the man's wives and the mothers of the children. They bore the relations to each other of grandmother, mother and daughter. Recently a boy of sixteen, the leader of a band of highwaymen, after the perpetration of an atrocious murder, was caught and lynched. From his childhood the boy was conspicuous for cruelty. Every living thing that approached him, if it was weaker than he was, suffered. A well-known Mormon Bishop condoled with the mother, one of the wives of a leading Mormon. 'Do net insult me with your condolence,' the poor woman exclaimed. 'It was the boy's misfortune, not his fault. Mormonism is alone to blame. My husband came here to do business. As soon as he began to grow rich he was told that Mormon patronage would be withdrawn unless he became a Mormon and took a second wife. We had been very happy together, but my husband was tempted by the hope of becoming rich, and he agreed to take a second wife. She was 'sealed' to him in the Endowment House, and duly installed in our home. I was almost maddened, and, before my boy's birth, I had no other thought than the killing of the woman who had supplanted me.'

"I am confident, and this confidence is shared by the Gentile ladies of Salt Lake City, that a healthy public sentiment in the East is alone necessary to secure the destruction of Mormonism. It was with a view of inciting this sentiment that the National Anti-Polygamy Society and its organ, the Standard, were established. The immediate occasion of their establishment was a particularly flagrant instance of the wrongs of Mormonism. A leading Bishop, an Englishman, had been in correspondence for years with a young English girl, living under the care of a guardian -- she was an orphan in one of the inland cities of England. She was a schoolmate of his, and they were engaged to be married. He did not tell her that he was a Mormon. Finally he asked her to join him in Salt Lake City, that they might be married. Against her guardian's wish, she journeyed to Salt Lake City.

"In the hotel there she made the acquaintance of some Gentile ladies, who warned her of the change in her lover's faith, and advised her to be cautious. They offered to shield her from the vengeance of the Mormons if she drew back at the final moment. When she entered the Endowment House, on the day of her marriage, she was horrified to see that two other women, sisters, stood at the altar, waiting to be 'sealed' to her lover. He, when she protested, coolly declared his purpose to be 'sealed' to three, and give one of the sisters, who was a few years older than the English girl, the precedence. The whole Gentile community was outraged, and our society was formed. But we met at first with closed doors, and watchful guards, for the 'atonement by blood' is not a dead letter by any means in Utah. The Mormons do not openly shoot or stab their enemies, as they did. But 'mysterious' deaths are frequent. As the Coroner is a Mormon, the 'mystery' of these deaths is never unraveled.

"There is one fact that I desire to impress upon the public. It is that Mormonism is on the increase. It is receiving constant accessions from the lower walks of life in Europe. A leading Mormon said to me boastfully, recently: 'We are sending our surplus population into Colorado, Wyoming and Dakota, to found settlements, and your Government can't prevent us. We will build ourselves up so strongly, both in the Territory of Utah and elsewhere, that the clamor against us will amount to nothing.' He spoke some truth. Mormonism is active and aggressive. It is backed by millions and cunning that cannot be surpassed. The Legislature of the Territory, mainly composed of Mormons, has gone so far to intrench Mormonism, as to abolish the right of dower, leaving a man free to make any disposition that he likes of his accumulations. Our only hope is from outside. Congress has only to pass a sufficiently stringent law against Mormonism, and the work of destroying Mormonism will be short. The only law that the United States Circuit Court of the Territory can proceed under was passed in 1862. It is grievously insufficient. Conviction under it is an impossibility, because it requires direct proof of polygamy in a trial upon an indictment found under it. No direct proof can be secured. 'Sealing' is done in the carefully guarded Endowment House, whose records are never seen by any one besides the head men of the church. If they are called as witnesses, they deny that there are such records. What is needed is a law making circumstantial evidence of polygamy admissible. A bill to this effect was before Congress in the last session, but it was defeated in committee. The Mormon that I have before quoted said, triumphantly, when the news of its defeat reached us, Mr. _______ of that committee was paid $50,000 as a retainer in a land title suit out here, and I guess he hasn't had time to attend to that bill.'

"What is demanded is public sentiment to spur Congressmen to their duty, and women can create it without venturing beyond the circle of their own friends. What would they be disposed to do, do you think, if they saw women, principally from the Old world, turned on their arrival into the tithing yard of the Endowment House, as slaves were before the war, to await a master, usually one of the foremost men in the 'church,' who makes his choice as though he was buying cattle? Whenever a new batch of 'converts' arrive, this sight may be seen."

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Syracuse  Daily  Journal.

Vol. XXXVI.                               Syracuse, N.Y., Tues., July 20, 1880.                              No. 170.



The Original of the Mormon Bible a Romance by Rev. Solomon Spaulding Entitled "Manuscript Found" -- How the Prophet Joseph Smith May Have Become Possessed of it -- Interesting Statements.

Mrs. ELLEN E. DICKINSON, who is known to many readers of The Journal as having been the New York correspondent of this paper for some years, contributes a paper to Scribner's Monthly for August, on the Book of Mormon, in which she accounts for the origin of that work in a manuscript written by her great-uncle, Rev. SOLOMON SPAULDING, in the form of a novel, which, with a few slight changes, was appropriated by Joseph Smith and his associates. The narrative is interesting, and being well authenticated as to its principal details, will doubtless be accepted as accounting for that singular production, called the Mormon Bible, which was the accepted doctrine of those strange people, the Mormons, who after several unsuccessful attempts to establish a community in the United States, at last gained possession of the Territory of Utah and still hold it, largely in defiance of the laws of God and of the Government of the United States,


Mrs. DICKINSON states that Mr. SPAULDING was born at Ashford, Conn., in 1761, graduated at Dartmouth in 1788, studied divinity, preached a few years and then, from ill health, gave up the ministry...

[This remainer of this middle section of the text merely paraphrases Dickinson's Aug. 1880 article in Scribner's Monthly and reprints the statements of Thurlow Weed and Matilda Spalding McKinstry, from that same article.]


Mrs. DICKINSON concludes her article in Scribner's with the statement that about forty years ago, affidavits were made by John Spaulding, the brother, and Mr. Lake, the partner of Solomon Spaulding, and published, which asserted that they had heard the author read "Manuscript Found" in 1812, and that there was a striking similarity between it and the Book of Mormon; and with the remark: "It is evident that Smith had access to the manuscript, since both stories are alike -- the peculiar names occur nowhere else but in these two books, -- and that Mr. Spaulding's romance had been read by a number of people in 1812, while the Mormon Bible was not published until 1830, and not heard of earlier than 1823. Out of the curious old romance of Solomon Spaulding, and the ridiculous 'seer-stone' of Joseph Smith, has grown this monstrous Mormon State, which presents a problem that the wisest politician has failed to solve, and whose outcome lies in the mystery of the future."

Notes: (forthcoming)

Broome  Republican.

Vol. LXXIII.                          Binghamton, N. Y., Weds., July 28, 1880.                          No. 6.



His Advent Among the First Settlers -- He Marries a Daughter of a Pioneer --
Digging in the Hills for Treasure -- Professing Miracles and
Winning Converts at Harpersville.

Scribner's Magazine for August contains an interesting reminisence of early Mormonism from the pen of Ellen E. Dickinson, the grand-niece of Rev. Solomon Spaulding who is believed to have prepared the manuscripts for the Mormon Bible while engaged in a very unsuccessful attempt to write a popular book of religious fiction. In this Miss Dickinson substantiates very well what has been often said of the origin of the Book of Mormon,

The Scribner Magazine article is noticed elsewhero in the Republican. For the purposes of this article it will not be necessary to go into the earlier or the later history of Joe Smith, for the sketch is purely local, and relates to his operations in Broome and Susquehanna counties.

There are very trustworthy living witnesses by whom to prove that some of the earlier years of Joe Smith's prophetic career were spent in Susquehanna county, Pennsylvania, where, in fact his prophesy with the "peek-stone" began. It was here that the Prophet married his wife, and it was here, on a corner of her ancestral estate, that the spiritual pair, the originator of the Latter Day Saints and the "Daughter of God" settled down to the material occupation of housekeeping. It was here that the first male child in the line of chief of the house of Latter Day Saints was born; and it is here the first born of the Father of Latter Day Saints and the "Electa Cyria" is buried. The prophesy went forth from Joseph that this son was to be a worker of miracles, who should open the golden bible while in his swaddling bands, and interpret the hieroglyphics "which no fellah could find out." The young prophet was stillborn, In other words he drove through time to that "undiscovered country" without stopping to feed in this sublunary sphere. He never had any swaddling bands; he never had any colic that his father knew of; he never had any milk roil on his stomach, and what gives more relief when contemplating the ills of human nature, he never cut teeth. Truly the wise die young. The early death of this prophet shows that he was too wise to go into the book publishing business on a limited capital, as a member of the firm of Joe Smith & Son, "peepers," and jobbers in new religion.

Recently a reporter of the Republican visited Susquehanna and other towns on the Susquehanna river for the purpose of authenticating rumors of Mormon history, and interviewed several of the oldest inhabitants. It was a very pleasant work, as they were mostly intelligent and time-wise. The July sun was scalding hot, which suggested that it might have been hot in Joe Smith's days, and turned the prophet's fertile mind to thoughts of "a land that is hotter than this." To our readers who have not seen Susquehanna -- there are even some old people in that county who have not seen Susquehanna, and never rode on a railroad -- a sketch of a few words descriptive of the country as it was and as it is may not be uninteresting in this connection. Then it was pretty much a dense wilderness, and the primeval pines and hemlocks which grew out of the rocky hills and reached their long shady arms over the narrow, deep valleys, must have made Susquehanna the "Black Hills" of the East. Now the pines, except some left for specimens, are gone. And the woodsman doesn't spare the tree any more, even though it be hemlock. All the tillable land, and quite a good deal more, is cleared up. Rattlesnakes always seemed to be a natural production of the hill soil, and for that reason, perhaps, the Indians never regretted that they had to give up the country.

The river, when it cut a channel through the mountain, was economical of its strength, and like an Irishman who ditches a swamp by the yard, it made a cut only just wide enough to stand in. Whatever else undertakes to get in the valley must either hang on the sides or swim.

But notwithstanding the natural drawbacks, a busy humming, and thriving village has grown there. The houses hang in clusters on the sides of the mountain, suggestive of swallow houses under the eaves. By the natural laws of adaptation, it is probable that in future ages children in Susquehanna will be born with wings; and there is no reason why they will not stand as good a chance there as people generally do to all be angels some day. The great railroad shops made the town, and they occupy all the level ground there is in it. Even their sites had to be leveled artificially,

Joe Smith came into this country on a divine mission, at a time when the first few settlers were struggling with the wilds. They always struggle with the wilds here, as has been suggested, but at the time of the advent of the Mormon father Indians and not engines went screeching through the valley. His first mission here was to get a wife. The Lord sent him after one -- so he said -- and told him he would know her when he saw her; that is, he would know this particular Mrs. Smith in prospect from any other coming Mrs. Smith. It was to be a courtship like Cain's in which the usual long drawn out sweets of juvenile spooning were cut short for the necessities of the case -- a succession to the house of Joseph.

The exact time of his advent here is chronicled only in legends, and legend never kept a diary. However, the inscription upon the tomb of the little prophet, when considered in connection with the urgency before mentioned, would indicate that the Abraham of the Latter Day Saints tramped here in the summer or fall of 1827. The little prophet was buried June 15, 1828.

The tramp stopped at the house of Isaac Hale, a farmer living about a mile and a half below the present borough of Susquehanna, on the north side of the river/ Mr. Hale had three daughters; two of them were married; but Emma, the second daughter, was single, and Joseph "knew his wife." He told her what he knew about it, and in the language of the boys, she "tumbled." But her "old man" didn't. He said "not for Joe." He did not believe in Latter Day Saints; he was not much of a man for saints, anyhow; he did not believe in any species of tramps -- in those days there were no lightning rod peddlers nor book agents -- and told Joe he did not want any son-in-law of his stamp, even though the Lord had sent him. Joe persuaded Emma to elope; they crossed the State line into Windsor, and were married. The "oldest inhabitant" fails to remember who performed the ceremony. The "Lady of the Lord" is understood to be still alive, at Nauvoo, and it seems to be quite important that she should produce her marriage certificate and settle the question so that no doubtful questions will ever hover about the illustrious name of Smith.

There were certain things which Joe could not do till he had a wife. He reported that the Lord had told him so. There was money buried at Palmyra, he said, which he had tried to get, but had been driven away by a headless Spaniard. Almost anybody would leave when a warrior came around who was proof against braining; and Joe did not want to toe the scratch against a man who had that advantage. However, in this case it was only an imaginary advantage, for Joe couldn't be brained either. It wasn't in his head, even though he had his head on. But he left. Then the Lord told him he did not need money as much as a man who had millinery and dry goods to buy; but if he had such things to purchase he should have the hidden treasure. Prophetic visions are never fulfilled in a day, and when good Elijah prayed for rain the storm appeared a great way off, and no bigger than a man's hand. The necessity of taking one step at a time was evident enough.

A live saint must have pork and beans and cabbages, etc., and the first woman saint to the House of Mormon brought with her a small piece of ground -- the amount is stated at six to thirteen acres; probably six is correct. Down here the valley is wide enough so that an industrious man, if he has a farm paid for, can get most of his living without stealing from the railroad. There was no railroad company to steal from then, and it appeared as though Smith would have to earn his own living when he could not live off his father-in-law.

The house he procured, and in which the monkery of translating the characters on the golden plates was gone through with, is still standing, and is part of the farmhouse of Benjamin McKune, the Sheriff of Susquehanna county. It is the one-story portion of the building, and is 26 feet front, 18 feet deep, and 14 feet posts. The Saint did not build it, but purchased it partly finished, and moved it upon his wife's six acres. This little piece of land had been set off the Isaac Hale farm for a son, who disposed of it to his sainted sister. The house was never finished entirely, notwithstanding that since the ownership of the Saint it has been owned and occupied by persons of means. The Saint put a stovepipe up through the roof, and that is the style of chimney it sports today. It is doubtful however, if it still retains the original stovepipe run up by Joe. After Smith left the country Martin Harris -- the Frank Moulton of Mormonism, because he was for a long time the chief witness -- came back to settle up the Saint's estate, and sold the real estate to Joseph McKune, father of Sheriff McKune. The elder McKune constructed the upright portion from a shed he purchased of another farmer. The structure has had no paint outside to this day, and the only thing cheering about it is a well of cold water in front, with a Dutch sweep and an "old oaken bucket."

For some reason the future ruler of Zion did not start immediately after commencing to suffer the hardships of marriage to claim the purse promised by the Lord whose prophet he was, but used his "peek-stone" to discover a greater treasure nearer home. On a wilderness hill about half a mile north of his house, and now a part of the farm of Jacob I. Skinner, he discovered a ton of silver bars, hid deep in the bowels of the earth. This treasure was placed there by weary Spaniards as they trudged up the Susquehanna river, and became unequal to the task of hauling so much luggage. Just what band of Spanish adventurers they were does not appear, and profane history throws no light upon the mystery. Neither do we ascertain what they were doing with a ton of silver bars several hundred miles from any silver producing country before the advent of Goodenough, the Osborn Hollow and Ross Park mines. No matter how it got there, there can be no doubt that a ton of silver bars was buried in the hill, for the Prophet saw it through his "peek-stone."

Before proceeding further with this narrative we will give a description of the Prophet as it was given to the reporter by several aged persons who saw him. He was six feet or a trifle over in height; stout built but wiry; light complexion; light hair and light blue eyes. One aged lady said "he didn't look as though he knowed enough to fool people so." He wore a tall white stovepipe hat. Now imagine this athletic form kneeling down and burying his face in his white stovepipe hat in which was placed the "peek-stone," and you have in your mind's eye a view of the first Latter Day Saint discovering the treasures in the earth which no other fellow ever discovered. It was just like looking into water, he said; he could not tell just how deep it was any more than a man can who looks down into a lake; and the deflection of light sometimes took him out of the right course a few inches. Then, too, the "rock-ribbed hills" -- and the hills about here are "rock-ribbed" with a vengeance -- were so insecure, and treasure so unstable that things in the bowels of the earth were liable to get mixed up every day. When his party would dig almost to a great treasure the enchantment would move it sometimes several rods out of the way. That sort of enchantment must have "tried the patience of a saint," and all the saints of Mormondom.

As soon as he could collect followers enough about him to do the work -- the Latter Day Saint, unlike St. Paul, did not labor with his own hands -- an excavation was commenced to recover the lost Spanish silver bars. The followers had to strengthen their faith, the visible certainty that if there was anything in that immediate vicinity worth working for it must be under ground. And in this line of reasoning there was no objection to believing it was pretty deep. Still they were not despondent. Their greatest excavation was about thirty feet broad on top, and about thirty-five feet deep. The ground was wet, and it was necessary also to dig a drain to this immense hole in order to let off the water. As the hole was on the crown of a hill a drain was opened by digging a few rods to the south.

The excavation, as the work progressed, was covered with a wooden structure to hide it from the eyes of the profane and scoffers. Down, down they went, the distance being measured by slow shovelfuls and tedious blasts in the rocks until they were just ready, or would be the next day, to stoop down and pick up the ton of silver bullion. "Hocus, pocus, presto, change." The "charm" moved the silver away three hundred feet to the north-east. It was an uphill job, but the charm was sufficient for the task. This was terribly hard on the new church, but the ambitious Saint was not to be cheated in that way. He got down on his marrow bones with his peek-stone and tracked it to its exact hiding place. It was not so far under ground this time -- only about twenty feet. The faithful went for it again with sleeves rolled up. It was a case of necessity. While they had been digging the large hole they had boarded around. Considerable of the prophetic hash had been furnished by Mr. Hale, the Saint' s father-in-law, who was a stiff old Methodist, and by force of circumstances was taking altogether more stock in this Big Bonanza than was agreeable to his judgment of matters of business. It became necessary, therefore, to get to that silver in the shortest possible time, Goodenough might have pinned it with a drill, but; the saints who had no steam engine had to dig with pick and shovel.

At it they went again, with a will known only to those who work with a religious zeal or a worldly hope of a "bar'l of money." Hush, it's here: pick it up! No, it's gone again. Not a rumble nor a jar marked its going, but it went like riches on wings. Softly and silently it flitted away, and lighted fifty feet beyond the big hole. The Saint and faithful followers were exasperated, and fully determined to capture it if they had to take the hill to pieces and shake it through a sieve.

But just mark the valuable services of the Saint's "peek-stone." Every time it got track of the treasure, and enabled the faithful to dig toward it. The third hole was sunk about fifteen feet, when the treasure waltzed around on the other side of the big hole. Now the Saint had a vision; blood must be shed; it must be the blood of a black sheep, sprinkled all around the diggings. The faithful were mighty glad to hear of this, for they were tired of trying to catch a ton of silver which went like a nimble sixpence, and had so much the advantage of them in dodging about. There was a charm about it, for the Prophet said so, but ten prophets could not make them believe there was a charm about the work. That wasn't the kind of men they were, and the Mormons have never been that kind of men.

In all the country around Susquehanna there was not a black sheep. The nearest thing to a black sheep was a black dog, and the Prophet thought that might answer. The dog was killed, and its blood sprinkled about the ground where the silver was. The silver never went away any great distance after that, but it waltzed around the big hole in a manner to defy the dexterity of pick and shovel. Frequent drifts were struck out from the big hole, but the silver couldn't be coaxed with the blood of a black dog, nor cornered by tunneling. The Prophet decided that some man must be slaughtered and become a sacrifice to appease the charm that had the silver under its arm and was playing hide and seek with them. Until that was done the prize would escape them, and there was no use of digging against fate. He called for a volunteer, but none of the faithful could spare themselves for that purpose. For the simple reason that no Marcus Curtius could be found to throw his manhood into the breech, to step forward and have his head cut off for the great benefit of those who were left, this magnificent enterprise was abandoned, and all the silver there ever was in that mountain lies there until this day. When we reflect upon the great number of people who sacrifice themselves for wealth, it seems strange that the founder of Mormonism could find no sacrifice except a black dog which was little better than nothing in its operations. And it is not likely that he obtained the consent of the dog.

Oliver Harper, one of the number employed in the digging, and who furnished some of the sinews of war, was soon afterward shot by Jason Treadwell, near Joe Smith's house, while returning from a rafting expedition down the Susquehanna. The Saint thought this would answer for a sacrifice, and rallied the faithful to dig some more; but the charm remained stubborn, and would not come within sight of anybody with the silver, except the Prophet with his "peek-stone," and the "peek-stone" business was pretty nearly played out in this neighborhood. There was too much hard work and perspiration about it to be cleverly connected with a day of miracles.

The Prophet turned his attention again toward Palmyra, and the hidden treasure in that neighborhood, but was supposed by Mr. Hale and his family to be in pursuit of furniture for housekeeping. He was accompanied by his wife's brother Alvah, who officiated as teamster. When they returned to Susquehanna it was learned that the Saint had brought with him the wonderful golden plates. It is recorded in the Book of Mormon that after the prize was won and delivered to the Prophet by angels, his eyes were opened and he saw legions of devils contending against a celestial host to keep the golden Bible hid. What the devils wanted to keep it hid for is hard to understand. Such conduct certainly showed great shortsightedness in them, and they are not supposed to be a superficial race. The Book of Mormon does not record all. It does not tell where the Prophet went immediately after the golden plates were won and delivered to him.

He returned to Susquehanna with his head heavily bandaged, and reported that he had had a personal encounter with the chief devil, and that he (the Prophet) was severely wounded by a blow struck right from the shoulder. The Book of Mormon does not record this magnificent fisticuff. One could easily wish that the devil had prevailed for once, instead of wounding and then meeting with defeat, though this is not equal to wish the devil success. The fact was established, however, that the devil is a hard-hitter, and when one says he "is not afraid of the devil" he does not know just what he is talking about. Joe Smith found out.

The golden plates were brought from the West secreted in a barrel of beans. They were brought to Joe Smith's house, but were not to be seen nor opened until a prophet should come who would be sufficient for the task. This prophet was sadly laid away in his little earthly cradle, as has been stated, and his infantile mouth was never opened to interpret golden plates. Then the father was miraculously helped out of a great difficulty by finding a pair of spectacles -- perhaps they were presented to him by angels -- which would cause the hieroglyphics to appear written in a language the Latter Day Saint could understand. Joe's language, as nearly as can be ascertained at the present day, was a compound of bad English and Mohawk Dutch. These spectacles were supposed to be something entirely new in the line of spectacles, for at that time it was not well understood that translators and commentators generally use glasses constructed on similar principles. There is a slightly different shade of coloring to different denominational spectacles, but the principle of being cut on the bias, and tinted to order is about the same in all of them.

Joe Smith would write the translation from his plates upon a slate, or dictate what to write, and others would copy upon paper. His assistants were witness Martin Harris, and brother-in-law Reuben Hale. The translating and writing were done in the little low chamber of Joe Smith's house. The Prophet and his precious trust were screened even from the sight of his clerks by blankets nailed to the walls. The nails remained for many years just as they were driven by the Prophet, and it was not until some repairing was done a short time ago that they were drawn out. Neighbors were free to call at the house as much as they pleased while the bible was concocting, and the matter of the golden bible would be talked over. Some persons were permitted to lift the pillow case in which it was kept, and feel the thickness of the volume the plates made, but no one was permitted to see them.

A very important accident occurred at his house while the translation was going on, which materially abridged the Book of Mormon. Witness Harris was a man of moderate means, but he had become the Mormon treasurer, using his own funds for a treasury. His wife became thoroughly alarmed about the manner in which their property was wasting away, and came on from the West to arrest their destruction and reclaim her husband if possible. The husband, infatuated more with Joe Smith than with her, sought to persuade her to hold her peace, by showing her the sacred writings they had made, and which were now nearly completed. She hid the manuscript, and when she was asked to give it up, said Joe Smith might peek for it. Joe brought his "peek-stone" into use, and pointed to several places, but the roll was not found where he directed his attendants to search. He accused her of being unfair, and of removing the manuscript every time, just before the attendant reached it. In other words the bible disappeared just as the silver had done under the influence of an evil charm. After a while Mrs. Harris surrendered part of the manuscript which she took from her straw bed, just to show the Prophet she knew he was a fraud. But a portion was never given up. The Mormons say she retained it. Joe Smith never undertook to use his spectacles for a second translation of the matter on the missing sheets, as he feared Mrs. Harris would produce a different bible consisting of his first translation of the golden plates. The woman, however, was not so shrewd as they suspected she was, and instead of setting the cunning trap they feared she spitefully burned the manuscript, hoping that if it could not be found the religious partnership between her husband and Joe Smith would be dissolved.

The clap-trap of Smith and Harris failed to make any favorable impression at Susquehanna, in Smith's own neighborhood, proving again that "a prophet is not without honor, save in his own land." The scene of his ministry was changed to Harpersville, where one of Mrs. Smith's sisters, Mrs. Wasson, resided, and to Nineveh and Afton. Harpersville is about twenty miles above Susquehanna; Nineveh is about two miles further up the river, and Afton is about three miles above Nineveh, and lies just in the edge of Chenango county. When the country was new, and traversed by narrow and muddy roads through the dense forests, people who lived twenty miles apart seldom met, and when Smith went to Harpersville to operate he had left his country, substantially, and went to a distant one.

Brother-in-law Benjamin Wasson, of Harpersville, was a cabinet-maker, and made a box in which to carry the golden bible after it was deemed to be unsafe in the pillow-case. Neither Mr. Wasson nor his wife inclined toward Mormonism, but one of their sons joined the Mormons and became a Mormon preacher.

In the days of Joe Smith's early operations people were often found who were actuated by a desire to become suddenly rich. He operated largely upon their cupidity. There are no such people now, consequently adventurers who hold out promises of sudden great wealth never deceive anybody, not even by mining and stock operations, patent wagon-tongue lifters and the like. But Joe Smith was able, by the using of his "peek-stone," to gather around him a band at Harpersville. He procured the following of Joseph Knight, who possessed a small farm, a grist mill, and a carding mill, situated upon a small stream from Perch Pond to the Susquehanna, directly across the river from the present village of Harpersville. Having enlisted Knight's pocket-book, the Latter Day Saint had something to operate with. Knight's two sons, William and Newell, also joined the fortunes of the "peek-stone" man. William Hale, uncle of the "Electa Cyria," or Daughter of God, as Joe's wife was called, joined the band. Among other converts here -- about sixty finally emigrated from the neighborhood -- were William Stringham and wife, men named Blowers and Culver, and Josiah Stowell. Stowell was a man of some means when he became a Mormon.

This point on the river is north of the Apalachin mountains, and widens from a narrow cut to a broad and open plane, now divided into as fine and productive farms as the sun shines upon. The place was originally settled by emigrants from Vermont, who were known as "Vermont sufferers." The appellation did not attach to them because they suffered privations on the Susquehanna, but because they had settled on a strip of land off Washington county, on grants from New York State, when the land was subsequently proved to belong to Vermont. As compensation for this loss they were given homes at Nineveh. The antecedents of these settlers is mentioned here because it is a noticeable fact that Vermonters of the poorer class were peculiarly susceptible to the influence of bugaboo religions.

The "peek-stone" discovered a salt spring in a marsh on the plane opposite Center Village, and brawny hands and sinewey arms were found to take up shovels and picks and dig for it. This portion of the plane was then owned by Bostwick Badger. It is now owned by George Collington, one of the very substantial farmers of Broome county Mr. Collington was then a lad about sixteen years old, and one evening about twilight he discovered Joe Smith, the elder and the younger Knights, Stringham and Culver and Blowers dodging through the woods with digging implements on their shoulders. He followed them, keeping under cover of the brush until they stopped and held a council. They decided to commence digging the next day. Young Collington saw that Mr. Badger had felled an oak tree near the place a few days before, and had drawn out the timber. He went and got Mr. Badger's permission to cut the top for wood, and the next day, soon after the Prophet and followers began to dig, Collington's ax began in the tree top. In a few moments the lad walked out and inquired what they were doing. They were cross to him, and told him he had better be off about his business. As Mr. Collington now expresses it, he was "pretty spry boy, and did not care much for the Mormon scowls and scolds." He published them about the neighborhood, and every day the salt diggings had unwelcome visitors. They dug the hole down almost thirty-five feet. It was necessary to pump out water by hand to keep the mine from flooding, and operations were very laborious. Frederick Davenport furnished young Collington with half a bushel of salt, which was deposited in the hole one night. There was sufficient water at the bottom to dissolve the salt, and in the morning the Mormons discovered a briny flavor. As many bottles as they could muster were filled with the water and exhibited about the neighborhood. This was the first success of the famous "peek-stone." But the salt well speculation came to grief one night by caving in and burying the picks, crowbars, shovels, etc., which were never taken out. Since Mr. Collington has owned the farm some of his own and his neighbors' cattle were drowned in it, and to avoid further losses of the kind he filled the hole to nearly level with the surrounding plane.

The "peek-stone" discovered an extensive and rich silver mine on the farm of Abraham Cornell, at Bettsburgh, nearly opposite Nineveh, and a hole was dug there to the depth of over thirty feet, but no silver was found except what was contributed by Josiah Stowell to provide for the expenses of the diggers. Mr. Stowell is represented as being not a very bright man, but he had saved considerable money for those times, and Joe Smith managed to get and spend about the whole of it. Searches were made in other places about the neighborhood for treasure. It is not necessary to state with what success.

But now we come to a stage in these early reminiscences of Mormonism when Joe Smith was more successful. Already it has been noticed that he was successful in getting the wife the Lord sent him to find, and the golden bible, which was a sort of sequel to the marriage. These he got at Susquehanna and Palmyra, the only two neighborhoods where he had operated extensively before he squatted at Harpersville. At Harpersville he made his first successful efforts to found a church. A large barn, 30 by 40 feet -- which was standing until very recently -- on Joseph Knight's farm, was the first Mormon tabernacle. Joe Smith tried to preach there, but is described as not a very great success at preaching. But Sidney Rigdon was sent for, and did better. The excitement ran high; there was a semblance of persecution on the part of the Gentiles, principally among the lads and young men, and converts came in until a church was formed which must have been a great deal more numerous than any other church in that neighborhood. A dam was constructed in the stream upon which Knight's mills were situated, and in this the Mormon converts were baptized by immersion. The young Gentiles often tore the dam away, but the faithful rebuilt it as often as they needed it for baptismal purposes.

The numerical size and character of the new church was such that other people were exceedingly glad when they shook the dust of Harpersville from their feet and emigrated westward. The train as they departed consisted of eleven passenger wagons and three baggage wagons. There were sixty passengers, some of them were led by a desire for travel and adventure -- polygamy had not yet been introduced into the church -- but others were so much in earnest that they pooled their property, what there was of it, and determined to follow their Prophet at least to the end of his earthly kingdom. Possibly some believed in his heavenly kingdom. His followers were people who would embrace any creed which had for its object the tearing down of other creeds. They were about such people as the communists, and the rank and file of spiritualists of to-day. They were of the class described by Dr. Holmes, "Whose hair's in the mortar of every new zion," but who are ready to believe anything but the Bible.

There are several stories told in the neighborhoods of Susquehanna and Harpersville about miracles performed by Joe Smith. Joe was in the habit of drinking liquor too freely for the founder of a religion, and perhaps he often mistook a hilarious condition for a very spiritual condition, and undertook to perform on a grand scale very much as other drunken men do without realizing the magnitude of his task and his own utter inability to perform it. He got pretty drunk at one time while out with a party who fished the river with a drag net. The catch was very good, but unlike the fishermen of Galilee, the men were able to pull in all the fish.

One night when a heavy frost was expected, Joe Smith volunteered to go into the cornfield of Michael Morse, his brother-in-law, and pray the frost away. The cornfield was on the hill south of the Susquehanna depot, and fairly exposed to north and west atmospheric influences. Joe went and prayed, but he was not equal to the emergency. The frost came and destroyed the corn. He couldn't warm up equal to the occasion.

At Nineveh the Prophet announced that on a certain evening, at twilight, he would walk upon the water. The place where he was to walk was watched by the Gentiles, and one of the followers was seen to come there and construct a bridge just under the water. When the bridge builder left, congratulating himself that he had done a good job for his Prophet, the boys -- it is the boys always who do such things -- slyly removed a portion of the planks. At twilight that evening the Prophet came out to walk upon the water, and before starting he exhorted his followers to have faith, as faith on their part was absolutely indispensable to enable him to perform a miracle. For a few steps he had a sort of "go as you please," then he didn't go as he pleased, but plunged down and had to swim as he pleased for shore. "Woe unto you of little faith!" was his salutation to his followers as he reached terra firma; "your faith would not hold me up!"

He was sent for to come to Harpersville and bring to life an old Mormon convert named John Morse, who died. He had professed to be able to raise the dead, and his followers wanted an exhibition of his skill in that direction. But when he saw how old the man was he argued that it would be a pity to bring him to life and cause him to suffer death again in a short time, for old age had already rendered him helpless. He was happy in heaven, and it would be cruel to bring him back to struggle with rheumatism and poverty in this world. The argument prevailed and the old man was not prayed back to life with Mormon prayers.

The Prophet found it necessary, however, to pray for the return to life of a deceased shoemaker at Greene. The shoemaker had joined the new church, and was expected to put all his property, consisting of a few hundred dollars, into the Joe Smith treasury, and prepare for the exodus toward the western Zion. The widow would not turn over the property until prayers had been offered for the return of her husband. If the shoemaker was in heaven he preferred staying there to being brought back by Joe Smith. His executors afterwards sought to recover the shoemaker's property, and Judge Thomas A. Johnson, afterwards of Corning, but then a law student in Greene, was sent to Harpersville to get possession of it.

The saints were encamped in Knight's barn, and threatened to shoot Mr. Johnson. By the advice of friends he compromised after they surrendered a valuable horse, prized in those cheap times at $200.

Perhaps the most remarkable miracle ever performed by Joe Smith, and which proved beyond a doubt that he was all he professed to be, was casting the devil out of elder Knight. Knight solemnly declared the devil was cast out of him in the form of a black cat, and when he was cast out he ran into a brush heap. It is not recorded that he ever returned to Knight, and entered his former habitation, but those who knew Knight are of the opinion that the premises were not a great while without a tenant like the one who had vacated.

The Mormon exodus from Harpersville was by the way of the old State road north of Binghamton to Ithaca, and from there they journeyed toward Palmyra by water on Cayuga Lake.


The strictly narrative portion of the foregoing account of early Mormonism, as has been stated, was gathered from very creditable eye witnesses, who are now among the aged, and honored, and trusted of their townships. They were among the youth at the time of Joe Smith's earlier adventures and personally pried into every undertaking and watched every movement.

MRS. METHETABLE DOOLITTLE, who is now living alone on a little place in Susquehanna borough, lived in Wurtsboro, Sullivan county, and visited at the house of Isaac Hale, Joe Smith's father-in-law, when she was seventeen years old. She remembers Emma, afterwards the wife of the Prophet, as a handsome and attractive girl, about her own age. She says Emma was decoyed away for a ride, and married in Windsor, very much against the wishes of her parents.

MRS. SALLIE McKUNE, widow of Joseph McKune and mother of Sheriff McKune, is now eighty years old. She was between twenty-five and thirty years old when Joe Smith was performing about Susquehanna, and lived upon a farm adjoining Joe Smith's lot and the Isaac Hale farm, and in sight of the place where they dug for the ton of silver on Jacob I. Skinner's farm. Smith's residence was between the residence of Joseph McKune and Isaac Hale. Her husband bought the Smith place, built an addition to the house, and Mrs. McKune lived in the house about forty years. She remembers the arrangement of the nails used for hooks to hang blankets on during the translation of the golden bible. The anecdotes of the Spaniard without a head; of Smith's being sent out to find his wife; the charm that moved the silver; the human sacrifice asked for; the relations of Robert Harper with the silver hunt, and his tragic death; the circumstances of bringing the golden plates home; and of the translation by the aid of miraculous spectacles and the trick of Mrs. Harris, are related by her with great clearness. Smith and his conspirators gave out that the Book of Mormon would make them and the Hale family rich. She understands that the Joe Smith place consisted of only six acres. Mrs. McKune told the story of the miracle in the corn field; of Joe Smith's getting drunk; and of the young prophet who failed to connect with time. She says her husband strongly suspected that Joe Smith and his gang were counterfeiters.

MRS. ELIZABETH SQUIRES, who is about seventy years old, was present at the interview with Mrs. McKune. She always lived in that neighborhood, and thoroughly corroborated Mrs. McKune in all her statements, and often prompted her in her recollections of fifty years ago. The interview occurred at Mrs. Squires' residence, where Mrs. McKune chanced to be visiting. They unite in saying that Joe Smith never made a convert at Susquehanna, and also that his father-in-law became so incensed by his conduct that he threatened to shoot him if he ever returned. Isaac Hale is represented as a sturdy but somewhat eccentric man, who would have been likely to fulfill his promise toward his unpromising son-in-law. As an instance of his unyielding disposition it is stated that he never forgave the trustees of the neighborhood cemetery with whom he had a dispute, and that in his will he made it obligatory upon his executors to bury him on his farm instead of placing him in the family plot in the cemetery where the remains of his wife, and the young prophet, and other descendants repose.

JACOB I. SKINNER, who now owns and occupies the farm where Smith end his followers dug for silver, was then about sixteen years old. He has been engaged for years in dumping stones into the holes to fill them up, because they were dangerous traps for his cattle. The smaller hole, which is in the edge of a wood, is still used by the boys in wet weather for a swimming pond. Mr. Skinner is sure that the Prophet claimed to have found the golden bible in the big hole on his farm, but in that he is not corroborated by another witness. Yet he has the hole to show in support of his claim, and that must be regarded as a big thing when he comes in controversy with a man who has less proof. Mr. Skinner is clear in his statements about the manner of digging; of going down in the big hole, then going to a hole in the woods, and then coming back to sink shafts and run drifts along the big hole. He is authority saying the big hole was covered by a rough board house; also for the story of the black dog; and that Mr. Hale threatened to shoot his son-in-law if he ever came back. He described Joe Smith's appearance, and his manner of searching for hidden treasure.

He was not aware that Joe ever performed any other miracles, or attempted any. He remembers how the Prophet's residence was built, and thinks that his place consisted of thirteen acres. His opinion is that the place was worth about $500 to $600, but doubts if anything was paid on it. Mr. Skinner was present at the net fishing excursion when Joe Smith got drunk. The Prophet carried a bottle of whiskey in his pocket. His good father-in-law also imbibed more tanglefoot than was compatible with patriarchical dignity and good example, and he and Joe had a good natural rough and tumble.

SAMUEL BRUSH, a smart old gentleman about seventy-five years of age, who is now running a large farm and lumber-mill about three miles southwest of Susquehanna, lived in the Hale neighborhood in the time of Joe Smith's exploits there. While the translation of the bible was going on he called often to see Reuben Hale, the scribe. Reuben would always quit work and come down stairs; and sometimes would go away from home with him. Old Mr. Hale gave Joe Smith the sobriquet of "Peeker." Mr. Brush understood that it was a ton of Spanish silver, and not the golden bible they were digging for on the hill. Martin Harris was a believer in second sight, (which accounts, to a very great extent, for his connection with Joe Smith, for spending his money, and for his testimony to the genuineness of the Mormon revelation.) His faith in second sight was badly shaken when he never got the second sight of his money placed in Joe Smith's hands. Reuben Hale explained to Mr. Brush why the Prophet could not tell the precise location of an object he could see through his "peek-stone" on the supposition of deflected light. Miss Blackman, author of a history of Susquehanna county, gives Joe Smith the reputation of being tricky. That Mr. Brush claims is a mistake. Mr. Brush was not catechized as to what, in his opinion, constitutes a tricky man. He says Joe Smith was a good, kind, neighbor; and that is the testimony of Mrs. McKune, Mrs. Squires and Mr. Skinner.

GEORGE COLLINGION, ESQ., gave a pretty full account of the Mormon transactions about Harpersville. He told the story of the salt well; and of the first Mormon meetings in Knight's barn; of the baptismal ponds, etc. Mr. Collington was very careful not to appear to know overmuch about the Mormons, and said he was not present when Joe Smith tried to walk upon the water. But others accuse Mr. Collington of taking up the Prophet's bridge and letting him souse into the river, and of playing various other tricks with him. If this accusation is correct, young Collington's absence from the water-walking scene is easily explained. He could see just as well a little further off when the Mormons' dander was certain to come up.

SMITH BAKER, about eighty years old (Mr. Baker died since the interview), and the owner of a handsome property on the plains, had a rich font of early Mormon incidents. He was one of the teamsters who assisted the Mormon exodus from Harpersville. He imparted the information about the shaft sunk at Bettsburgh, opposite Nineveh, for silver, at the expense of Josiah Stowell. He heard Sidney Rigdon preach, and said he was a decent speaker as preachers averaged in those days. He related incidents of Mormon baptisms in the stream from the Perch Pond, and how the boys tore out the dam until the Mormons found it necessary to rebuild it in the night and watch it every time they had a baptism rite to perform. According to Mr. Baker, Josiah Stowell once sent the Prophet to mill and he lost a bag of wheat through a hole in the wagon box. Col. Stow, a prominent settler, saw it fall and picked it up and carried it to his house. The Prophet resorted to his "peek-stone" and saw a man come out of the woods, seize the bag, and make off with it. The robbery was noised about thoroughly for several days, when Col. Stow confessed the part he had played and surrendered the wheat to the great confusion of Stowell and Smith. Mr. Baker was authority for saying that Joseph was sent to pray John Morse back to life, but discouraged the scheme on the ground that the deceased was an old man and had better remain dead. Mr. Baker said that the widow of Benjamin Peck, of Afton, who took her two children and went off with the Mormons, placing in the hands of Joe Smith considerable money, repented in great agony of mind while on the road to Ithaca, but the Mormons would not restore her property, and she was forced to remain with them,

MRS. HARRIET MARSH, an estimable lady of Harpersville, now about eighty years of age, and wonderfully well preserved in bodily and mental vigor, remembers much of Joe Smith's career, though she only saw him once. She was traveling with her husband toward Susquehanna, and stopped at Waller's tavern where the Prophet and "Electa Cyria" were stopping for a meal. Joe had his head wound in thick bandages and Mrs. Marsh was told by landlord Waller the story of the Prophet's great fight with the devil. This was about two weeks after Smith returned from Palmyra with the golden plates, and he was then on his way to brother-in-law Wasson's to get a box made for it. She thought the "Electa Cyria" below the ordinary grade of intellect for women. Mrs. Marsh told the story of the shoemaker at Greene, whom the Prophet failed to bring to life. Judge Johnson, who recovered the horse for the shoemaker's executors, was Mrs. Marsh's brother. The Mormon exodus went past her house. She saw Josiah Stowell and his daughter after they returned from the Mormons, and thinks that Mrs. Stowell, who died while West, was poisoned. Mrs. Marsh remembers the attempt of Joe Smith to walk on water. She also remembers that the Knights, while working for her husband in haying, said that Joe Smith could perform miracles, and Joseph, the elder of the Knights, said that Joe Smith had cast the devil out of him; that he was in the shape and style of a black cat, and ran into a brush heap.

MRS. REBECCA NURSE, an elderly lady now residing in Binghamton, lived near Nineveh at the time of the Mormon doings there, and remembers that the Prophet set a day to sink Nineveh after the manner of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. But after a great deal of coaxing he was persuaded to withdraw his curse, or at least to postpone it, otherwise the Albany and Susquehanna railroad would now have to ferry across a Dead Sea.

In a little briar and fern grown cemetery, on a knell a few rods above the place where they bored for oil on the McKune farm, by the side of the Erie Railway, a few years ago, is the legend of the prophet which was to be and wasn't. It is engraved upon a little rude headstone of black sand-stone, and reads: "In memory of an infant son of Joseph and Emma Smith, June 15, 1828. The lettering is rude, in the style of the manuscripts of those days, and the figures' 8's look like a cross between a $ character and the letter S bent the wrong way. They bring to mind visions of an old-fashioned school-master. The embryo prophet is buried in a row with the Hale family, and around him are the McKunes and other pioneers who have passed away, leaving honorable names and honorable descendants.


The current "midsummer" number of Scribner contains a contribution from Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, in regard to the origin of the Mormon Bible, which, it is claimed, was taken from the manuscript of a romance written by her great uncle, Rev. Solomon Spaulding, but never put in type by its author. From the facts related, which seem to be well authenticated, the claim appears to have some foundation. It appears that Mr. Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College and a retired minister of scholarly attainments, while residing in Ohio, in 1812, was led to examine some earth mounds near his house. In these he discovered portions of skeletons and other relics. Among them some hieroglyphic characters were found, which, though perfectly unintelligible suggested the idea of a biblical romance. This, it is claimed, was written and purported to bo a history of the peopling of America by the lost tribes of Israel, the prominent characters in the work being given peculiar names, among them Mormon, Moroni, Lamenite, Nephi, and the title of "Manuscript Found," given to the romance. The author, who had already written several romances, read this work to friends and finally applied to a Pittsburg printer to have it published, but it was declined, after having remained in the hands of the printer some time. At that time, Sidney Rigdon, who figured as a preacher among the Saints some twenty years later, was employed in the Pittsburg office.

Subsequently, in 1823, one Joseph Smith, who is described as "a disreputable fellow wandering about the country professing to discover gold and silver and lost articles, by means of a 'seer stone,'" claimed to have been directed in a vision to a hill near Palmyra, N. Y., where he had discovered gold plates, curiously inscribed. In 1825 [sic] Smith called upon Mr. Thurlow Weed, who was then publisher of the Rochester Telegraph, at Rochester, N. Y., and asked him to print a manuscript. Mr. Weed, in a letter under date of April 12, 1880, relates the circumstances of Smuth'a interview with him, and says Smith repeated the story of the vision, the golden plates, etc., and produced from his hat, a tablet from which he proceeded to read the first chapter of the "Book of Mormon." Mr. Weed says he "listened until wearied, with what seemed to me an incomprehensible jargon," and then referred Smith to a book publisher in Palmyra. Five years later, 1830, the Mormon Bible was printed at Palmyra, and two years later the nucleus of a Mormon settlement was formed in Ohio.

When the "Mormon Bible" was first given to the public and was read in Ohio, its striking shnilisrity to the manuscript read three years before by Mr. Spaulding, was remarked by some who had heard the latter read by its author. Smith had evidently closely followed Mr, Spaulding's story! even to the professed finding of the plates in an earth mound, and the use of the same peculiar personal names, but he had added the marriage tenets to conform the new religion to his own ideas and purposes.

But where or how Smith procured the Spaulding manuscript is still unexplained. Some light, however, is thrown upon this point by a statement made aud verified April 3d, 1880, by Mrs. M. S. McKinstry, the only child of Mr. Spaulding. This lady, at present a resident of Washington, D. C;, and mother-in-law of Chief Clerk Seaton, of the Census Bureau, is now in her seventy-fifth year, though her-memory is said to be clear in regard to the events of her earlier years. In her affidavit Mrs. McKinstry refers to the death of her father, and recalls the circumstances of a trunk containing his papers, which her mother brought with them to this State, and among the contents of which she distinctly remembers having seen the manuscript of "Manuscript Found." After the death of Mr. Spaulding, Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter (Mrs. McKinstry) visited William H. Sabine, a brother of Mrs, Spaulding and then residing at Onondaga Valley. Here the old unlocked trunk containing Mr. Spauldicg's papers was left for some years, and it is understood that during the time it was so left Joe Smith was employed by Mr. Sabine as a farm hand. This would have afforded ample opportunity for him to copy the manuscript and, peculiar adventurer that he was, it would not have been a singular thing for him to do and to afterwards make use of it in the manner which seems to have been done. Again, it is possible that while the manuscript was in the hands of the Pittsburg printer it may have been copied and have fallen into Smith's hands through Rigdon, who afterwards figured so prominently in Mormon affairs. At all events, the fasts as given by Mrs. Dickinson are exceedingly interesting, and there is every indication that, as she says: "Out of the curious old romance of Solomon Spaulding and the ridiculous 'seerstone' of Joseph Smith, has grown this monstrous Mormon State," -- the darkest blot on our National escutcheon.

Note 1: The information compiled by Frederic G. Mather for the first article above saw near simultaneous publication, as the "Early Days of Mormonism," in the pages of Lippincott's Magazine for Aug. 1880. Details Mather provided in these two respective sources do not always match perfectly, although the basic story they tell is the same. It appears likely that the editors of both publications emmended Mather's account to some degree. The Lippincott's proof-reader evidently pared down Mather's extended prose somewhat. The account given in the Binghamton Republican probably more closely reflects Mather's own chatty style of writing. And, although both articles relate essentially the same narrative, the Lippincott's version may prove to be slightly more reliable in its concise wording.

Note 2: For more on the same general subject, see the Aug. 25, 1870 issue of the Athens Gleaner, as well as another article by Mather, in the Feb. 26, 1888 issue of the New York Times.



Vol. V.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Sat., Feb. 23, 1881.                             No. 1971.

The  Mormon  Bible.

A Pittsburg special says: The [proposed] celebration in Washington county in memory of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, author of the "Book of Mormon," is [exciting] considerable comment in religious circles here. It has for many years been announced that the Rev. Mr. Spaulding was the original author of the "Mormon Bible," which is more commonly known as the "Book of Mormon," but now comes a Latter-Day Saint, or Mormon preacher, T. W. Smith by name, who for some time past has been preaching in a hall on Fourth avenue in this city. Mr. Smith says that the Rev. Mr. Spaulding was not the author of the "Book of Mormon," and adds: "Mrs. McKinstry, a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Spaulding, and wife of Dr. A. McKinstry of Monson, Mass., states that her father died in Amity, Pa. in 1816; that directly after, with her mother, she went to visit an uncle named Sabine in Onondaga county. N. Y.; that she saw a manuscript about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some [stories] my father had written for me: on the outside of the manuscript were written the words, "Manuscript Found;" that in 1834 a Mr. Hurlbert came to her mother who in [1820] married a Mr. Davidson and from her, by an order of Jerome Clark, with whom she had placed the maanuscript, he obtained the same. This Hurlbert was an excommunicated Mormon, and, in retaliation for his expulsion, sought to destroy the Book of Mormon, thinking, from what he had heard, that the manuscript found was the basis of the Book of Mormon, the latter being the same work with slight alterations. Mr. Smith now claims that Hurlbert never returned the MS. to Mrs. Davidson; that he still possesses it and that it can be obtained by law.

Notes: (forthcoming)

Cayuga  County  Independent.

Vol. VIII.                             Auburn, N. Y., Thurs., Apr. 7, 1881.                             No. 10.

The  Founder  of  Mormonism.

Joe Smith was born in Rutland [sic], Vt. about the time that Wingate, the combined forger and religious charlatan, made such a sensation there. He removed, when a youth, to Palmyra, N. Y., and there Rigdon found him. Smith was full of magnetism, full of warm blood, a hearty, generous fellow -- from the description an original, untutored Jim Fisk. After proper training, Smith became the prophet and Rigdon the inspiration behind him, putting cunning words in the mouth of the boor. At last Smith, finding how pleasant it was to play prophet, and flattered by the devotion paid him, drew away from the cold Rigdon. For one of his sensual nature, it was but natural to conclude that if celestial plural marriages were good, it was a grevous waste of time to wait for death to sanctify them; that real women were greatly to be preferred to doubtful and unsubstantial ghosts, and that the right thing was to be sealed to those in the flesh. So he had a revelation; polygamy became a part of the Mormon religion, and Joe Smith a little Mohammed. Followers began to flock rapidly around Smith. Probably without being conscious of the fact, he had made animalism the key stone in the arch of his creed, and given to his church all the adhesiveness which cements Christian creeds, and in addition all the fascination which, to sensual nature, clings to Mohammedanism. Thenceforth the institution thrived until it became so much of a nuisance, and took on attributes of such menace to free government, that in a paroxysm of rage the mob killed Smith. Though his life had been full of irregularities, in the hearts of his followers his death made him a martyred prophet who had died for his people, and ever since he has been held by them, as one to be reverenced next to the Nazarene. -- North American Review.

Note 1: The above excerpt was taken from page 280 of the North American Review for March of 1881. The preceeding paragraph in C. C. Goodwin's article in that issue reads thusly: "How has this [Mormon] power waxed so strong? To answer the question a brief review is necessary. There is no doubt that the original Mormon creed was evolved from the crafty brain of Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon was born and reared in the region of the Whisky Insurrection in Pennsylvania. The first shot in that early rebellion was fired but a few rods from Rigdon’s father’s house. The man who was afterward Rigdon’s pastor was a leader with Mike Fink and his brother outlaws, and was taken to Philadelphia in irons. Rigdon was expelled from the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, in 1823, for heresy. He was then teaching “Common Stock” (communism), and afterward drifted naturally into Mormonism, for he was steeped with incendiarism before he was born. Greedy of power, with a subtle knowledge of lower human nature, he rightly judged that the best way to attain the object of his ambition was to place a chain of superstition around the necks of men. So he worked out the details of a new church. Among other things which his new religious code contained was the provision for sealing to the dead for eternity, that lost souls might still be saved through the grace of celestial marriage with those yet in the flesh who had been saved through conversion to the Mormon faith. But Rigdon had little magnetism; moreover, he had some education; for him to state in scholarly language what purported to be a revelation from on high would be to defeat his own purpose. He required an assistant, and searched until he found the subject that he required in a hoodlum and tramp who was going around the country with a “peep” stone, telling fortunes. This was Joe Smith...."

Note 2: See also the Quincy, Illinois Daily Herald of July 26, 1881 The writer's linking of Sidney Rigdon's "pastor" (Rev. John Clark) with Mike Fink in the 1791-94 "Whiskey Rebellion" (centered in Washington Co., Pennsylvania) appears to be fanciful and was perhaps drawn from some fictional account penned by a member of General John Neville's family. Neville was a Pennsylvania inspector of the federal excise tax on whiskey-making at the time -- who served also as a commander of troops charged with putting down the rebellion. His grandson, Morgan Neville, was the early 1820s editor of the Pittsburg Gazette, as well as the author of the 1829 folklore account "Mike Fink, the Last of the Boatmen." For Rev. John Clark's role in the turmoil surrounding the rebellion, see Henry C. McCook's The Latimers: A Tale of the Western Insurrection of 1794 (Philadelphia: 1897).


The Wayne County Alliance.

Vol. IX.                               Sodus, N.Y., Wednesday, April 13, 1881.                               No. 33.

The  Founder  of  Mormonism.

Joe Smith was born in Rutland Vt. [sic], about the time that Wingate, the combined forger and religious charlatan, made such a sensation there. He removed, when a youth, to Palmyra, N. Y., and Rigdon found him. Smith was full of magnetism, full of warm blood, a hearty, generous fellow -- from the description an original, untutored Jim Fisk. After proper training, Smith became the prophet and Rigdon the inspiration behind him, putting cunning words in the month of the boor. At last Smith, finding how pleasant it was to play prophet, and flattered by the devotion paid him, drew away from the cold Rigdon. For one of his sensual nature, it was but natural to conclude that if celestial plural marriages were good, it was a grievous waste of time to wait for death to sanctify them, that real women were greatly to be preferred to doubtful and unsubstantial ghosts, and that the right thing was to be sealed to those still in the flesh. So he had a revelation; polygamy became a part of the Mormon religion, and Joe Smith a little Mohammed. Followers began to flock rapidly around Smith. Probably without being conscious of the fact, he had made animalism the keystone in the arch of his creed, and given to his church all the adhesiveness which cements Christian creeds, and in addition all the fascination which, to sensual natures clings to Mohammedism. Henceforth the institution thrived until it became so much of a nuisance and took on attributes of such menace to free government, that in a paroxysm of rage the mob killed Smith. Though his life had been full of irregularities, in the hearts of his followers his death made him a martyred prophet who had died for has people, and ever since he has been to them as one to be reverenced next to the Nazarene. -- North American Review.

Note: The above excerpt was taken from an article entitled "The Political Attitude of the Mormons," published in March of 1881.



Vol. 46.                               Buffalo, N.Y., Saturday, May 28, 1881.                               No. 148.


End of the Session of the Women's
Home Missionary Societies.

Reports of Presbyterian Labors with the
Indians, Mexicans and Mormons...


Afternoon  Meeting.

No diminuation was perceptible in the attendance at two o'clock. A season of devotion was indulged in, concluding with congregational singing of the hymn beginning "O, Save Our Land for Jesus." Mrs. J. Graham presided. At the request of the Chairman Mrs. Dr. Horace Eaton of Palmyra read the following interesting paper on the origin of Mormonism:


Dear Sisters -- A ride of less than three hours over the New York Central, due east, will bring you to the town of Palmyra, in the vicinity of which the system of Mormonism was initiated. In this town it has been my privilege to reside for the last twenty-two years. I speak to you from credible testimony. Western New York has strong soil and rank weeds are incidental to strong soil. We must own the deceivers. "They went out from us, but they were not of us." The deceived were elsewere. As far as Mormonism was connected with its reputed founder, Joseph, always called Joe Smith, it had its origin in the brain and heart of an ignorant, deceitful mother. Joe Smith's mother moved in the lowest walks of life, but she had a kind of mental power, which her son shared. With them both the imagination was the commanding faculty. That was vain but vivid. To it was subsidized reason, conscience, truth. Both mother and son were noted for a habit of extravagant assertion. They would look a listener full in the eye, and, without confusion or blanching, would fluently improvise startling statements and exciting stories, the warp and woof of which were alike sheer falsehood. Was an inconsistency alluded to, nothing daunted, a subterfuge was always at hand. As one old man, who knew them well, said to me, "You couldn't face them down. They'd lie and stick to it." Many of the noblest specimens of humanity have arisen from a condition of honest poverty; but few of these from one of dishonest poverty. Solomon apprehended the danger when he said, "Lest I be poor and steal." Mrs. Smith used to go to the houses of the village and do family washings. But if the articles were left to dry upon the lines and not secured by their owners before midnight, the washer was often the winner -- and in these nocturnal depredations she was assisted by her boys, who favored in like manner poultry yards and grain bins. Her son Joe never worked save at chopping-bees and raisings, and then whisky was the impetus and the reward. The mother of the high-priest of Mormonism was superstitious to the last degree. The very air she breathed was inhabited by "familiar spirits that peeped and wizards that muttered." She turned many a penny by tracing in the lines of the open palm the fortunes of the inquirer. All ominous signs were heeded. The moon over the left shoulder portended calamity; the breaking of a mirror, death. Even in the old Green Mountain State, before the family immigrated to the Genesee country, the then West, Mrs. Smith's mind was made up that one of her sons should be a prophet. The weak father agreed with her that Joseph was the "genius" of their nine children. So it was established that Joseph should be the prophet. To such an extent did the mother impress this idea upon the boy that all the instincts of childhood were restrained. He rarely smiled or laughed. "His looks and thoughts were always downward prone." He never indulged in demonstrations of fun, since they would not be in keeping with the profound dignity of his allotted vocation. His mother inspired and aided him in every scheme of duplicity and cunning. All acquainted with the facts agree in saying that the evil spirit of Mormonism dwelt first in Joe Smith's mother. Bad books had much to do with the origin of Mormonism. Joe Smith could read. He could not write. His two standard volumes were "The Life of Stephen Burroughs," the clerical scoundrel, and the autobiography of Capt. Kidd, the pirate. This latter work was eagerly and often perused. There was a fascination to him in the charmed lines:
"My name was Robert Kidd,
    As I sailed, as I sailed,
And most wickedly I did,
And God's laws I did forbid,
    As I sailed, as I sailed.
At the early age of fifteen, while watching his father digging a well, Joe espied a stone of curious shape. It must have borne resemblance to the stone foot of Buddha, which Mrs. House tells us of at Bankok, Siam. All the difference, this was smaller, like a child's foot. At any rate, it has left footprints on the sands of time. This little stone was the acorn of the Mormon oak. This was the famous Palmyra seer or peek stone, with which Joseph Smith did most certainly divine. Being before instructed of his mother, he immediately set up a claim to miraculous powers. In a kneeling posture, with a bandage on his eyes, so luminous was the sight without it, with the stone in a large, white stove-pipe hat, and this hat in front of his face, he saw things unutterably wonderful. He could reveal, full too well, the place where stolen property or wandering flocks could be found. Caskets of gold stored away by the Spaniards, or by his hero, the redoubtable Captain Kidd, coffers of gems, oriental treasures, the "wealth of Ormus and of Ind," gleamed beneath the ground in adjacent fields and woodlands. Digging became the order of the night and sleep that of the day. Father and brothers, decoyed neighbors, all who could be hired with cider or strong drink were organized into a digging phalanx. They sallied forth in the darkness. Solemn ceremonies prefaced the work. Not a sod was disturbed by the spades, till Joe's mystic wand, the witch hazel, guided by the sacred stone, pointed out the golden somewhere. Entire silence was one condition of success. When hours had passed and the answering thud on the priceless chest was about to strike the ear, some one in a rapture of expectance always broke the spell by speaking, the riches were spirited away to another quarter and the digging must be resumed another night. Thus matters went on for some seven or eight years. Little or no attention was paid to the performances of Smith near his home. Lovers of the marvelous from other towns now and then came in to see and hear some new thing. People from greater distances visited the several excavations and wondered. Newspapers heralded and ridiculed. But so far it amounted to nothing unless it created a certain atmosphere heavy with myth and mystery favorable to future developments. The perseverance of Joe Smith was equal to his audacity. Both were boundless. But he alone could never have wrought out the institution of Mormonism. Here we have "black spirits, red spirits and gray." Early in the summer of 1827 a "mysterious stranger" seeks admittance to Joe Smith's cabin. The conferences of the two are most private. This person, whose coming immediately preceded a new departure in the faith, was Sidney B. Rigdon, a backsliding clergyman of another denomination, at this time a Campbellite preacher in Mentor, Ohio. Now we have "a literary genius behind the screen." Rigdon had a taste for discussion, was shrewd, wily, deep and withal utterly unprincipled. Soon after his appearance on the stage Mormonism begins to assume "a local habitation and a name." Now the angel talks more definitely to Smith, tells him all his sins are pardoned, that none of the sects are accepted of God as his church, but that he shall establish one the Almighty will own; that the North American Indians are a remnant of the Israelites; that hidden beneath the ground are their inspired writings, containing most important revelations for these last days; that these records are to be intrusted to him, and to him only, as none other can see them and live. In the stillness of night Smith seeks alone his hill-top of Carmorah, an eminence four miles south of Palmyra, eight north of Canandaigua. Confronted by the very pyrotechnics of Pluto, he averred that he obtained from that place a series of golden plates, on which were written in hieroglyphics, the records so important in the new dispensation. Accompanying the plates is a pair of huge spectacles, the Urim and Thummim, by the aid of which the tablets are to become available. He soon finds it convenient to visit relatives in Pennsylvania, in which state Rigdon was then sojourning. After a while he returns with an accurate translation. He appeals to the cupidity of a rich farmer, a semi-monomaniac, and prevails upon him to mortgage his estate to pay for the printing. Here is a copy taken off in sheets from the first edition, kindly loaned me by Major John Gilbert, of Palmyra, the venerable printer, who finished the work in 1830.

But who wrote the book? Surely not Smith or Rigdon. We will go back to the time when Joe Smith lay in his cradle in Sharon, Vt. In 1809, a Congregational minister, Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College, left his native state of Vermont, sojourned a while in ours, and then sought the more genial climate of Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio. He was obliged by the state of his health to abandon preaching. The cast of his mind was peculiar. He often diverted himself by writing romances on different subjects. The mounds of that section of Ohio then attracted much attention. Mr. Spaulding was intensely interested in their study, and even opened up one near his own dwelling. He adopted the theory that these mounds were evidences of the existence of an extinct race, higher in the scale than the American aborigines. He wrote a story in Biblical phraseology, delineating in a fanciful manner the wanderings, wars, exploits, and fate of his this primeval people. He afterward removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. Some said to him as John Bunyan's friends to the dreamer, "Print it." He left it with a publisher in Pittsburgh by the name of Patterson. For some reason it never went to press. After three years it was returned to its author, who died in 1816. But how came Rigdon or Smith, or both, in the possession of Mr. Spaulding's book? Here we have not absolute certainty. There were two or three ways in which the men and the book could have been brought together. This is common to each -- by theft. It is generally believed that Rigdon, while a journeyman printer in the office of Patterson, copied Mr. Spaulding's story; that by some means he heard of Smith, knew his man even at a distance, and was sure Smith's idiosyncrasies would just fit in with his own purpose of carrying out a foul and lucrative imposture. There was a ubiquitous tin peddler in those days by the name of Parley P. Pratt. He knew everybody in Western New York and Northern Ohio. He was a member of Rev. Sidney Rigdon's Church of Disciples in Mentor, Ohio. Perhaps Pratt was the carrier-vulture who told Rigdon of the money-digger, Smith. The mildest criticism that can be passed upon Mr. Spaulding's book is that the interest is not well sustained and that it indicates the languor and hectic of the physical decline of its author. But it is hardly fair to speak of the intellectual merits of a book which was, without question, grossly altered by Rigdon and Smith to adapt it to the code of the Latter Day Saints. When new commands were given by the angel, whether to institute the order of the Aaronic priesthood of Melchizedek, or to engraft on the system permission for the polygamous or the spiritual marriage, Rigdon's pen was ever ready to issue the encyclical, similating Mr. Spaulding's Hebraic idioms. Mormonism fairly started, Smith prophesied, Rigdon and Pratt preached, Cowdery baptized, Harris paid. But no prophet is accepted in his own country. Converts came in tardily. The angel said, "Move forward to Kirtland, Ohio." This was near Rigdon's old parish. From this place they were soon expelled by the righteous indignation of an outraged people. Is there any significance in the fact that the Ohio Mormon encampment was located but a few miles from the home of our beloved President Garfield? Had their disgraceful career in this State anything to do with the manly words of the inaugural? Our President "knoweth of these things. We are persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him." God grant that he may have "come to the kingdom for such a time as this." Those who originated Mormonism now stand before the tribunal of that being who has threatened to "silence lying lips." Joe Smith, when but thirty-six years old fell by the hand of assassins in Nauvoo, Ilinois, in 1844. Parley P. Pratt died in the same manner in Arkansas in 1856 or 1857. After Smith's decease, Rigdon naturally aspired to the dictatorship. But he was defeated by Brigham Young, was expelled from the church and given over by Brigham to the buffetings of Satan. Rigdon has since died, as far as we know without penitence or confession.

An apology might be offered for the above puerile and revolting statements were they not connected with the beginnings of the institution of Mormonism, which, as another has remarked, "presents a problem which the wisest politician has failed to solve, and whose outcome lies in the mystery of the future."

One thought more, and it is a solemn one -- Mormonism may have risen from neglect on the part of Christian workers. We have no knowledge of the religious influences thrown around the Smith family when living in Vermont At twelve [sic - six?] years of age Joe came to Palmyra and should have been immediately secured in one of its Sabbath-schools. As far as we can learn, not any of the family were invited cordially, heartily to the house of God. Some of them strolled in occasionally. But no persistent effort was made to induce them to become regular attendants, and this in a community distinguished for the godliness of its early settlers. Depend upon it, there were redeeming traits somewhere even in this family. Josesh Smith's mother was not a malignant woman. She knew the virtues of remedial roots and herbs and was ever ready to administer and assist when her lowly neighbors were sick or dying. But ladies of piety and culture never visited Mrs. Smith in her home in a sequestered neighborhood two or three miles from the village, never sat down by her side and, in an unpatronizing manner, sympathized with her in her many cares and labors, wisely dropped a word of friendly advice, supplied the family with reading for the week days and the Sabbath days, and by all possible methods made them feel that they loved their souls. No male member of the church halted as he passed the door of the rude, unpainted house on a Sabbath morning and found room in his capacious family carriage or sleigh for any of the little or the big Smiths, that they might go up to the temple of the Lord and learn to worship there. To the inquiry, "Why was not more done to win them to a better life," I received this reply. 'Oh, they were such an awful family. Nobody wanted to go there. Nobody could. Why, they were the torments and the terror of the neigborhood." Our beloved Master "came to seek and to save that which was lost" He was not ashamed or afraid to touch with his hand -- mark, with his hand -- the domoniac and the ieper. Had his dear children in early [days] reached out theirs to this poor, outcast household, possibly this terrible ulcer of Mormonism might not now be corroding into the very vitals of the nation's purity and life.

The women of the Synods of Western New York are doing much for Utah. Aware that the poisonous virus went out from us, we feel that there is a relevancy, a fitness in our following it with the counteracting, neutralizing, healing antidote, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in this work we are assured we have the co-operation of the women of our entire church -- this is of a kind, dear sisters, that goeth not out, but by prayer and fasting. It numbers over 200,000. Its Book of Mormon is translated into many tongues. There are proselytes in every clime. Its representative has been honored in the halls of Congress, and has a defence in the North American Review. For the sake of our bewildered, deluded sisters, snared in an evil time, for the sake of the country we love, let us labor and pray and give for Utah. We are encouraged to work for the speedy overthrow of this gigantic bulwark from the very nature of its origin. Its basis is not truth but falsehood. Every stone cries out of its wall "Deceit, deceit." Every beam out of its timber answers back, "deceit." May the words of a true prophet be fulfilled without blood, by the breath of Jehovah's mouth and the brightness of His coming. "Because they have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, 'The Lord saith,' and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word -- therefore mine hand shall be against the prophets that see vanity and divine lies, because, even because they have seduced my people. And one built up a wall and others daubed it with untempered mortar. Therefore, saith the Lord God, I will even rend the wall with a stormy wind in my fury. So I will break down the wall and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered. And it shall fall. And I will say unto you, the wall is no more neither they that daubed it."

Note: Following the initial publication of her address, Mrs. Eaton happened upon Ellen E. Dickinson's first article for Scribners, and later incorporated a few ideas from that source into her paper's reprint in an 1881 tract on the Mormon origins topic. Mrs. Eaton may also have learned of Lucy Mack Smith's temporary membership in the Presbyterian church at Palmyra during the mid-1820s, because she eliminated all references to evangelizing the "poor, outcast household" in the 1881-82 reprints of her original address.


The  Western  New-Yorker.

Vol. XLI.                           Warsaw, N. Y., Thursday, June 9, 1881.                           No. 23.

The  Mormon  Plates.


It is well knows that Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism, pretended to have translated the so-called Mormon Bible from certain golden pates taken by him from hill in the edge of Manchester, Ontario Co., N. Y. Those plates were once in the hands of the stalwart and honest late Henry Wells Esq., of Aurora, founder of the American Express system and of the College for Ladies which now bears his name at Aurora. Mr. Wells died abroad, in the last days of 1878. In the summer of the same year we were both detained, for a time, in making our railroad connections at the depot in Canandaigua, when I enjoyed a very pleasant interview, and, I think, my last with that distinguished gentleman. The hill said to have concealed the prophetic plates was in the county of which Canandaigua is the county seat, and in the town whose best known village is Clifton Springs. When the famous plates were discovered, Mr. Wells, then in early manhood, a firm believer in evangelical religion and a natural sceptic in respect to impostures, was residing in the vicinity. In that interview, a few months before his death, he gave me a racy account of his visit to the home of Joseph Smith at the time, and his own conjectures concerning the mysterious tablets.

Joseph Smith was born at Sharon, Windsor Co., Vt. Dec. 23, 1805, and Mr. Wells informed me that he himself was born at no great distance of time or place from Smith, at Thetford Vt., about ten miles northwest of Sharon, whence his parents removed when he was about two years old to Central New York. The father of Joseph Smith emigrated from and to the same region, and settled on a farm near Palmyra, in 1815, when the future prophet was ten years of age. In Palmya, both he and his father became famous as water wizards, professing as many others have done, to discover the presence of water in the earth from the movements of a green rod held loosely in their hands, and to point out the proper places for digging wells. They sought also for buried money by charms, and dug for treasures near the hill which was afterwards associated with the Mormon Bible. Smith pretended to have received the first revelation at about the age of fifteen, after a season of earnest prayer in a grove near his father's house. For two years, however, he neglected this Divine call, but on Sept. 22, 1823, when he was seventeen an angel appeared to him at night at Palmyra, with more abundant communications, especially concerning the records of buried revelation. On Sept. 22, 1823, the angel pointed out the exact spot where the treasure was deposited. It was in a stone box in the side of the hill four or five miles northwest of Clifton Springs; the crowning stone was visible above the surface, and a slight effort brought the contents to view. The plates were eight inches long and seven inches wide, of the thickness of tin and of the appearance of gold. They formed a pile about six inches in thickness, and were held together by three rings passing through holes in their edges and forming them into something like a book. They were beautifully inscribed on both sides, in Egyptian characters, but in an unknown language. Beside the plates, the box contained two transparent stones, clear as crystal, the Urim and Thummim by which they were to be read. The angel informed him, however, that these plates could not be obtained except by "continued prayer and faithfulness and to be used for the spiritual good of the world." He was not permitted to receive the plates till precisely four years later, Sept 22, 1827, when he was twenty-one years of age. The rumor that Smith had received such visions and plates naturally created no small commotion in the neighborhood. It was generally considered to be, what it was, a blasphemous fabrication. Joseph lived with his parents, and his mother added to their slender income by painting mats, or pieces of oil-cloth. Mr. Wells made of this an errand on which to visit their house, and with his wife and her mother, rode some two miles to their humble dwelling. After giving his order for a mat, he inquired for Joseph, but found that he was absent from home. He then asked to see the notorious plates. This was long refused. They were too sacred to be lightly handled. Mr. Wells told me that Joseph's mother spoke of them as if an awful an unquestionable sanctity attached to them. But Mr. Wells persisted, as he was apt to do in carrying out anything which he had once undertaken, and after a time his power of persuasion, which was not small, prevailed, and the treasure was brought forth. The volume of plates was encased in a cotton bag, which he was not permitted to open. He received the plates, however, into his hands, and examined them as to form and weight. He thought they did not possess the weight of metallic plates, but conjectured that they were slate stone. While standing with them in his hands he was strongly tempted to dash them upon the floor. Those who remember the powerful frame of Mr. Wells have no doubt that if he had done so the test would have been decisive. It is a curious question: What would then have become of Mormonism? It is startling to think what consequences have been allowed to flow, since it was not done, from so obscure and gross an imposture, even in the midst of our latest Christian civilization.

While the strong arms weighed the pretended revelation, his mother and sister saw by the twinkle of his eye the struggling desire, and by silent tokens repressed the act. Others were not so forbearing. Smith was ridiculed, waylaid, assaulted; his house was beset by a mob for the purpose of destroying the plates. By this persecution he was driven to seek refuge in Northern Pennsylvania, where his father-in-law resided. He was twice overtaken on the way thither by officers with search-warrants for the plates, but they failed in their designs. In Northern Pennsylvania, sitting concealed behind a curtain, he pretended with the use of the two stones, Urim and Thummim, to read and translate the inscriptions on these plates, and so dictated the Mormon Bible. A pretended specimen page of the original, copied from the plates, was sent to the well-known linguist, Prof. Anthon, of New York, who pronounced it a strange compound of the Greek, Hebrew and Mexican alphabets, with English, and with various characters having no signification. It is well established that what Smith did dictate from behind his curtain, to his amanuensis was a dull romance; composed by a Rev. Solomon Spalding, a Presbyterian clergyman and an early graduate of Dartmouth College. The book was first published in 1830, before Smith was twenty-five years of age. Three witnesses published with it a statement certifying that they had personally seen the plates, and that the book was genuine. These, however, all afterward quarreled with Smith, and denounced the book as a fraud. Eight others testified to having seen the plates and examined the inscriptions. To others, however, of his followers who earnestly importuned him for a view of the plates, it is said that the prophet replied that they could not be seen with the carnal eye. It is not ascertained what became of the plates at last, but it is something to know that they had so much existence that a sturdy Presbyterian handled something purporting to be the original plates and that he weighed them and found them wanting. -- N Y. Observer.

Note 1: The original Observer article has not yet been located for transcription. The correspondent was probably the Rev. Samuel W. Boardman, who was still writing for the Observer at the turn of the century. Excerpts from this article appeared in various American newspapers, such as the Canton Daily Repository of July 19, 1881 and the Ohio Newark Advocate of Aug. 5, 1881.

Note 2: Henry F. Wells (1805–1878) came to upstate New York with his father's family a few years after the War of 1812. In the early 1820s they were living in Fayette, Seneca Co., and in 1822 Henry was apprenticed to Jessup & Palmer, tanners and shoemakers in nearby Palmyra. According to the American Phrenological Journal of April, 1860, "he was apprenticed" as "a tanner and currier" -- the same trade Sidney Rigdon learned as a young man. Henry was married at Palmyra a year or two prior to 1827. His first four children were reportedly born in Palmyra between 1828 and 1833, but Henry himself probably spent most of 1827-1830 at Port Byron, where he had a cobbler's business. One of his friends in the latter town was Brigham Young. In 1830 Wells moved to Rochester and started up a school, and by 1836 he was a freight agent on the Erie Canal -- he subsequently started his own freight business, Wells & Co. of Albany, New York. In 1850 he joined with other freighters to form the American Express Company. This firm extended its operations to California in 1852, as Wells, Fargo & Co. In 1905 Wells Fargo separated its banking and express operations, and by 1914 American Express was an independent corporation. Wells was thus the co-founder of two of America's best known companies.

Note 3: The 1907 book, Palmyra, Wayne County, New York says on page 27: "Henry Wells, afterwards founder of Wells College, starting from Palmyra, carried parcels short distances in a hand bag... Henry Wells married his first wife Sally Daggett in the little weather beaten house that stands opposite Stafford street on the north side of Main street." In 1930 Thomas L. Cook reprinted a series of old articles from the Palmyra Courier-Journal, under the title of Palmyra and Vicinity, and on page 122 he stated: "Our next on the west in 1812 was owned by William Jackway. On this lot was a house and blacksmith shop. Later Levi Daggett occupied both. His daughter Sarah married Henry Wells, prominent in connection with the express business." According to an 1863 sermon delivered by the Rev. Horace Eaton, in Palmyra: "Where Asa Chase now resides there once stood a house built by Saml. Jennings. This house was occupied by the father of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, who came from Sharon Vt. [in] 1817. Afterwards Levi Daggett resided there & here occurred the wedding of Henry Wells & Sarah Daggett." All indications are, that the house owned by William Jackaway in 1812 was later the Palmyra residence of the Joseph Smith, Sr., family -- and after that, the residence of Henry F. Wells' in-laws.

Note 4: When Wells visited the Smith home in Manchester, in late 1827 or early 1828, he took along "his wife and her mother." This makes sense, if Mrs. Daggett was indeed living in the the Palmyra home previously occupied by the Smiths, and if she thus knew Mrs. Smith well enough to provide an introduction for her son-in-law. The "two miles" Wells traveled to Manchester matches the distance separating the Daggett residence, on Main Street, from the Smiths' cabin in Manchester. Wells said that he guessed the objects covered by a cloth were "slate stone," rather than "metallic plates." This conclusion corresponds to a report saying that William T. Hussey pulled off the covering, and "a large tile-brick was exhibited."

Note 5: The modern reader can only wonder whether Mr. Wells' experience in the Smith cabin at Manchester was relayed to his friend in Port Byron -- Brigham Young. According to the Deseret News of Dec. 20, 1913, "While [Brigham] engaged in boat building, [in Port Byron, in 1827] the air became filled with rumors of a new revelation, to the effect that a new Bible written upon golden plates had been dug out of the earth at Palmyra... Brigham determined to investigate... and Sunday morning found him in Palmyra, where he spent the day with those who had been investigating the subject. Becoming interested, he spent several succeeding Sundays in like manner and, instead of exposing the new teaching as a fraud as he had anticipated doing, he became a firm convert to the doctrines there expounded."


Auburn  News  and  Bulletin.

Vol. XXIV.                          Auburn, N. Y., Thurs., Nov. 17, 1881.                          No. 3567.

The  Book  of  Mormon.


Rochester Democrat.

Ridiculous as are the claims of the faithful regarding the origin of the "Book of Mormon," and worthless as are the contents of the volume, the people of Western New York have always felt considerable interest in the book and in the sect whose Bible it became, because both orginated in their midst. Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and Brigham Young, its greatest prophet, were born in Vermont, and both emigrated into this part of the Empire State, at an early age. The former spent the years of a disreputable youth and early manhood at Palmyra, Wayne county; and the latter engaged in the useful though not very exalted profession of glacier and painter -- some say cooper -- at Auburn, Cayuga county. About two miles from Palmyra the alleged golden tablets were found by Smith, and at that village they were translated and published in the winter of 1829-30; from Western New York came also that first converts to the new faith.

Notwithstanding the book of "Mormonism Unveiled," edited by one E. D. Howe, and, other expositions of the fraud that soon followed, the first Mormons succeeded in veiling the origin and circumstances attending the production of the "Book of Mormon" in some mystery.

The mysterious is always a powerful adjunct in the establishment and spread of a new religion among the ignorant, and this in part accounts for the success which followed. The well known version of the production of the book given by the followers of Smith is as follows: A celestial personage pointed out to Smith a place on the hill Cumorah, where a stone casket was hidden containing a volume of thin gold plates, eight inches long, seven inches wide and six inches thick, fastened together. These plates were covered with hieroglyphics in a language no longer extant. In the same box was also found a pair of magic spectacles which Smith called Urim and Thummim. These placed over the strange characters inscribed on the plates would convert them into English which Smith dictated to an amanuensis, Oliver Cowdrey. Unbelivers say that Smith with his tablets sat behind a curtain which screened him from too observant eyes. This process of translation lasted about six months. The book was published soon after and created considerable excitement.

The volume consists of nearly a score books, the first of which professes to have been written by, one Nephi, who lived in Jerusalem about 600 B. C. The work is supposed to have been continued by others until about 420 A. D. This wonderful literary production pretends to give a history of America up to the fifth century of our era; the first settlement of the country after the tower of Babel failure: the second settlement in the sixth century B. C., by Lehi and his sons wbo came direct from Jerusalem; the origin of the Indians from the unfaithful Jews; the advent and preachings of Christ in America, the final destruction of the faithful, etc. etc. The contents of the book and its marvelous contents were believed by many, but ruthless unbelievers appeared who sought to destroy the claims for the authenticity. In his "Mormonism Unveiled," E. D. Howe sought to prove that this supplement to the Bible was based on a sort of historical romance, written by one Samuel [sic] Spaulding, a clergyman residing at Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio, in 1812, whose imagination had evidently been fired by a peculiar mound in the neighborhood, and from which Indian relics have since been exhumed.

This romance was entitled, "The Manuscript Found," and was read by its author to his neighbors for amusement, as he was unable to get it printed. Afterwards, several witnesses who testified to the truth of Joe Smith's story, quarreled with that libertine and stated that the whole affair was a hoax.

But this manuscript upon which the "Book of Mormon" is said to be founded, has never been found since it left the hands of Mr. Spaulding and his wife. It has been traced, but what has become of it is only known to the Mormons themselves. They recognized the necessity of keeping it from profane eyes, and have very successfully done so. In the August number of Scribner's for 1880, Mrs. E. E. Dickinson publishes an article showing that the claim that Spaulding's novel was the original of the "Book of Mormon," was true, substantiating her statement in part with evidence furnished by Mrs. McKinstry, a daughter of Spaulding. She also stated that the manuscript was, in 1834, delivered to one D. P. Hurlbut, of Gibbonsburg, Ohio.

In the October number of this year Mrs. Dickinson has another article, in which Hurlbert denies that he ever received the manuscript in question. She traces the "Manuscript Found" in other directions, however, still claiming that Hurlbut at one time had the genuine manuscript in his possession, from certain admissions which he made to her. Mrs. Redfield, of Syracuse, writes to her that the original "Manuscript Found" was in existence at Onondaga Valley, N. Y., in 1818. In 1831, Mrs. Davison, widow of Samuel Spauiding, had it in her possession at Hartwick, N. Y.

Mrs. Dickinson publishes a statement from one Hiram Lake, of Conneaut, Ashtabula county, Ohio, in which be says that his father heard the "Manuscript Found" read or read it himself, telling his son, who was then twenty-three years old, that the Mormon book was undoubtedly founded on it. Mrs. Dickinson had an interview with the late President Garfield at Mentor, whose farm, by the way, was purchased from a Mormon.

From her conversation with him and Mrs. Garfield, she gathered that they believed Sidney Rigdon was the prime author of the Book of Mormon, and that Smith was his tool. Rigdon was a young printer at the time, and was known to have seen the manuscript.

Recently a correspondent of the Chicago Times published an interview which he had with David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses who testided to the reality of the gold plates found by Joseph Smith. He is now a very old man living at Richmond, Ray county, Mo. It was at his father's house that the plates were translated and the book completed. He still professes to believe in the divine origin ot the golden plates, and describes minutely how they were fastened together. He also has in his posession the original manuscript written by Cowdry, thumbed and marked by printers, and cut up into "takes."

This old gentleman not only saw the tablet, but the celestial visitor who superitended its discovery and heard him say, "Blessed is the Lord and he that keeps his commandments;" also, "What you see is true, testify to the same." This same spirit appeared a few days after to Martin Harris, who defrayed the publication. The two and Cowdry were the three witnesses to the genuiness of the plates and book. Mr. Whitmer emphatically asserts that he has heard Sidney Rigdon, in the pulpit and in private conversations declare that the Spaulding story, that he had used "The Manuscript Found" for the purpose of preparing the "Book of Mormon," was as false as were many other charges that were then being made against the infant church, and he asserts that the story is as untruthtul as it is ridiculous. Concerning Joseph Smith, Mr. Whitmer says that he was quite illiterate, knew nothing of grammar or composition, but obtained quite a good education after he went west; was a man of great magnetism, made friends easily, was liberal and noble in his impulses, tall, finely formed and full of animal life, but sprung from the most humble circumstances. The first good suit of clothes he had ever worn was presented to him by Christian Whitmer, brother of David.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. VII.                   Mount Morris, New York, Saturday, December 24, 1881.                   No. 43.


The Kind of Man Gen. Harney Was.

"I was with Harney at the time of the Mountain Meadow massacre," says an old scout, "and I went to Salt Lake City with him when he went down there to interview Brigham Young. Now there was an incident connected with that trip that I do not think was then reported, or has ever been written up. It shows the kind of a man Harney was."

"Tell me about it."

"When he heard about the massacre, he sent out scouts to find out who the murderers were, and when they reported they were Mormons, off he went with his entire command for Salt Lake City, swearing every rod of the way that he would hang the murderers if he had to hang every Mormon in Utah. He intended to give Brigham Young twenty-four hours to surrender up the murderers, and unless this was done, Latter-Day Saints would be mighty scarce around there. Before we reached Salt Lake City a messenger overtook us with orders from the War Deprtment for Harney to return to camp; that the civil authorities would attend to the massacre business. Then you ought to have heard the old man swear. He scolded the government enough to sink it. I never met a man who could swear more violently than Harney.

"He thought the matter over for a little while, and then declared that he had started for Salt Lake City, and he would go there if he was court-martialed and shot for it. And he went, too; and if the War Department ever heard of it no action was taken. We camped a short: distance outside the city and stayed a few days to give the animals a rest, and they needed it sadly, for we had traveled fast. The morning that we started back to Yuma a young girl, about-seventeen or eighteen years old, came out to the camp and applied to Brady, the train master, to help her escape. Her parents were English, who had joined the Mormons not long before, and one of the elders wanted to marry her. Her parents were trying to force her to this polygamous marriage, and she had an uncle and aunt in San Francisco, and to them she wanted to go.

"Brady wasn't the man to say 'no' under such circumstances, and he stowed her away in the flour wagon by piling the barrels around her in such a way that she couldn't be seen from either end. We hadn't gone far before a dozen Mormons overtook us, the girl's father being along with them, and they went through that train until they found the girl. After they got her out, she turned to Brady and hade him good-bye, at the same time thanking him for trying to help her. That, of course, gave him dead away, and the Mormons arrested him for kidnapping the girl, and away they all went toward the city.

"Harney saw that there was something wrong with the train, and back came a messenger to see what was the matter. As soon as Harney was informed of what had occurred, he ordered the train to halt and stay there until he got back, and, swearing, worse than before, away he and all the troops went for the Mormons. They had a long start on him, however, and reached the city first. Do you suppose Harney stopped when he reached the city? Not a bit of it. Right up the main street he went at a gallop, and when he jumped from his home and cried 'Halt!' it was right in front of Brigham's office. There was a guard on duty there with a musket and fixed bayouet, but as he brought his weapon to a charge, Harney gave it a kick that turned the guard half round, and the next instant he was disarmed. Harney strode into the office with a half dozen soldiers at his heels, and two minutes later Brigham was astraddle of a horse and galloping down the street in the center of a troop of cavalry.

"It was fun to see the Mormons stare as they saw the old man in such company, but before they could have time to act we were out of the city. About five miles out Harney ordered a halt, and it wasn't long before a lot of Mormons came riding up as fast as their horses could carry them. When they got up within sound of his voice, Harney ordered them to halt or he would fire on them, and they halted. Then he ordered Brigham to tell them to go back to the city and bring Brady and the girl back with them, and said he to Brigham: 'If they are not here inside of two hours I'll fill your carcass full of government lead!"

"'You don't dare to,' says Brigham.

"'Why, confound you,' says Harney, I'll shoot you myself!'"

"Long before the two hours were up, Brady and the girl were there, and when we got to Yuma, Harney sent a guard with her to San Bernardino, on her way to San Francisco. That's the kind of a man Harney was."

Note: Although General William S. Harney was in California and Oregon during 1859-60, there is no record of his ever being at Fort Yuma or in Utah, much less of his investigating the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre in Utah Territory. The above account appears to be a made-up story, similar in construction to the account given in the Enterprise of Sept. 8, 1883.


Lewis County Democrat.

Vol. XXVI.                    Lowville, New York, Wednesday, March 15, 1882.                     No. 34.

A Grand Discovery.

On Thursday last some laborers digging in a ditch near Provo came upon an old iron box with some unreadable inscription on the top. Deeming the find of some importance they shipped it to the church historian, who manufactures startling events in Mormon history, one door west of the Amelia Palace. The box, on being blown open with dynamite, revealed a number of vellum leaves, which were immediately recognized (by the smell) as the lost leaves of the Book of Mormon. Yesterday a Tribune reporter called on John Taylor and was kindly permitted to inspect the documents.

The inscriptions were in Hebrew shorthand (old style) but the reporter had no difficulty in translating them, with the assistance of a peep stone which Taylor loaned him. The chapter read as follows:

In the year of great tribulation and distress the children of Israel marched westward and settled in the mountains of Utah.

And Young, whose surname was Brigham, preached unto the people, saying:

Come unto me all ye that are heavy laden and bring in your tithes. Bring the first born of all the kids and the heifers and the horses, and give them unto me.

Bring in the milk and the butter, and the wheat and what spare sheckles you have in your habitations, that I may wax fat upon the earth.

For the Lord hath said that the Seer and Revelator should live in idleness, and his followers shall work like the devil from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, and a few hours of the evening.

And Brigham cried with a loud voice, "Come in lively and put up liberal, for the prophet of the Lord hath spoken."

And the people were sore troubled within themselves, and made secret lamentations, but durst not anger the prophet of the Lord. So they plunged up and cussed with exceeding wrath.

And he called upon them to build houses, and they worked like horse thieves to do it,

And they built telegraph lines and took stock for pay, but Brigham owned and run the lines, and there was nary divy unto this day.

And he handled the tithing fund, and went for everything in sight. For the cold cash and the produce and the ducats went he.

And his annual clean up was a million of dollars, and the Twelve Apostles never got a smell.

And they lifted up their voices in sore tribulation, and cried aloud, saying, "Give unto us a whack at the sack."

And Brigham answered and said unto them, "Behold are ye not children of Anak, and walk not after the word of the Lord. Behold, the spirit of prophecy is in me, and hearken unto the words which I, the Seer of the Lord, prophecy," and they drew near and hearkened diligently for the revelation, and Brigham revealed unto them, saying:

"Behold, the Lord appeareth unto me in a cloud of fire, saying, 'Tell the Apostles that they will have no whack at the sack, for I, the Lord hath spoken it.'"

And the Twelve went their way weeping. But Brigham laid his finger against the side of his nose and laughed until the going down of the sun.

And he sent for his fiddlers and his wives and made merry until midnight.

After this several chapters are missing, but in the ninth chapter the death of the prophet is thus graphically described:

And behold, Brigham, the Seer of God, was sickened, and the Apostles came unto him and prayed, anointing him with holy oil. And after three days he cried off saying, "D____n your holy oil and prayers. Give unto me some peppermint and ginger root, and be quick about it."

And they hastened to send for the doctors, but it was too late.

And when the healers came they said, "green corn," and the head cook knew it was so.

And the old man rolled all night from the pain which was in the belly, and no man could comfort him. And he turned his face to the wall on four sides, and the floor, and thus he gave up the ghost.

The planting of the seer is too tearful for print, but the history continues:

And after the seer was planted the Apostles were exceeding glad, for they said within themselves, "We will handle the sack and make our pile twelve times a year."

And the twelve handled the sack, and when the handling was done the sack was sick.

And the Apostles rejoiced that they could get their fins in and then waxed wealthy in the land.

And the people worked and sweated, and bent their backs and blistered their hands, and cursed the seer and paid tithes sorrowing.

And the Danites waxed mighty in the land and the Gentiles were sore afraid.

And the children of Dan went forth to destroy the children of the Gentiles, and smote them in the night.

And they destroyed their first-born and their wives and their little ones.

And the Gentiles rose up, saying, "We stand no more of this nonsense," and they played the same game with the Danites, and smote them hip and thigh.

And they strewed the ground with them, and the Danites were awearied and said among themselves:

"Let us quit this business or we will all be dead men."

And they all said, "Behold the head of him who speaks unto us is level, and there is nutriment in his talk." And they hearkened unto him.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. II.                                  Geneva, N. Y., Tuesday, March 21, 1882.                                  No. 12.

A  St. Paul Resident  Tells  of  Jemima Wilkinson,  The
Foundress  of  the  Latter-Day Saints  and  Mormonism.


"Good-afternoon, sir.

"How d'ye do?"

The speaker, a reporter of the Pioneer Press and a bright-eyed gentleman of nfifty Yule-tides, who lives in the city, and deals in real estate, had met incidentally and were conversing, while awaiting the arrival of a mutual acquaintance, upon various topics -- the Mormon agitation at length coming upon the tapis.

"Do you know," said the elder man, who we may algebraically represent by a W. "Do you know that Mormonism started where I came from, way down in Connecticut more'n a hundred years ago, in fact right about revolution times?"

"Never heard that before. Are you solid on your facts?"

"Guess I be. Guess I be. My father and grandfather and his father before him knew all about this thing and I've heard the first two of 'em tell it lots of times, and remember the localities as well as I do the stores on Third street."


"Judge for yourself if you have half an hour to-spare. You've certainly heard of Jemima Wilkinson. No? Well it's nigh on a hundred years, as I said, maybe more, since that female, who got to be notorious enough those days I tell ye, come to LitchHeld county and settled in New Milford where my ancestors were born and raised. She came from Maine, 'twas said, and hadn't been in the town long before she gave out that she was anti-Christ, and had come to prepare people for the second coming of the Lord. She wasn't half bad lookin', from all accounts and didn't wait long for some followers, though it was some time before she got what you might call a congregation. That come in time, however, and before many years she had a meetin' house, where she used to exhort, not only in New Medford but in the the adjoining town of Washington as well. Lord bless you, I've seen the place where her followers used to gather lots of times. Now what do you suppose she called her people?"

"I pass."

"Why, Latter Day Saints, and some of her doctrines was stole, clear and clean, by Joe and Hiram Smith, who were followers of her's later on. Lord, Lord, what a memory for Bible that women had. It's said you couldn't name a passage in scripture but she'd up and tell you book, chapter and verse in no time at all. She used to talk like one inspired, too, and anyone takin' her for a fool was sure to get left clear out of sight. She was practical, too (and here Mr. W. chuckled a mite,) for one of her rules of membership was that whoever joined had to make everything over to her --personal property, lands, everything -- and if she saw fit she turned with money and kept it locked up.


though, and if any of her folks wanted money all they had to do was tell what it was and she'd shell out right off. The poor ones liked this doctrine amazin', and the well-to-do didn't seem to object much. Those were early times you know, and poor people were'nt as poor and rich ones as rich as they are now."

"Was polygamy one of her tenets?"

"Worse than that, I guess. She believed in communism and all that means. She called herself, and acted like, the wife of all her male followers, and the other women was the same, the men bein' kind o' general husbands."

"What about the consequences?"

"The children were called 'offsprings of the Latter Day Saints,' and were taken care of by the whole community. I tell you they used to have some high old times at some of their meetings. On special occasions all the members would meet in their house and then the lights would be turned out, leavin' all as dark as Egypt."

One old farmer, whose wife had joined the saints much against his will, succeeded in getting into one of those dark lantern meetings one night, and when his wife came home raving about the glorious time she had he showed her a piece he had cut out of her dress and sent her home to her father."

"How on earth did a neighborhood so righteous as Connecticut was supposed to have universally been stand such goings on as that?

That's never been made very clear to me, but I suppose many of the folks who did not belong to the sect was sort of afraid of Jemima, who used to give out all sorts of things about her powers and all that sort of thing. My great grandmother always spoke out against the saints, and late one cold night Jemima sent the old woman -- she must have been over eighty -- a summons to appear before her.


in them days, and grandmother didn't dare to disobey this one, not knowin' what power the other woman had. So she was bundled up and started off in a sleigh. Jemima received her very kindly and said, "Mrs. W., why are you so strong against me? You do me more harm than all the rest. Now, I want you to join our people." The old lady said, quotin' the words of the Lord, 'In these latter days anti-Christs shall arise; go ye not after them,' and she wouldn't listen to any arguments, When she bwas startin' home Jemima said, 'It's terribly cold; you must have a drop of brandy to warm you (and they kept mighty good liquor then, I recon.) Here's a glass; don't be afraid. I'll drink first; it aint piszened.' And the two women took a social glass together afore they parted."

"Did Jemima die in Connecticut?"

"No, indeed. She stayed in Litchfield county for twenty-five years, and then got dissatisfied or afraid of bein' driven out, and so she and 100 people moved to New York State -- somewhere on Black river. They did not like that location much, and immigrated again after a couple of years to a lake in upper New York called Penn Yan. It was at Penn Yan, too, that Jemima gave out one day (she was gettin' pretty old then) that on a certain Sunday she would walk on the waters of the lake like our Savior did on Galilee. The Sunday came, and there was a big crowd. After preachin' a sermon Jemima said: "My friends, have you faith that I can walk on that Water?" pointin' to the lake on the bank of which the meetin' was bein' held, and a lot in the audience said they hadn't. "Well, then," said the old woman, "I won't try. If you havn't faith I couldn't do it. Go home and get faith and I'll walk on the water next Sunday." The next Sunday there was a big crowd, and after the sermon Jemima asked again if they had faith, and they all hollered out, "We have." Upon that the cute old woman replied, "Then I needn't do it, for if you have faith I can, that's as good as seein' it," and she went home."

"She was cute enough. What about her death?"

"She lived to be very old, and just before she died she gave out that she would be resurrected, and would return among her people. When she died the head man buried a coffin with what they pretended was her body in it, but they didn't bury her at all, but took her up into the garret of a big house they had, and stretched her out on a table, dressed in her shroud. They let the corpse stay there till the flesh fell from the bones, and the bones themselves began to crumble, before they'd believe she wasn't coming back. Joe Smith got to be leader after her death, and it was at Penn Yan he got a renegade preacher to translate the Bible for him. He'd get two or three pages a day, pertendin' it was revealed to him, in parts, while he was in the woods or asleep, and thus the Mormon Bible was made up; Joe, of course, fixin' up the, translatin' to suit himself. After a while the whole kit and caboodle moved to Nauvoo, Ill., and every schoolboy knows what happened to 'em there before they finally moved to Utah, and, after firin' a lot of rifles at innocent folks at Mountain Meadow, fired a Cannon at congress not many years ago."

The old man, chuckling over his last joke, took his leave. -- St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. VIII.                   Mount Morris, New York, Saturday, March 25, 1882.                   No. 4.

A Voice from Salt Lake.


The Salt Lake City Tribune publishes the following from a Mormon woman well known in that city:

George Q. Cannon averts in a recent interview that tbe Mormon people are unanimous in their opposition to the Edmunds bill. I know that this is not true. I have been a Mormon for twenty-one years and I still believe in all the principles that were taught me when I embraced Mormonism in England. I don't believe in polygamy and blood atonement, but I never heard of those principles until I came to Utah in 1863. Neither do I believe in the obligations we are forced to take on ourselves in the Endowment House. I know many persons who are Mormons, in the same sense that I am, who believe in all the principles that were first taught them, but who do not believe in polygamy, blood atonement or any other wickedness that is practiced in the name of religion.

I know women who signed the Mormon memorial to Congress because they feared to lose their own and their children's bread if they refused. Yet these very women are hoping and praying that Congress will put down polygamy. One woman who signed the memorial because she dared not do otherwise said to me, "If Congress gives Cannon his seat and don't put down polygamy with a strong hand I will say the members of Congress are as bad as the Mormons." Another woman, a friend of mine, says: -- "I do not know the man who brought the petition to my house, but supposed him to be a Gentile. I asked him if the petition was against polygamy and he said it was. I have suffered terribly in polygamy and I signed my name quickly enough, but after I had done so something in his manners made me suspicious, and I asked him if it was not the Mormon petition against the Edmunds bill. He had my name then, so he told me the truth. I asked him to cross my name out, but he would not do it."

Another woman said: "When they brought tbe petition to my house they told me that the Edmunds bill would take away our homes and strip us of everything, and I signed because I believed what told they me."

I have not seen the memorial myself. Those who brought it around knew better than to ask me to sign it. They think I have "a rebellious spirit," and my husband said to me only a few days ago:

"When the law of God is in full force and we get rid of all these blamed Gentiles and cutthroats, then all such woman as you are will be killed."

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. III.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Sun., July 9, 1882.                             No. 113.



An Officer of the Regular Army on the Creed of Joe Smith and
Brigham Young -- Authentic History and Interesting Recital.

Lieutenant Oscar F. Long, U. S. A., of General Miles's command, was recently in Salt Lake City en route to Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory. He has made a careful study of the Mormons and some of his views are reflected in the following letter, the first of a serial which we shall have the pleasure of giving to the readers of the Sunday Herald. Lieutenant Long dates his communication: "Deseret; the land of the honey bee":

While en route to the Pacific coarst I branched off at Ogden southward for Salt Lake City. A brief sojourn in that delectable locality enabled me to glean facts regarding Utah and the institution of Mormonism, which, collated, it is hoped, may not prove uninteresting. The tendency of legislation now seems to be in favor of settling, without further procrastination, the vexed problem of polygamy, which has disturbed every administration from the time of Fillmore to the present day. Utah is divided into two parts by the Wahsatch mtuntains. Its surface presents a pleasant interchange of hill and valley. In the two mountain ranges between which the Jordan river flows -- the Wahsatch on the east and the Oqairrah on the west -- valuable deposits of precious metals occur. Gold, silver and copper ores are abundant; Iron exists in immense quantities, and coal of excellent quality is found; besides, bismuth, cinnabar, granite and marble are met with here, and these and sulphur are plentiful. The enormous mineral wealth of the Territory is but little understood by the general public, for it has not been the policy of the Mormons to invite prospectors, much less to encourage immigration. The Danites, or Destroying Angels of the Church, by their secret assassinations drive the few daring prospectors and miners from the mountains. The first mines opened in Utah were only opened under a guard of United States soldiers. During our centennial year Utah stood third among the bullion producing States and Territories, and it is asserted that the amount of precious ore taken from its mines during the present year will aggregate $10,000,000.

The beautiful, meadowlike valleys lie from 4,000 to 6,000 feet above the level of the see, and much of the soil possesses the elements of fertflity. There is a prevalent impression that the Great Sait Lake of Utah is below the level of the sea, and the inference has gained credence that at one time the lake formed part of the Gulf of California. This is erroneous. In the valleys the climate is generally mild and healthful, and but little snow is s een. The days are warm in summer, but thr nights are alwajs refreshingly cool.


is situated on the River Jordan, and not far distant is seen the mirrored surface of the Great Salt late. Syracusans will be interested in knowing that the saline deposits of this late would supply the world with salt. Its valley in early years was known as the Valley of the Sacramento. The outline of the lake is irregular and there is no outlet; its altitude is 4,900 feet above the level of the sea, and in extent it is some seventy-flve miles long by thirty in breadth. Its shallow waters possess a specific gravity of 117 and form one of the most concentrated brines known. In it no living thing exists. To swim there is difficult, but in its buoyant waters man may float, if he exercisES care, for there is a tendency of the lower extremities to rise above the surface and the head to sink, and the water in the mouth or nostrils quickly [p---- in] strangulation,

Let us glance back half a century and mark the inception of this excresence -- this morbid outgrowth of our civilization, whose fungusllke development has increased to such an extent as to number at present some 200,000 souls. Of this number 130,000 are in Utah; and the remainder are distributed through Idaho, Arizona, Nebraska and New Mexico. Two hundred thousand Mormons! and each "one by his oath is the sworn enemy of the nation within whose borders he dwells. The act of development by which the germ of Mormonism was evolved is simple. It was conceived in ignorance and born of superstltion. Mormonism is the result of a diseased imagination to which was subsidized truth and conscience. Its legends are as fanciful as those of the beautiful Rhine. Joseph was inspired by his mother, who came from the Green Mountain State into Wayne county, New York, and there Settled. In 1823, while watching his father digging a well, he discovered a curious stone, the famous "seer" or "peek stone" and immediately began to have visions. He laid claim to miraculous power; he could tell where hidden wealth was to be found -- caskets of gold, coffers of gems and all the "wealth of Ormus and; of Ind," which had remained hidden for centuries. By the aid of this wonderful stone, these priceless treasures were to see the light of day. Solemn ceremonies and incantations always prefaced the work; and the credulous were only too eager to follow this self-constituted seer. Under [cover] of darkness and in entire silence the work progressed, but, it is needless to say, no treasure was found. The "spell" always was broken and the riches "spirited away. Smith was lamentabjy ignorant, but guided by the cunning of a serpent, allied'to himself a back-sliding clergyman; Rigdon by name, unprincipled as himself, but shrewd, and of versatile gifts. Soon afterward an angel appeared to him with the information that tnere was work for him to do, and that a record, written upon gold plates, was to be deposited in a particular place in'the earth, and with the record was to be found two transparent stones, through which the records would beccme intelligible. In 1827 these plates were found, engraved in hieroglyphics in a language not then known. From these tablets Smith read the Golden Bible or Book of Mormon. This book was printed, and with it a statement of three witnesses, who averred that an angel came down and laid it before their eyes, and that they beheld and saw the plates and engravings thereon. In this Book of Mormon it is affirmed that about the year 600 B. G. Lehi and his famfly, who dwelt at Jerusalem in the days of King Zedekiah, went into the wilderness, and, wandering for several years, arrived at the ocean, where he built a ship and set out in search of a promised land.


dissensions arose, and Laman and Lemuel and [their] offspring, as a punishment for havirg rebelled against Nephi, who had been, appointed a ruler over them, were cursed by the Lord, and condemned to Have dark skins and to "become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, which did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey." This was the origin of the American Indians, who, according to the Book of Mormon, are descended from the lost tribes of Israel. The fact has been fully established that this book was written by a graduate of Dartmouth college, Rev. Solomon Spaldlng, who, leaving the church, afterward diverted himself by writing peculiar romances. He became interested in mounds in Ohio, which at that time were attracting much attention, and said those mounds were evidence of the existence of an extinct race. He wrote a book in biblical phraseology, portraying the wanderings and exploits of the primeval people who built the mounds, amd this book never went to press. Rigdon, who was a journeyman printer in the office to which this manuscript was sent for publication, probably secured it by theft, for it is without doubt, the golden bible of the latter day saints.

Mormonism thus gained a foothold on superstitious ignorance. Smith prophesied and Rigdon secured converts by preaching. Smith's family and a few of his and Rigdon's associates were soon numerous enough to establish the Mormon church, as it is generally styled, or "the Church of the Latter Day Saints."

In 1830, the church was instituted at Manchester, N. Y. with about thirty believers, and the following year directed, as was said, by a revelation; the whole body was led to Kirtland, Ohio, which was to be the seat of the new Jerusalem. Shortly afterw«rd, in consequence of doubtful business transactions, both Smith and Rigdon were dragged from their beds by a mob and tarred and feathered. Truly they were inpired agents of a prescient deity, in 1832,


became a convert, was ordained an elder, and began to preach. His shrewdness gave him the prominence ha coveted; he was made one of the Twelve Apostles and preached the new doctrine throughout the eastern states, gaining many converts. In 1838, to escape the righteous indignation of an outraged people, the Mormon leaders fled to the town of Far West, in Missouri, whence their converts soon followed. Internal dissensions arose among them. Smith was accused of desiring to be a second Mahomet to this generation, and about this time the Danites were organized and took an oath to support the heads of the church in all things, whether right or wrong. In 1838 the conflict between the Mormons and Missourians assumed such proportions that the militia of the State was called out. The Mormons defied the officers ot the law, and Smith and Rigdon were arrested, charged with treason, murder and other high Crimes. Acompromise was effected and the Mormons moved over into Illinois, where Smith escaping, afterward joined them. They settled on land given them, and built a city which they called Nauvoo. The legislature granted a charter for the city and conferred extraordinary civil and military powers on Smith. He was permitted by the charter to organize the Nauvoo legion, with the rack of Lieutenant General.

In 1843 he received a revelation authorizing polygamy, but it created so much scandai that it was deemed best to put forth a public denial. It was not until 1852 that polygamy was boldly avowed. In 1844, Smith, while soliciting spiritual wives, caused an uproar which culminated in his arrest. He was committed to prison, but a mob attacked the jail, and on the night of June 27th, while attempting to escape through a window, Smith was shot dead.

In the eyes of his people such a death covered him with the glory of martyrdom. As a consequence, much confusion resulted from his sudden and very mortal-like demise. A leader was not wanting. The shrewd and cunning Brigham Young secured the ascendancy and was chosen president. In 1845 their charter was repealed by the Legislature. In September of the following year the city o£ Nauvoo was again in trouble, and cannonaded for three days. The Mormons were driven out at the point of the bayonet, and in 1847, from Council Bluffs their prairie schooners were sailing onward for the land of promise -- the Salt Lake valley of Utah. When the the Mormons entered the valley it belonged to Mexico, but a few montos later was ceded to the United States by the treaty o£ "Gaudaloupe Hidalgo." Passing througn "Emigration canyon" they soon reached the Mecca of their pilgrimage. They were poor and isolated and endured all the hardships of their poverty and isolation, but immediately going to work, brought under cultivation large tracts of land, erected buildings and far away from civilizion endeavored to live in the enjoyment of their mystery of iniquity. In 1849 the State of Deseret, the "Land of the Honey-bee," was organized. Besides Utah, within the limits of the territory claimed, by the prophet, were Idaho, Nevada, Arizona and California. Congress refused to recognize the State, but in 1850 the Territory of Utah was formed and Brigham Young appointed Governor by President Fillmore. Moreover he was ex officio commander of the military and assumed to be also vice regent of the Almighty. The following year the federal judges, having been forced by threats to leave the territory, Brigham Young was superseded as Governor by Col. Steptoe of the United States army. In August, 1854, Col. Steptoe arrived at Salt Lake City with a battalion of soldiers, but such was the state of affairs that it was not deemed advisable to assume his office, and after wintering in Salt Lake City, he formally resigned his civil appointment and moved onward with his troops to California. It was


shortly after this event, that Brigham Young said, "I am and will be Governor and no man can hinder it" -- an open defiance to the authority of the United States. From this time dates the conflict between theocratic despotism and republican Ideas. From this time the Mormon leaders have been diligently engaged in sowing the seeds of disloyalty to the government and hatred to the nation. Soon after all the United States officials were compelled to leave the territory, and it was decided at Washington to supercede Brigbam Young as Governor and to send to the Territory a military force sufficient to protect the fedtral officers and sustain the dignity of the general government. In 1857 a force of 2,50O United States troops, consisting of the 5th, 7th and 10th regiments of infantry, the 2d dragoons, mounted rifles and three batteries of artillery, were sent to Utah to protect the Governor and support him in the discharge of his functions. Young denounced the army as a mob and forbade it to enter the Territory, and called the people of Utah to arms to repel its advance.

Late in the fall the troops arrived near Fort Bridger and, having been informed that Emigrant canyon (the only pass leading to Salt Lake City) had been strongly fortified by the Mormons, were under the necessity of making a detour to reach the valley. CoL A. S. Johnston had assumed command. Only four days out from Bridger, they were overtaken by the snows of winter, and loss of animals and severe storms compelled them to turn back. About the middle of November they went into winter quarters at Black's Fork, near Fort Bridger. The Mormons destroyed several supply trains, and cutting off eight hundred head of oxern, drove them to Salt Lake City. In the spring of 1858, Col. Kane, who had gone from Washington to Salt Lake City by the way of California as a commissioner, brought about an understanding between the Mormon leaders and the new Governor, and shortly afterward the troops entered Salt Lake valley and went into camp on the western side of Lake Utah, about forty miles from Salt Lake City, where they remained until May, 1860, when they were withdrawn to New Mexico and elsewhere. In the council with the commissioners, the representative of the government, the Mormons exhibited much venom.

Notes: (forthcoming)


St. Lawrence  Plaindealer.

Vol. XXVII.                          Canton, N. Y., Wed., May 23, 1883.                          No. 47.

Origin  of  the  Mormon Bible.

The real author of the Book of Mormon was Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College in 1785. His health failing, he engaged in business, and, in 1800 was living at Conneaut, Ohio, where there are numerous Indian mounds. He then wrote a romance, setting forth the not new theory that the North American Indians were representatives of the lost tribes of Israel. Mr. Spaulding took advantage of his surroundings, and connected his story with the relics which were found in the mounds. In a fictitious introduction to his novel which he entitled "The Manuscript Found," he speaks of the book as one of the exhumed relics of a past age. He makes use of the Scripture style of expression. He tells of the departure from Palestine of a Jewish father, Lehi, and his four sons, Laman, Samuel, Lemuel and Nephi, of the various journies and their voyage to this Western Continent. Dissension and division are frequent. The descendants of the brothers develop into hostile tribes. Then come quarrels and wars, and finally a decisive battle, and in short, the substance of all that is found in the "Golden Bible" of Joseph Smith. Indeed the Book of Mormon seems to be only a modified but mutilated edition of Rev. Mr. Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." There is abundant internal evidence that the later is a reproduction of the earlier work.

Spaulding used to read the chapters of his story to his neighbors, who were deeply interested in its progress, and were greatly entertained by the ingenuity of the author. He worked upon it three years, or until 1812, when he moved to Pittsburg, Pa. There he put his manuscript into the hands of a printer by the name of Patterson. He expected to publish the book, and it was announced in the papers in 1813 as forthcoming. It never was published, however, probably because Spaulding had not the money to pay the bills. Spaulding died in 1816. The original copy was returned to his widow, who kept it until the Book of Mormon was published, and then she produced it in proof of her assertion that Joseph's pretended revelation was a fraud. In the Boston Journal, of May 18, 1839, she told the story of the Manuscript.

The evidence is complete that Smith discovered only what he and some associate had hidden in a box of their own making, in a hole of their own digging. Smith came into possession of a copy of the work of Spaulding, by Sidney Rigdon, a working-man in Patterson's printing office. Rigdon confessed the fact afterward when he was cut off from the Mormon Church by Brigham Young. The three witnesses also quarreled with Joseph and Rigdon, and confessed to having sworn falsely. Rigdon, on leaving the work of printing, became a preacher of peculiar doctrines. Smith had quite a large following in certain views peculiarly his, and these two religious Ishmaelites coming together, set to work to give the world a new Bible. Smith, adding what was suited to his purpose, dictated Spaulding's story to Oliver Cowdrey from behind a screen, and the work was done, "and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics an divine."

The new prophet seems to have had but vague notions of what doctrines the new church should hold. Rigdon held to some doctrines which Smith did not. But they both agreed on the question of the second Advent, then exciting their section of country. They made that doctrine prominent in their Bible. The idea was "the end is at hand; the Indians are to be speedily converted; America is the final gathering place of the saints, who were to assemble as near the centre of the continent as possible." This was a doctrine, and this they preached, and this chiefly at first. It may be said in brief, that the religious teachings of the Book of Mormon relate to very modern questions. The discussions of 1830 and thereabouts, seem to furnish the new leaders with themes. Millenarianism is the main question. Infant Baptism, however, quite an ancient institution, is denounced; and wonderful to relate, polygamy, a much more ancient and for this country a very modern institution, is emphatically and repeatedly condemned. Polygamy as a duty was proclaimed by a revelation, much later in the prophet's life. -- Saturday Afternoon.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. IX.                   Mount Morris, New York, Saturday, September 8, 1883.                   No. 28.


United States Troops Protecting Women
from Forcible Degradation.

In the spring of 1854 a party was organised at Salt Lake City for the purpose of crossing the plains to California, a majority of its members being newly-enlisted recruits for the army, designated to fill up a number of depleted commands on the coast. So serious indeed had the situation become that on one occasion early in the spring the Mormons violently assauted a detached portion of the command and seriously wounded several members of the party, necessitating the commander, Colonel Steptoe, to place the men under arms and station double guards constantly about their barracks to prevent their being surpriseid and possibly massacred. In the midst of all bad feeling, a Mormon woman came to the camp, accompanied by her daughter, a young woman almost grown. She was admitted into the presence of General Ingalls, then a captain, and Colonel Steptoe, commander of the party, being absent for some reason, her conference was held with him. Her story was one calculated to inspire sympathy in the heart of almost any one, and Captain Ingalls, without any further questions of hesitancy, guaranteed her the desired protection. She had married a Mormon gentleman in the States, and had not long been a resident of Utah. Her husband was not a polygamist, however, and their married life had been a happy one. About a year previous he had died, and lately the leaders of the Church had been making persistent efforts to induce her to marry another man, one already posessed of a sufficient number of wives. Her daughter had also been importuned to marry, to which both had entered objection. The persistent efforts of the Mormons to force them to do as they dictated were akin to persecution, and the mother and daughter determined upon flight as their only means of immunity from further persecution.

Captain Ingalls was fully aware of the consquences of his action, but determined to afford them a safe conduct to California, and accordingly provided quarters for them. Just before the train was to start on its journey westward the Mormons learned that the two women, whose diappearance created quite a commotion, and for whom search had been instituted in every quarter, were with the accursed Gentiles, who proposed to frustrate their designs. Accordingly a great party of their "minute men," over a thousand strong, armed to the teeth and fully equipped, and headed by no less a personage than Brigham Young himself, was hastily summoned and marched to the Bear River. The Mormons outnumbered the United States troops five to one, and were fully armed and well disciplined. Only a few of the Gentile party had suitable arms, a majority of them being civilians on their way across the continent, and the troops were perfectly raw, new recruits. The little party was surrounded and every preparation made for a fight, but they showed no symptoms of weakening. All trouble could be avoided by surrendering the women. But this the officer would not do. Brigham Young went to them -- Ingalls did the talking. When the Mormon apostle made his demand for the surrender of the women the young officer stoutly refused to give them up. "You may wipe this little command out of existence," said he, "but you can't have these women. I have promised them protection, and they shall have it. You have got force enough to annihilate a bigger force than ours, but you will have the United States to whip before you are through with the job. Whenever you are ready to commence operations, open fire!" The men were ordered into line, and the Mormon escort withdrew with Brigham to the main body of their force. They had a consultation and concluded to let Ingalls take the women.

Note 1: The above account was reprinted from an August issue of the Indianapolis Journal. It appears to be an embellished story, similar in construction to the "rescue" account published in Enterprise of Dec. 24, 1881.

Note 2: The germ of history upon which the above recollection must have been based was reported in a letter (purportedly from a non-LDS) published in The Mormon of New York City, on July 14, 1855: "A few days ago [Captain] Ingalls took a notion to a fine minor child, aged twelve years, enticed her into his carriage and four, procured her presents, and his special guard, for the occasion, and in open violation of the Colonel's command, at least so he said, drove off to Rush Valley... An express started, and the child was brought back, as he said, pure.... The gallant captain and Lieutenant Moury waited upon the outraged mother, and offered, so I am told, for the damage done to her, and her child's prostitution, one thousand dollars, which she refused, and her son-in-law, Mr. Davis, ordered them out of the house. The Grand Jury in and for this Territory indicted Captain Ingalls on the charge of abduction... [but] the prosecution... withdrew the case."

Note 3: The "Lieutenant Moury" mentioned in The Mormon's article was Lieutenant Sylvester Mowry (1830-1871), who made brief mention of the situation in an Apr. 27, 1855 letter which was published by Mulder and Mortensen in their 1958 Among the Mormons: "One of our party, Captain Ingalls, has been indicted, and is now being tried in the city for abducting a pretty little girl, but it is darned absurd. She wanted to go. Her brother drew a six shooter on the Captain, and your friend 'the subscriber' stepped in front of it until Ingalls could get out of the way. There was some talk about my courage saving his life &c. &c., but I knew damned well that he would not shoot me -- and I didn't believe he would shoot at all. Nor did he. He sure knew how to shake up a sleepy town!

Note 4: The "Mr. Davis" alluded to in The Mormon's article and the "brother" mentioned by Mowry, must have been "Billie Davis," (who was actually the brother-in-law of the girl) and William Nowell, son of Nancy F. Hatch and Silas Nowell. Nancy and Silas married in 1825 and became Mormons in 1843. In 1852 Silas divorced Nancy and she moved, with some of her children, to Great Salt Lake City. Her youngest child was Rachel Nowell (1841-1917). She would have been the "fine minor child, aged twelve" (or thirteen) reportedly "enticed" by Captain Rufus Ingalls (1818-1893) later Quartermaster General of the U. S. Army. The Indianapolis Journal article states that Rachel Nowell was accompanied by her mother, but this assertion was obviously a fabrication or a conflation, adding some other older female into the mixed-up story. Mrs. Nowell truly had been married to "a Mormon gentleman in the States, and had not long been a resident of Utah," but her former husband remained very much alive, in Missouri, until 1865. In Utah Mrs. Nowell may have been sealed to an "Elder Butterfield" for "time," but she remained sealed to Silas Nowell for "eternity."

Note 5: Rachel Nowell evidently accompanied Captain Ingalls as far west as Carson Valley. She may have then turned south to San Bernardino and secured assistance from ex-Mormons living in that area. Later that year Rachel married Ira Wesley Babbitt, a nephew of the notable Elder Almon Whiting Babbitt. Ira and Rachel joined the Reorganized LDS Church in Missouri in 1895 -- one of their children, Nancy E. Babbitt, married the son of the RLDS newspaper editor, Isaac Sheen. For more on the story, see William P. MacKinnon's "Sex, Subalterns, and Steptoe" in Vol. LXXVI, No. 3 (2008) of the Utah Historical Quarterly.

The Ogdensburg Journal.

Vol. ?                       Ogdensburg, New York, Thursday, February 21, 1884.                       No. ?


The First Propeller -- Extracts from a
Manuscript Book of Captain
James Van Cleve -- Interesting

The Buffalo Express gives an interesting report of the meeting of the Buffalo historical society in that city on Friday evening last. Among the gifts to the society that are of general interest is a manuscript devoted to the early days of steam vesselson Lake Ontario. It was written by Capt. James Van Cleve, well known in his day as an able navigator and extensive vessel owner on the lakes. The volume in question gives an astonishing number of vessels built at Oak Orchard harbor, Sodus, etc., making a commercial record of these ports such as they will not be likely to regain in this day of monster enterprise and iron vessels....

Capt. Van Cleve sailed in a number of vessels all of which have long since passed into history and kindling wood, while the principles they helped to set forth went into the construction and management of better vessels.

Among others the captain tells the following story: "In 1830, Joe Smith, the Mormon, took passage at Genesee river on board the steamer Martha Ogden, having with him a box of his Mormon bibles which he intended to sell at Kingston, Canada. At the time there was a passenger on board by the name of Charles Stuart Dixon, an accomplished young Englishman, who, from his strong resemblance to George IV., claimed to be an illegitimate son of that royal person. Capt. Van Cleve and Dixon concluded they would have a little fun with Joe Smith by telling him that in Canada it was a criminal offense to sell his bibles, and that he would certainly get himself into serious trouble and perhaps into jail. They carried the point so far that poor Smith was glad to make no report of his box of bibles, and he returned to Rochester and, after doing the fair thing by the way of a little good cheer, he left for those parts where too many have been deluded by his pretended revelations."

Capt. Van Cleve also alludes to the building of the steamer Vandalia, in 1840, a picture of which together with the details of her career are to be found in the history of Oswego county, published a few years ago.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. LIX.                              Rochester, N. Y., Tuesday, March 11, 1884.                             No. 61.


The Birth and Early Surroundings of the Boy.

In a droll, comfortable, conversational way. Prof. Brewer, of the Sheffield Scientific School, related in the mechanic's course of lectures, his personal experience with the founders of Mormonism and their disciples. Elder Strang, the apostate, was a near neighbor of the Professor, whose early childhood was spent in Western New York near where Jo. Smith started Mormonism. In 1853 Prof. Brewer was appointed to a point on the Gunnison expedition, of whom all except four were killed by the Mormons. He did not go, but stayed at home and taught in an academy in Western New York, where one teacher was related to a prominent Mormon.

Mormons, he said, are a body of religious fanatics. Where they now live was formerly a great fresh water lake 600 feet deep. Their valleys and mountains are concave; ours here are convex. This accounts, together with the clear air, for the great distance a beholder can see distinctly. Not one-fifth of Utah is fit to live on; all fertile land is made by irrigation. A great resemblance exists both in names and topography, between Utah and Palestine.

The founder of Mormonism had no Christian name. Joseph Smith he was called by his relatives; Jo by everybody else. His family were low, filthy, ill-bred Vermonters. Their principal wealth was children, of whom there were nine. Jo was No. 4. Jo's character was not highly estimated by the surrounding community. Neighbors learned to keep a sharp look-out on their hen-roosts when a Smith was near. Joe was a prevaricating youth, indeed a hand employed on my father's farm was accustomed to call him a "lying whelp." Brigham Young said "he was of bad birth, evil, gambled, lied and swore, but this all shows only out of what vile instrument true doctrine may come. When 15 years old he got a small stone, the shape of a child's foot. This he was accustomed to put to his eye and say that he saw visions. Sometimes he would put it in his hat and would then behold diverse and huge visions. Yes, what runs in the head of such a boy no one can tell.

Jo became more and more inspired, and finally an angel led him out to the side of a hill. He dug, and amidst daring pyrotechnic displays, the gold plates and accompanying spectacles came to light. According to believers illiterate Jo became head priest of the high order of Melchisedeck. These records purported to be from the lost tribes of Israel to the saints of the Lord in New Jerusalem. J. Smith Melchisedeck did everything by revelation. The spelling in the book was frequently wrong and often inconsistent. For instance, Hiram was spelled Hyrum. But "the Lord has commanded it must be so spelt." And spelt it is :Hyrum" in Utah this day.

The whole Bible was stolen from an historical novel by Solomon Spaulding, a Presbyterian minister, who was ill and wrote to while away tiresome hours of retirement.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Auburn  News  and  Bulletin.

Vol. XXVIII.                          Auburn, N. Y., Sat., March 22, 1884.                          No. 5676.

Authorship of the Book of Mormon.

The Presbyterian Observer throws some light on the authorship of the Book of Mormon. The book, it says, has commonly been credited to the Rev. Solomon Spalding, a Presbyterian minister -- a romance purporting to give the origin and history of the American Indians. He sought to find a publisher for his story in Pittsburg, but was unsuccessful. The author died a few years later. The manuscript of this story unaccountably disappeared, though it was generally believed that one Sidney Rigdon, a printer, afterward a Mormon Bishop, got possession of the same, altered and added to it, and, thus altered and amended, was sent forth to the world as the Mormon Bible. This point is explained by the following letter from Mr. James Jeffries of Harford county, Maryland, whose boyhood was spent a few miles from Pittsburg.

He says: "I know more about the Mormons than any man east of the Alleghenies, although I have given no attention to the matter for twenty-five years. I did not know I was in possession of any informatlon concerning the origin of the Book of Mormon unknown to others. I supposed that as Rigdon was so open with me be had told others the same things. Forty years ago I was In business in St. Louis. The Mormons then had their temple in Nauvoo, Illinois. I had business transactions with them. Sidney Rigdon knew them very well. He was general manager of the affairs of the Mormons. Rigdon, in course of conversation, told me a number of times that there was in the printing office, with which he was connected in Ohio, a manuscript of Rev. Spalding's, tracing the origin of the Indian race from the lost tribes of Israel; that this manuscript was in the office for several years; that he was familiar with it; that Spalding had wanted it printed, but had not had the means to pay for the printing; that he (Rigdon) and Joe Smith used to look over manuscript and read, it over on Sundays. Rigdon and Smith took the manuscript and said "I'll print it," and went off to Palmyra, N. Y. I never knew this information was of any importance; thought others were aware of these facts. I do not now think the matter is of any importance. It will not injure Mormonism. That is an 'ism,' and chimes in with the wishes of certain classes of people. Nothing will put it down but the strong arm of the law."

Note: The same piece was also reprinted in the Sodus, NY Wayne Co. Alliance. The reprints contain several typographical errors -- see the Presbyterian Banner of Feb. 13, '84 for the full text.



Vol. ?                   Shortsville, New York, Saturday, April 26, 1884.                     No. ?


As stated in a brief article, in a recent issue of the Ontario County Times, the word Mormon is pure Greek, and means "monster." In Webster's dictionary, unabriflged, the English definition following the Greek word is "monster," "bugbear." The question is sometimes asked, "What's in a name?" Considerable, in this instance. A name more appropriate to the sect that bears it could not well have been selected. But Joe Smith did not choose it, neither did the Mormon "deity." A Greek scholar chose it, took it bodily out of pure Greek, because it exactly answered his purpose; he understood its meaning.

Evidently Solomon Spaulding, the author of the romance out of which the Mormon bible was formed, chose it. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and versed in Greek. It was claimed by Joe Smith that the "Book of Mormon" was engraved on plates of gold in the Egyptian language. Neither Joe Smith nor Sidney Rigdon would have retained the title had they understood the meaning.

Smith was extremely ignorant, possessing barely a smattering of the elements of an English education. Greek to him was as foreign as Hindoostanee. The name Nephi, which frequently occurs in the Mormon bible, came evidently from the Greek word nephos, meaning a cloud, and Moroni, a name given to an angel, might have been derived from the Greek word maros, meaning thigh, suggested by the 16th verse of the 19th chapter of the Book of Revelations. There was not a Greek scholar among the originators of Mormonism. This is one strong link in the chain of evidence that Solomon Spaulding first wrote the "Book of Mormon." He little dreamed that his "historical romance," with the addition of a few pious expressions, was to be palmed off upon thousands and tens of thousands of deluded fanatics as divine. -- C. C. T.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 55.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Tues., July 22, 1884.                             No. ?


Mormons Looking up the Original Manuscript of Their Bible.

In the Hands of a Man who Heard the Message From Heaven --
The Book Revised by Latter Day Saints in Missouri.

From the New York Sun.

RICHMOND, Mo., July 18. -- Several prominent members of tho Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are now in the city on a curious errand. David Whitmer, the only living witness of the alleged miracle by which the Book of Mormon was given to the world, is a resident of this town. He is a very old man, but he retains his vigor in a marvelous degree, and his memory is still good. He has a fine old home here, where he has lived for many years, respected by all. No man in the state stands higher in the estimation of his neighbors. He is eminently pious and loves his religion. Mr. Whitmer's posession of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon has long been known to members of the church, but he has steadliy refused to part with it, though often solicited to do so. The polygamous Mormons have made several efforts to gain possession of the coveted papers, but Whitmer has declined to listen to any proposition they might make. The gentlemen here are the prominent officials of the organization in Missouri, Iowa, Ohio, and New York. Many errors have crept into the numorous editions of the book during the last twenty years, and it was thought desirable to compare the present version with the original next before the death of Mr. Whitmer, who holds most tenaciously to the manuscript. This examination is still in progress. Several verbal errors have been discovered, and in a few instances entire sentences have been found to have been perverted. The original contains no authorization of polygamy, as the version in use in Utah does, and these gentlemen denounce the Mormons of that Territory in the severest terms.

Mr. Whitmer's faith in what he claims to have seen is remarkable. He recited his experience at the time of the revelation to his visitors as follows: "In 1828, when I lived In Ontario County, N. V., there was great excitement over the discovery by Joseph Smith, a farmer in our neighborhood, of a great treasure. Nothing was known of it in a definite way by my family until the next year, In June, when Smith visited my father's house. While there he was busily engaged in the translation of the book, which I learned he had found, in the form of gold plates, in the hill Cumorah, about two miles from Palmyra. I saw the plates frequently in Smith's hands, but as the characters inscribed thereon were something like Egyptian hieroglyphics, I could make nothing out of them. Smith, however, had no difficulty in deciphering them, and as he dictated Oliver Cowdrey wrote. I asked Smith once how he came to find the plates, and he told me that the place on the hill was pointed out to him by an angel in dazzling apparel. They were in a stone casket, and purported to be the history of the Nephites, a nation that had passed away. The plates, as I saw them, were fastened with three rings, About half of them were loose and movable, but the others were solid, as if sealed. Smith said In explanation of this that the angel had told him very impressively that the loose plates alone were to be used, and that the sealed portion was not to be tampered with.

"I became interested in the matter, as Smith was a man of good repute. After the plates had been translated, six months having been passed in the work, the same heavenly visitant appeared to Smith and reclaimed the tablets, informing Smith that he would replace them with other records of the lost tribes that had been brought with them from Asia, and that they would all be forthcoming when the world was ready to receive them. I saw this apparition myself, gazed with awe on the celestial messenger and heard him say: 'Blessed is the Lord and he that keeps His commandments.' Then, as he held the plates and turned them over with his hands so that we could see them plainly, a voice that seemed to fill all space was heard, saying: 'What you see is true. Testify to the same.' Oliver Cowdry and I, standing there, felt, as the white garments of the angel faded from view, that we had received a message from God, and we have so recorded it. Two or three days after the same angel appeared to Martin Harris while he was in company with Smith, and placed the same injunction upon him. He described the sight and his sensations to me, and they correspond exactly with what I had seen and heard. In his translation of the tablets Smith used a small oval or kidney-shaped stone, which seemed endowed with the marvelous power of converting the characters on the plates, when used by Smith, into English. He would then dictate and Cowdrey would write. Frequently one character would make two lines of manuscript, while others made but a word or two. I can assert emphatically, as did Cowdrey, that while Smith was dictating he had no manuscript, notes, or other means of knowledge, save the seer stone and the characters as shown on the plates.

As an evidence of our belief in the divine origin of the book, I can say that Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, mortgaged his farm for $3,500 for the purpose of having it printed, and we all contributed time and money for the purpose of circulating it. A few years ago Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, who had been sent from Utah to secure the original manuscript, came here, and after a careful examination Elder Pratt assured those present that the writing was in the hand of Oliver Cowdrey. He declared that the archives at Salt Lake were incomplete without it, and he offered me any reasonable sum for it, but I refused to part with it, as regarded it as a sacred trust.

Mr. Whitmer's beliefs have undergone no change. He had refused to affiliate with any of the various branches of the church that have sprung up through false teachings, and he rests his hopes of the future "on the teachings of Christ, the apostles, and the prophets, and the morals and principles inculcated in the Scriptures." He also declares that the Book of Mormon is but the testimony of another nation concerning the truth and divinity of Christ and the Bible, and that that is his rock, his gospel, and his salvation. Having been misrepresented by various branches of the church, he recently had the following proclamation printed, and, having many copies of it in his possession, he gives them to all of his callers:

Unto all nations, kindred tongues and people unto whom these presents shall come: It having been represented by one John Murphy, of Polo, Caldwell County, Mo., that I, in a conversation with him last summer denied my testimony as one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon:

To the end, therefore, that he may understand me now, if he did not then, and that the world may know the truth, I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once for all to make this public statement: That I have never at any time denied that testimony or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book as one of the three witnesses. Those who know me best well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all of my statements as then made and published. "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." It was no delusion. What is written is written, and he that readeth let him understand.

And, that no one may be deceived or misled by this statement, I wish here to state that I do not endorse polygamy or spiritual wlfeism, It is a great evil, shocking to tho moral sense, and the more so because practiced in the name of religion. It is of man and not of God, and is especially forbidden in tho Book of Mormon itself.

I do not endorse the change of the name of the church, for as the wife takes the name of her husband, so should the church of the Lamb of God take the name of its head, even Christ himself. It is the church of Christ. As to the high priesthood, Jesus Christ himself is the last great high priest. This, too, after the order of Melchisedec, as I understand the holy scriptures.

Finally, I do not endorse any of the teachings of the so-called Mormons, or Latter Day Saints, which are in conflict with the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, as taught in the Bible and Book of Mormon, for the same gospel is plainly taught in both of these books as I understand the Word of God.

And if any man doubt, should he not carefully and honestly read and understand the same before presuming to sit in judgment and condemning the light which shineth in darkness and showeth the way of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God?

In the spirit of Christ, who hath said, "Follow thou me, for I am the life, the light, and the way," I submit this statement to the world, God, in whom I trust, being my judge as to the sincerity of my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life.

My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain and simple statement of the truth.

And all the honor be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is one God.  DAVID WHITMER.

Appended to the above are the signatures of many of the most prominent citizens of Missouri, all bearing testimony to Mr. Whitmer's probity and purity of life.

It is not known what disposition he will make of the manuscripts in his possession. The papers have been cut up into printers' "takes," and are soiled to some extent, but tho handwriting is very plain, and not a word is missing. The non-polygamous Mormons in this section are increasing in numbers, principally by reason of the profound respect for the faith which Mr. Whitmer's blameless life has inculcated.

Note: See also this similar 1881 report.


The   Ithaca  [ DAILY ]  Democrat.

Vol. I.                           Ithaca, New York, Friday, August 1, 1884.                         No. 52.


How It First Originated in a Neighboring County.


A correspondent of the Rochester Union and Advertiser, writing from Manchester, N. Y., says: In view of the fact that the present "Book of Monnonism" is undergoing a rigid comparison with the original transcript owned by David Whitmer, of Richmond, Mo., but originally from this county, a review of the locality in which Mormonism had its birth would be of some interest to the readers of the Union and Advertiser. But a few miles a little northeast of the village of Manchester proper and on the old stage road between Canandaigua and Palmyra, lived a quiet and unpretentious farmer by the name of Joseph Smith. He was comparatively well educated for a humble farmer's son of those years of long ago, and assumed a respectable prominence among the inhabitants of his section. The Smiths -- there were several of the family -- labored under the illusion that there was gold in large quantities embedded in the huge hills that surrounded their farm, and were often seen by the neighbors digging for the precious metal on the mountain sides. On the 22d of September, 1827, delving for gold on what was called Cumorah hill, a high elevation situated a little northwest of the center of the town, the spade of Joseph Smith struck suddenly upon something hard. He removed the dirt from off its surface, and found to his surprise a stone casket buried in the earth. Supposing that he had discovered some hidden treasure, he lifted the weighty chest from its grave and took it to the house, where he proceeded to investigate the contents. The lid was pried open, and to his wonderment as well as non-comprehension, the gold tablets upon which were written in strange characters the history of a by-gone race, called the Nephites, were discovered. Soon after this remarkable discovery, a strange change came over the spirit of Joseph's dreams, and he became inspired, as he termed it, to translate the hieroglyphics. The result was the bringing to light of the "Book of Nephi," upon which the Mormon creed was founded, but at that time distinctly apart from anything bearing upon polygamy. The story of the pretended discovery of Joseph Smith spread like wildfire over a semi-parched prairie, and many of the more easily persuaded people abounding in this section were disposed to give it credence. A man by the name of Martin Harris, a convert to the new faith, mortgaged his farm for the purposes of having the translation printed, and the Wayne Sentinel, published at Palmyra, did the job. Others of Smith's followers contributed in aid of its circulation, and soon the new born ism was in most everybody's hands. A few months after the transaction was completed, a spiritual messenger from heaven came and bore away forever the tablets of gold, leaving nothing but the transaction as dictated by the inspired Joseph to his acting secretary, Oliver Crowdrey, who wrote it down. The story is told by old residents, that the supposed messenger from heaven was none other than one of Joseph Smith's confidants, who disguised as an angel, appeared to a certain few and demanded the tablets. Brigham Young, a young farmer residing at Cheshire -- a small settlement in the southern part of the town of Canandaigua -- fell in with the teachings of the self-styled prophet, Joseph Smith, and soon became a leader in the new faith, and shortly afterwards a chieftain. The first Mormon society was formed at Fayette, a small village in Seneca county in this state, and soon after the majority of public sentiment in this section being against them, they packed up and emigrated west. It was after they left this country that polygamy, or multiplicity of marriage, was grafted into their creed. The old town hall in Canandaigua was the scene of many a Morman gathering, where their profligate principles were extolled to the humble few. Some of the older residents in this section still retain vivid memories of the inspired Joseph and the muchly married Brigham, and a few still living had personal acquaintance with the notorious twain. A few believers in the divinity of the "Book of Mormon" still exist in this state, but all most emphatically dissent from the later day adoption of the teachings of polygamy. Clustered around the little inland village of Greenwood in Steuben county, in this state, can be found a few live specimens of the original school of Mormon.

Note: Most histories of Brigham Young place his conversion to Mormonism at Mendon, in Monroe County -- but there was a persistent tradition kept alive in Ontario County, that Canandaigua was an early hotbed of Mormonism and that Brigham's conversion came either while he was residing in that township, or while he kept up a sort of dual residence in both Mendon and Canandaigua.


The Watertown Re-Union.

Vol. ?                   Watertown, New York, Wednesday, August 27, 1884.                 No. ?

The Book of Mormon.

St. Louis Spectator.

How many people know anything about the origin of the Mormon religion, or rather, of the Book of Mormon, which is its authority? I knew precious little about it until this week, when I accidentally fell in with Mr. Clark Braden, who has recently given the subject a most searching investigation. His story shows of what stuff a religion may be made. The Mormons number probably 300,000. They are divided into many sects, but the principal are the Polygamous Brighamites in Utah and the Non-Polygamous Josephites scattered in various places. The story may be given in a few words. The Book of Mormon was written by an old broken-down Presbyterian clergyman named Solomon Spaulding. Spaulding was born in 1781. He graduated at Dartmouth College and settled as minister for a Congregational church, He made a bad failure at preaching, and went into business with his brother in New York State, did not succeed, and started an iron foundry in a town in Northern Ohio. He soon failed in that venture, and became very much discouraged. His wife supported the family by taking boarders and he spent his time in writing, though what did not then appear. The family moved to Pittsburg, when he rewrote his book, adding a second part. He afterwards rewrote the entire book, adding a third part. This is the origin of the manuscript.

Now, what became of it? Spaulding made arrangements to have it printed in Pittsburg. After a part of it had been set up, the whole manuscript was stolen by a tanner named Sidney Rigdon, who was in the habit of loafing around the printing office. Rigdon kept it concealed for some years, until he fell in with Joseph Smith, who evolved the plan of producing it. Smith belonged to a not over reputable family living near Palmyra, N. Y. They lived in a house and supported themselves by hunting and fishing and other means suspected to be more questionable. Joseph, one day, found a remarkably clear crystal, shaped much like a child's foot, and he declared it was a "peep-stone," in which he could read the future and discover stolen goods, strayed cattle, &c., and on several occasions was so successful in predicting the locality of goods and cattle that he soon came to have considerable reputation. He then extended his field of operations by divining where treasure was buried and under his directions a great many diggings were made, unsuccessfully however. These diggings extended over a large area, some fifty miles or more, around Palmyra, and some of them may be seen now. He fell in with Sidney Rigdon, who told him of the manuscript. Smith soon devised a scheme for producing it under proper surroundings. The alleged book of copper [sic] plates was found under divine guidance, on which characters of reformed Egyptian were graven. The book was accompanied by a pair of spectacles of wonderous power, which enabled Smith to translate the remarkable characters. This he did from behind a screen, while an amanuensis took down his words. The Book of Mormon was printed in 1830, at Palmyra, N. Y., a farmer, Martin Harris, putting up the cash to pay the printer. Thus Solomon Spaulding's manuscript found its way into print with such additions and alterations as Smith chose to make for his own benefit.

A book will soon be published by the Christian Publishing company giving all the investigations of Mr. Braden and the complete chain of evidence establishing the authenticity of his story. A manuscript of the Book of Mormon is still in existence in the possession of Mr. Whitmer, of Richmond, Mo., and the compositor who set up most of the book at Palmyra, fifty years ago, is still living, Mr. J. H. Gilbert. Mr. Braden is now trying to arrange that Mr. Gilbert shall see this manuscript to say whether it is the copy from which the book was originally set up.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. 64.                         Fredonia, N. Y., Sept. 24, 1884.                        No. 36.

Early History of Hanover.


We mentioned in a previous chapter that Mr. Jacob Bump had charge of the erection of the Store, and soon afterwards the Silver Creek House for Oliver Lee. He was a practical bricklayer, a first-class mechanic, who understood his business to perfection. He was an extremely rapid workman and when he was once placed in charge of a job of work, the owner could feel assured that it would be well and quickly done. But he, like many other first-class mechanics, had one pernicious habit. He would have his periodical spells of intoxication. During these sprees all business was neglected, and he gave his whole time to spreeing and debauching....

[After a frightening experience] he came to realize the narrow chance he ran of losing his life, he then resolved in earnest that he would never drink anything more that would intoxicate. It is unclear, however, whether he would have kept that resolve or not had not other circumstances occurred to assist him in doing so, Not long after this event, the great Mormon revival of 1833 set in here. Bump was one of the first converts, and from the first took a prominent and active part in all their meetings. Early in the spring of 1832 he disposed of his property and with his family, and several other families, started for Kirtland, [Geauga] Co., Ohio, then the great Mormon Mecca.

Bump and his colony from Chaut. Co., were among the early Mormon settlers there, and he had managed to gain the confidence of a majority of the community, and he at once evinced disposition to make good use, in his own behalf, of that confidence. Then it was arranged and settled to erect the great Mormon Temple at Kirtland. Jacob Bump was chosen master builder. Also when it was decided to establish the Mormon Bank of Kirtland, he was chosen President and his oldest son Cashier. The Bank, however, had but a short existence. If reports were correct, about all the capital they ever had was the money they paid for having their paper printed in New York. They had a large amount of bills representing a million or so of money struck off, succeeded in getting several thousand dollars into circulation, principally through the West, before the bubble burst, and it was found there was not a dollar to redeem the paper with.

After four or five years we believe dissensions sprang up among the Mormons at Kirtland, and a part of them went farther west to some point in Missouri, but if our memory is correct, Bump remained at Kirtland and died there a few years after the rupture. There is no doubt but it was his connection with the Mormons that caused Bump to refrain from drinking to excess. If so, Mormonism, in its early stages, was the cause of promoting a little good...

Notes: (forthcoming)


Wellsville  Daily  Reporter.

Vol. 4. No. 298.                         Wellsville, N.Y., Oct. 27, 1884.                         Single copy, 2 ¢


An Interview With the Widow of
the Noted Mormon Leader.

(Lippincott's Magazine.)

Many people believe that the man in whose crafty mind the mighty system of Mormonism had its origin, was also the husband of at least three wives, and in consequence the possessor of a duplex mother-in-law. All the living members of Joseph Smith's family strenuously deny this statement; and the writer of this sketch had an opportunity to discover that it would have required some temerity to make such an assertion in the presence of the "original and only" Mrs. Joseph.

In the summer of 1854 I went with a friend to the town of Nauvoo, from which the Mormons had removed a few years earlier. Soon after that a colony of French socialists had taken possession of their homes; but the widow of Joseph Smith, who was now Mrs. Biddison [sic], still lived in the house she had occupied when her first husband was killed. Mrs. Biddison was the hostess of the Nauvoo Arms, the only hotel in the town, and she had occupied the same position during the days when Nauvoo was the headquarters of Mormondom.

She was about 45 years old, of medium height, and rather stout, but quick and active in her movements. Her complexion was clear, though somewhat sunburnt. Her features were good and regular, her eyes very black and piercing, and her hair of the same color, slightly turned grey. She had married Joseph Smith in the state of New York, some years before he announced his discovery of the Mormon Bible. She accompanied her husband in all his subsequent movements, and they had three children -- two boys and one girl.

Mrs. Biddison acquired a good deal of property in Nauvoo during the lifetime of her first husband, and, as she had never [sic] been a member of the Mormon church, she did not leave the town after his death.

Mrs. Biddison expressed herself very freely and openly about the members of the Mormon church, and spoke in a contemptuous manner of their profession of faith,

After dinner Mrs. Biddison conducted us through the house, and showed us the portrait of Joseph Smith, painted by one of the most skillful artists in Europe. It represented him as a commonplace, ordinary person and we found it hard to believe that such a man could have acquired absolute power over a large body of people.

My companion had the boldness to mention to Mrs. Biddison the report that Joseph Smith had set his followers the example of polygamy.

The mere mention of such a rumor made her very indignant. "No sir!" she exclaimed. "Joe Smith had but one wife, and I was that one. It wouldn't have been well for any other woman to assert any claim to him in my presence. If other women chose to do such things it was none of my business. Joe Smith knew very well that he couldn't have another wife, here or anywhere else. No, sir! Joe Smith had but one wife. He ruled the Mormons, and I ruled him." As Mrs. Biddison spoke, her eyes flashed, her nostrils expanded, and her whole form shook with passion. We were thoroughly satisfied that Mrs. Biddison had the ability to keep Joseph Smith, or any other man to whom she might have a claim, straight in the narrow road of morality and decency.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Utica  [   ]  Observer.

Vol. XXXVII.                         Utica, N. Y., Fri., Feb. 20, 1885.                        No. 248.

A  Venerable  Typo.

President Fairchild, of Oberlin College, recently visited Honolulu, in the Sandwich Islands, for the purpose of having an interview with Mr. Lewis L. Rice relative to a manuscript book in his possession, which has erroneously been supposed to be the origin of the Book of Mormon, the Bible of the Utah saints. Over sixty-four years ago Mr. Rice founded the Madison Observer at Cazenovia, afterwards removing to Madison. Subsequently he removed to Columbus, Ohio, where he was State Superintendent of Public Printing. He now, if living, must be nearly a centenarian.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 56.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Monday, July 6, 1885.                             No. ?


Twenty-four years ago this year the slave power fired on the emblem of national authority at Charleston. Saturday, the Fourth of July, the national day, the Mormon power insulted the American flag at Salt Lake City. Tremendous indignation was created by the Fort Sumter Incident; but the indignation of patriotic citizens over the act of the Salt Lake officials ought to be nearly as great -- not moderated at all by the inferior physical power of the Utah rebels as compared with the strength of the interests that produced the acts of succession. The weakness of the Salt Lake traitors only emphasizes their audacity and their hatred of our institutions. The pretense that these men, bred in hate of the national authority by an unrepublican hierarchy, have any loyal feeling toward the United States government is dispelled by their own traitorous act. The indignities offered on Independence day to the stars and stripes should spur President Cleveland as it would spur President Lincoln, the XLIXth Congress as it would the XXXVIIth, the American people of to-day as the American people of twenty-four years ago, vigorously to respond to the challenge. There should be no yielding of purpose until the Mormon rebellion is utterly crushed and its fires are extinguished.

The children of the present generation will marvel that an offense so rank as Mormonism should so long have been endured by the American people. Indeed, we ourselves must wondor when we reflect that during the lifetime of the generation that handled the business of a great rebellion, this scourge should go unswept from the face of the land. No one defends the lawless institution which has so long flourished in Utah; there is, in fact, a grain of philosophy in the remark made lately by an American of prominence, that if there could be developed among citizens in the states of the Union, a sentiment in favor of the dogmas of the Mormon churoh, then sentiment would be quickened, the issue would be made and the power intrenched at Salt Lake City crushed. Americans know how baneful is the influence operating in Utah, but confidence in their ability to destroy it appears constantly to postpone the day of reokoning. An institution that is worth condemning in the high-sounding words that have been uttered against Mormonism in national party platforms, ought to receive all the attention which is required for a war of utter extermination.

An  Exodus  of  Mormons.

From the New York Mail.

Brigham Young, jr., and Bishop Snow, of Salt Lake City, are on the way to Mexico to negotiate for large tracts of land in that republic for colonies of Mormons. Can it be that the Mormons of Utah have decided to leave the country? Fifty-four years ago Joseph Smith, who had "discovered" the Book of Mormon four years earlier in this state, rode out of Kirtland, Ohio -- a village near Mentor to which he had removed in 1830 -- on a rail and in a coat of tar and feathers, and the seat of the new sect was soon transferred to the Mississippi river.

Not quite forty years ago Brigham Young, who, on the death of Smith two years before, had succeeded to the Mormon presidency, began a long march from Nauvoo across the plains to Great Salt Lake, and thirty-eight years ago he founded Salt Lakt City, assuring his followers that they had reached the promised land. In 1852 he announced the "celestial law of marriage," which he said had been revealed to Joseph Smith in 1843, and to that announcement can be traced the trouble which threatens to expel the Mormons from their homes once more.

Mexico has less than twice the population of New York, but an area fifteen times as great as that or our state, and its fertility of soil is remarkable. As a home for the Mormons it would possess many advantages, and although a long journey for so vast a multitude as the Mormon population of Utah would be difficult, it would be well for the Mormons to make it, unless they resolve to abandon polygamy, Let the authorities press them to a decision, forcing upon them the alternative of obedience to the laws of the United States or flight. Perhaps when the order to go is given by the Mormon rulers non-polygamous Mormons will conclude to remain, and then Utah may be purged of her infamy without the loss of the greater part of her population.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. V.                                  Geneva, N. Y., Tuesday, January 13, 1885.                                  No. 2.


Geneva Historical Society. -- The meeting last night was quite interesting, not so much on account of the business brought before it, as because of a paper written by Mr. E. J. Burrall, which brought to light some interesting scraps concerning the early life of his father, Mr. Thos. D. Burrall, who is yet very well remembered. It related to his employment of Joe Smith, in assisting to clear the timber off the land now known as the Torrey Farm, north of the corporation line. This Joe Smith afterward became the renowned Mormon, Elder and Founder of Mormonism in this country. We shall print this paper in our next issue....

Note 1: Elisha J. Burrall (1826-1887) was the son of Thomas Davies Burrall (1786-1872), an 1812 pioneer in Geneva. At the time of his demise Thomas left a document entitled "Memoranda for my Children," written c. 1859, from which Elisha derived biographical information for his 1885 Geneva Historical Society paper. The elder Burrall acquired a 370-acre lot north of Geneva in 1814 and began clearing the timber soon afterward. His lumberjacks worked in groups with a foreman overseeing each group. One foreman was a certain "Joe Smith," who may have been Joseph Smith, Sr., late of Vermont and a recent arrival in Ontario County, New York. It is doubtful that the young Joseph Smith, Jr. would have been employed by Burrall during the mid-1810s, and even less likely that the boy could have been a foreman. However, without reference to Elisha's 1885 paper (or his source materials), it is impossible to settle for cetain either the date or the identity of of the foreman thus employed.

Note 2: See the Rochester Union of Oct. 1, 1867 for T. D. Burrall's own account of the dishonest woodsman. Burrall's story was often repeated in the pages of late 19th century Geneva newspapers -- and even made its way into some history books. See, for example, Oscar T. Shuck's 1869 California Scrapbook Charles F. Milliken's 1911 A History of Ontario County, New York, Joel Henry Monroe's A Century and a Quarter of History: Geneva From 1787 To 1912, and Ulysses P. Hedrick's 1942 "Early Geneva."

Note 3: The Geneva Advertiser evidently never published Elisha's 1885 paper -- although it did provide some hints of the paper's contents in its issue of Mar. 23, 1886: "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," etc., etc.



Vol. V.                                  Geneva, N. Y., Tuesday, February 3, 1885.                                  No. 5.

From  an  Old  Genevan.

Danvsille, Jan. 30, '85.    
Editor Parker:
I am not personally acquainted with you, but never mind that. I wish to express to you the satisfaction I have enjoyed in your interesting paper, from No. 1 to the present. I consider it one of the best country papers in the State. It is just what a newspaper ought to be -- not filled up with quack advertisements. The editorials, selections, and typography of the paper cannot be beat. Any one who takes it gets the full value of his money.

My first arrival in Geneva was in June, 1828, the day on which they launched a steamboat at the foot of Seneca St., near the Franklin House. I was there again in 1829, and worked on Seneca street for Mr. Cowdrey. I knew such men as Bishop Hobart, Wm. S. DeZeng, Henry Dwight, James Bogert, Joseph Fellows, Nicholas Ayrault, Moses and John Hall. On Seneca street W. W. Watson, saddler, J. S. Hogarth, tailor, David Skaats, merchant. Don't remember who kept the Franklin House. A Mr. Hemingway kept the hotel where the park is now, I suppose. I read your Historical reminiscences with pleasure.

I learned my trade with Chauncy Morse, at Geneseo, in 1821. Mr. M. is the oldest printer in the State. I think, and now resides at Canandaigua, is in his 91st year, and I am between 78 and 79. You know when people get old they get in their dottge again, or I should not dare to have written this. I have passed many pleasant days in Geneva, but it has changed now, like every thing else. Hoping you may have good health, and prosper,
                I am yours cordially,
                        B. W. Woodruff.

Note: Franklin Cowdery hired Bushrod W. Woodruff (1806-1893) of Livingston County in 1829, about a year subsequent to his establishing the Ontario Chronicle in Geneva. After Woodruff served his apprenticeship with Chauncy Morse, on the Livingston Journal he was evidently made a journeyman printer. Leaving Franklin Cowdery's employ (in 1830 or 1831), Woodruff returned to Geneseo to print the Journal, in association with Henry F. Evans. If Oliver Cowdery worked in his cousin Franklin's print shop in 1827-28, Bushrod may have gained knowledge of that fact. It would thus be worthwhile to examine what Woodruff and Evans had to say about early Mormonism in their Geneseo newspaper.



Vol. ?                                  Geneva, N. Y., Tuesday, March 10, 1885.                                  No. ?

Ontario County the Seat of Mormonism.

Mr. E. A. Sawyer spent very many weeks in Utah in 1884, and had opportunity for much investigation into the Mormon question, on which subject he addressed a large audience in Rochester last Sunday night, during which he gave a very interesting sketch of the origin of Mormonism. He says that about fifty years ago in Western New York, lived Solomon Spaulding. He was a Presbyterian clergyman, who, in with many then and common with many men and even now, believed that the aboriginal tribes that occupied the North American Continent, were descendants, of the lost tribes of Israel. This man wrote a novel taking this belief as a basis, and named it the "Book of Mormon," from one of the characters. Becoming financially involved, and wishing to save his book, he buried the stereotype plates in the ground between Palmyra and Manchester a few miles east of Rochester. Joseph Smith, a roving vagabond, found these plates, and proclaimed that it was a revelation from the Almighty. He founded a community which settled in Ohio, then in Missouri, then in Illinois and, being driven out, turned toward the great west, and finally settled in the Salt Lake valley. Here they determined to found a kingdom. The colony of seventy-four men which reached the Salt Lake valley thirty-seven years ago has now increased to 200,000 extending through Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona and California.

Note: Mr. Sawyer's "investigation into the Mormon question" appears to have resulted more in fantasy than in facts.

Broome  Republican.

Vol. XLIV.                          Binghampton, N. Y., Thurs., Sept. 3, 1885.                          No. 11.


The dull and serious portion of the human family find the rest of the people in this world a very hard set to get along with, and their firm belief in the omnipresence of a personal devil is not to be wondered at. No yarn which is told in a semblance of serioueness is too ridiculous to be believed, by them, and their unaccountable credulity has been made a commodity of profitable merchandise by another class endowed with not a high order of ability but possessed of considerable cunning.

Thus the three-card monte men manage to get a very comfortable living by fleecing persons who have never seen the little game before, but are confident that it is too easy. The men who go through passenger trains, to get small advances on big checks, to enable them to pay little freight bills, but will settle at the end the road, manage to live, very well on the credence of serious travelers; The personator who can mimic the solemnity of a parson, finds a rich field for the exercise, of his abilities among the benevolent, matter of fact people....

Our free schools have not had the desired effect of educating the masses sufficiently to enable them too keep out of the traps and humbugs. The spiritualist medium still gives his dark cabinet seances, the patent machine man still goes around taking notes of the farmers; lottery tickets are still a mania with the poorest people ofevery community; people flock westward to join the New Zion of Mormons... There are too many matter of people who swallow everything from pretensious of false prophets to the farcical points of newspaper paragraphers. It is a well established historical fact that Mormonism had its origin in the attempt of an old newspaper editor to write a fuuny novel. He made such serious work of it that Joe Smith seized upon the manuscipt for a new bible. A serio-comic writer can never tell the effect his imagination of fabulous things will have opon matter of fact people. They may found a new religion, lead to revolution, create denunciations, but seldom laughter. The laugh comes among brighter people who can tell a joke from a gravestone, even if an epitaph contains [no] joke, as many of them do when they describe extravagant perfections.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                             Buffalo, N. Y., Tuesday, September 22, 1885.                             No. ?


How the Spaulding Manuscript Became the Mormon Bible --
A Former Resident of Allegany County.

The New York Times of Sunday is furnished the following interesting narrative by a Cleveland correspondent:

(View original article from NYC paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. IX.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Sun., Nov. 22, 1885.                             No. 2712.


New Light Thrown on its Alleged Divine Origin.

In a book recently published, entitled "New Light on Mormonism," by Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, are presented some facts of special interest in this part of the State. The aim of the author is to show the fraudulent character of the "Book of Mormon" and that it was furnished from a romance called, "The Romance [sic] Found," written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding. Mr. Spaulding was the uncle, by marriage, of the author's mother and the romance was for a long time in the house of the author's grandfather, William H. Sabine, near Syracuse. The romance contained no suggestion of polygamy, and the story of how it was obtained and perverted to suit the purposes of the Mormon leaders is an interesting one.

The facts as told by Mrs. Dickinson are as follows: The Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth college, was, at the time of the war of 1812, living in a little town in Ohio called Conneaut. He had retired from the ministry and devoted a good deal of time to writing. Some earth mounds near his home attracted his attention, and an examination of one of these mounds discovered evidence of a civilized pre-historic race. This reinforced his theory that the country had been once peopled by a race now extinct, and he set to work at a new romance. In style of composition he imitated that of the Bible. Mr. Spaulding conceived the idea that among the relics found were some golden plates covered with hieroglyphics, and that these he deciphered and translated. As his novel professed to be the written history of the lost race, and found in an earth mound, he called it "The Manuscript Found." It purported to be an account of the peopling of America by the lost tribes of Israel and contained such names as Mormon, Moroni, Lemuel and Nephi. Mr. Spaulding [contacted] a publisher, a Mr. Patterson of Pittsburgh, with regard to publishing the work. In the publisher's printing office was a young man by the name of Sidney Rigdon who had ample opportunity for the copying of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and Mr. S. charged him with the act. The work, however, was never pobiUked. The Spaulding family then moved to Amity, Pa. Mr. Spaulding was in the habit of reading what he wrote to his friends, and Mr. Miller writes a letter saying that he had often heard Mr. Spaulding read from "The Lost Manuscript Found," and that when in after years the "Book of Mormon" came out he compared the two and found the historical part of the latter to be identical with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript. After Mr. Spaulding's death his widow and daughter removed to the house of William H. Sabine at Onondaga Hollow. He was a well-known man and lawyer. The manuscript of the romance was taken with them and was read from to friends. Mrs. Ana T. Redfield, then principal of the academy at the Valley, made a statement in 1880 that she had frequently heard Mrs. Spaulding tell about "The Manuscript Found," though not reading it herself. Years afterward when the Mormon Bible was published she procured a copy and at once reconized the resemblance between it and "The Manuscript Found." A number of other letters go to show that the Mormon Bible is taken from the Spaulding romance.

Mrs. Dickinson then tells how the manuscript was supposed to have been obtained by the founders of Mormonism. "Joe" Smith, the chief founder, is said to have been in the employ of Mr. Sabine about the time that Mrs. Spaulding was atying there. When a young man he claimed to have miraculous powers and to be able to trace stolen property, strayed cattle, discover buried treasures, etc. His name also appears in the criminal records of Onondaga and Chenango counties. Some suppose that he stole the Spaulding manuscript when it was at the Sabine house, but the author gives evidence that this is not so, but that Rigdon copied the original when it was in the Pittsburgh printing office. Smith, Rigdon and Pratt came together, exactly when it is not known, and determined upon the Mormon scheme. The theories aboat the peopling of America were then a common topic of conversation; Rigdon said that he had a copy of the Spaulding manuscript in biblical language explaining these theories in a quaint fashion, and the three men determined on their scheme. Our auther then gives an interesting account of how the great humbug was finally hatched, the jargon used to impose upon the credulous, and the first Mormon sermon that was preached in Palmyra in 1830, and the printing of the "Book of Mormon* at the same place. The narrative then takes up the hegira to the West, as the people in this vicinity were so familiar with the Spaulding manuscript as to be constantly discussing the difference between it aad the alleged "Joe" Smith revelation.

Another corroboration of the claim that the "Book of Mormon" was manufactured from "The Manuscript Found" is given by Mrs. Dickinson in an account of a Mormon meeting held in Conneaut, Ohio, in 1833. It will be remembered that Mr. Spaulding was living in this place in 1816, when he wrote his romance that he read to acquaintances. At this meeting a woman preacher made copious extracts from the "Book of Mormon." Many persons present recognized them as what they heard years before in Mr. Spaulding's story. As a result the Mormons determined to obtain the original of the Spaulding manuscript. A Dr. D. P. Hurlburt was the agent selected to obtain the coveted manuscript from a daughfer, Mrs. McKinstry, of Mr. Spaulding. The manuscript was given to to Hurlburt on his statement that he desired to expose the plagiarisms of the Mormon book and upon his promise that he would return the manuscript. It was never seen since by its rightful owners....

The book is published by Funk & Wagnalls and contains much of interest beyond the points to which we have alluded.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Broome  Republican.

Vol. XLIV.                          Binghampton, N. Y., Thurs., December 3, 1885.                          No. 23.


In November, 1830, Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church with his brother Hiram, and Oliver Coudry, passed through this town on a lecturing tour, giving an evening's discourse in the old Dickinson school house, which then stood at the North end of the creek bridge and is now a part of the tenement standing there. Mr. Dayton Peck, our townsman, is the only one living who heard the discourse of those early apostles of Mormonism, which did not make a very favorable impression on the audience of level-headed and intelligent early settlers of that neighborhood. Since then the enormous growth of this heresay has become a matter of serious political and moral import to our country. -- Whitney's Point Reporter.

Note: Mr. Dayton Peck's memory must have been a little faded, when he gave his recollection of the 1830 Mormon lecture. According to Ezra Booth, in the Ohio Star of Dec. 8, 1831, Oliver Cowdery was in Manchester, New York on Oct. 17, 1830, preparing for a missionary journey to the west. Cowdery arrived in Painesville, Ohio on or about Oct. 26th -- precluding a November 1830 appearance in Whitney's Point, Broome Co., New York. Either Cowdery was not on the Smith brothers' "lecturing tour," or the tour was conducted before November of that year.


The  Wayne  County  Alliance.

Vol. XIV.                         Sodus, N.Y., Wednesday, December 23, 1885.                        No. 18.

Reminiscence  of  Joe Smith.

One of the  Founders  of Mormonism.

MR. EDITOR: -- An incident of his recollections as a school-master in his younger years, is related, with some humor by Enos Coleman, once of Sodus, but now an octogenarian resident of Missouri. The incident should be recorded for the benefit of any who may be inclined to favor, or palliate the monstrous pretensions of Mormonism; or even bestow the boon of charity upon its deluded devotees.

It was in the [----], he was employed to teach a [Winter] school in the town of Marion, Wayne Co. At the period, there was a general religious frenzy, every where prevailing among the scarcely populated settlements. The [-----sion], the [poverty], the discomforts of pioneer life, [from] the mutual sympathy they engendered, found solace in evening gatherings, that in time grew into religious meetings. So great became the interest in the "conference meetings," as they were termed, usually held in private houses, that no obstacles would deter attendance from long distances away. So, at an evening "conference" in the neighborhood, no surprise was manifested by the presence of an unknown religious enthusiast. As was [------] at such gatherings, the stranger gave vent to his pious ardor in his own way. His harangue consisted mostly of predictions of great events that were to happen in the near future -- events of which he had no definite conception; but was impressed with the magnitude of their importance. His prophecies, so far from meeting with dissent, rather harmonized with a general impression that the "great awakening" presaged a greater event: possibly the second coming of the Messiah. Of course, hospitality prompted an invitation to the stranger to stay till the morning. It so happened the invitation was accepted at the family where the school-master chanced to be boarding; (school teachers "boarded round" in those days) and as sleeping accomodations were limited, the prophet and the pedagogue were directed to occupy the same bed. Sometime during the night all were awakened by a sharp rap at the door. Who is there, and what is wanted? enquired the host. "Is a man here by the name of Joseph Smith?" was the responding enquiry. Joe Smith, subsequently the founder of Mormonism, and the pretended medium of a divine revelation to man, recognizing the voice of a Palmyra officer, leaped out of bed, seized his clothes and made his escape by a back door, through the snow, carrying his nether garment in his hand.

The officer's explanation was, he had a warrant to arrest "Joe" for stealing sheep. The culprit was finally caught.

Note: Enos Coleman (1805-c.1890) was the son of Seth and Elizabeth Coleman, early settlers in Sodus, New York. He was a lieutenant in the 242nd Infantry during the 1830s. In 1861 he moved to Hannibal, Marion Co., Missouri.


The  Olean  Democrat.

Vol. VII.                         Olean, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., Jan. 7, 1886.                        No. 6.

One of the Founders of Mormonism.

(Special Correspondence.)

RICHMOND, Mo., Dec. 29. -- Your correspondent called at the house of David Whitmer and obtained the portrait sent herewith. Mr. Whitmer was the associate of Joseph Smith in bringing into existence the Book of Mormon, and retained the original manuscript from which the book was printed. The origin of the Mormon church is a matter of history, but it might be well to recall here a portion of it, in order to explain the part of Mr. Whitmer took in it. David Whitmer was born in Pennsylvania in 1805. While an infant he was carried to Ontario county, near Watkins Glen, N. Y. His father was a strict Presbyterian, and David was brought up rigidly, though he possessed a natural inclination to contemplation on religious affairs. In 1829 David [sic] Cowdery, the village schoolmaster, who was a brother-in-law of Whitmer, heard that a man named Joseph Smith had discovered a valuable golden treasure near Manchester.

After considerable entreaty Cowdery was permitted to see the treasure, which consisted of a number of golden plates, about eight inches long and seven wide, about as thick as ordinary sheet-tin, and bound together in the form of a volume by three gold rings. A large portion of the volume was securely sealed, but on the loose pages were engraved hieroglyphics expressive of some language at that time unknown to any of the persons mentioned. Together with the golden tablets were a pair of spectacles, set in silver bows. Smith told how he had received the plates from two angels who commanded [him] to have them translated in the presence of three witnesses. In accordance with this command, Smith, Cowdery and Whitmer proceeded to the latter's home, accompanied by Smith's wife, and bearing with them the precious plates and spectacles.

The work of translating the tablets consumed about eight months, Smith acting as the seer and Oliver Cowdery, Smith's wife, and Christian Whitmer, brother of David, performing the duties of amanuenses. By the aid of the spectacles found with the plates Smith was enabled to decipher the characters.

The Book of Mormon was given to the world in 1830 and a church organized. The following year the disciples moved to Ohio and built a temple at Kirtland.

Mr. Whitmer, who always adhered to the teachings of Mormon, left Kirtland and journeyed into the wilds of Missouri, establishing the settlement of Jackson county, Missouri. It was here that the Ohio Mormons found refuge when driven away from Kirtland after Smith and Rigdon had been tarred and feathered for fraudulent banking [sic].

As a citizen of Richmond he stands deservedly high, having filled the office of mayor and councilman. Of those who took part in the original translation, Joseph Smith was shot by a mob in 1844. Oliver Cowdery died in this county thirty years ago, leaving a wife and daughter, both of whom are yet living in Silver City, Mo. John Whitmer, a prosperous farmer, died at Far West in 1878, leaving children and grandchildren. Jacob Whitmer passed away many years ago, and his son, Jogn C., a white haired elder of the Church of Christ, continues to preach the religion of his father in and about Richmond.

Mr. Whitmer adhered faithfully to the Mormon creed, with the exception of what he termed the "viper polygamy," which is strictly forbidden by the Book of Mormon. Though he split off from the church when Brigham Young joined it, he always held that Joseph Smith was an upright, god-fearing man. The Mormon church offered him once $100,000 for the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon, which he refused, and it is interesting to know now what will become of it.   Francis J. Leland.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 57.                               Syracuse, N. Y., Sat., Jan. 30, 1886.                               No. ?


The determined spirit of Mormonism glares out through the missionary labor it conducts even while it wages an unyielding fight with the Federal courts. Here and there in the darkest corners of the South, as well as in Northern Europe, Mormon missionaries are preaching their doctrine of delusion and immorality, strengthening the hideous system which they inherit from Joe Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Brigham Young with fresh converts. Their newest prize is fifty hoodwinked victims netted near Walhalla, South Carolina. If the Government wishes to crush Mormonism in the near future, it must take a bigger club in its fist and batter the concern in a vital spot.

The  Lepers  Should  Consolidate.

From the Rochester Herald:

The scheme of Mormon emigration to the Sandwich Islands may not be carried out, but it should be encouraged. That would bring about a union between polygamy and leprosy, two terrible evils which should be quarantined together.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXV.                       Cuba, New York, Thursday, March 11, 1886.                       No. 10.


...Died, in Friendship, at 5 o'clock, a. m., Saturday, February 27th, Mrs. Rigdon, aged 86 years. Deceased was the widow of the late Sidney Rigdon, credited with being the author of John [sic] Smith's Mormon bible. At the time of her death she was stopping with her daughter.

Note 1: Although the Patriot's short notice makes it appear that Mrs. Rigdon was merely visiting with her daughter at the time of her death, she had actually been living in the household of Samuel E. Spears and Phebe Rigdon Spears for about five yers prior to her 1886 demise. See the Friendship Register of March 5th for a more detailed death notice.

Note 2: Phebe Brooks Rigdon was the adopted daughter and reported "niece" of the Rev. Jeremiah Brooks and Dorcas Smith. She was born in New Jersey in 1800 and grew up in Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio. It was there that she married Elder Sidney Rigdon on June 12, 1820. Phebe reportedly was the cousin and adopted sister of Mary Brooks, the wife of Rev. Adamson Bentley; their other siblings were Richard, Sarah and Jeremiah, Jr. -- In a Jan., 1837 article Sidney Rigdon spoke of the Jeremiah Brooks clan "hiding the shame of their family, which if exposed, must bring them to open disgrace." This "shame" was obviously not the alleged illegitimate birth of Jeremiah's wife, Dorcas Smith Brooks, since Rigdon admits that openly, as though it were not much of a secret. More likely the "shame" Rigdon was alluding to was an umtold story behind the birth of Rigdon's own wife, Phebe. Her sister Mary was old enough to bear a child in 1800, and one possibility is that the true relationship of Mary and Phebe was mother and daughter.



Vol. ?                             Ithaca, New York, Monday, April 26, 1886.                            No. ?

Reminiscences of the Mormons .
in Illinois  No. ?

Jackson H. Sherman

"The Governor indiscreetly had Joseph and his brother taken round and formally presented to the soldiery. The latter were incensed that so much respect should be shown a criminal and suspected that he would be let off upon his submission, without any adequate punishment; whereas they had answered the Governor's call in the expectation of sterner dealing. --- On the morning of June 27th Governor Ford discharging all his forces except a cavalry company and the Carthage Greys, and leaving the Jail, with Smith and his friends in the Parlor chamber in charge of reliefs of guards from the Greys -- He went with the cavalry to Nauvoo to inspect the city -- to give good advice to the Mormons, and require a surrender of the State arms in their possession * * * Late in the afternoon, a large body of men was seen coming rapidly from the west -- -- Who about a mile from the town turned off north to a line of woods coming down back of the Jail -- soon they emerged from the woods and came up to the Jail upon the double quick. As they came round the front, the gaurd standing on the steps fired down from an elevation of three or four feet into the midst of them when not twenty feet distant. The writer saw six flashes streaming toward the crowd, but nobody fell. The assailants, having their faces blackened with powder, rushed forward and seized the guards and threw them upon the ground. Most of them were easy to handle; but one, who did not know that ball cartridges had been replaced \vith blanks in their guns, at the last relief -- who was not in the secret at all, but thought he had fired to kill, and was all in earnest throughout -- a tall, athletic, stammering boy of nineteen years made it rough for those who held him. He floundered and pounded, vociferating, "Y-y-y-y-you! -- Lie still, you fool, we're not going to hurt you!" 'D-d-d' -- continued Frank, kicking and struggling to break loose, and trying frantically to break the third commandment, though his impediment of speech saved him from the actual sin. -- As many as could, now rushed up the stairway, at the head of which was the room where the prisoner and his friends were. They tried in vain to burst in the door, for the Smiths and two "Bishops" -- all heavy men -- bore against it from the other side. Then, turning the muzzles of their guns against the thin paneled door, several of them fired, killing Hyrum, and wounding Joseph and Bishop Taylor, -- when all inside retreated, except Richards, who, shielded in a corner behind the now opened door, escaped unhurt. A window opposite the door was open, and Joseph sprang upon its broad sill as if to get out; but balls struck him from behind, and with a loud cry he pitched headlong to the ground. Balls from the outside met his falling body. It seemed to me -- twenty rods distant, but in full sight -- that he for a moment partly raised himself to a sitting posture against a well curb beside which he fell; but it is not true, as was sometimes reported, that his assailants leaned his body up against the curb, and made it a target. A panic spread, and within two hours the town was deserted, with the exception of the Hamilton Hotel, where the killed and wounded were taken, and a few gathered for service, and a harbor for safety in the expected storm. -- Men, women, and children fled in wagons, on horseback and afoot, while Delenda est Carthago seemed sounding in their ears."...

Note: Jason H. Sherman, a New York lawyer who was present during the 1844 anti-Mormon attack on Carthage jail, wrote ten articles on early Mormonism, which appeared in the Ithaca Daily Journal during April and May, 1886. The above, partial text from the April 26, 1886 installment was reprinted in Vol. 64 (Spring 1971) of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society.



Vol. ?                             Ithaca, New York, Tuesday, May 4, 1886.                            No. ?

Reminiscences of the Mormons .
in Illinois  No. VII.

Jackson H. Sherman

The next night [18 Sept. 18 1845] there was another panic in Carthage. About sunset two spies approached near town on the Nauvoo road, and, after reconnoitering a few minutes, hastily departed. At dark sentinels were placed out on that and the road toward the west, whence invasion was apprehended, with instructions to discharge pistols and both run in if danger threatened. At 11 o'clock the sentinel on the west road was approached by two horsemen, who, on being challenged, galloped back. Imagining that these might be scouts in advance of a large body, the sentinel fired and put spurs to his horse. The writer was doing military duty that night as sentinel on the north-west or Nauvoo road, with a rusry horse-pistol that had been loaded ever since dangers began to thicken, and mounted upon a powerful white charger, in comparison with which Zachery Taylor's "old whitey" (as I can testify) was but a common animal. Famous for intelligence, as well as powerful and swift, some said he knew about as much as his master, -- but that, of course, was only a strong form of compliment to the horse, without any sinister squint whatever. When he heard the sentinel's shot, Old Jim (for that was his name) raised his head high and stood all alert. Holding my rusty piece aloft and athwart the road, I let it belch, and it kicked itself off into the darkness, with a spiteful spring that would have been fatal to any near-by Mormon in that direction. That was the only time I ever pulled trigger for warlike purposes; and that resulted in filling the town with consternation. Instantly, scarcely waiting for the word, Old Jim darted homeward with a speed rarely surpassed, and a thunder of hoofs, never. The road was smooth and hard as iron; and in the stillness of the hour the reverberation of his foot-falls was like that of a troop upon a race. The citizens heard the pistol and were alarmed. They heard the sound as of many horses' feet on the Nauvoo road and thought the Mormons were upon them. On reaching the public square, I found a scene of indescribable terror. "What does this mean," I asked, "have they come in from the west?" "No, it is on the Nauvoo road!" "Not a Mormon there," said I. "We heard cavalry coming upon the full run!" "It was only Old Jim and I," I said, beginning to comprehend the situation, and hastening to allay the excitement as well as I could. No hostile force came. The horsemen seen by the sentinel belonged, as was afterwards ascertained, to a party out robbing farmers in that neighborhood.

After dispersing the rioters (in the hinterland) Backenstos returned with his troops to Nauvoo. Next day he went back with increased forces, but finding nobody to attack, left a body of infantry in camp, and came to Carthage. This was September 19th. We had no warning of his coming till troops came galloping into town from the west and south a little after sundown. The chronic danger, and frequent alarms, had caused removals of women and children till there were not scarecely twenty families left, with perhaps fifry men. Some of these upon discovery of the invasion starred to fly, but were mostly overtaken and brought back. A few, special objects of Mormon hatred, got away. It was scarcely five minutes after the first sight of them before horsemen thronged the streets and surrounded every house, and a guard environed the town. Parties were sent our to the nearest surrounding settlements, and men taken from their terrified families and driven in. At length orders were passed around to bring the prisoners to headquarrers, when we were all driven to the Courthouse in such haste that some who were standing outside their doors without their hats were not permitted to get them. Guards were left at our houses during our absence with an omenous display of weapons. At the Courthouse all were detained more than an hour, surrounded by hundreds of sinister looking wretches, who brandished with menacing gestures their instruments of human butchery. Backenstos then came and made a speech, in which he lauded the bravery of his tried soldiers, and said he was raking the county for a number of scoundrels, whom he would pursue until he caught them, withour limit as to time or space; after which he came round and discharged most of us one by one, and sent us home with well-armed escorts -- that is to say, escorts having guns, swords, pistols and bowie-knives -- for with less than these a Mormon was but half armed. Some however were detained under guard till the next day, as he was not certain, he said, whether he had warrants for them or not, and had not time to examine his papers to see. It was his intention to arrest, or rather to seize and carry to Nauvoo (for he had no warrants), ten or twelve Carthagenians against whom he had personal ill-will, or who were known as very active anti-Mormons. For such he and his ruffians searched houses, and questioned children, shaking swords over their heads to make them tell where they were. As it happened those persons had either left the county beforehand, or escaped from town as the troops entered.

The next morning Backenstos said he had an order from the governor for the State arms which had been furnished the Carthage Greys, a volunteer company, under the same law by which the Nauvoo legion had been supplied, He produced no order, but, resistance being vain, the arms were surrendered. Professing to believe that some were withheld and secreted, he ordered houses to be searched for them, both of the families remaining and of those who had fled. His men rummaged drawers and trunks and scattered their contents, and left open doors and yard gates of the absent. In some cases they took private arms and other articles of property. Backenstos went away at noon with all his forces but fifty, which he left garrisoned in the Court house to keep military possession of the town, These patrolled the streets, spied about houses, and came up to hasten whenever two or three were seen talking together. They affected to believe we meditated harm against our postmaster, and followed us with drawn swords whenever we went to the postoffice. They had orders to force us into the ranks, put arms in our hands and make us fight against our friends, if any should come to rescue the town; and orders to put us to the sword if found firing our houses -- a thing which Mormons say the Missourians did and charged on them.

Leaving Carthage thus garrisoned, the sheriff led his troops to Warsaw, the chief commercial town of the counry, situated upon the river below the rapids. He found the place deserted -- the citizens having anticipated his coming and crossed the river into Missouri. He then returned to Nauvoo, leaving no garrison at Warsaw, as it might be cut off by an attack from Missouri before he could reach it with assistance from Nauvoo. From that time he kept bands of troopers scouring the counry in quest of persons known as openly active anti-Mormons, or who were personally obnoxious to him or to leading Mormons. Other parties, with or without official authorization, were out plundering night and day, taking horses from stables before the eyes of their owners in some instances, and driving cattle from farms into Nauvoo, where they were slaughtered and salted down for the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints."

Upon information of the condition of things in Hancock counry, Gov. Ford called out a force of militia, and dispatched it thither under command of Gen. J. J. Hardin, of Jacksonville, with discretionary power for the restoration of order. While he was on his way, Backenstos issued a proclamation pronouncing the governor's call for militia a forgery, characterizing Gen. Hardin and his troops as a mob, and declaring his determination to treat them as such. The general and his forces, with Stephen A. Douglas and Attorney-General McDougall upon his staff, arrived at 1 o'clock on the 28th, taking Backenstos into custody, and giving his soldiers fifteen minutes to leave town -- which they did not overstay. Then ended our nine days' captivity....

Note: Jason H. Sherman, a New York lawyer who was present during the 1844 anti-Mormon attack on Carthage jail, wrote ten articles on early Mormonism, which appeared in the Ithaca Daily Journal during April and May, 1886. The May 4, 1886 installment corresponds with some contemporary reporting published in the Warsaw Signal of Oct. 22, 1845.


Rome Daily Sentinel.

Vol. ?                             Rome, New York, Friday, July 23, 1886.                            No. ?


The Origin and History of Mormonism --
Peculiarities of Their Belief.

Perhaps the most extraordinary of all false prophets, and the most repulsive of all false religions, are Joseph Smith, and Mormonism, which he founded. He was born in 1805 at Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, U.S.A., but his boyhood was chiefly spent at Palmyra, in the State of New York. His parents bore a very bad character, as was attested on oath in 1833 by sixty respectable neighbours. The Smiths were said to avoid honest labour, to be given to drink and to theft, and to employ their time in idle pursuits, such as digging for hidden treasure. Joseph was the worst of the family. He was not much above twenty years of age when he professed to have discovered a treasure, a continuation of the Bible, specially revealed by an angel to America. This "Golden Book" was written on plates of precious metal in the "reformed Egyptian" language not understood on earth. With them was a pair of wonderful spectacles, which would enable their wearer to decipher the hieroglyphics of this new and sacred writing.

Of course Joseph Smith himself was the person most capable of interpreting the plates. He sat behind a blanket, which served to keep profane eyes from gazing on the holy text, and read off the contents of it to Oliver Cowdery, who wrote them down as they flowed from the lips of Smith. In 1830 this marvellous composition was printed in a volume of several hundred pages; and now Smith assumed the part of prophet, preaching and admitting converts into the church of Mormon, or Latter Day Saints. He began with five disciples. In the course of a year he enrolled thousands. He established a printing office, a newspaper, a bank, and a colony of dupes, whom he led to Kirtland, Ohio, which was to be the seat of the New Jerusalem. Apostles were sent out, one of the most successful of whom was Brigham Young, the future head of the sect. The Mormons encountered persecution, and Smith feigned to be "commanded from on high" to establish the new church at a city called Nauvoo, which he and his followers built in the territory of Utah [sic]. Here an army was organised, of which Smith was commander-in-chief; he was also mayor of the city, and chief pastor of the Church.

This second Mahomet now received a "revelation," which enabled him to have as many wives as he chose. More liberal than the founder of Islamism, he allowed his followers the same privilege as himself, and polygamy became the most salient characteristic of Mormonism. But it was not until 1852 that a plurality of wives was openly advocated by the Mormon community. Several leading disciples renounced the faith when this tenet was first declared, and started a paper called the Expositor, for the purpose of denouncing Smith and his pretended revelations. The office of this paper was attacked and wrecked by Smith and his followers on May 6th, 1844. Smith was sent to prison at Carthage, Illinois. The furious mob broke into the prison, and shot him and his brother Hiram, on June 24th, 1844. Brigham Young then took command of the sect, and migrated to Salt Lake City, where it still exists. It is believed that Joseph Smith founded his Book of Mormon on a sort of Biblical romance, composed by a Mr. Spalding. It is a confused and inartistic mixture of ideas gathered from various religious systems, and no clear doctrine or philosophy can be gathered from it.

The Mormons re-baptise adults, and do so in running water. Their signal good qualities are patience, perseverance, courage, and industry. The strangest points in their history are these: that their faith rests on a document which no one but Smith could read; and that their chief peculiarity is polygamy, a form of immorality repudiated by all Western and Christian nations.

Note: This article is an excerpt from F. Bayford Harrison's "False Prophets of the Past," published in Vol. XXI (1886) of the New York Quiver.



Vol. ?                         Auburn, New York, Thursday, October 7, 1886.                        No. ?



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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Note: See also the Feb. 2, 1876 issue of the Broome Republican.


The  Register.

Vol. ?                         Pines Plains, New York, Friday, October 22, 1886.                        No. ?

Mormonism -- The  Mormons
in  Ohio  and  Missouri.


In 1831 the Mormons set out for Kirtland, Ohio. Up to this time there had been no whisper of polygamy. Indeed, among the first "revelations" was one to the purport, that each man should be the husband of one wife. In the year 1832 Smith professed to have had one hundred and seventy five revelations. In this same year Brigham Young, a native of Vermont, joined the Mormons at Kirtland. In 1837 a "wild cat" bank which Smith, and Rigdon, one of the early apostles of Mormonism, had originated at Kirtland, failed, causing much loss of money and suffering. Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered, and fled to Missouri and established themselves at Independence as a fit locality for the "New Jerusalem," and the Mormons were made to believe that such it would be to them. In 1838 the prophet organized a military command, a body guard, a fearful band, destroying angels, called Danites, who were sworn to put out of sight all persons obnoxious to the saints, and many peaceful citizens disappeared, "slipped their breath," to use a favorite expression of the band. The horrible deeds of this band, together with the boasted pretensions of Smith, led to the expulsion of the Mormons from Missouri. These pretensions of Smith and the [aim] and animus of Mormonism were made clear at this time by an affidavit of two Mormon apostles, Thomas B. [Marsh] and Orson [Hyde]. They say in this affidavit the mormons have a company among them calling themselves "Danites," who have taken an oath to support the head of the church in all things, whether right or wrong; that the design of Smith is to take this state, and he professes to his people his intention of taking the United States, and ultimately the whole world; that this is the belief the prophet inculcates, and every true Mormon believes Smith's prophecies superior to the law of the land. Such sentiments as these, together with their lawless deeds, could not be tolerated in Missouri, and they were forcibly expelled.

The Mormon problem is confessedly a difficult one. The above extract of the affidavit of these early apostles throws some light on the present situation. We note two points: 1. It was and is the intention of the Mormon leaders "to take the United States," and that not in any ecclesiastical sense. In the Mormon system the church is the state and the state is the church. The two are inseparable. 2. "Every true Mormon believes Smith's prophecies superior to the law of the land." Hence, Mormonism from center to circumference is disloyal, regards the Gentile government of the United States as hostile, and is working with all its might to overthrow it, and unless heroically treated soon, civil war must be the inevitable result.

Note: The writer is mistaken, in saying: "In 1837 a "wild cat" bank... failed, causing much loss of money and suffering. Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered, and fled to Missouri." The 1832 tarring and feathering incident at Hiram, Ohio was unrelated to the 1837 Kirtland bank failure.


Hornellsville  Weekly  Tribune.

Vol. 36.               Hornellsville, Steuben Co., New York, November 19, 1886.               No. 7.



Its Declaration in Reference to Polygamy -- The Original Manuscript Not
in the Possession of the Present Mormons. Their Anxiety to Obtain it.


In the town of Richmond, Mo., is still living at the age of 83 years David Whitmer, the only living witness to the "divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon." He is also the possessor of the original manuscript of this book, or "Mormon Bible," as it is sometimes called. The truth of this Book of Mormon depends on its divine origin, and if the Mormons believe this book to be a divine revelation on which their religion is founded, then are they protected by the constitution in the "free exercise" of their religion. But there has long been a suspicion that their creed has been "doctored" to meet the desires of the "Latter Day Saints." This fact seems to be conclusively proved from a recent interview with Mr. Whitmer. The old gentleman still clings ferociously to his faith in the inspiration of the original Book of Mormon, though he will seldom speak on the subject to those who are possibly skeptics. To those who are intimate with him, he describes the circumstances of the "vision" in which the "gold plates, held together by three rings and inscribed with strange characters, were delivered by an angel to Joseph Smith in the presence of Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and myself." He also describes the transparent stone spectacles called "Urim" and "Thummim," through the aid of which the characters on the gold plates were deciphered and the transcript produced which he holds of the Book of Mormon. Mr. Whitmer, Cowdery, Martin Harris and others left the church, or, as they claim, the church left them in 1838. He retained the manuscript, which has been since much sought after by the church. The gold plates were lost or stolen, so that the only credentials the Mormon church possesses is this manuscript of their bible. They have tried in every way to get it out of Mr. Whitmer's hands.

In 1879 two of the Mormon apostles, Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, visited Mr. Whitmer for the express purpose of obtaining these, to them, precious sheets. Apostle Pratt said: "Father Whitmer, we desire to purchase the manuscript, and we are authorized to say that you may name your price, and (with a patronizing air) be sure you put the price high enough, for the church has plenty of money in the treasury, you know." Mr. Whitmer replied, with quiet emphasis: "Elder Pratt, there isn't gold enough in the world to buy it." Before leaving Richmond Orson Pratt told the hotel proprietor that they would willingly have paid Mr. Whitmer $100,000 for the manuscript. One reason why the Mormon church was so anxious about this document is shown in the accompanying fac-simile reproduction of a portion of one of its pages. Mr. Whitmer kindly permitted and accurate tracing to be made, from which our engraving is reproduced. It is taken from the second book of Jacob, sixth chapter. To assist the reader we give this passage in type:

Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before Me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this People forth out of the land of Jerusalem by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto Me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore I, the Lord Clod, will not suffer that this People shall do like unto these of old. Wherefore, my Brethren, hear Me and hearken to the word of the Lord, for there shall not a man among you have save it be one wife, and concubines he shall have none, for I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women.

The language of the first portion of this paragraph is so strong against the vice of polygamy that it would not bear reproduction here, but that which we have given proves that this doctrine is at direct variance with the teachings of the "Divine Revelation." The interpolation of polygamy into the doctrines of the Mormon church came from a habit the apostles contracted of having revelations "to fit" any of their designs. Mr. Whitmer relates this as an instance: "One night there was quite a little party of brethren and sisters assembled at Smith's house. Some of the men were excessive chowers of the filthy weed, and their disgusting slobbering and spitting caused Mrs. Smith (who, Mr. Whitmer insists, was a lasy of predisposed refinement) to make the ironical remark that it would be a good thing if a revelation could be had declaring the use of tobacco a sin, and commanding its suppression. The matter was taken up and joked about, one of the brethren suggesting that the revelation should also provide for a total abstinence from tea and coffee drinking, intending this as a counter 'dig' at the sisters. Sure enough the subject was afterward taken up in dead earnest, and the 'Word of Wisdom' advising against the use of tobacco, tea and coffee was the result."

That Mr. Whitmer was imposed on originally by Joseph Smith as the Mormon Bible being a divine revelation in 1823 is no longer questioned by those outside of the Mormon church. Forty-six years ago there were wonderous affidavits published to the effect that the origin of the Book of Mormon was written in 1812 by a writer of romances, the Rev. Samuel [sic] Spaulding. He called it a "translation from some hieroglyphical writing exhumed from a mound in Ohio." Mr. Spaulding sent his manuscript to a printer named Patterson, in Pittsburg, Pa. In the office worked Sydney Rigdon, afterward an advisor of Joseph Smith. Patterson declined to publish Mr. Spaulding's romance, and returned it to him after a time. It remained then for a number of years in an unlocked trunk in Mr. Spaulding's brother-in-law's house. Joseph Smith worked on this farm, and, it is supposed, copied the romance and published it as a "revelation" in 1830.

Note: This illustrated article was syndicated and was widely published in North American newspapers.



Vol. L.                 Buffalo, New York, Saturday, December 19, 1886.                   No. 353.

DAVID WHITMER is dying -- if he is not already dead -- at Richmond, Mo., at the age of almost eighty-one. He was associated with Joseph Smith in founding the Mormon church. He was a native of Ontario county in this state. After the alleged discovery by Smith of the Book of Mormon, Whitmer and his brother-in-law, Oliver Cowdery, visited him and were permitted to see it. It was translated in Whitmer's house, Smith acting as "seer" and reading the book by means of the magic spectacles found with it, while his wife, Cowdery and Whitmer's brother were the amanuenses and took down the translation as Smith dictated it. This manuscript in their handwriting is still in the possession of Whitmer's family. Smith, Cowdery, Whitmer and Martin Harris, a neighboring farmer, were the four apostles first sent forth to preach religion according to the book of Mormon. This was in 1830, the year that the book was printed. The next year the disciples moved to Kirtland, O. Whitmer established a Mormon settlement in Jackson county, Mo., but being driven thence he settled in 1838 in his present home. He remained a Mormon and has always maintained that Joseph Smith was a righteous and God-fearing man. He has, however, bitterly opposed polygamy from the first. Besides the manuscripts already alluded to, he has in his possession an accurate copy of several plates from which it was printed and an exhaustive history of the church compiled by his brother. He is highly esteemed at Richmond and has been mayor of the place.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXX.               Syracuse, New York, Wednesday, April 17, 1887.                 No. 286.


How They Are Reviving the Faith of Prophet Joe Smith.

(Special Correspondence.)

Twenty-three miles east of the city of Cleveland and about seven miles south from the slope of Lake Erie, was driven, in the year 1831, the first stake of Zion. Fifty-six years ago it was not so evident as it now is where the large cities and towns of the lake region would be. It then seemed an assured fact that Kirtland would be larger than either Cleveland or Buffalo.

In the latter part of the winter and early spring of 1831 there was the most wonderful ingathering of people on Kirtland Flats that had ever been seen in this part of the world. It was impossible to build houses fast enough to accomodate those that came. Rude shanties were extemporized. Many people continued to reside, like gypsies, in the Conestoga wagons and ox carts in which they came. The sound of the hammer was heard incessantly. Houses and shops grew as if by magic. It was a busy mart. To supply the wants of this multitude was no small task. There were men, women and children of many grades, but the rude, squalid and poor seemed to be the prevailing type. Hon. A. G. Riddle, of Washington, then a young man residing in the vicinity, who visited the Flats at this time, says that one could see in their faces evidences of the wild fanaticism that had brought this assemblage of odds and ends together.

This was a season of religious agitation in all portions of the country. Alexander Campbell and his father, Scotch Presbyterians, had recently begun to preach some new doctrines in regard to the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. They had made a decided sensation in various quarters and had organized many churches. Those who accepted the preaching of the Campbells were called "Campbellites," and some people were disposed to persecute the new denomination. This only added strength and coherence to the new sect, and it grew rapidly. Among the ambitious preachers who had come from the Baptists and accepted the views of the Campbells was a fluent and somewhat brilliant young man named Sidney Rigdon. He often complained to his friends that the Campbells were obtaining more credit than they deserved. It was not long after that Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr., were preaching Mormonism. Rigdon was the principal orator of the new dispensation. But again he was disappointed, for Smith was the prophet and founder.

The prophet and Rigdon soon decided that it would be convenient to have a bank. They had no capital to speak of, except faith, but the bank was organized. It was called "The Kirtland Saving [sic] society." Smith was made cashier and Rigdon president, and the faithful were advised to deposit their funds with the concern. An unlimited amount of paper was issued, and for a time money was plentiful in the community.

Under direction from the Lord, Smith set about the construction of a temple. It was made two stories high, with dormer windows in the roof, which utilized the garret as a third story. The walls were made of stone and covered on the outside with a cement that has stood the ravages of fifty-five years, and is still as perfect as the day it was put on. This cement was made by an Englishman (one of the faithful), who alone knew the secret of its composition. It has often been examined by expert builders, who would be willing to pay a large sum for the recipe from which it was made, but all in vain. Its ingredients and their proportions are as much a mystery as the manner in which the pyramids of Egypt were constructed. The fact that the temple stood intact for more than half a century is cited by believers as certain proof that the Lord was its architect.

Smith and Rigdon added to their bank and temple a mill and a store. The prophet by this time also had a comfortable house of his own, well furnished considering the times. Things thus went on very well for a time, but finally the natural results of "wild cat" banking began to be felt. There was no redeming basis for the bank circulation, and depositors who had put in "hard money" did not feel contented to take out irredeemable paper. One thing followed another, and the crash at length came all at once. Smith disposed of his earthly effects as hastily as possible, and, in company with Rigdon, fled in January, 1838, to Independence [sic - Far West?], Mo. They did not get away, however, until they had been arrested on charges of swindling. The suit was instituted by citizens who were incensed over the losses they had sustained. They were joined by disaffected and apostate Mormons. The prisoners escaped from the sheriff.

Before leaving Kirtland the saints encountered many schisms and dissensions among themselves. These troublous elements were transpored to Missouri and Illinois.

Only one family, that of Mr. and Mrs. Stratton, remained in Kirtland. They still believed in the prophet, but not to the extent of fleeing with him to Missouri. They held the key of the temple and claimed to have the title to it.

After the trouble at Nauvoo, Ills. and the death of the prophet,the leaders split up and separated. There was much dissatisfaction with the sudden prominence and leadership of Brigham Young. That worthy, however, took the larger part of the people with him and made the wonderful hegira to Salt Lake. For more than thirty years the world heard very little of any Mormons except those in Utah. Brigham Young had shown himself to be of great strength as a leader. He kept down schism by the force of his iron will. But the scattered leaders kept the fires of faith alive on their hearthstones. With the lapse of time the halo around the life and work of the prophet who had been murdered grew, and at length there was a gathering and an organization of the fragments into a body called the "Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints." This new body is aggressive, dogmatical [and] earnest. Its missionaries go forth into all regions and preach the gospel to the lowly. They returned four years ago and laid claim to the old deserted temple here; Mrs. Electa Stratton still held the key. A few dollars spent in renovating made the old building a presentable structure, as good or better than the ordinary country church. The "Reorganized" branch laid claim to the property and have obtained at length a clear title to it. Kirtland, which for fifty years has been stranded away from the beaten routes of travel, is again having a "boom." It is the Mecca of a church. It is the center of a conference, and here resides one of the principal bishops.

The conference which has just closed its sessions here is the largest ever held by the church denomination. Its deliberations were participated in by all the prominent men of the church, and near its close Joseph Smith III, the son and heir of the prophet, on whom the prophetic mantle fell, delivered an important revelation from the spirit. These anti-polygamous Mormons are growing in the estimation of the public. Barring their alleged fanaticism and their faithful belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet, they do not differ materially from other Christian sects. They very strenuously oppose the use of liquor or tobacco, and are particular about the observance [of] ordinances of the New Testament as they understand them. They are certain to take no mean place, so far as membership goes, in the denominations of the world. George A. Robertson.

Note: Albert G. Riddle's 1874 book, The Portrait, was obviously the source for much of the first paragraphs of the above article. Although Riddle was an eye witness to the advent of Mormonism in Ohio, his book was written as a semi-fictional novel. The remainder of the piece ties in the story of the RLDS to the Kirtland area -- where their spring 1887 annual conference drew the attention of both the local and national press. See also the Frederick, MD Daily News of Apr. 21, '87, where the Robertson letter is dated "Kirtland, April 18."


The  Oswego  Palladium.

Vol. ?                               Oswego, N. Y., Thurs., April 21, 1887.                               No. ?


How They Are Reviving the Faith of Prophet Joe Smith.

(Special Correspondence.)

Twenty-three miles east of the city Of Cleveland and about seven miles south from the shore of Lake Erie was driven, in 1831, the first stake of Zion. Fifty-six years ago it was not so evident as it is now is, where the large cities and towns of the lake region would be. It then seemed an assured fact that Kirtland would be larger than either Cleveland or Buffalo.

In the latter part of the winter and early spring of 1831 there was the most wonderful ingathering of people on Kirtland Flats that had ever been seen in this part of the world. It was impossible to build houses fast enough to accommodate those who came. Rude shanties were extemporized. Many people continued to reside, like gypsies, in the Conestoga wagons and ox carts in which they came. The sound of the hammer was heard incessantly. Houses and shops grew as if by magic. It was a busy mart. To supply the wants of this multitude was no small task. There were men, women and children of many grades, but the rude, squalid and poor seemed to be the prevailing type. Hon. A. G. Riddle, of Washington, then a young man residing in the vicinity, who visited the Flats at this time, says that one could see in their faces evidences of the wild fanaticism that had brought this assemblage of odds and ends together.

This was a season of religious agitation in all portions of the country. Alexander Campbell and his father, Scotch Presbyterians, had recently begun to preach some new doctrines in regard to the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. They had made a decided sensation in various quarters and had organized many churches. Those who accepted the preaching of the Campbells were called "Campbellites," and some people were disposed to persecute the new denomination. This only added strength and coherence to the new sect, and it grew rapidly. Among the ambitious preachers who had come from the Baptists and accepted the views of the Campbells was a fluent and somewhat brilliant young man named Sidney Rigdon. He often complained to his friends that the Campbells were obtaining more credit than they deserved. It was not long after that Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr., were preaching Mormonism. Rigdon was the principla orator of the new dispensation. But again he was disappointed, for Smith was the prophet and founder.

The prophet and Rigdon soon decided that it would be convenient to have a bank. They had no capital to speak of, except faith, but the bank was organized. It was called "The Kirtland Saving [sic] society." Smith was made cashier and Rigdon president, and the faithful were advised to deposit their funds with the concern. An unlimited amount of paper was issued, and for a time money was plentiful in the community.

Under the direction of the Lord, Smith set about the construction of a temple. It was made two stories high, with dormer windows in the roof, which utilized the garret as a third story. The walls were made of stone and covered on the outside with a cement that has stood the ravages of fifty-five years, and is still as perfect as the day it was put on. This cement was made by an Englishman (one of the faithful), who alone knew the secret of its composition. It has often been examined by expert builders, who would be willing to pay a large sum for the recipe from which it was made, but all in vain. Its ingredients and their proportions are as much a mystery as the manner in which the pyramids of Egypt were constructed. The fact that the temple stood intact for more than half a century is cited by believers as certain proof that the Lord was its architect.

Smith and Rigdon added to their bank and temple a mill and a store. The prophet by this time also had a comfortable house of his own, well furnished considering the times. Things thus went on very well for a time, but finally the natural results of "wild cat" banking began to be felt. There was no redeming basis for the bank circulation, and depositors who had put in "hard money" did not feel contented to take out irredeemable paper. One thing followed another, and the crash at length came all at once. Smith disposed of his earthly effects as hastily as possible, and, in company with Rigdon, fled in January, 1838, to Independence [sic - Far West?], Mo. They did not get away, however, until they had been arrested on charges of swindling. The suit was instituted by citizens who were incensed over the losses they had sustained. They were joined by disaffected and apostate Mormons. The prisoners excaped from the sheriff.

Before leaving Kirtland the saints encountered many schisms and dissensions among themselves. These troublous elements were transpored to Missouri and Illinois.

Only one family, that of Mr. and Mrs. Stratton, remained in Kirtland. They still believed in the prophet, but not to the extent of fleeing with him to Missouri. They held the key of the temple and claimed to have the title to it.

After the trouble at Nauvoo, Ills. and the death of the prophet,the leades split up and separated. There was much dissatisfaction with the sudden prominence and leadership of Brigham Young. That worthy, however, took the larger part of the people with him and made the wonderful hegira to Salt Lake. For more than thirty years the world heard very little of any Mormons except those in Utah. Brigham Young had shown himself to be of great strength as a leader. He kept down schism by the force of his iron will. But the scattered leaders kept the fires of faith alive on their hearthstones. With the lapse of time halo around the life and work of the prophet who had been murdered grew, and at length there was a gathering and an organization of the fragments into a body called the "Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints." This new body is aggressive, dogmatical [and] earnest. Its missionaries go forth into all regions and preach the gospel to the lowly. They returned four years ago and laid claim to the old deserted temple here; Mrs. Electa Stratton still held the key. A few dollars spent in renovating made the old building a presentable structure, as good or better than the ordinary country church. The "Reorganized" branch laid claim to the property and have obtained at length a clear title to it. Kirtland, which for fifty years has been stranded away from the beaten routes of travel, is again having a "boom." It is the Mecca of a church. It is the center of a conference, and here resides one of the principal bishops.

The conference which has just closed its sessions here is the largest ever held by the church denomination. Its deliberations were participated in by all the prominent men of the church, and near its close Joseph Smith III, the son and heir of the prophet, on whom the prophetic mantel fell, delivered an important revelation from the spirit. These anti-polygamous Mormons are growing in the estimation of the public. Barring their alleged fanaticism and their faithful belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet, they do not differ materially from other Christian sects. They very strenuously oppose the use of liquor or tobacco, and are particular about the observance [of] ordinances of the New Testament as they understand them. They are certain to take no mean place, so far as membership goes, in the denominations of the world.   George A. Robertson.

Note: Albert G. Riddle's 1874 book, The Portrait, was obviously the source for much of the first paragraphs of the above article. Although Riddle was an eye witness to the advent of Mormonism in Ohio, his book was written as a semi-fictional novel. The remainder of the piece ties in the story of the RLDS to the Kirtland area -- where their spring 1887 annual conference drew the attention of both the local and national press. See also the Apr. 21. 1887 issue of the Frederick, MD Daily News.


Broome  Republican.

Vol. XLV.                          Binghampton, N. Y., Thurs., Apr. 28, 1887.                          No. 43.


A Moral Mosaic of Social Odds and Ends.

(Special Correspondence.)

In a former letter I told you what Mormonism was not -- that it was not aggressive, not growing and not in conditiou to outlast fifty years, even if the government let it entirely alone. I will now vary the proceedings a little by telling you what it is. It is a moral mosaic, a composite concern made up socially of the odds and ends of humanity, and doctrinally of all the odd sophistries and worn out isms of 2,000 years. There is not a volume extant giving the church statement of faith, but it is flatly contradicted in some other volume or revelation of equal authority. For instance, the "Book of Mormon" says that David and Solomon "committed abomination" in having many wives and concubines: while the "Revelation on Celestial Marriage," first' published in 1852, but written out by Joe Smith's clerk in 1843, opens with these words: "Verily, thus saith the Lord , * * * that, whereas you have inquired wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as also David and Moses and Solomon my servants in the matter of their havjng many wives and concubines," etc. Here are Isaac and Moses classed with Solomon as having many wives and concubines, while, in fact they had none of the latter and but one at a time of the former; while the revelation says God "justified" David and Solomon in that which the booK calls an "abomination." I observe, by the way, that the sons of Joe Smith have lately had a little sputter at Kirtland, and the papers accept their statement that their father was not a polygamist. Well, if he wasn't there are some mighty clever liars among the old women of Utah; for several of them solemnly swear that they were "sealed to him" in Nauvoo. Mrs. Orson; Pratt was a life long witness that Joe Smith preached the doctrine to her, and no one who knew her would dispute her word.

Mormonism began in New York as a "Golden "Bible" speculation. It is clearly proved that at the start the schemers expected nothing but to make some money by the sale of their miraculous book; but when they found people ready for a new religion they went on to get up a church. The next phase was a real estate speculation, with mill, store and bank at Kirtland; that burst in 1837, and the principal men fled t o Missouri, "just a little ahead of the sheriff" for the first 100 miles or so. The third stage was as a fanatical brood of pillagers in Missouri, operating on the line of this revelation:

"Behold it is said or written in my laws, Thou shalt not get in debt to thine enemies; but, behold, it is not said at any time that the Lord should not take when He please and pay as seemeth to Him good, wherefore, as ye are the Lord's servants ye are on the Lord's errand."

This part of the Lord's business was so well attended to that there was a small war, and the Mormons Were driven to Illinois, where the fourth phase was developed: A speculation in real estate and politics. This, with minor rogueries, brought on the Illinois war of 1844-45, and the Mormons went to Utah. At that time this ceased to be an American church. From 1845S to 1873 ninety-nine hundredths of the Mormon converts were from foreign lands, so the apostles and elders were able to establish a complete theocracy. From 1850 to 1870 especially the despotism Was awful. -- Then the United States took a hand. The Mormon courts were deprived of their plenary jurisdiction and the United States courts did the business, a great gain to the Gentiles and apostates. Then the Mormon militia was disbanded, the penitentiary put into the hands of the United States marshal and many other things of like nature; so all the administration was taken from the church and its power to hurt reduced to a trifling minimum. The theocracy weakened fast after losing the temporal power, and now the theocrats are on the defensive. All they ask is to be let alone -- to enjoy what little power is left them and to take an extra wife occasionally when the market is favorable. And it is really a pity, from an aesthetic standpoint, that national self respect will not permit our government to allow them this last privilege, for the women they bring here from Europe and the backwoods of the south couldn't be worsted by polygamy; Of course there is occasionally a woman of refinement and beauty imported by these saints... But general rules will bear hard on particular cases; the United States has a character to maintain and must bring these people to the line. ROBERT O. BARCLAY.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 58.                               Syracuse, N.Y., Sun., May 29, 1887.                               No. ?

The Book of Mormon Partly the Work of a Puritan Minister.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

(see original article from Ohio paper)

Notes: (forthcoming)


Weekly  News  and  Democrat.

Vol. XXXVII.                           Auburn, N. Y., Thurs., June 9, 1887.                          No. 40.


At Kirtland, O., Repaired and Reconstructed

Bits of Mormon History.

The old Mormon temple at Kirtland, O., stands as a reminder of one of the queerest, if not the very queerest, episodes in American history. Now that the non-polygamous followers of the present Joseph Smith -- the "Young Joeites," as the Utah Mormons derisively call them -- have refitted the old temple and are trying to revive interest in that abandoned "stake of Zion," it may interest the public to learn a few of the facts connected with the temple, of which a cut is given. [graphic not reproduced]


It is not now in the power of man to invent a new religion. All he can do is to select parts of the old and piece them together. So when Joseph Smith produced his "Golden Bible" in Wayne county, N. Y., in 1830, he simply preached a reform of the modern church with renewal of the gifts exercised by the ancient apostles, such as prophesying, healing, speaking in unknown tongues, etc. Almost every year from that date till Brigham Young's death has witnessed the addition of some new doctrine, "spiritual wifery" in 1840-42, polygamy in 1843 (kept secret till 1853), blood atonement in 1854, and so on. Now the sons of the original prophet, namely, Joseph, William [sic] and David Hyrum Smith, repudiate all that was done after 1844, the year their father was killed, deny that he ever taught or practiced polygamy and propose to restore the church to what it was in the beginning, namely, an improved Christian church, with a few extra frills of an apostolic nature. Unfortunately for this scheme, no two men could be more unlike than "Old Joe" and "Young Joe." The former was painfully prolific of revelations. "Young Joe," on the other hand, has never "revelated," and the Utah Mormons call him the "dumb prophet."

Now, while the prophet was organizing his church in New York, Sidney Rigdon, an apostate Baptist preacher, had collected, near Mentor, O., a queer band of semi-lunatics, who condemned all the churches and held that the Lord was about to reveal himself anew. Rigdon visited Smith and accepted his leadership, the two squads were united, and so a community of about 100 families was organized, which formed the settlement at Kirtland, Lake county, O., about five miles from the home of the late President Garfield. Early in 1831 the town was begun; in 1832 it was quits a place. That year also Brigham Young was converted and located there; in 1833 this temple was begun, and in 1836 it was completed and consecrated with frantic performances of various kinds. In the meantime the Mormons had made a settlement in Jackson county, Missouri, where they had a small war with the Gentiles, and whence they were driven into the northwest corner of that state. At Kirtland they set up a community mill, store and bank; the goods from the store were sold on credit or given in payment for work on the temple, and the notes of the bank were put out so industriously that in the panic of 1837 they sank to six cents on the dollar. Soon after all the principal Mormons fled to Missouri, the bank notes became worthless and only a few of the original Rigdonites remained about Kirtland.

Kirtland sank into a quiet country village, Mentor became noted as a seat of learning and the abode of quiet and cultured people. The temple stood unoccupied for years, then it was long used as a wheat warehouse, and for a short time as a pork packing house. But it was a remarkably well built structure and took no harm from these profane uses. Finally, when the Mormon episode was almost forgotten, an agent of the "Young Joeites" quietly bought the building and adjacent lots, and about 1875 the concern was thoroughly cleansed and rather handsomely finished inside; a few of the old visionaries came back, a few new converts, and now there are Mormons enough about Kirtland to maintain a good congregation and "guard the sacred fires," as it were. The style of the building does not follow any order of architecture fully, but nevertheless the temple presents a bold and attractive appearance; the stranger, uninformed of its history, would pause to admire it as an interesting specimen of the quaint' and old fashioned country academy. The brick and stone are of the very best quality, and there is no reason, natural convulsions aside, why it should not stand a thousand years.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. 58.                               Syracuse, N.Y., Sun., Aug. 14, 1887.                               No. ?


A Brief Sketch of Mormonism In Hancock County, Ill. -- The Old
Stone Jail at Carthage -- The Temple at Nauvoo.

Carthage, Ill., contains a pet relic of Mormonism in the old jail where Joseph and Hiram Smith, Mormon prophets, were slain by a mob June 27, 1844. Many strangers still come to visit the old building which is in a good state of preservation. The cause of the Smiths' arrest, and the account of their assassination are of never falling interest. The Smiths, Joseph and Hiram, in company with two other dignitaries of the Mormon church had boon arrested at Nauvoo for the destruction of a newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor, which was exposing them and their unlawful acts. They were brought to jail at Carthage and placed in in the debtor's room of that building, to await trial. The Mormons, by some of their acts, had aroused a bitter feeling against them in the breasts of many people in the county, and this feeling gave vent to open avowals of vengeance. Public meetings were held, companies were organized, and matters began to assume a warlike appearance. Governor Ford was called to Hancock County to keep the peace, if possible, and, on June 27, 1844, had gone to Nauvoo for the purpose of making some peace treaty with the Mormons. About four o'clock on that day a large body of armed men, disguised in many ways, emerged from a strip of timber neartown, and made a rush for the Jail. They quickly overpowered the guards and rushed up the stairway loading to the room where the prisoners were. Breaking open the door, they quickly began firing at Joseph and Hiram Smith, killing them instantly, and badly wounding Dr. [sic] Taylor, now a prominent member of the Mormon Church at Salt Lake City, Utah. The mob then dispersed, and the bodies of the two Smiths were cared for by a kind-hearted citizen. The next day he conveyed them to Nauvoo in his farm wagon, and delivered them to the sorrowing people of that city.

The people of Carthage, fearing swift vengeance at the hands of the Mormons, fled from Carthago in terror, leaving their stores and dwellings open. The village was deserted for several days. Visitors to the old jail can see the marks of bullets in the stone walls and in the casing of the heavy oaken door, which has never been removed. On the atone floor of the room can yet be seen a dark, black stain -- the blood of the martyred prophets.

The history of Mormonism in Hancock County is a strange and eventful one. It has never been fully given to the world. The father of Mormonism was Joseph Smith. He was born at Sharon, Windsor County, Vt., on December 28, 1805. His youth was devoted to idleness and roaming the woods. Later on in life he fell in with one Sidney Rigdon, who had become possessed of a religious romance written by Rev. Mr. Spalding, a Presbyterian clergyman, then dead. Smith and Rigdon conceived the idea of establishing a now religion. They devised a story that some golden plates had been discovered buried in the earth which contained a record inscribed upon them in unknown characters. Smith, being a prophet of the Lord, deciphered these curious characters by the power of inspiration, and the result was the Book of Mormon, which is thought to be nothing more than the religions romance, referred to above.

Smith and Rigdon now founded a church, and having secured a large following, in 1833 came west to Missouri and Ohio. Here they established the town of Independence in the former place and built a temple at the latter. They were driven out of these States, however, and In 1839-40 came to Illinois, settling at Nauvoo, on the Mississippi river, in Hancock County. The church grew and flourished and Nauvoo at one time contained a population of over 20,000 souls. A magnificent temple was erected, many other buildings were raised, and the city of Nauvoo was known far and wide for its thrift and industry. The State Legislature granted to the Mormons several charters which gave them power to govern themselves and establish their own laws. This they did, and in defiance of the laws of State and country. Their abuse of the writ of habeas corpus was one of their most flagrant acts of defiance to our laws.

It was the violation of constitutional and municipal laws that caused Smith's arrest, and led to his subsequent death.

Soon after the death of their prophet the Mormons left Nauvoo, many going to Utah and many establishing a colony at Lamoni, Ia., which is now presided over by Joseph Smith, Jr., son of the prophet. The final hegira occurred in 1846 after a short war between the Gentiles and the Mormons. Soon after the Mormons had left Nauvoo, some miscreant set fire to tbe beautiful temple and it was destroyed. The structure had cost one million dollars.

There is no well-founded charge that polygamy existed among the Mormons in Hancock County, although Smith was known to have openly promulgated the "spiritual wife doctrine." As a rule the Mormon people were quiet, honest, and industrious; those of that faith still residing in this county bear that reputation.

But the interest in this strange class of people yet brings to Carthage and to Nauvoo many curious strangers who wish to gaze upon the relics of Mormonism. Few of the buildings at Nauvoo still remain. The inhabitants of that city are mostly foreigners who know little of the history of the place. The old jail at Carthage is still in a fair state of preservation, and the excellent family whose house it is, never tire of throwing open its doors to those who may wish to pay an hour, of homage, or to gratify curiosity, at the shrine of the martyred prophets. GAY DAVIDSON.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. II.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Wednesday, February 1, 1888.                           No. ?



David Whitmer, a Former Resident of Ontarlo County, Dies of
Old Age at His House in Missouri.


St. Louis. Jan. 31 -- The death of David Whitmer, "the only living witness of the divine authenticity of the book of Mormon," which took place at his home in Richmond, Mo., on Wednesday, has already been announced but some additional facts in connection with his history may be interesting. He was the possessor of the original manuscript of the Mormon Bible, to faith in the inspired origin of which the old gentleman persistently clung, although as long ago as 1838 he had cut loose from the Mormon church. He could not accept the interpolated doctrine of polygamy.

In 1879 two of the Mormon apostles, Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, visited Mr. Whitmer for the express purpose of obtaining these, to them, precious shoots. Apostle Pratt said: "Father Whitmer, we desire to purchase the manuscript, and we are authorized to say that you may name your price, and (with a patronising air) be sure you put the price high enough, for the Church has plenty of money in the treasury, you know." Mr. Whitmer replied, with quiet emphasis: "Elder Pratt, there isn't gold enough in the world to buy it." Before leaving Richmond Orson Pratt told the hotel proprietor that they would willingly have paid Mr. Whitmer $100,000 for the manuscript. One reason why the Mormon church was so anxious to possess this document is shown in the accompanying extract, which emphatically declares against polygamy:

Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before Me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto those of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear Me and hearken to the word of the Lord, for there shall not a man among you have save it be one wife, and concubines he shall have none, for I, the Lord God. deligbteth in the chastity of women.

The interpolation of polygamy into the doctrines of the Mormon church came from the habit the apostles contracted of having relations "to fit" any of their designs. Mr. Whitmer used to relate this as an instance: "One night there was quite a little party of brethren and sisters assembled at Smith's house. Some of the men were excessive chewers of the filthy weed, and their disgusting slobbering and spitting caused Mrs. Smith (who, Mr. Whitmer insisted, was a lady of predisposed refinement) to make the ironical remark that 'it would be a good thing if a revelation could be had declaring the use of tobacco a sin, and commanding its suppression.' The matter was taken up and joked about, one of the brethren suggesting that the revelation should also provide for a total abstinence from tea and coffee drinking, intending this as a counter 'dig' at the sisters. Sure enough the subject was afterward taken up in dead earnest, and the 'Word of Wisdom' advising against the use of tobacco, tea and coffee was the result."

Mr. Whitmer's narrative of the discovery of the Mormon Bible and the origin of the Mormon church was to the following effect: "In 1828, when I lived in Ontario couuty, N. Y., there was great excitement over the discovery by Joseph Smith, a farmer in our neighborhood, of a great treasure. Nothing was known of it in a definite way by my family until the next year, in June, when he was busily engaged in the translation of the book, which I learned he had found, in the form of gold plates, on the hill Cumorah, about two miles from Palmyra. I saw the plates frequently in Smith's hands, but as the characters inscribed thereon were something like Egyptian hieroglyphics, I could make nothing of them. Smith, however, had no difficulty in deciphering them, and as he dictated Oliver Cowdrey wrote. I asked Smith once how be came to find the plates, and he told me that the place on the hill was pointed out to him by an angel in dazzling apparel. They were in a stone casket, and purported to be a history of the Nephites, a nation that had passed away. The plates, as I saw them, were fastened with three rings. About half of them were loose and movable, but the others were solid, as if sealed. Smith said in explanation of this that the angel had told him very impressively that the loose plates alone were to be used, and that the sealed portion was not to be tampered with.

"I became interested in the matter, as Smith was a man of good repute. After the plates had beeu translated, six months having been passed in the work, the same heavenly visitant appeared to Smith and reclaimed the tablets, informing Smith that he would replace them with other records ot the lost tribes that had been brought with tbem from Asia, and that they would all be forthcoming when the world was ready to receive them. I saw this apparation myself, gazed with awe on the celestial messenger and heard him say: 'Blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps his commandments.' Then, as he held the plates and turned them over with his hands so that he could see them plainly, a voice that seemed to fill all space was heard saving, 'What you see is true. Testify to the same.' Oliver Cowdrey and I, standing there, felt, as the white garments of the angel faded from view, that we had received a message from God, and we have so recorded it. Two or three days later the same angel appeared to Martin Harris while he was in company with Smith, and placed the same injunction upon him. He described the sight and his sensations to me, and they corresponded exactly with what I had seen and heard. In his translation of the tablets Smith used a small oval or kidney-shaped stone, which seemed endowed with the marvellous power of converting the characters on the plates, when used by Smith, into English, He would then dictate and Cowdrey would write. Frequently one character would make two lines of manuscript, while others made but a word or two. I can assert emphatically, as did Cowdrey, that while Smith was dictating he bad no manuscript, notes or other means of knowledge, save the seer stone and the characters as shown on the plates.

"As an evidence of our belief in the divine origin of tne book, I can say that Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, mortgaged his farm for $1,500 for the purpose of printed, and we all contributed time and money for the purpose of circulating it. A few years ago Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith, who had been sent from Utah to secure the original manuscript, came here, and. after a careful examination, Elder Pratt assured those present that the writing was in the hand of Oliver Cowdrey. He declared that tbe archives at Salt Lake were incomplete without it, and he offered me any reasonable sum for it, but I refused to part with it, as I regarded it as a sacred trust."

That Mr. Whitmer was imposed on by Joseph Smith as to the Mormon Bible being a divine revelation is no longer questioned by those outside of the Mormon church. Forty-six years ago there were numerous affidavits published to the effect that the Original Book of Mormon was written in 1812 by the Rev. Samuel [sic] Spaulding, a writer of romances. He called it a "translation from some hieroglyphical writing exhumed from a mound in Ohio." Mr. Spaulding sent his manuscript to a printer named Patterson, in Pittsburgh, Pa. In this office worked Sydney Rigdon, afterward an adviser of Joseph Smith. Patterson declined to publish Mr. Spaulding's romance, and returned it to a him after a time. It remained then for a number of years in an unlocked trunk, in Mr. Spaulding's brother-in-law's house. Joseph Smith worked for the latter, and, it is supposed, copied the romance and published it as a "revelation" in 1830.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                           Bainbridge, N. Y., Thursday, August 16, 1888.                          No. ?

Impressions of the Work and Teachings of
Joseph Smith, the Morman at Nineveh.

From the station at Harpursville, on the A. & S. R. R., if you look southeast, your eyes will rest upon the beautiful valley of the Susquehanna river.... Around the lake and along this valley, is the locality of the early operations of the Mormons, under the leadership of Joseph Smith. Here, indeed, he first preached to a benighted people, and expounded the doctrines of his new revelations. The twelve apostles were ordained for their work, and the various miracles which were performed by the Arch-Mormon were here performed in the presence of witnessses, some of whom are still living. A short walk from the station vvill bring you into the little village of Nineveh, which in Smith's time was 14 miles south of Jericho.... Just opposite of Nineveh, on the east side of the river, on what is now known as the Scott, or Henry P. Bush farm, in a little, old gray, frame house lived a poor man named Knight who worked hard to sustain his little family. At the outlet of Pickerel Lake, on this farm, Knight had a carding mill, the dam trenches and raceways being still visible. In this mill Knight toiled from day to day to eke out the scanty supply for his little ones. Some distance west of the carding mill on a slight rise of ground, stands an old barn, in which Smith later preached to his disciples, giving forth his doctrines and revealing the new truth. One pleasant summer evening while the Knight family was enjoying the cool shade of their happy home, father and mother resting their weary limbs and watching the happy, gleeful children playing at their hearth stone, the curiosity of the family was aroused by a stranger on horseback turning in from the main highway toward their dwelling. He was tall, dark, imposing, and impudent. He had only to ask shelter and lodging of the family and the custom and hospitality of the times gave him a night's entertainment. After the horse was cared for and the family was all seated around the table to listen to the stories of the stranger, Smith commenced a tale of his life and revelations. He told Knight how he was born in Vermont in a small town called Sharon, in the year 1805, and lived with his father until he was 15 years of age That his father was a farmer in Ontario County, N. Y., and while he was on the farm he began to have visions. That one night in September, 1823, the Angel Moroni appeared to him three times, informing him that God had a work for him to do, and that a record written upon gold plates, hiving an account of the ancient inhabitants of America and the dealings of God with them, was deposited in a particular place in the earth in a hill in Manchester, Ontario Co., N.Y., andd with the record were two transparent stones in silver bows, like spectcles, which were anciently called Urim and Thummim. On looking through which the golden plates would become intelligible, and also gave him a prophetical vision whereby he could foretell events, determine the location of lost treasure, or find out rich mines of silver or gold. The last vvords fairly raised Knight's hair as visions of gold, splendor and riches passed across the poor man's imagination, while Smith cunningly observed their effect. The whole family were mesmerized by these ideals and delighted with curiosity when he drew the silver bows with the transparent srones, from the case he took from his pocket in which they were carefully kept.

Smith again continued ro tell how on Sept. 22nd, 1827, the angel of the Lord placed in his hands the Urim and the Thummim. The plates, he said, were nearly 8 inches long by 7 inches wide, and a little thinner than ordinary tin, and were bound together by three rings running through the whole. Altogether they were about 6 inches thick and were neatly engraved on each side with hieroglyphics, a language called the reformed Egyptian, not then known on the earth. No person would be allowed to see these plates, as no person could look at them and live. He had a large roll of paper rolled up in a valise which he carried with him, which he claimed to Knight was a translation these plates and constituted the revelation. He farther showed this manuscript to Knight, which he claimed was translated by himself by looking throuh the Urim and Thummim while he sat behind a blanket hung across a room in order that the sacred records might be kept from profane eyes, and read off the "Book of Mormon," or Golden Bible as he sometimes called it, to Oliver Cowdery who wrote it down. He showed the certificate to Knight, which was attached, and read it to him as follows [the testimony of three witnesses].

After reading this off to Knight, Smith saw he had made a convert to his new religion. He rook up the silver bows and looked in them steadily for a few minutes when he says: "Lo! I see feathers! I see feathers, a stump, a fence, a field, Yes, indeed, between this and Jericho is a stump covered with feathers, at the south east side of which is a pot of gold. Perhaps the treasure was buried there by Captain Kidd." Knight was now on his mettle, his chance which is the "tide in the affairs of men" had come. Riches were near. "Kings may be blessed but Knight was glorious o'er all the ills of life victorious."

Well, Smith and Knight arranged to get a neighbor or two and go up and get the treasure on the following morning. Little sleep was found in house the remainder of that night and in the morning Knight had his men with shovels, picks and bars ready for the crusade. Before leaving Smith gave his charge to all the men, that not a word must be spoken while they were digging nor within 10 rods of the place where the treasure was, else it wouId vanish. They went toward Jericho, and when about three fourths of the way along Smith stopped his horse and said to the men, "This looks like the place." Knight climbed up on the fence and looking off toward the woods said, "I see a stump with feathers on it." Smith then told him "This is the place."

They dug around the stump all that day but found no treasure to satisfy their craving natures, but went home tired and jaded, The following morning they returned to the toil[,] when about noon one of the men struck his pick on something hard that gave a sound like the lid of a pot. Without consideration he said "I have struck it," when Smith exclaimed: "Fool! thou art, the pot of gold was there but thy voice hath caused it to vanish." And so as Smith said no gold or pot was found and the men returned home to reflect, not on the impossibility of gold not beIng there, but upon the foolishness of the neighbor.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. II.                           Syracuse, N. Y., Wednesday, November 14, 1888.                          No. 89.


In excavating for the purpose of widening the yard of the Erie Railroad company at Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, a few days ago, it became necessary to disturb a grave containing the remains of Isaac Hale, the first settler in that region. His name has come down to history in connection with "Joe" Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion. The great leader of Nauvoo saints married the daughter of Hale, in an old farmhouse still standing near the grave where Isaac Hale has slept for half a century. In this house Smith laid his plans for becoming the head of the Mormon church and for the discovery of the Bible which he afterward dug out of a hill in Wayne county in this State. Whether his father-in-law embraced "Joe" Smith's peculiar views is not known, but as he remained on his farm at Susquehanna instead of migrating to the West with his saintly son-in-law, it is to be inferred that the old gentleman took no stock in tho Mormon doctrine -- perhaps because he was only too well enlightened as to its origin.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Elmira  [     ]  Telegram.

Vol. X.                             Elmira, N. Y., Sunday, April 7, 1889.                           No. 50.


The elders spreading Mormonism in the south are met on every hand, of course, with questions about polygamy. What they tell converts is not easy to discover, but it is suspected that the question is evaded...

(under construction)


Looking for a Chest That Is Said to Contain $10,000.

The story in the last issue of the Telegram descriptive of Samuel Middlebrook's methods, on theories peculiarly his own, in searching for Kidd's gold, caused that gentleman to rise to a high plane of notoriety. For some days subsequently he was the talk of the town, and he and his companions prosecuted their work with renewed ardor. Suddenly Mr. Middlebrook disappeared, and his friends began to feel that his scheme was abandoned. Those who imagined such to be the case did not realize Middlebrook's tenacious disposition, for, within a day or two, John Conley, an old soldier of the late war, stated that he (Middlebrook) had told him that the search was going on, but for a brief season only: it was not for the gold of Captain Kidd. When asked why he was taken into the confidence of Mr. Middlebrook, Mr. Conley stated that sixty years ago his grandfather and a companion buried a chest which contained over $10,000, for which Middlebrook is now hunting. Soon after the burial of the chest Conley's grandfather went to Spain, While there he contracted a disease, and his physicians said if he attempted to return to this country the trip would result in death before he reached here. This aspect of the case frightened the grandfather, who wrote to his son in this country informing him of the locality of the buried chest, enclosing a chart by which the chest could be traced. In course of time the documents were mislaid and supposed be lost until a while ago, when on looking over his father's papers Conley found them. The ink had faded, but the writing was legible. Conley had read in the Telegram of the attempt to find Kidd's gold, and learning of the divining rod, upon which the seeker depended for success, made a confidant of Middlebrook as to the letter and chart, and formed a co-partnership. According to the letter the chest lay eight yards due west of the locality known as Compo Wilds, on Fairfield beach, near the pavilion. Sunday evening, during the storm, accompanied by Middlebrook, the place was visited. With chart in hand Conley measured off the distance, which carried them down the beach close to the water line. Digging began, but as fast as the earth was removed the excavation filled with water. Darkness overtook the seekrs who, for a time, used their hats to bail the water, but were soon forced to relinquish it. Before doing so one of the picks touched a hard substance, which gave out a sound not unlike that produced when the oaken plank is struck. This, the party fancied, was the lid of the identical treasure chest. Continuous storms since Sunday have prevented a renewal of the digging, but armed with a pump and favored by fair weather another attempt will be made.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Democratic  [     ]  Herald.

Vol. IV.                             Clyde, N. Y., Tues., June 4, 1889.                           No. 50.


A Work Bearing Internal Evidence of Its Being a Fabrication.

The argument that the "Book of Mormon" was derived from a story written by Rev. Solomon Spalding, called the "Manuscript Found," you can obtain by referring to the American Cyclopedia, vol. xi, article "Mormons." The Josephite Mormons at Lamoni, Iowa, claim to have obtained the original manuscript of Spalding's story, which they have published in pamphlet form. Whether it is Spalding's or not, we do not know. To our view, the "Bible of Mormon" was probably written by Smith, aided probably by Sidney Rigdon and others. It bears internal evidence of being a fabrication. It is a clumsy piece of work, modeled on the Biblical style, written by one who had no knowledge of languages. Its pretended history is clearly false, for a people as numerous and as civilized as the race whose history it purports to give, would have left traces of their habitations, their implements, etc. The claim of the book that the Indians are descended from them will not stand for an instant against the simple fact that the traditions of the Indians show no trace of such descent, nor does their rude religion show descent from Christianity, as it assuredly would. Religious traditions are remarkable for preserving their form for ages, even among the rudest savages; and as the Book of Mormon brings its pretended history down A. D. 384, the time would be short to bridge over by tradition. The fire-worshipers of Persia have a religion that has come down for at least four thousand years. At the time Smith produced the Book of Mormon the West was full of religious discussion and ferment, and the topics then debated among the people are conspicuous in the Book of Mormon, showing its modern origin conclusively. No man of any learning has ever examined the book but pronounces it an impudent forgery. Smith once gave a paper, purporting to be an exact copy of the inscriptions on one of the golden plates he pretended to have found (but which nobody ever saw), to a friend, who took it to Prof. Anthon, of New York, one of the best linguistic scholars of the time, who, under date of February 17, 1834, said the characters "consisted of all kinds of crooked characters, disposed in columns and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted and placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns." The authenticity of the Book of Mormon is disproved by itself, and the Spalding manuscript matter is of little consequence, in reality. It is certain the Book of Mormon is a fraud, and it matters little how the fraud was perpetrated. -- Toledo Blade.


The Wonderful and Mysterious Gift of an Englishman Named Mullens.

He has been employed here several times to find water, after much expense had been incurred with engineers and others, and has always been successful, although at first most of doubted his powers. I havo tested him in every possible way, and he has never failed. No one hereabouts doubts his powors. The vicar was perhaps the most incredulous, until he had tested the man thoroughly, what convinced him most being that when Mullens was asked to find water in his flower garden he set out accurately the running sewer from his house for a long distance -- not a trace of which was discernible above ground, and which no one knew but the vicar. He did other work of the same kind at the mansion here, finding an old disused sewer, the existence of which was suspected, but although searched for could not be found.

He has been employed, I believe, on similar duties by the London authorities. He discovered our water mains and branches here wherever he crossed them in the course of his journeys, greatly to the surprise of an engineer from Shefield who constructed our reservoirs, and who followed John "afar off for several days. The same engineer afterward confessed to the writer that he was puzzled; but he admitted the man's powers. Mullens used the hazel and thorn "twig" only. No member of his family has the "gift;" hence every thing has to be done by himself. He asks no assistance save a "twig," cut close by, and a lad to follow behind and put a peg in where he makes a mark with his heel. He charges his fare and a modost fee, and is willing to submit to any reasonable test. He does not profess to explain his power, knows little or nothing about science and is rathor illiterate. Not a few large breweries and manufactories owe their water supply to him. He does not profoss to find still water; it must be running. In the case of the water mains here the "twig" turned up above the pipe in the field, woods and highways, where no sign of the ground having been disturbed appeared, the pipes having been long down, and no one knowing any thing about their whereabouts but the waterman, who depends on the map when he looks.

Mullen says a "twig" from a variety of trees will do, but the hawthorn and hazel are the most active; and the way the point whirls around in a moment above water is marvelous. The "twig" is Y-shaped; and the man, holding a leg firmly in each hand and the point downward, stops slowly forward, stooping. On one occasion I held one end of the "twig," where it projected through his hand, the vicar holding the other end, both firmly, Mullens simply holding it, but without the power to move it up or down, yet it whirled round as before, except where we held it, and consequently twisted the bark into wrinkles by the force it exercised. -- Chambers' Journal.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Arcadian Weekly Gazette.

Vol. III.                             Newark, NY, Wednesday, September 25, 1889.                           No. 26.

Newark  and  Vicinity.

Henry G. Tinsley of Pomona, Cal., and Miss Helen Griswold were married last evening at the residence of the bride's grandmother, Mrs. Daniel Jenison, Lock Berlin. Rev. L. A. Ostrander performed the ceremony in the presence of about sixty guests. Heman D. Rogers and Albert Leach were the ushers and Miss Emma Tinsley, the ten year old sister of the groom, acted as maid of honor. They left at once for California.

Note 1: The Geneva Gazette of Sept. 27th and the Geneva Advertiser of Oct. 1st also published similar notices, with the latter paper stating that the wedding was "one of the most brilliant Wayne County has seen in many a day."

H. G. Tinsley, c. 1889

Note 2: The period of this particular H. G. Tinsley's visit to Wayne County may be of some significance in the study of Mormon history -- or, rather, in the clarification of historical errors in several publications relating the early years of Joseph Smith, Jr. in the Palmyra-Manchester area. Back in California, a few years later, Tinsley fabricated an account, purporting to provide details regarding Joseph Smith's youthful activities, as remembered by a certain eye-witness named "Daniel Hendrix." Tinsley's initial reporting was published in the San Francisco Chronicle of May 14, 1893 and he continued circulating various versions of this fake testimony for over a decade -- the last known example appearing in the Washington, D. C. Evening Star of Jan. 28, 1905. -- While visiting his boyhood home in 1889, Tinsley no doubt had ample opportunity to take notes from local books and articles written on the subject of Mormon origins. Even at that late date he might have consulted living residents who had known the Smith family during the 1820s. From any number of these New York sources, Tinsley could have compiled his Hendrix fabrication, but a close examination of its contents shows that the account relies primarily upon material taken from a letter written by Joseph Franklin Peck in 1887.


Utica  Weekly  Herald.

Vol. XLIII.                             Utica, N. Y., Tues., Jan. 28, 1890.                           No. 22.


Meeting of the Oneida Historical Society.

An Interesting Address on "The Three Witnesses
of the Book of Mormon."


The speaker of the evening, James Kennedy, author of "Early Days of Mormonism," (Charles Scribner, 1888.) and editor of the Magazine of Western History, was then introduced. His subject was "The Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. He began as follows:

"While the snows of the new year were blown onward in the fierce breath of the gale, and the darkness of night came down as if foretelling tbe deeper shadow of death that followed close behind, a white haired old man lay open tbe bed of a final sickness, ready to go; trusting in some strength that seemed beyond the earth; confirming in word and manner the steadfastness of his belief in all he had professed to believe for a half century of spiritual debate and question; suggesting only a simple faith that was true in that supreme hour, when all that is false and worldly and mean must fall into fragments beneath his feet.

"Knowing, then, that the end was come, the old man turned to those who loved him and said: "Be faithful in Christ, I want to say to you all, the Bible and the record of the Nephites is true; so you can say that you have heard me bear my testimony on my death bed. All be faithful in Christ, and your reward will be according to your works, God bless you all. My trust is in Christ forever, world without end. Amen."

"This old man who then reaffirmed his testimony with his faltering breath was David Whitmer, who died in Richmond, Mo., in the early days of 1888: David Whitmer, the last of the three witnesses to the divine authorship of the book of Mormon, and to the calling of Joseph Smith as the prophet, revelator and seer of the church of the latter day saints.

"Oliver Cowdfry, David Whitmer and Martin Harris were in truth three cornerstones of a huge edifice of religious fervor, sad delusion and cunning fraud, of which Joseph Smith was the fourth. If truth lay in the solemn declarations of these three, held to tenaciously all through the lives of at least two, and echoed solemnly from their beds of death, then the Mormon Church was a later gift from God; the golden plates sealed by the hand of Moroni and hidden away by the Lord in the hill Cumorah, were in truth divinely revealed to the well-digger's son; and the com mands in the book of doctrine and covenants are the declarations of the Most High. And to prove their testimony the echo of a fable or the shadow of a dream, we must appeal to the sober wisdom of mankind; to the inner and outer history of the Mormon Church; to the lives of the men who made it and extended it; to the inher ent falsity of a system that was planted in petty greed, and not to any authentic confession or retraction of these three. For the truth of Mormonism has been staked by its founders upon the single issue: Was the calling of Joseph Smith confirmed by a messenger from on high, who revealed himself and by presence and word pro claimed the new seer as divinely ap pointed, in the presence of three men, of western New York, a half century ago?"

The speaker followed for a time, the personal lives of tbe three, showing their importance in the church, the high honors heaped upon them at first, the dangers to which they were all exposed when their allegiance to Smith fell away before his tyranny and assumption of temporal as well as spiritual power, and at last their expulsion from the then rich aad powerful church. Quoting the declaration of Smith in the Elder's Journal (1837) when Martin Harris was expelled from the church, the speaker said:

"Vanity of vanities! The well-digger's son and peek-stone guide to hid den riches has indeed mounted to the top of the wheel of fortune, and has little need now of the dupes who made him. And so, bereft of property, the wife of his young manhood, his good name, and the ambition for better things, Harris lays aside his priesthood of the new dispensation, and for a generation we see him wandering about Kirtland, where the temple is given over to the Gentile, and the promised great mart of commerce drones again as a rustic village, making his living as best he can; while Smith goes upward to the almost kingly power of Nauvoo, where he rides for a time upon the high tide of success; fills for the allotted space his round of temporal and spir itual rule; sees his humble Church expand beyond the limits of his wildest dreams; drinks as he wishes of all the waters of pleasure of this world, and then sinks into the uttermost caverns of death, stripped of his power and riches -- face to face with that Judgment he has so often called upon the heads of his fellow men.

A like fate befell both Whitmer and Cowdery, who were compelled to flee from the Mormon settlement of Far West for their very lives. " The one witness is followed by the others; and when the Danite band is formed to execute the dread judgments of the now despotic and insolent Church, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, with others, were told to begone or abide the results, and knowing what the consequences might be, they made haste to depart out of the borders of the Mormon Zion while there was yet time. With a final revelation, given at Nauvoo in 1841, where the 'gifts of the Priesthood that once were put upon him that was my servant, Oliver Cowdery,' are given to another, these three pass forever out of Joseph's love and of the history of the church they had helped to build. They went their ways, while the church passed on to the martyrdom of Joseph's death, the dark period of passage to the West, and the later splendors of Utah and Salt Lake."

The Speaker then briefly traced the personal history of the three, showing the measures employed bv Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon church, to lead them into a belief [in] himself and his mission. The need of evidence other than his own unsupported word, to prove the divine character of his mission, led the prophet to designate these three as his witnesses, and they were set aside by a special revelation, given in the year [1829]. Their testimony, and the alleged scene wherein the angel came from heaven and revealef the golden plaes were then described in full, as related by Smith and the obedient three, Mr. Kennedy did not attempt to explain these events, simply dismissing them in these words:

"This then, is the testimony upon which so much has been built; around which so much of wonder, or belief, or doubt has clustered. How much of truth: how much of falsehood and fraud, how much of willful deception and willing delusion; of overwrought imagination; of mesmeric influence; of the weaker minds rule by the strong, of spiritual vision put forward as representing the outward eye, there may be in this, each seeker after knowledge must discover for himself; for no man within Mormonism or without, can tell, and the four who best knew are gone into the shadows where the voice of the deceiver is hushed with that of the deceased, and from whence cometh no knowledge -- either of confirmation or confession."

Oliver Cowdery died in Missouri in 1850; Martin Harris in Utah in 1875; and David Whitmer in Missouri in 1888. Mr. Kennedy commented with some emphasis upon the fact that altho' there was evidence of an uncertain character to show that Cowdery and Harris had wavered at times in their declarations as to the angel that had appeared to them with the golden plates of the book of Mormon, they were substantially consistent to their proclamation in tbe book of Mormon to tbe very last; while all three were earnest witnesses for Mormonism. A letter was read from Harris' son, in Which he said of the father: "He bore his testimony to the truth and divinity of the book of Mormon a short time before he departed, and the last word he uttered when he could not speak the sentence was "Book! book! book!" Cowdery's final words, almost with his latest breath, were: "Brother David, be faithful to our testimony to the book of Mormon, for we know that it is of God and that it is verily true." Whitmer's death was thus described: David Whitmer died on tbe 25th of January, 1888, when three years beyond the four-score mark. A long illness had not shaken his belief as above expresed, and a few evenings before his death he called his family and physician to his bedside, and to tbe latter said: "Dr. Buchanan, I want you to say whether or not I am in my right mind, before giving my dying testimony."

The doctor answered "Yes, you are in your right mind."

Then, turning to those about him, the old man uttered the words you have already heard:

"I want to say to you all, the Bible and the record of the Nephites is true. * * * My trust is in Christ forever, world without end. Amen."

In conclusion. Mr. Kennedy said that he had followed the lives of the three with the instincts of the historian rather than those of the theologian. He confessed to an impression that perhaps had not yet been set into a belief, that Whitmer and Harris were dupes of deeper men; believing, perhaps, upon evidence and from motives that would have been scorned by stronger and more cultured men, but believing honestly and holding their faith to the end. Of Oliver Cowdery be could not say so much. No one could follow the history of the Mormon church -- whether it was under Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor or Wilford Woodruff -- without regarding it as a phenomenal structure, built by a calculating imposition upon trusting ignorance, and infusing something of these twin elements into every change and turning of its devious career.

Mr. Kennedy is a pleasing speaker and he received close attention. Dr Bigg moved a vote of thanks for the address. -- He also remarked that it was a notable fact that two religions -- Mormonism and SpirituaLism -- had taken their rise from the little town of Palmyra. The vote of thanks was passed unanimously and cordial expressions of appreciation of the address were made....

Note: See also Magazine of Western History v. XI (Nov. 1889 to Apr. 1890) p. 448-449: "Bancroft's Utah and Mormonism," and p. 464-478: "The Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon."


Elmira  [   ]  Telegram.

Vol. XI.                                     Elmira, N.Y., Sunday, January 19, 1890.                                     No. 39.




The Organization of Latter-Day Saints Had Its
Beginning in This Part of the Country --
The Career of Joe Smith Near Susquehanna,
Pa., and at Palmyra, N. Y. -- Incidents in
the Early Career of the Man Who Founded
a New Religion.

(Special correspondence of the Telegram.)

Washington, D. C., Jan. 18. -- The striking and truth-bearing letters of your correspondent who is telling of the deviltries of Mormondom, must be read with great interest by every one of the half-million readers of the Telegram. It is not too much to say that they are the first clear, determined expose of the malicious doings of that misguided folk that has ever reached down to the great mass of the people. The story has been told and repeated heretofore, but never so graphically and succinctly and above all never in a publication like the Telegram, that reaches everybody and everywhere. But did you know how close to home the Telegram comes when it deals with these Mormons? That is, how near to Elmira was the place of origin of Mormonism? And I mean nearer than Palmyra, where Joe Smith came from, or Cattaraugus county, where Sidney Rigdon passed his youth and young manhood. For many years there have been spasmodic attacks on Mormonism, and the public attention has been drawn toward them. In one of these fits of inquiry and investigation ten or fifteen years ago, Peter Van Vradenburgh, the city editor at the time, of the Binghampton Republican, ascertained that Joe Smith, in the early of his career had been an inhabitant of the Susquehanna valley. There had always been a tradition to that effect, but it had never been looked into. Peter, with a "nose for news," started out to investigate, and unearthed a quantity of facts from persons living, who had known Joe Smith, that deserves to be, but has never been incorporated in any history of Mormonism and its founders, that I ever heard of. It becomes interesting and valuable, in connection


as showing from what wretched originals has grown a so-called church, dominating a large section of our country. Joe Smith "turned up" in Susquehanna county, Pa., near what is now the railroad village of Susquehanna, in 1826, when he was twenty-one years of age. In these days he would have been called a tramp. He gave it out that "the Lord had sent him in that direction for a wife." He should know her, he said, the moment he set eyes on her. He stopped at the house of a farmer named Isaac Hale, who had three daughters. Two of these, the eldest and youngest , were married. The second daughter, Emma, was single. She was the one selected by the Lord for Joseph. Joseph told her that there were certain things he couldn't have unless, he was married. Among them was lot of money buried near Palmyra. He had tried to get this, but had been driven away by a headless Spaniard! Isaac Hale didn't like the attentions that Joe Smith was paying to his daughter, but the old man's object objections had little weight. The young folks went over into New York and were married at Windsor, January 18, 1827. An old lady named Mrs. Mehetable Doolittle, who lived near Susquehanna Depot, and who used visit at Isaac Hale's house when she was young, said that she remembered Emma Hale very well, and described her as a handsome and attractive girl of about seventeen years of age. It was her notion that Emma had been decoyed away for a ride and married in Windsor. This Emma became the "Electa Cyria," the Lady of the Lord," who figured so largely


of Mormonism. Susquehanna county, Pa., is therefore considerably connected with the "Latter-day Saints" But there was something else; that, according to Joe Smith, the Lord had promised him. He should have a son born to him who would be "worker of miracles," who should open the golden bible "while yet in his swaddling bands and interpret the hieroglyphics therein written. So much of the prophecy was fulfilled that there was a son born of the marriage noted, but he was stillborn. The little short grave where he was buried can still be seen near Susquehanna depot, in a little "briar and fern green cemetery." There is a rude headstone of black sandstone with this legend roughly carved on it: "In memory of an infant son of Joseph, and Emma Smith; June 15,1828." Joe Smith did not do much in the saint line while he lived in Susquehanna. His wife owned about six acres of land, which became subsequently a portion of the farm of Sheriff Benjamin McKune. Smith moved upon this property a small house where he and his wife lived: it was afterwards and may be to this day, a part of the farm-house of Sheriff McKune. At any rate when the prophet quit the country he sent an agent back to sell the property and it was bought by Joseph McKune, the father of Sheriff McKune. This little building, hardly more


possesses a curious historical interest, as in one corner of it, hidden from the "witnesses " by blankets nailed to the wall, Joe Smith made his translation from the "golden leaves" of the book of Mormon, his words being written down as he uttered them: This "translation" occupied but a small portion of Joe Smith's time in search of a "ton of silver bars" that had been left by weary Spaniards, who years and years ago were making their way up the Susquehanna. He was aided in this search by a "peek stone," a curiously shaped stone, that the Lord had given him while he was digging a well near Palmyra, N. Y. Smith's wife's father, old Isaac Hale called him "peeker." on account of this stone. Old inhabitants of Susquehanna county who remembered Smith described him as a trifle more than six feet in height; stout built, but wiry; light complexion: light hair, and light blue eyes. One aged lady said: "He did not look as though he knowed enough to fool people so." At that time he invariably wore a tall white stovepipe hat. What a spectacle to see such an athletic form kneeling with his face buried in the stovepipe hat in which was placed the "peek-stone" and pretending there to see into the bowels of the earth! Although Smith gained few adherents in Susquehanna county in a religious way, he was able to work on the cupidity of a number of country men by promising them a portion of the "silver bars" that they might find. Even old Isaac Hale was persuaded to "put up" the necessary cash to help pay the diggers. The spot or spots


as divulged by the peek stone. Were on a side hill farm now or lately owned or occupied by Jacob I. Skinner. It is near Susquehanna depot. A great many excavations were made, some of them very large ones. Mr. Skinner has been engaged for years in dumping stones into t hem to fill them up, because they were dangerous traps for his cattle, and one was so large that it is still used by the boys in wet weather for a swimming pound. But it so happened that just as the diggers were about to lay their hands on the precious find the "peek stone" would indicate that it was in another locality. The prophet at length declared that the spot must be "protected" by the charm of some blood from a black sheep. But such an animal as a black sheep could not be found. On further examination, the prophet thought a black dog would do. So a black dog was killed (and its blood sprinkled where the peek stone indicated. But it was no go. The men dug and dug and dug -- no silver could be found. The prophet finally determined, guided "by a vision," that it would require the blood of a man, and he called upon some one to volunteer a sacrifice for the good of the rest; but none of the faithful could be found to spare himself for that purpose. And that was the end of the search for the silver bars. Does it not seem a little grotesque that such things were going on within 100 miles of Elmira, only about sixty years ago? After this, Smith was absent, from the neighborhood for some time. It was supposed that he was in Palmyra in pursuit of furniture for housekeeping. When he returned, brought back with him the wonderful "golden plates," on which was recorded the Book of Mormon.


when he came back, and he had a wonderful story to tell of a terrible fight he had had with the devil, who objected to having the golden plates taken away from their hiding place. They were secreted and brought to Susquehanna by him in a barrel of beans! In his translation of them behind the blankets he had the help of a marvelous pair of spectacles, which, he had mysteriously found. Martin Harris, who was one of the "witnesses" who wrote to the prophet's dictation, had put all of his moderate means into the "church's" hands. His wife objected and to placade her, she was shown some of the "sacred writings. " She seized and hid them, and told the prophet to "peek" for them. But the "peek-stone failed every time, and the wife had less faith than ever in the saints. She surrendered a portion of the manuscript which she had hidden in her straw bed, but the prophet never used his spectacles to make a second translation of what she kept, lest she should produce the original sheets and confound him. While the prophet was translating, neighbors called frequently at the house, and some were permitted to lift the pillow case in which the plates were kept. They could feel the thickness of the volume they made, but no one was permitted to see them. Some pitiful stories of Smith's attempts at miracles are told in the neighborhood of Susquehanna. One when he was out with party who fished the river with a dragnet. He was drunk, and the men got an immense haul, but, unlike the fishermen of Galilee, they were perfectly able to pull in all the fish. Another, when he undertook to pray away


on the hill side belonging to one of his brothers-in-law, an apprehended frost. He didn't warm up to his task sufficiently, for the frost came and destroyed the corn. The neighborhood of Susquehanna was not profitable for Smith so after a time he removed himself and wife and "peek-stone" to Harpersville, in New York, which is about twenty miles up the river from Susquehanna depot. One of Mrs. Smith's sisters. Mrs. Benjamin Wasson lived there. Her husband was a cabinet-maker and he made a box in which to carry the "golden plates," after was deemed unsafe for them in the pillowcase. Mr. and Mrs. Wasson didn't take any stock in Mormonism, but one of their sons joined his uncle and became a Mormon preacher. But the prophet was nevertheless very successful in gaining converts in the neighborhood. When he went from there in a few years, there accompanied him from that neighborhood more than sixty persons, and they followed his fortunes to the end. The nucleus of the greatest curse of the present generation was gathered and formed less than fifty miles up the Susquehanna river from Binghampton. The prophet seemed always attracted to that neighborhood. There was and is still a place there, about two miles above Harpersville, called Nineveh, a name that smacks of the doings of another prophet. About the first convert that Smith made was Joseph Knight, who was a well-to-do farmer and owned a grist mill and a carding mill. It was claimed that the prophet cast the devil out of Knight, which came in the shape of a black cat and ran into a brush heap. It is not recorded that he ever returned to Knight, but those who remember the man, said that the premises were not for a very great while without a tenant like the one who had vacated. Knight lived on a farm opposite from the


and here, a large barn, 30x40 feet, which was standing until recently, was used as the first Mormon tabernacle. Smith preached here, but with not much success. Sidney Rigdon was sent for and did better. There was considerable excitement, a semblance of persecution by the "Gentiles" and the converts came in. A dam was built on Knight's farm where candidates were baptized. The young Gentiles tore this away frequently, but it was as often rebuilt when needed for baptismal purposes. Of course, here, as in Susquehanna, there must be reputed miracles to sustain the prophet's assumptions. He announced that on a certain evening, he would "walk the water." Some of his followers prepared his way by building a bridge just underneath the surface. The building however, was seen by some young Gentiles, who tore away the planks. The prophet tried to but failed and went to the bottom, being obliged to swim ashore. He attributed his ill-luck to the want of faith of his followers: At another time he was sent for to restore to life an old Mormon convert, named John Morse, who had died in the faith. Smith had professed to bo able to raise the dead, but when he saw how old the man was, he argued that it would be better to leave him as he was, rather than cause him to suffer death again in a short time, and he refused to exercise power. At another time, Smith prayed unsuccessfully for the return to life of a shoemaker who had joined the church and who had expected to put his fortune of a few hundred dollars into its keeping. The widow would not turn over the property until the prayers had been offered. Suit was brought to obtain the money from Smith, and the Hon. Thomas A. Johnson,


and a justice of the supreme court of the state of New York, then a student-at-law in Greene, Chenango county, was sent to Harpersville to get possession of it. The. Saints we're encamped in Knight's barn and threatened to shoot Mr. Johnson. He compromised on the surrender by them of a horse, valued in those cheap times at $200. Smith's peek-stone pretended to discover a salt spring in a marsh near Harpersville. All the salt, however, that was over there was tumbled into the marsh from a half-bushel basket by a mischievous lad, who ascertained why the Mormons were digging there, and who told the story with great glee half a century afterward. The "church" quitted the neighborhood of Harpersville about 1829 or 1830. Its train consisted of eleven passenger wagons and three baggage wagons. Its course was along the old State road to Ithaca, thence toward Palmyra by Cayuga lake, and no one in Broome or Chenango county was sorry to be rid of such a gang as Smith had gathered together. For those curious as to the future fate of the Susquehanna county girl, Emma Hale, who by her marriage with Smith became the "elect lady and daughter of God," it may be said to her credit that she became thoroughly disgusted with her husband's religion while in Nauvoo, and expressed no particular regret at his death. She refused to emigrate to Utah, but apostatized and married a Gentile. For many years she was highly thought of and popular as landlady of the old Mansion House at Nauvoo.
                            AUSBURN TOWNER.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. LXI.                             Albany, N.Y., Mon., May 12, 1890.                             No. 18,578.


The Discovery of the Great Salt Lake.
Rise of Mormonism.

History of Utah by Hubert Howe Bancroft; San Francisco: The History Company.

Then will hardly be found a book more interesting than "Hubert H. Bancroft's "History of Utah." The impreesion thar the history of the settlement of the great Western states was made up of commonplace events is common in the East. Nothing shows how erroneous such an impression is as the story of Utah. As early as 1544 rumors of a great salt lake to the northward reached the ears of the venturesome Spanish discoverers and they made several expeditions in search of it but without success. So far as is known, the lake never was seen by the eyes of a white man until 1824, when it was discovered by a party of hunters and trappers. Two years later it was explored with boats. Tne almost incredible privations and hardships which were encountered by these carry explorers are intimated in the narratives of the leaders of some of the peltry-seeking expeditions.

But the history of Utah is really the history of the Mormons, and recognizing this fact, Mr. Bancroft has begun at the very beginning of this remarkable sect, and traced it step by step to its final resting place on the border of the western lake. His account includes the early youth of Joseph Smith, Jr., his visions and prophesying and the gradual formation of the new idea. A more unpromising spot for the cradle of a new faith than Western New York in 1827, and a more unpromising basis than that furnished by Smith and his associates, it would be hard to imagine. The idea that a portion of the inhabitants of Jerusalem could have escaped the destruction of that city to America, and have here founded kingdoms and led much' the same sort of a life as did the patriarchs of the Old Testament and have finally disappeared without leaving a trace of their presence except the few rude mounds of the Ohio region, appears too incredible to excite interest. But when resaonable persons are asked to believe further that a historian of these ancient peoples wrote out their history on plates of gold, that these plates were buried in the earth, that they were found by an ignorant country lad under the direction of an angel from heaven, and that he was able to read and translate their contents with the aid of two bright stones, and when reasonable people do believe these things, the rest of the world can only stand astonished. Yet this was the beginning of the powerful Mormon church. The truth is that the doctrines of the new belief gave an opportunity for an earnestness and fervor which, some of the earlier Mormons threw into their work with the result that they had no difficulty in making converts. An example of this is given in the following anecdote: Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon were among the earliest to preach the new faith. On "one occasion Cowdery preached, followed by Rigdon. After service they went to a river near by to baptise. Rigdon stood in the stream and poured forth his exhortations with such eloquence and fervor that one after another came forward until 80 had been baptised. Among others on the bank was a hard-hearted lawyer, Varnem G. Card, who, as he listened, grew pale with emotion, and seizing the arm of a friend, whispered, "Quick, take me away, or in a moment more I shall be in that water." In this one place a thousand converts were gathered into the fold.

It can readily be imagined that such preaching as that would have converted people to faith in a religion whose bible was Mother Goose. Another thing that helped the Mormons was the persecution which followed them constantly and which follows them even yet. In an enlightened age, in a land of entire religious freedom, people could not bear to see a new belief rise into competition with the old, and the established sects fought hard against the sect which was seeking to establish itself. Whatever may be said of Joseph Smith and some of the Mormon leaders, it cannot be denied that the vast majority of the founders and followers of the early Mormon church were actuated by a sincerity and an earnestness which far transcended the bounds of passive acquiescence in doctrines already established.

The hardships and perils of the young religion in Missouri, in Illinois, in the weary march across the plains and in the years which passed before the settlement on the shores of the great Salt Lake are given in several interesting chapters. The patience and courage of the little band is another evidence of its sincerity and the final success of the migration is proof of the ability of its leaders.

It is not to be doubted that the Mormons have suffered much through the false and sensational accounts of apostates, through the religious intolerance of church people who know little or nothing of the true doctrines of Mormonism and, most of all, through the idea that polygamy is one of the fundamental principles of the faith. As a matter of fact polygamy was not adopted until the settlement in Illinois neariy 10 years after the founding of the church. Mr. Bancroft sums up forcibly the arguement in favor, or at least in excuse of polygamy.

"It is not right to place the polygamist on a par with the bigamist," he says. "The one, without deception and in conformity with the proclaimed tenets of his faith, takes to wife the second, or third, or twentieth -- the more the better for all, it is -- said promising to her the same life-long care and protection as to the first: the bigamist breaks his contract with his first wife and deserts her for another woman. Neither can the polygamy be justly placed on a level with the adulterer. Mormons abhor everything of the kind. The sacred ceremony of marriage means far more with them than with those who mark the difference between morality and immorality by a few insignificant rites." The Mormons lay great stress on the fact that women so far outnumber men that under a system of monogamy it would be impossible for them all to obtain husbands even if all men were disposed to marry. "The right and wrong of the matter, as usually distinguished, are not right and wrong of nature and common sense, but of divine and human enactments variously interpreted and viewed from different standpoints. The Bible forbids prostitution but permits polygamy; the supporters of the Bible and its civilization forbid polygamy, but permit prostitution." How much these arguments are worth against those which stand in opposition to a plurality of wives -- the destruction of the true family circle and the imperiling of the stability of the home and consequently of society -- each individual must determine for himself. It is obviously not a question to be decided without thought, and it is certain that the Mormons have in the past suffered from blind and unreasoning prejudice. While the Mormons have [been] removed from other people the question could be left in abeyance; now that railways and the growth of population have brought them into contact with thousands who hold different ideas, it is probable polygamy will die a natural death. The leaders of the church are too shrewd to allow their religion to stand or fall with a tenet so repugnant to the vast the mass of people.

Taken together. Mr. Bancroft's history is an extremely interesting work. After reading it none can say that America is without incidents of the most picturesque and suggestive character.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The Auburn Bulletin.

Vol. XLI.                             Auburn, N. Y., Fri., Oct. 17, 1890.                           No. 6497.


Their Career in Utah Is Ended at Last.


Forty-seven Years of Actual Polygamy and Thirty-eight Years of Acknowledged
"Plurality" Ended by a Decree of the Mormon Hierarchy.

"Dost think because thou art virtuous there will be no more cakes and ale?" was the emphatic question put by one of Shakespeare's characters. The inference was, No! For thirty-eight years, to wit, since the autumn conference of 1852, the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," as the Mormons call themselves, have been taunting the United States in the same way. They have all the time insisted that no monogamic people could be virtuous; that in "celestial marriage" only could humanity do its prettiest.

They have yielded at last. Swearing they would ne'er submit they submitted, and at the last semi-annual conference of the church, held in Salt Lake City in early October, the Tabernacle full of saints, 10,000 or more, unanimously voted to abandon polygamy, and "hereafter to obey in spirit and in letter the laws of the United States." It was a bitter pill, and to their credit be it said they did not attempt to disguise that fact. "It goes against the grain," said George Q. Cannon, one of the leaders, "but I bow in submission to the will of God. We cannot fight sixty millions of people," wherein this Cannon was very right, and the head of the same was well located.

It must be said that the Mormons have taken their own time in obeying the law. They first proclaimed polygamy as a part of their faith and practice in September, 1852. The United States judges in Utah condemned this action, and the Mormons ran them out of the territory. Col. Steptoe was sent there in 1854 by President Pierce, and was "tricked," as the phrase went. The next set of judges and officials were run out, and in 1857 the "Mormon war" began. In 1858 President Buchanan amnestied the Saints, and matters were allowed to drift till 1862, when congress passed the first law against polygamy. The Mormons tried the old trick of scaring away the officials, but Governor Stephen Harding and Judges Waite and Drake declined to run.

The jury system was then used by the Saints to defeat the law. Congress in 1874 passed an act to [secure] non-Mormon juries, but the Saints beat it. They had had forty years' experience in defeating the law, and hence could steer around the moat obstructive constitutional provisions and pierce the center of the most explicit statute. The federal courts were completely defeated as to polygamy, but they got after the Saints for the Mountain Meadow massacre and other bloody crimes of the old era of fanaticism -- to wit, from 1854 to 1866. They captured, convicted and shot John D. Lee; scared a hundred other murderers out of the territory; forced a confession from Bill Hickman, chief of the "Destroying Angels," and worried Brigham Young to death. Still the Saints clung to polygamy, declaring that God had commanded it and they would live up to it, "though every prison in the land be filled with the brethren, and hell should yawn beneath the tabernacle."

Finally Senator Edmunds brought in his truly drastic bill taking the whole government of Utah out of the hands of the Mormons, and giving courts, juries and everything else to Gentiles. Then the last long fight began. The Mormons stood up to it like heroes. Bad they may be, but they are "gritty rascals." Court after court sent them to the penitentiary, first singly and then by dozens, and still they stood out and protested and suffered. President John Taylor, who had succeeded Brigham, had to fly from home and died an exile. Apostle Wilford Woodruff succeeded him and advised the brethren to temporize. A case was carried to the supreme court of the United States and decided against the Saints, and this gave him his opportunity. In one of the "revelations" of Joseph Smith he found this passage:
"Now, brethren, as touching the ordinances, wherein is manifestad the forbearance of God the Father, thus saith the Lord: If so be that I command my people and your enemies come upon you that you be not able to do that which I commanded, then I the Lord will hold you guiltless. Nevertheless I the Lord will require it at the hands of your enemies."
That was his warrant. It had excused the saints from completing the temple at Nauvoo and from obeying the command to settle in Jackson county, Mo. It now excused them from obeying the revelation ordaining "celestial marriage."
"The brethren have suffered enough," said Brer Woodruff; "eight hundred of them have languished in prison and exile; we must now obey the law of the land. I have lately talked behind the veil with Joseph Smith and Brother Brigham, and they, with all the heavenly host, say that the United States government must now bear the guilt. When God shall come out of his hiding place and vex the nations in his fury, then will the United States beg us to intercede for them and to live our religion. Until then give place to wrath; and God's will be done."
George Q. Cannon, next in rank to President Woodruff, added his own revelation that this was the will of God. "Brother Woodruff has lately been in executive session with the Almighty. The sufferings of the Saints are recorded in heaven, and will appear as the brightest page in earthly history. I lived in polygamy because such was the will of God. I now give it up for the same reason." And so ends a social practice which for forty-seven years has been the one great anomaly among the religious sects of America.

July 12,1843, according to Joseph Smith, the voice of the Lord commanded him to write that famous revelation beginning:
"Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired at my hand to know wherein I the Lord justified my servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as also Moses and David and Solomon my servants, as touching the principle and practice of their having many wives and concubines, behold and lo, I am the Lord and will answer thee as touching this matter."
And when he got orders to spread the doctrine he was, he adds, so horrified that he mounted his horse and fled; but when he got on the hill east of Nauvoo a mighty angel stood in the way with a drawn sword and menaced his life. So he went back and was "sealed" to Olive Frost and Eliza Snow and the Widow Fuller and nobody knows how many more; but when he sought Nancy Rigdon and Martha Brotherton they "gave the whole snap dead away," and there was a row in the church. It was smoothed over, the Apostles were first converted, and Brigham Young took three extra wives as a starter. Then Joseph Smith tried to capture the wife of William Law, and there was another row; Smith was lodged in a Gentile jail, and there was murdered by a mob with his brother Hyrum on the 27th of June, 1844.

The Mormons then put forth a circular denying the existence of polygamy among them, and continued to repeat this denial for nine years after the revelation. All this time they were extending the practice. But when their envoys had convinced President Fillmore that there was no polygamy in Utah, and he had appointed Brigham Young governor, they came out with the truth in September, 1852. So polygamy among the Mormons has passed through four stages -- secret practice but open denial for nine years; open avowal and rapid progress from 1852 to about 1868; gradual decline from natural causes till 1882, and thereafter rapid extinction by force of the Federal government, to final abandonment in October, 1890. And let all the people say "Amen!" J. H. BEADLE.

Notes: (forthcoming)

The  Syracuse  Journal.

Vol. XLVII.                             Syracuse, N.Y., Tues., Feb. 17, 1891.                           No. 41.



If so, It is a Fact We are Not Particularly Proud to Acknowledge --
A Salt Teamster's Find.

It is a fact, of which we are not particularlu proud, that the germ of Mormonism originated in this city, although it was some years later before the evil developments began to accrue. About the year 1818 a teamster in the salt works by the name of Joseph Belcher found a peculiar stone, or a stone that, the owners claimed, contained great powers. Soon after the discovery of this "find," Belcher and family removed to Susquehanna county, Pa., where Joe Smith was at the time engaged in a variety of crazy freaks, such as a gold hunter, prophet, and treasure-hunter. Belcher called his find "a seeing stone." It was green, with brown irregular spots on it, and about the same shape and size as a goose egg. In those days the country was very wild and the people very superstitious, and strange stories were told of lost animals and children that were found by the aid of this stone. The modus operandi was to conceal the stone in a dark place, and Belcher's little boy could then see from its unnatural powers the exact location of any object he desired to find. Joe Smith heard of this miniature information bureau and soon sought out Belcher, secured the stone and renewed his researches.

In 1825 Joe had in his employ a set of men who were called "money-diggers," and his occupation was that of seeing or pretending to see, by means of this stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he claimed the power to discover minerals and hidden treasures. It is said he was insolent, poorly educated, and very careless in appearance. One story told of Smith is that a straggling Indian, who was passing up the Susquehanna river, had told of buried treasure. Joe hunted up the Indian and induced him to tell the place where it was buried. The Indian told him at a point a certain number of paces due north from a certain point on the river. Joe's exchequer was very low at this time, and so it became necessary to get a well-to-do farmer by the name of Harper to assist him in the scheme. It seems that farmers were "taken in" in the early days as well as now. They commenced digging on a farm near the river and continued as long as Harper's cash held out. Smith now declared to Harper that there was an enchantment about the place that was removing the treasure further off: that Harper must get a perfectly white dog and sprinkle his blood over the ground, and that would prevent the enchantment from removing the treasure. Search was made all over the country, but no perfectly white dog could be found. Joseph said he thought a white sheep would do as well. A sheep was killed and the blood sprinkled as directed. The digging was then resumed by Harper. After digging for several weeks more and an outlay of $2,000 more of the farmer's shekels, Harper refused to "come down" any further and the digging was abandoned. Joe now said that the enchantment had removed all the treasure: that the Almighty was displeased with them for trying to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog. He would sit for hours looking into the hat at the round stone, and tell of seeing things far away and supernatural. On one occasion a neighbor had a piece of corn planted rather late and on a moist piece of ground, and, feeling a little doubtful about its ripening, got Smith to bless it. It happened that it was the only piece of corn killed by the frost in the neighborhood. When the prophet's attention was called to the matter he got out of the difficulty by saying that he made a mistake and put a curse on the corn instead of a blessing.

About this time Smith procured a box of plates, which it is supposed he brought from Palmyra, N. Y., where he lived for a short time, which he kept carefully locked. They were alleged to contain a great quantity of characters and hieroglyphics, which no one but himself could interpret. From these plates Smith, with the assistance of Martin Harris and Oliver Cawdry, produced the manuscript for the Book of Mormon. The book was compiled in a small building on the Susquehanna River, about two miles from the side-hill village of Susquehanna, and was printed in 1830, the manuscript being taken to the printing office each morning, and, together with the proofs, &c., taken away each night. The first account we have of Joe and his followers trying to start a colony was in the year 1831, in a remote corner of Luzerne county, where the climate soon got too warm for them and they vacated. Their next colony was near Painesville, O.

The most prominent of Joe's diggings is on a farm near Susquehanna depot. The excavation was 150 feet in circumference and twenty feet deep, and although it has been under cultivation for several years now, it is easily discernible, and often visited by the curious. The old house where the manuscript was produced is still standing and is owned by one of the ex-officials of Susquehanna county.

Note: This article was first published in the Syracuse Journal, and from there was reprinted into the Louisville Commercial of Mar. 15, 1891 and the RLDS Saints' Herald of Apr 18, 1891. The story appears to have been taken almost exclusively from the pages of Miss. Emily C. Blackman's 1873 book, History of Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. The writer's faulty report of a Mormon colony in Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania perhaps comes from a misreading of Blackman's story of Isaac Hale (Smith's father-in-law) having made a pioneering move "from Wells, Rutland County, Vt., to Willingborough, Luzerne County, Pa."



Vol. III.                           Belmont, N.Y., Tuesday, March 17, 1891.                           No. 2.

Mormons  Going  to  Mexico.

A regular exodus of Mormons from Utah to Mexico is taking place, and within the next three months a large number of saints will have left. They have a tract of land in Chihuahua, 125 miles long and 15 mils wide, which they are settling on. A colony of 60 will leave Provo in April. All over the territory the saints are preparing to go south, "to live their religion." The majority of those mentioned are offenders against the law, who would not submit to the rule of government established by the Unite States and abandon their plural wives.

The head of the church is said to be encouraging this emigration and is putting up funds for those who have none. It is estimated that at least 2,000 families will abandon Utah this summer and go to the new land of Canaan.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                                     Elmira, N.Y., Sunday, April 19, 1891.                                     No. ?




His Father's Hunts for Buried Treasure -- A Demand for a Ready-Made Prophet --
Joseph's Awful Vision and the Ascent of The Sinai of Mormonism -- Translation
of The Golden Plates -- Polygamy Kept in The Background.

A quiet, unassuming farmer of Wayne County, N. Y., died a few days ago, and among his effects were found three golden plates engraved with some undecipherable hieroglyphics which were to the ordinary man meaningless. The plates were thin and not smoothly finished, while the engraving was coarsely done. They were about 7 x 12 inches, and showed at the edges the baser metal on which the plating had been laid. For these, plates representatives of the Mormon church made the owner an offer of $5,000 a few years ago, but he would not sell, and the disappointed agents returned to Salt Lake City. The plates were a part of the famous book of Mormon tablets, the veritable basis upon which Joseph Smith founded his new religion. They were, it is thought, the only portions of the pretended dispensation existing outside the vaults of the majestic Mormon temple on the shore of Salt lake. Their history is that of the origin of the strange sect of which so much has been said and written, and yet with whose starting point few are conversant. The prophet of the Mormon church, Joseph Smith,


in his choice of parents. His father, also called Joseph, was a well-digger in Palmyra, the chief village of Wayne county, and had no higher ambition than to frequent the taverns of the town in its early days, spinning yarns about Captain Kidd and buried treason. The woman in the case, Mrs. Smith, was a nineteenth century Joan of Arc or Helen of Troy -- vigorous, pushing, enthusiastic, with all the ingenuity of a woman of the world. The much slandered name of Smith was honored by her, and her famous offspring from her received many of the qualities which brought him success. In one of his well-diggings Smith senior found a stone resembling a child's foot. This set him wilder than ever, and having associated with him the schoolmaster, Oliver Cowdry, an elaborate ghost dance was kept up for months, aparty of deluded mortals roaming the fields at uncanny hours and searching for treasure which they believed would be found. Lambs were always sacrificed before the digging and some of the farmers accused the troupe of sheep stealing. Smith became a clairvoyant, crude though were his workings, and quite a party joined him in digging for gold. But something always happened before the treasure was found. An unlucky word, a shooting star, or something else caused the charm to dissolve and the treasure fade away. The followers left and Smith started out on a new tack. A prophet was to be brought forth. The oldest son, Alvah, was designated as the one, but he ate too many green apples and died.


a valuable predecessor, and Joseph, jr., was made tho chosen one. It was not, apparently, a fortunate choice. Joseph was a lank, shambling boy in his twentieth year, and spent his time drawing to Palmyra stove wood which he sold from house [to house]. He. however, had some of his mother's brightness, and did not mind being the tool of some one who would show him an easy way to make money. Ready-made prophets were hard to find in those days and the Smiths decided to work Joseph over. There were millions in it if only they could impose upon tho people's credulity, it is not thought they had any idea of a religion, simply a scheme for money-making. Joseph was thoroughly posted by the schoolmaster, and there were mysterious visits to Albany and Rochester. When all was ready the curtain was raised and the show commenced. Like Bunyan, Joseph laid him down and dreamed a dream. He saw an angel descend from heaven on a hill, a few miles south of the village, and show to him plates engraved by Mormon, the son of Nephi, the last of the pretended prophets of Israel, who are fabled to have emigrated to America about 600 years before Christ. This imaginary prophet had been made the subject fit the "Book of Mormon," a rambling collection of aphorisms, -- written by Samuel [sic] Spalding, a minister who died in 1816 -- twenty years before Joseph's dream. The Sinai of Mormonism was at that time partly sowed to wheat. The hill, however, was bare and its bold crest, overlooking a low-lying pond, was one of the prettiest spots in western New York. There, is yet pointed out to the traveler the very spot where the excavations that followed took place, remnants of the work being yet visible.


was a work of art. He embellished it with enough ecclesiastical pyrotechnics to keep all the nervous women of the town awake nights for months. Stars, cherubim, seraphim and lightnings were piled up until only the hardest hearted could doubt the vision's accuracy. It created a great sensation among the simple country folk, but only one man was foolish enough to invest any money in his belief. Martin Harris, a wealthy but eccentric farmer, was selected as the sacrifice, and to him the Smiths appealed for aid. He bit at the bait and furnished money to prepare for great event about to follow -- the securing of the plates. A large amount of preliminary digging was done and then one night Joseph went out alone. According to his story he fought "10,000 devils" and was beset by enough terrors "to have frightened Satan himself." But nevertheless he got what he went after. There were thirty metallic plates bound together with iron rings. On top of them were a pair of spectacles, the urim and thummim, opaque to all except the prophet and intended for his aid in reading the engraving on the plates. They had belonged to Mormon himself, though they were suspiciously like those used in every-day life. Harris seemed to doubt the authenticity of the plates, for he took a fac-simile of some of them to Dr. Mitchell and Professor Authon, the linguists, and they gave their opinion that the marks on them were without any meaning and belonged to no known tongue in modern or dead language. Smith was not daunted. He put on a solemn and unearthly deportment, and in a sepulchral tone announced that the gentlemen were inspired by the evil one to make such a decision. He overcame Harris, apprehensions and the work of transcription began.


that none but the prophet could look on the sacred book and live. So, to keep the vulgar outsiders and infidels from certain death, curtain was put up, and back of it Smith sat, with the holy tablets in his hands. Cowdry and Harris were outside, the former acting as amanuensis and taking down the words as the prophet gave them in a loud and discordant voice, the urim and thummim giving him inspiration. The proceeding took place in the Smith residence, an old-fashioned, rambling structure, weather-beaten and dilapidated, situated a few miles from town. But all was not smooth sailing. Mrs. Harris was a rank heretic, and did not believe at all in her husband's hobby. She abused it to his face, and one day when the trio of religion makers were at dinner she stole into the transcribing room and, without a qualm of of conscience, seized fifty of the manuscript pages and fled with them. She also took some of the metallic leaves from the relic of Mormon's literary art, and secreted the whole treasure. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth, but the manuscript was not forthcoming, neither were the metal leaves. To guard against any evidence that the second translation did not agree with the first, Smith decided not to translate the missing portion again. So the book of Mormon was declared complete


a struggling world. The missing sheets of paper were never recovered, but eventually, in one way or another, all the metal leaves were secured except the three that came to be held by the old farmer mentioned in the opening of this article. The modus operandi of the pretended translation was doubtless that Smith had secured a copy of Spalding's half insane meanderings, and read it off in sections to Cowdry, using only what he wished and misquoting even that. The result was a heterogeneous mass of philosophy, doggerel and nonsense that, while it might influence a few, was not likely to do much harm among intelligent men. But Smith believed that he could yet make some money out of it. Harris put up $3,000 and the Wayne County Sentinel was to print the manuscript in book form. But the prophet's orders were that not the change of a jot or tittle would be allowed. The copy was sent to tho printers, who, taking one look at it, returned it at once. They utterly refused to touch a mass of grammatical errors, mistakes of punctuation and bad rhetoric. Smith was not daunted. He had one of his exceedingly handy visions, and was informed that the printers might correct the "copy." They did so, and soon the "Mormon Bible was ready for the world. Harris had to mortgage his farm to pay the bill, and disgusted and ruined, he left the party.


were secured. One Elder Samuel [sic] Rigdon, of Mentor, O., a leader in tho Baptist church, was the first; Parley P. Pratt, a cranky Pennsylvanian, followed, and soon what had been intended as a money-making scheme took on the form of a new religion. Joseph went out in the country school houses and churches, when he could secure admission, and preached his gospel to all who would hear him. He was not a bad talker, and he gathered a motley collection of cranks and hair-brained enthusiasts who saw in the new dispensation a chance for personal glory or the acquiring of wealth. The polygamous portion of the new doctrine had not yet been mentioned, but even then there was a general disgust at the so-called churches proceedings. Some of the "missionaries to tho Gentiles," as the preachers called themselves, were tarred and feathered and many rotten-egged. But persecution only strengthened the ranks of the fanatics, and the church grew and extended its influence. It was not long before Smith found himself at the head of 200 or 300 converts, and the organization was on its way to success. The Smiths


of the neighborhood, their prominence among the somewhat numerous Smith family being marked. Mrs. Smith put on airs, and Joseph, sr., was the oracle of the taverns; but the prophet himself was unmoved, apparently, and preached his doctrine with all the zeal and enthusiasm of an apostle of old. His thin form and piercing eyes awed many a rebellious heart, and he came in time to believe even in himself. Clumsy cheat as he was, he was not without a certain shrewdness that marked him as entitled to his Yankee lineage. The church did not prosper long in western New York. It had its hegira to Kirtland, then to Independence, then to Nauvoo, and thence across the wide plains to their present resting place beside tho great Salt lake. The government has tried hard to stamp out the infamous curse of polygamy which the church has taken to its bosom, and it is believed will eventually succeed. But tho organization cherishes its traditions, and its 200,000 members revere as did tho Israelites the Ark of the Covenant, the few sheets of metal that lie in their great temple's vaults. Joseph Smith, the man who concocted them, and who alone pretended to translate their markings, died in poverty [sic] in 1844.

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



Vol. XXXI.                     Cuba, New York, Thursday, August 18, 1892.                    No. 33.

C o m m u n i c a t i o n.

Editor Patriot:-- I noticed in your last issue the Rev. John S. Parrish of the Latter day Saints is exasperated over a statement found in your papers among the observations that Jo Smith's Bible was one of Spaulding's novels modeled over, and he like any other pugnacious fellow challenges your correspondent, in fact all of the ministers in Allegany county to a discussion of questions concerning his faith. While the reverend gentleman may stand six feet in his stockings yet in my opinion he is far below the ordinary ministers in this county in mental caliber, and it is quite likely that none of them will care to discuss questions so self evidently false. Mr. Parrish says, "l am preaching Christ and Him crucified" and then asks "Is that reprehensible?" I answer, to be a preacher of Christ and a teacher of the glorious truths found in the gospel is indeed a grand work, a noble calling but to teach error and substitute the book of Mormon for the gospel of Christ is reprehensible and deserves the contempt of every person who desires the best good of society. Can it be possible, in view of existing facts, that any honest man with a thimble full of brains, can believe and teach that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that the book of Mormans was of divine origin. In view of existing facts, in view of the many evils which have been brought upon the American people by the teaching of Joseph Smith. To me it is one of the wonders of the world that any well disposed person, any person with any philanthropic principles, should give these men a hearing much less to accept their pernicious anti-Christian devotions. When the Latter Day Saints first came to this community they came with only words, they then could preach something like gospel sermons but they advanced their pernicious doctrines (as I believe) little by little, until now, Mr. Parrish comes out boldly and declares that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the book of Mormon is of divine origin. I will not accept Mr. Parrish's challenge. I will not stoop to the level of any man who will accept Joseph Smith as a prophet of God, but if I could say one helpful word to any person who would be likely to be influenced by the sophistry of these teachers of errors, I would gladly do it.

I affirm that the gospel contains a perfect rule of life and does not admit of additions. James speaks of the gospel as the "perfect law of liberty." If the gospel is perfect it does not admit of improvements. If the readers will take the trouble to consult Isa. 53-3, Isa. 61-8 he will find that the gospel is referred to is the everlasting covenant. Paul calls the gospel an everlasting covenant Heb. 13-20. If the gospel as preached by Christ and his apostles is everlasting, where is the chance for a new revelation. Paul says Gal. 1-8. "But though we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached, let him be accused."

Now suppose that I should admit for argument's sake that a new revelation was possible, was Joseph Smith a person who would be likely to give such a revelation? Was the book of Mormon of divine origin as it is claimed? This question like all similar questions must be determined by the history of the man who proposes to give such a revelation of the nature of the evidence that he can give of divine appointment and the nature of the doctrine which he teaches. History says that Smith was a man of dissolute habits and of ordinary turn of mind. That while residing at Palmyra, N. Y, he received, as he affirmed, three visits from the angel Marion [sic], who informed him that a history of the ancient Colonists of America written on golden plates was hidden in a certain hill in Manchester, N, Y., together with two transparent stones like spectacles by which the records on the plates would be legible. A few years after this mystical record was produced by the angel and was dictated by Smith to Oliver Cowdry and it was published in 1830. The first is the book Nephi son of Lehi, a Jew who about 600 years B. C. left Jerusalam in obedience to an inspired dream in search of the promised land. After a long stay in Arabia he traveled eight years in the wilderness to the ocean which he crossed in a ship to America. Latin [sic - later?] books say they landed in Chili. Laman and Lemuel, the elder of the four sons, quarreled with Nephi whom the Lord appointed ruler after the death of Lehi. For this the rebellious posterity of Laman and Lemuel were covered with dark skins and doomed to hunt beasts of prey for a living.

This was the origin of the Indian tribes of America. Nephi built a temple and formed a kingdom called the Nephites. Mormon, a decendent of Nephi, wrote the last of the Chronicles of that nation and whose name was given to the whole book and hundreds of years after Christ. Mormon transmitted, to his son Marion the golden plates on which the whole was written. The book further states that at the death of Christ an earthquake announced that event in America and the next day after Christ appeared in the chief city of the Nephites, remaining forty days, establishing churches. If the above is not a correct statement of the origin of the book of Mormon with some of the doctrines which it teaches, then history is at fault. I now ask who first taught the doctrine of a plurality of wives? In answer to this question l take the statements of a lady whose father became a follower of Smith. Soon after the year 1833 and as she was reared among the Mormons and was familiar with their usages and teachings she knew the truth of what she was saying. This lady says in her book that Smith first announced his belief in the plurality of wives at Nauvoo in the year 1840 and later on Smith claimed to have received the following revelation which I will copy: --

"If any man espouse a virgin and desire to espouse another and the first give her consent, and he espouse the second and they are virgins and have avowed to no other man, then is he justified, he can not commit adultery for they are given unto him. For he cannot commit adultery with that which belongeth unto him and to none else and if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law he cannot commit adultery for they belong to him. Therefore he is justified." Did Smith follow his own teachings? The book from which I have quoted says that Smith had eleven young ladies living in his family at one time as adopted daughters to whom he had been sealed without the knowledge of his wife but soon after she understood Smith's purpose and intentions."

Now it must be admitted that if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God at Palmyra he was also a prophet of God elsewhere. If he received a divine communication at Palmyra, he could receive a divine communication at Nauvoo. Now I ask was Smith such a man as would be likely to receive a divine resolution? Is it possible that Mormon, a descendent of Nephi transmitted to Marion the golden plates which were given to Smith. When we look at Smith's writings do they look like a divine revelation? When we consider that it is a historic fact that Smith originated and reduced to practice system of licentiousness and crime, and that under the blaze of civilization, can it be possible that be was a prophet of God or that his book of Mormon was of divine origin? Away with such nonsense. The advocates of such a theory know better. But where did Smith get his pretended revelation? History says that about the year 1813, Rev. Solomon Spaulding wrote a romance to account for the first settlement of America and was given to Mr. Patterson of Pittsburg, Pa., for publication, but Patterson thought the enterprise would not pay, Sidney Rigdon was working in Patterson's office at that time. Patterson died in 1826 [sic - 1846?], but nothing could be found of Spaulding's book in Patterson's office or among his papers. Mrs. Spaulding had a complete copy but while residing in Ontario Co. N. Y., next to a man by the name of Stroude [sic] for whom Smith was digging a well, that copy was lost, Mrs. Spaulding thinks it was stolen from her trunk.

When the book of Mormon was published the widow and brother of Rev. Spaulding and several other person who had heard him read his work at once claimed that Smith's book was nearly identical with Spaulding's work, varying in some changes and additions of doctrinal points. The widow's and brother's statements were sustained by the statement of Joseph Miller Sr. of Washington Pa., who had often heard Spaulding read from his book, and by that of Redick McKee who formerly boarded with the Spauldings and knew of the book. Now a few things may be noted. There were only two copies of Spaulding's book, one left with Patterson, and the other was in the possession of Mrs. Spaulding. Both of these copies were missing. Now mind, the Latter Day Saints claim that they have Spaulding's manuscript and they admit that Spaulding's book and the book of Mormon treated up in the same subject namely the early history of America. It is evident from the statement of authentic history and the admissions of the Latter Day Saints themselves that Joseph Smith did take Spaulding's romance as basis of the book of Mormon and any denial of that fact will not satisfy any reasonable reading man.

Note: The anonymous Patriot correspendent copied his proposed facts from a number of different contemporary sources, not all of which were equally reliable. For example, his reference to the mysterious Mr. "Stroude" was taken from Richard F. Burton's 1862 The City of the Saints, page 549.



Vol. ?                   Shortsville, New York, Saturday, September 3, 1892.                     No. ?


Ought the people of the town of Manchester to be proud of the fact that the Gold Bible Hill lies within its borders? Perhaps not; perhaps rather ashamed. Be that as it may, this fact has immortalized, has made famous, notorious, the name of our township. Intelligent, educated men the world over, know where "Manchester, Ontario County, New York," lies. Men in Paris, Berlin, and Calcutta, who have never heard of Rochester, who don't if Albany is on the Hudson or Mississippi or Amazon, will know at once where you came from if you tell them "Manchester, New York," for they know where Mormonism had its origin. It was Joseph Smith who founded Mormonism, who made that little hill on Alonzo Saunders' farm a famous hill, a sacred mountain to hundreds of thousands of believers, and the facts remain, to Manchester eternal renown or eternal disgrace, that Joe Smith was one of her citizens, that she gave to the world its newest, strangest, falsest religion.

If we are ashamed of Joseph, and it is presumed that we all are, we have at least the comfort of knowing that he was not a native of our town. It was at Sharon, Vermont, that he was born, December 3, 1805. When he was 11 years old, his parents emigrated to Palmyra. After remaining there about two years, they gained some sort of possession of a tract of uncleared woodland, in that section of Manchester which we have always known as "Stafford Street," therefore in the vicinity of Gold Bible Hill. They lived in a small log house of only two rooms, although the family was quite large. Here Joseph grew to manhood, and entered upon his notorious career. As a boy he is said to have been possessed of an intelligence rather above the ordinary; he was shrewd, good natured, lazy, a day dreamer, and a teller of big stories. He probably was no worse than the rest of the family; if anything, better. That the Smiths were not in high repute with neighbors, is shown by the fact that in 1833 eleven of the most respected citizens of the town made a sworn statement to the effect that the whole family was "a worthless, immoral lazy set of people." This may have been a rather strong statement of the case, but the writer has heard it practically substantiated by many an old resident. This was a time of great religious excitement in Western New York; revivals were frequent; religious discussion was everywhere heard. Joseph read the Bible; he thought much of religious matters; he had visions -- at least he claimed to have. His training was well fitted to prepare him for the life of a religious mountebank. His father was often engaged in well digging and Joe became a "water-finder," assisted in his divinations by the usual forked birch rod. In this way, and by looking into his hat at a stone in his possession, he was supposed to be able also to locate hidden treasures. The whole family were much given to searching and digging for buried treasures, to anything, in fact, other than earning an honest living.

It was in the night of September 21, 1823, that Joseph had his great vision. An angel, standing in the air, beside his bedside, informed him that on the west side of the hill on Saunders' farm, not far away from the top, under a stone, in a stone box, a book of gold lay deposited, and that he was destined to make known the contents of the book to the world. The next morning he went to the hill and found everything as the angel had said. But four years must pass before the message of the book could be read. After Smith's representation, this book was made up of thin gold plates, about seven by eight inches; it was about six inches thick, and fastened by three clasps. The writing was what he termed "revised Egyptian."

At the end of the four years he dug up the plates and hid them in the woods near his father's house. An ephod accompanied them, by the aid of which they were to be deciphered. Their transcription was completed in 1829, and 1830 the "Bible" appeared from the press of E. B. Grandin, a Palmyra printer. Joseph always obstinately refused to exhibit the plates, and doubtless with good reason, for according to the testimony of prying neighbors, the box where he kept them contained only an old brick, wrapped in many folds of cloth and paper. After their contents appeared on printed form, he declared that the angel took them and the ephod mysteriously away. Even before the book was published, Joseph had begun to make propaganda of his new "faith," to found his "church." In this he was greatly assisted by the members of his family and by Harris, Rigdon and Cowdery. Harris was a rich former in the vicinity, and it was at his expense that the book was printed. Rigdon was a great Campbellite preacher, more or less of a crank, and it was probably in his grip-sack, rather than in the hole in the hill, that Smith found his "Bible." Cowdery was a man very much of Smith's stamp, though far better educated. It is an interesting fact that these three men, who had so much to do with the early organization of Mormonism, all abjured the faith before dying, and made voluntary statements as to its falsity. They no doubt went into it as a money-making scheme. Five thousand copies of the "Bible" were printed, and the Smiths and their followers began to peddle them about the country at $1.75 a copy. This was a rather steep price and they did not "go off like hot cakes," but a revelation had told Joseph that instant death would come to any one who offered a copy for sale at a less price. Smith, Sr., however, did not seem to have much faith in this threat, as he is known to have speculated to his heart's content with the book, sometimes offering it to the storekeepers of Palmyra and Manchester village at half-price, in exchange for commodities.

It is a fact of interest to the residents of Shortsville that this first edition of the Mormon bible was printed on paper made in their village, at the mill which occupied the site of the present Jones mill (in Water street). This statement is made upon the authority of the writer's grandfather, who was at that time interested in said mill. It is strange what has become of all those five thousand copies of "Joe Smith's Bible." Today it is a rare book. Dealers in second-hand books, the world over, are glad to get them at almost any price. The book has since gone through many editions, and has been translated into many languages. It is made up of fourteen books and one hundred fifteen chapters. For any one but a Latter Day Saint, it is pretty hard reading, dull, insipid, badly written, lacking every literary adornment and without a sign of human or divine inspiration. How any intelligent person can read this book, and then believe in the faith of which it is the foundation, is a mystery to the Gentile mind.

"A Prophet is not without honor," etc. After what has been said about Joseph and his family, we do not wonder that he formed no exception to the rule. Although he and his followers preached and expounded his views repeatedly in different parts of the town, in Palmyra and in Farmington, they made few converts. Men went to hear and see out of curiosity, but in most cases came away in disgust. In Palmyra all public meeting places were closed to them. But their missionary efforts met with some success in other localities, at Lafayette [sic - Fayette?], Seneca County, and in northeastern Pennsylvania, a locality where the Smiths had spent much time seeking treasure and where Joseph had found a wife. It was at Lafayette that the sect was formally organized, in 1830. In this same year some of the band, who had made a missionary turn to Ohio, came back with the encouraging news that a whole Campbellite community at Kirtland in that State, had been won for the new faith. Thus it came about that early in the next year, in January, the first exodus of Mormonism took place, from New York, which had come to be very uncongenial soil for the new religion to which it had given birth, to the free and more liberal West.

Some fifty families from this part of the State, mostly from Lafayette, followed the Smiths Westward. Joe Smith had been a resident of our town for twelve years. His fife in the West is not our purpose to consider. Suffice to say that he remained six years in Ohio, that in 1838 there was another exodus to Montana [sic - Missouri?] and Illinois; that in 1843, at Nauvoo, he promulgated his revelation in regard to polygamy, in consequence of which he and his brother Hyrum were imprisoned in the county jail, where they were both shot by a mob, June 27, 1844.

What part does Gold Bible hill, or Hill Cumorah, as Smith named it, play in the Mormon system? This is an interesting question for Manchesterians, and for its answer we must go to the narrative of the Mormon bible. That narrative is, succinctly, as follows: First, the Jaredites, at the time of the Dispersion, came directly from Babel to this country. But by 600 B. C., this race had become extinct. Then Israelites, mostly descendants of Joseph, came from Jerusalem and took their places. To these Israelites Christ appeared, on this continent, after His resurrection, and established among them a complete church. Some of these tribes became apostles, and degenerated. From them are descended the American Indians. The others fell in battle, fighting among themselves, in the fourth century of our era. But there were twenty-four survivors of the battle, among them Mormon, a great prophet. He lived at the foot of Hill Cumorah. This Mormon, from the records of his race and of the Jaredites, made an abbreviated compilation, the book of Mormon, the Mormon bible.

His son, Moroni, the last survivor, buried the book near the top of Hill Cumorah, where it remained for fifteen centuries, until found by Smith, as above described. But the Mormon church assumes to be, therefore, a revival and continuation of this old Israelite church of America. Such is the story that Joe Smith told to the world and upon which he founded a new religion. That it is only a "story," is needless to affirm. But where did Joe Smith get this story? Not out of that old hat of his, certainly; nor out of his head, for although he had the reputation of being a pretty big liar, no ignorant, lazy, country boy like Joe Smith could have manufactured such a complicated, extensive lie as this; nor did he get it from God; the religion itself and its history are evidences of this.

He must then have gotten it from some man, probably from Sidney Rigdon. It is commonly supposed that Rigdon had gained possession of the manuscript of an old unpublished romance, which a crack-brained clergyman in Western Pennsylvania, by the name of Spaulding, had written and left in the printing office, which had refused to publish; that Rigdon had given this romance to Smith, who made it, with some blundering changes, his "Bible." Some facts have come to light of late, which we cannot here discuss, that tend to invalidate this theory, and there is a mystery about it all which will perhaps never be solved. But no matter where Joe Smith got this "Bible" of his, he deserves immortal notoriety and fame for the way in which he made use of it, for his wonderful ingenuity, for his matchless audacity, for his astounding imposition, for his unexampled prevarication. Many Americans have tried to pull the wool over the eyes of their countrymen; probably no American ever succeeded so well as did Joe Smith, the prophet of Manchester.

Note: The above article was possibly written by the Rev. Dr. Mitchell Bronk -- at least it was reprinted in the Enterprise of Aug. 4th and 11th, 1937 in his "Some People of Manchester" contribution. The probably that Rev. Bronk was not the original writer rests upon the fact that the report contains very little unique local lore regarding "Joe Smith" and the Mormons. In the Troy Daily Times of Nov. 14, 1914, Bronk is said to have "related several stories which were told by his grandfather concerning the early part of the religion." Bronk's grandfather, Stephen Brewster, was a contemporary of Joseph Smith, Jr. in Manchester and evidently passed on a number of historical anecdotes to his grandson. The absence of any reference to Mr. Brewster in this article may indicate that Rev. Bronk did not compose it for the Enterprise in 1892.


The  Olean  Democrat.

Vol. XIII.                         Olean, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., Jan. 13, 1893.                        No. ?


Major John H. Gilbert, compositor and pressman of the Mormon Bible in is still living in good health at Palmyra. He kept; a pressman's copy of the book which was recently sold for [$ ----] The press on which it was printed was recently found at Rose, Wayne county.

Notes: (forthcoming)


The  Olean  Democrat.

Vol. XIII.                         Olean, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., Feb. 21, 1893.                        No. 102.

Helped Print the First Gold Bible.

ADRIAN, Mich., Feb. 21. -- Rolin Robinson died here yesterday aged 83. When a boy he worked in the Wayne Sentinel office at Palmyra, N. Y., and assisted in printing the first edition of the Book of Mormon or Gold Bible for Prophet Joseph Smith, who was one of the original "Three Apostles." At one time Robinson owned a line of boats on the Erie canal. He had served in the state legislature.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                             Buffalo, N. Y., Sunday, March 19, 1893.                             No. ?


Completion of the Great Temple at Salt Lake City.


The Hill where the Plates of Nephi Were Alleged to
be Found -- The Tragedy of Nauvoo --
Some Curious Affairs Recalled.

In a few days, it is announced, the great Mormon temple in Salt Lake City is to be dedicated. It is a high, many-towered pile of grayish-white granite, which was begun in 1858, and on which nearly $10,000,000 have been spent, its ground dimensions are only 100 by 200 feet. An accompanying illustration, from a photograph, shows it well, and also the oval dome-covered Tabernacle, looking like a great turtle, which seats 8,000 people, and has the second largest organ in America. To the left of the picture appears Assembly Hall, another famous Mormon building.

Mormonism is by no means dying out. There are more Mormons in the United States today than ever before, and their principal city, 15 miles from the Salt Lake, is one of the most beautiful and flourishing centers of population in the West. At the election for members of the Legislative Assembly of 1890 the total vote was 20,496, of which over 14,000 were Mormon. The Gentiles elected only two of the 12 members of the Council, and six of the 24 members of the House. At this election for the first time the Gentiles carried Salt Lake City and Ogden. "These victories," said the Governor of Utah at that time, "awakened the wildest enthusiasm, and were hailed with delight by the people of the country, and many expressed the opinion that the Mormon power was at an end in Utah. I regret to say they were in error. The time may come when the Gentiles will be in the majority, but it will be many years hence. In 23 of the 24 counties, and in 255 of the 278 election precincts the Gentiles were in the minority at the last election." The dedication of this great temple with services and ceremonies lasting for several days, early in April, will be the occasion of the greatest triumph for the Mormons, and the widest noising abroad of their achievements and peculiar tenets which our generation has seen.

The whole history of Mormonism is romantic and picturesque; and Central New-York is responsible for some of its most important chapters.

It is doubtless true that Joseph Smith was born in Sharon, Windsor County, Vt., December 23, 1805. He was called the founder of Mormonism, yet he had able assistance in the creation of this new religion. History says that Smith was of illiterate parentage; that he himself grew up to an ignorant and vicious manhood, spending his days in idleness. He was regarded as a "dreamer." Much of his time was devoted to roaming the woods seeking for buried treasure. Doubtless his mind had been early poisoned by the vile literature that even to this day has not become extinct. But other minds, less ignorant, yet no more active, conceived a plot to give the world a new religion -- one that was destined to find many supporters -- a religion that exists today in spite of fully three-score years of persecution. Sidney Rlgdon was a man of good education. A Presbyterian minister named Spaulding, who now lies buried at Decatur, Ill. [sic!], is said to have written an ingenious religious romance, the original manuscript of which fell into Rigdon's hands. This worthy resolved to make good use of the story. Taking Smith and possibly a few others into his confidence, Rigdon revealed his plan to found a new religion.

The romance in question and in brief told about several nations of people who resided between the Isthmus of Darien and the extremities of North America. These nations were at war, and finally the great battle of Cumorah was fought at a spot where Palmyra, N. Y., is now located. The contending hosts were the Lamanites, who were the heathen of this country, and the Nephites, who were the Christians. The battle resulted in great slaughter; in fact, the nation of Nephites was destroyed, with the exception of a few, among them Mormon and his son, Maroni. They were righteous man. God directed them to make a record of all those important events upon golden plates and bury them in the earth to be discovered and translated at a future age.

Smith had little difficulty in unearthing in the forests near Palmyra some wonderful plates, which, however, not being gold, but copper or brass served as well for the hieroglyphics were there. These, through the power of inspiration, Joseph Smith deciphered, and from them "The Book of Mormon" is said to have originated. Other historians claim that the book was written by others, so that there is no certainty as to what its actual origin was. It matters little, however, in the light of the fact that there is a "Book of Mormon." Smith and his co-workers had little difficulty in securing a large and devoted following. Mormonism spread rapidly over the Eastern and New-England States. Proselyting then, as now, was openly and zealously carried on.

The Book of Mormon is not only a sacred book for many thousands of people, but it is a literary curiosity, and one of the rarest products of the early press of interior New-York. It is an octavo of 500 pages, and was printed at Palmyra by E. B. Grandin, in 1830. It contains about one third as much matter as does the King James version of the Bible.... The average reader would find the pages of the Book of Mormon tiresome and stupid.

In 1838 and possibly earlier, Smith, with his constantly augmenting band of followers, went West. Settlements were formed at Kirtland, O., and a town called Independence was quickly established in Missouri. In both places the Mormons thrived. In fact, wherever they went their patient industry and wonderful economy were proverbial. But, as charged, the crookedness of Smith and his fellows concerning business affairs brought down upon the Mormons severe punishment and continued persecution. Smith himself was tarred and feathered, while many of the saints were thrown into the river to drown, many of them barely escaping with their lives. It was a pitiful and woe-stricken band of Mormons that landed on the beautiful banks of the Mississippi River in Hanocock County, Ill., about the years 1839-40. The sympathy of the people, however, and the glorious land into which they had come, cheered, their drooping hearts. True to their instincts, the faithful Mormons set to work to build a city that should have no rival in the West. In the meantime Joseph Smith announced that this was to be the final resting-place of the pilgrims. This was to be the new Zion. Nauvoo -- "pleasant land" -- was to have a temple unsurpaaeed in beauty and grandeur. Although Smith never lived to see the temple completed, nor was it ever wholly completed, yet he did live to see himself surrounded with a worshiping band of nearly 20,000 devoted people, whose services and tithes were at his command

The Illinois State Legislature had granted three charters to the Mormons by which the city of Nauvoo was organized, with Joseph Smith as Mayor, a "military legion," and a university. In fact. Smith and his apostles had a little kingdom of their own, and the charters gave them more license than the law really allowed. This was the means of destroying Smith and driving his people into the wilderness.

The city war built up rapidly. The temple was erected at a great cost, estimated in round numbers at $1,000,000. This sum is thought to be excessive, but few people doubt that so great a sum of money was raised for the purpose. Whether all of it went into the temple or not is a mooted question. Other buildings for public use were erected, notably the Masonic Hall, tithing house, mansion house and homes of the apostiee. Of these, of course, there were 12...

Tithing was faithfully carried on. One tenth of all goods, profits or time was given by these faithful people to the church. The city flourished and grew, converts were pouring in from all quarters of the globe, and Nauvoo promised soon to rival some of the larger cities of the country. In addition to all this, the "Nauvoo Legion" was formed. It was a splendidly-drilled military organisation, the arms having been furnished by the State. The "Danites," or "Sons of Dan," made famous in history through Joaquin Miller's romance, was a secret organisation of trusted men who acted as a bodyguard for Smith, and are also said to have avenged many real or fancied wrongs done to Smith or his apostles.

During all this time the Mormons held the balance of power politically in the county, and they were earnestly courted. However, they showered their favors upon the Whigs and Democrats with exasperating irregularity. The Gentile world outside of Nauvoo, especially the people at large in Hancock County, professed to regard the Mormons with great distrust, if not fear. The days were new and scoundrels of all classes swarmod through the country. Horse stealing was too common to provoke comment. Cattle were driven away almost in herds, and honest farmers began to fear for their personal safety. Much of this outlawry was directly charged to the Mormons. It is not now believed that they were guuty of half that was charged to them, if guilty at all. The Mormons were noted for their thrift. Envy may have had more to do with their persecutions than anything else. But Joseph Smith was a bad and dangerous man. This is conceded in all fairness. There can be little doubt that he was preparing to introduce polygamy at Nauvoo upon an extensive scale. He traveled over the country boldly proselyting, and some ugly stories are told of his conduct

The Higbies, C. L. and Francis, published one issue of a paper called the Nauvoo Expositor, June 7, 1844. It contained stinging criticisms of Smith and his methods and on the whole was a highly objectionable sheet to the saints. Smith ordered the type and presses destroyed and the debris thrown into the river. The order was at once obeyed. Smith, his brother Hiram, Dr. [sic] Taylor and Willard Richards, apostles, were arrested and taken to the old stone jail in Carthage. They were not treated as ordinary prisoners, but were given quarters in the debtors' room, a large apartment in the second story. A guard of local militia called the Carthage Grays was thrown around the jail to protect the prisoners from mob violence. This guard gracefully gave way to a mob of masked men on the afternoon of June 7,1844, who proceeded to shoot Joseph and Hiram Smith, and badly wound Dr. [sic] Taylor, late head of the Mormon church in Utah. No sooner had the people of Carthage learned of the massacre than they began to flee from the city in apparent confusion. Many merchants left their store doors open. It is doubtful if a hundred people remained in the place. The bodies of the Smiths bid fair to lay where they fell, until a pioneer inn-keeper named Artois Hamilton heard of the tragedy and had the corpses removed to his hotel. Dr. [sic] Taylor was also removed to the hostelry, where he hung between life and death for some weeks. That night the bullet-ridden bodies of the prophets rested on rude, pine boards in the bar-room of the old hotel, the same bar-room, or office, which was destined to shelter Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas and other noted men. The next day old man Hamilton placed the bodies in rude, pine coffins and conveyed them in a farm wagon to Nauvoo. He was met at the city limits by a vast crowd of weeping men, women and children, to whom he gave a detailed account of the tragedy. He left the bodies with some church dignitaries and returned to Carthage. The bodies were subsequently buried near the old mansion house, but in a short time, for fear of vandals, were exhumed and doubtless sent to Utah.

The people of Carthage, learning that the Mormons had no idea of avenging the death of their leaders, returned to their homes in a few days.

The struggle for supremcy among the Mormon leaders then began, complicating their troubles greatly. Lawlessness and crime seemed to be on the increase and the anti-Mormon sentiment wasgrowing day by day. A large number of Mormons had left Nauvoo soon after the massacre and many more were preparing to go.

The city of Nauvoo capitulated in October, 1845, after a severe battle with the anti-Mormons, in which several were killed and wounded on both sides, as stated. Hardly had the fleeing Mormons crossed the river to the Iowa shore when the torch was applied to many buildings. Powder mines that had been laid in the streets were exploded and the town was fire-gutted. The temple and most of the public buildings were spared.

The sufferings of the fleeing Mormons on the bleak Iowa prairies were pitiable In the extreme. They had taken what household goods they could carry with them, yet many were suffering from insufficient clothing and some died from exposure. This hegira in itself is a dark page in the country's history. Deserted of Its large population, sacked by fire and flood, Nauvoo was a sorry shadow of itself. The vandals on the night of November 18,1848, burned the beautiful temple.

Another epoch In that city's history was the advent in 1848 of Cabet with his colony of Icarian communists. Their colony was a failure, however, and most of the people moved away. Nauvoo of today is a pleasant, thriving little town, famous for its vineyards. No trace of the magnificent temple may be seen. A barn-yard occupies the site, and the deep, narrow well, used to supply the baptismal font, is still in good order. The water is dellciously pure and cool. The old mansion house, Joseph Smith's old house, Brigham Young's residence, and other buildings of interest still remain at Nauvoo. Time has not dealt gently with them, however, and a few more years will see them no more.

As previously stated, the temple was a magnificent structure, built of sandstone. It had a large seating capacity. From the base of the temple to the dome was a distance of 210 feet. This structure could be seen for many miles. The most wonderful part of the entire structure was the baptismal font. It was carved from a solid block of light-colored stone or marble and rested on the backs of 12 oxen. Vandalism seemed to run rife in Nauvoo after the Mormons departed. The temple was desecrated shamefully, and its ultimate destruction shows the degree of spite to which enemies of these people ventured.

Scores of people visit Carthage and Nauvoo in a year to look upon the scenes of those early days. Many a noted man or woman in the literary walks of life pays a visit to the shrine of the martyred prophets, and then journeys on to the old Mormon capital to wander through her quaint streets and gaze upon the historic relics of other days. The later history of the Mormons, of their migrations and settlement In Utah, need not be rehearsed here. In several of their cities they have fine temples, and they have spread over a considerable part of Southern Idaho, as well as down Into Nevada and New Mexico.

Note 1: The greater part of the above article was re-copied from the writer's 1890 article for the Chicago Times. What is even more remarkable, is that its several historical errors were pointed out in the columns of the writer's hometown paper during that same year, but he did not bother to make so much as a single correction when he recycled the contents for publication in the Buffalo Express and other American newspapers, three years later.

Note 2: The writer was Isham Gaylord Davidson (1860-1956), the son of the long-time editor of the Carthage Republican in Hancock County, Illinois. For a list of selected Davidson's reports from the 1880s and 1890s, see the comments appended to his June 24, 1894 article in the Quincy Morning Whig.


Johnstown  Daily  Republican.

Vol. III.                             Johnstown, N. Y., Wednesday, April 19, 1893.                            No. 242.



Tottering Walls and Vine Clad Hills Where
Once the Prophet Stood -- The Temple
and Its Builders -- A Strange History
Known by Few of the Rising Generation.

(Special Correspondence.)

Nauvoo, Ills., April 10. -- Scattered over vine-clad hills that rise from the shores of the Mississippi river is the historic city of Nauvoo. It would be unkind to history, as well as to the kindly, thrifty folk who now inhabit the place, to call their well beloved habitation aught else but a city, for Nauvoo was once a city teeming with thousands of busy people, while the music of their forges and workshops filled the air. Joseph Smith could hardly have selected a more beautiful location. The city is situated on the river's bank in the north-western portion of Hancock county, Ills. On a clear day glimpses of the cities of Burlington and Keokuk, equally distant, about 20 miles can be had from the steeple of a church.

About 30 miles overland to the south-east lies Carthage, the county seat, where still stands the historic old stone jail in which Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob on June 27, 1844. South of Nauvoo, a distance of perhaps 15 miles and also located on the Mississippi river, is Warsaw, whence, as charged, the majority of the avenging mob went forth on that 27th day of June.

The history of Mormonism in Illinois is much the same as previous histories of the doings of these peculiar people prior to their arrival on Illinois soil. Their sojourn in Ohio, and Missouri particularly, was marked with tribulation and no little persecution. It was clearly because of their persecution in Ohio and Missouri that the pioneers of Illinois extended to the Mormons a hearty welcome.

Joseph Smith, the chief founder of the Mormon church and its creed as proclaimed by the earlier Mormons, was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vt., Dec. 23, 1805. All histories agree that he was of humble origin, and his enemies say that he was an idle, wicked lad who shunned the schoolroom and the workbench, but rather passed his days in roaming through the woods, seeking for buried treasure.

Smith fell into the companionship of a man named Sidney Rigdon, and they conceived the idea of formulating a new religion. The most plausible theory advanced regarding the foundation of the religion is that Rigdon and Smith had obtained a religious romance said to have been written by a Presbyterian minister of the name of Spaulding.

In the meantime Smith had a "vision" from the Lord, who instructed him to go to a locality near Palmyra, N. Y., where he would find some golden plates hidden in the earth. Upon these plates would be found a wonderful record inscribed in unknown characters, which could be translated by looking at them through a certain stone which Smith had in his possession. Smith gave due heed to the alleged command of the Lord and did unearth the plates. Enemies of Smith and the Mormons are so unkind also as to charge Smith and Rigdon with having buried the plates in the earth, some time previous to their alleged discovery.

From these plates, however, by the aid of the wonderful stone in Smith's possession, the translation was made, which is said to have been none other than the Spaulding romance. The Book of Mormon is said to have been thus originated.

Not only did the Mormons in both Lee county, Ia., and Hancock county Ills., flock into Nauvoo, but they came from all parts of the United States, from Great Britain, India, Germany, Australia and all quarters of the globe, a mighty army of saints and proselytes (for Joseph Smith had his emissaries in all these countries). Here they were to gather around "the corner-stone of Zion." Thus was the population of Nauvoo vastly increased until at one time it was estimated that the city contained a population of 20,000 people. Joseph Smith was mayor.

During their sojourn in Nauvoo these people made it a city that should become famous throughout the world. In it they erected a temple which at that time was regarded as a wonder of modern architecture. The temple was built of particularly substantial and handsome gray limestone quarried from the bluffs a short distance above the city. Its length was 128 feet, its breadth 88 feet, total height to the apex of cupola 210 feet. The exterior walls f the building were strengthened with 3o pilasters of hewn rock, giving it the effect of great strength and architectural beauty. The base of each pilaster was a massive hewn rock on which was engraved in relief a quarter moon and face. The capstones were ornamented in like manner with a full moon represented as a face, underneath which were two hands holding trumpets. The dome of the cupola was surmounted by the image of an angel blowing a trumpet.

In the basement was an immense baptismal font supported on the backs of 12 oxen of life size, all of which, including the font, were most ingeniously carved from Italian marble [sic]. The audience room had a capacity of at least 2,000 sittings. The seats were arranged with swinging backs to face preaching stands located at opposite ends of the room. The total cost of the temple is said to have been $1,000,000. At the final hegira of the Mormons from Nauvoo in 1846 the temple was stripped of its ornamentation, and the various vessels, implements and insignia of its devotional character were carried away by the Mormons.

On the night of Nov. 10, 1848, the slumbering citizens of Nauvoo were awakened by a brilliant light illuminating their chambers with almost the intensity of sunlight. The cupola of the grand and beautiful temple was wrapped in flames the work of an incendiary, a virulent anti-Mormon. All of the temple save its blackened walls was destroyed.

In 1849 a body of Icarian French communists under the leadership of M. Cabet purchased the temple lot and ruin together with other property adjacent and established a colony at Nauvoo. With a portion of the rock from the temple walls they built a 2-story schoolhouse, which still stands a short distance south of the old temple site. The colony was a failure, however, and the Icarians sold out and went away. The remnant of the temple ruin was subsequently taken down to supply material for building purposes.

The present location of Nauvoo is marked on the old maps of 1838 and prior as the village of Commerce. The site of the city as laid out by Joseph Smith in 1839-40 is claimed to be in all points the finest on the Mississippi river. Fronting on the majestic river that in a grand sweep of nearly half a circle environs the original municipal territory, is embraced that portion of the city known to Mormondom as "The Flats." The area of this part of the city is probably two miles long in a single straight line from the western sweep of the river on the north to the eastern sweep on the south and one mile from the base of the bluff to the center of the river's curve on the west. On this part of the city plat were located the chief commercial interests of the Mormon population. Here were the hotels, stores, shops, newspaper, armory, tithing house, Mansion hall and the residences of most of the chief officers and dignitaries of the city and church.

Still standing on this plat at its southern limit near the river is an antique 2-story wooden building having the appearance of an old inn. Such it was in the period of 1840-1, its proprietor and innlord being Joseph Smith. Across the street from the building to the south and standing sheer by the river's edge is a large building of brick upon a stone basement. The stone and brick work of this building was built by Joseph Smith for a hotel. It stood in this incomplete condition probably until 1860, when Major L. C. Bidamon, who married the widow of Joseph Smith, partially finished the building and occupied it for some years as a hotel.

The Nauvoo of today is a pleasant little city noted for its vineyards and ample wine cellars. Few Mormons now reside there, and there are comparatively few of these people remaining in Hancock county. The objects of interest now remaining in Nauvoo relating to the Mormon period are the old mansion house and Joseph Smith's old residence. They show the ravages of time, but the mansion house, which was never completed, has the appearance of being a new structure, yet it is an old building. There are a number of other quaint structures in the place that were built by the Mormons, whose tottering walls are mute witnesses to the departed glory of a once famous city.   GAY DAVIDSON.

Note: This same illustrated article was syndicated and appeared in a number of American newspapers, such as the Trenton Times of April 11, 1893, the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of April 13, 1893, and the Bismark Daily Tribune of April 14, 1893 .



Vol. ?                                 Syracuse, N. Y., Wed., May 10, 1893.                                 No. ?


The Work of  Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson.
Another of Onondaga's Daughters.

Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, who has attained wide reputation as a newspaper writer, was born in Onondaga Valley, being the daughter of the late Royal Stewart, a former merchant of that place. Through her mother Mrs. Dickinson was connected with the families of William and Joseph Sablne, men who were prominent in the earlier history of this county. Mrs. Dickinson showed a tendency for literary work at an early age and her contributions have found place in journals like The Boston Herald and Transcript, the New York Tribune, Churchman, Evangelist, Wide Awake, Youth's Companion, Magazine of American History and Scribner's. Upon her marriage to William Dickinson, a prominent New York lawyer, Mrs. Dickinson made her home in the metropolis where her literary work found fuller scope. In 1885 at the suggestion of the late Dr. J. Q. Holland, then editor of Scribner's Magazine, Mrs. Dickinson undertook the compiling of a history of Mormonlsm, for which she spent two years collecting the materials, working for weeks in the Astor and Boston libraries, besides travelling extensively in the West for the same purpose. Mrs. Dickinson was particularly well fitted for this work, being familiar through family traditions with much valuable material that came down direct from a great uncle, the Rev. Solomon Spauiding, who was the author of the manuscript that formed the basis of the Mormon religion. So thoroughly and efficiently did Mrs. Dickinson perform her task that her book is considered a standard work of great importance. Soon after its publication the author visited England where she received much attention owing to the interest aroused by her book and the subject treated of. In 1888 "The King's Daughters," a dainty volume in purple and gold was brought out by Mrs. Dickinson, with the special view of calling the attention of wealthy women of leisure to the opportunities for Christian work that were lying all around them. The book which was a success from its publication, was first issued by the Hubbard Brothers of Philadelphia, and afterward brought out as a Christmas book by the Lovell Company of New York. In addition to the work already mentioned, Mrs. Dickinson has done much in the way of newspaper correspondence, and has written many poems which in rare bindings and delicate booklets are treasured as choice bits of literature. Mrs. Dickinson's acquaintance has brought her in contact with many interesting and distinguished people and her mind is stored with remlniscences that furnish rich material for her conversation. Unassuming in manner, she is very cordial and friendly to her less fortunate sisters, and what is more, is keenly interested in the success of other women who are striving to make names in literature.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Democrat  [   and   ]  Chronicle.

Vol. LXII.             Rochester, New York, Wednesday, February 21, 1894.             No. 52.


... the Chronicler started out to say something about slang phrases... Their roots lie deep and must be painfully dug for. Some, of them have grown old in obscurity before some accident has brought them into vogue. Among such is the phrase which describes a man whose statements are not to be implicitly accepted, as "talking through his hat," if the Chronicler's theory as to its origin is correct. He dates it back to the second decade of the present century and fixes its birthplace at Palmyra, in Wayne county, N. Y. It owes its origin to the founder of Mormonism who was the first of mortal men to "talk through his hat," if history is to be trusted. Joseph Smith was, in his youth, the possessor of a peculiarly shaped stone that resembled in its outlines a child's foot. It came to be famous as the "peek stone" and the "Palmyra seer stone." With it the embryo prophet fooled the credulous residents of that then sparsely-settled region. Placing the "peeker" in his white "stove-pipe hat" in which he buried his face, he was able to see very remarkable things, buried treasured, subterranean waters, property stolen and hidden, cattle lost and strayed, which, in accents muffled by his interposed head-gear, he revealed, as they appeared to him, to his awe-stricken listeners. He talked through his hat. The fame of his powers spread abroad. He who wanted a well located, he whose property had been stolen, or whose cattle had strayed, went to Joe Smith and besought him to "talk through his hat." Later, when the revelations proved misleading and credulity waned, the phrase came to be used satirically, in its present sense. But Joe Smith had gone from Palmyra, and was at the head of the growing Mormon hierarchy, still dealing in "revelations," still "talking through his hat." So there are whole volumes of commentary on the origin, progress and claims to respect of Mormonism in one brief slang saying, for him who searches out its origin. Who shall say that equally interesting results will not reward him who diligently traces the history of others like it?

Note: The above explanation for the phrase "talking through his hat" is an unlikely one. The expression only became popular in English during the 1880s (for example in the Sydney Bulletin of early 1880), by which time the popular memory of Joseph Smith, Jr. was nearly forgotten. Smith was not the first scryer to gaze into a seer stone, shaded within a hat; and, even if he had been, there is no evidence that he did much talking while engaged in that activity. His mouth probably was not contained within the hat at such times. The initial meaning of the term was "bluff and bluster" or "talking nonsense," which does not fit very well with Smith's later self-proclaimed role as a purposeful, divine oracle. A secondary meaning was, perhaps, to "tell lies;" which might more reasonably be applied by skeptics to Smith's boyhood words and actions.


The Arcadian Weekly Gazette.

Vol. VII.                             Newark, NY, Wednesday, July 26, 1893.                           No. 26.



Smith Was an Admirer of Capt. Kidd -- How the Manuscript
Was Translated in a Garret, Not in a Cave --
The Struggle to Get the Bible Printed.

There is being so much said at present in the press throughout the state and country in regard to Mormonism and its origin in Palmyra, that we asked an old resident of the town a few months ago to prepare us a story of the early days of the Mormons as he remembered them, and we take pleasure in printing his story below. He differs materially from some published accounts, but other stories have been written by men who are strangers [to us], while this man we know and know him to be truthful and reliable, and therefore feel sure this story, as far as it goes, is correct. It is well written and we shall be glad if the same writer will favor us with more of the same... He says:

Joseph Smith, the principle prophet and leader of Mormonism, was born in Sharon, Vermont, Dec. 23, 1806. He emigrated to Palmyra in 1816, a lazy, ragged youth. His conversation was of a visionary nature. He had heard and read of the notorious Capt. Kidd, the pirate, and his buried treasures, and he was overflowing with words and conceit in reference to his own magic skill in locating chests of jewels, gold and Silver. -- He had a brilliant crystal opaque stone in his possession, which had been found in excavating a well, which when placed in a hat, enlarged his vision, that he could see buried treasure at a distance beneath the earth's surface. Smith thus became famous as a money digger, and for seven years a few faithful [men trusted in] his skill and threw up the ground where he promised success, but without unearthing a penny. Smith's followers now began to doubt, but he [proved] equal to the occasion. [He pretended he saw a mysterious] book. One day a stranger was seen in close conversation with him. Smith said a mission was given him that would shake the heavens and the earth: that the prophet's mantle now rested on him. As he ascended the hill that has gained notoriety as Mormon Hill, a soft, pure light flashed before him, as if fanned by angels' wings; its brightness: its brightness surpassed all earthly glory. He put down his spade, the ground flew as the lightest down before it. The opening thus made revealed shining plates all covered with mystic characters, which were the historical records of ancient and forgotten nations. Joe Smith at once pronounced these plates as pure gold: but the characters thereon he could not read -- not a word. Here was a dilemma. Looking up, he asked what was to be done. A soft voice replied, "Look at the plates through the brilliant opaque." Now the mystery was apparently solved; he could read and interpret, but could not write a legible hand. This made an amanuensis necessary. Joe found his man soon, however, -- Oliver Cowdery, a simple-minded young man of fair character and correct morals, who had been drawn to the place by curiosity. He had some reputation as a schoolmaster and accepted the situation. Joe claimed that a divine voice had commanded him to have the translation done quickly and published, so he drew a curtain across the corner of a dark room in a garret, and sitting behind the curtain, with his magic stone in one hand and the gold plates in the other, he commenced reading aloud, while Cowdery, on the other side of the curtain, wrote it down, word for word, as it came from Smith. They had words enough to publish, but not a dollar to pay for printing. The translation occupied two [sic] weeks. During that time, Joe met Martin Harris, a man of means, whom he approached by showing him the manuscript of a book which he said had but one faith and one practice: that it spoke with the voice of conscience, which gives life and light to the children of men. He represented the financial side as fifty per cent, and, if the Lord said so, it would reach seventy-five per cent. At this point Harris jumped to his feet, saying: -- "It shall be printed, if it takes my farm to pay the printer." The manuscript was then given to Harris to make arrangements for its publication; but while Harris was asleep one night the first translation went up the chimney, in smoke and ashes. The Mormon camp was now in trouble: it had come to grief. Joe distrusted Harris: but the Gentiles said that Satan had only received his reward. Harris was alone the one to fully comprehend the situation. His wife was a Quaker, and had quietly remarked: -- "The Devil and all his wicked works should be cast into the fire." It was now seen that a new translation might come in [conflict] with the first one, -- It was not safe to proceed with such a possibility in the future, -- Smith was not a translator, nor the original author, -- so the mysterious stranger appeared in the troubled camp, and a second translation was commenced. It was said to have been done in a cave, one hundred feet long; but no such cave was ever seen -- it never existed. It was done in that same dark garret, behind the same curtain, with Joe on one side and Cowdrey on the other. In six months a copy was ready for the printer, in Cowdrey's handwriting.

In June, 1830, Harris, Smith and Cowdrey applied to R. B. Granding, publisher of the Wayne Sentinel, to know If he would print the manuscript, but Mr. Granding declined. Then Thurlow Weed, of the Anti-Masonic Inquirer of Rochester, was asked to do the printing, but he also declined, saying that he wouldn't disgrace his type with such a silly book. Mr. Marshall, of Rochester, said he would print it if the pay was secured... [But this] proved too much for the patience of those Latter-day Saints, so, weary and care-worn, they applied a second time to Mr. Granding, to print the Book of Mormon, and save them repeated journeys to Rochester. Mr. Granding finally accepted a mortgage on 150 acres of Harris' farm land as security, and agreed to print and bind 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon for $3,000. The printing was done by John H. Gilbert, who set the type and did the press-work. The manuscript was so imperfect in grammar, syntax, capitalization and punctuation that Gilbert became thoroughly disgusted with the work. Harris, however, granted him the privilege of making all necessary corrections, in order to make the book readable. So the printing was done, the binding completed and the volumes handed over to Harris in the spring of 1830. Harris then sold his farm at private sale and settled his obligations for the work. Smith just at that time had a financial revelation, to the effect that the book must not be sold for less than $1.25 per copy.

Here I close this paper on "The Origin of Mormonism." May it not be sincerely hoped, that when the Anglo Saxon race draws its circle nearer and nearer to the great temple at Salt Lake, the delusive spell maybe broken, and that some Christian society will send from beneath its glorious arches the pure Gospel, with the power and meekness of Him who spake as never man spake?

P.S. The writer of this [sequel?] read several chapters in the Book of Mormon when it was first published. He has also seen Mormon Hill. The excavations made there are almost of a size that would be dug for a fox, woodchuck or pole cat. He has met Smith, Cowdrey, Harris and the rest of the conclave, as they paraded the streets of Palmyra, [a] considerable set of vagabonds. The book was written by Solomon Spalding and left with a publisher to be printed. Spalding died in 1827 [sic]. Sidney Rigdon was a printer, employed in the office, who purloined the manuscript, and he, Topsfield [sic] and Joe Smith concocted the whole scheme of Mormonism.

Note 1: The unidentified "old resident" provided the Weekly Gazette with an account roughly compatible with those furnished by Turner in 1851 and by Tucker in 1867. He says nothing that would indicate eye-witness testimony. The Weekly Gazette editor evidently once "met Smith, Cowdrey, Harris," etc., but neither he nor his anonymous Palmyra source add anything remarkable to the historical record.

Note 2: The old claim of Cowdery being separated from Smith during the Book of Mormon translation, by "a curtain," has not been substantiated, and it is more likely that only Martin Harris had such an experience (and that, too, in Harmony and not at Manchester). "R. B. Granding" was, of course, actually named Egbert Bratt Grandin. The referenced "mysterious stranger" comes straight out of Tucker's book, and does not constitute an independent source for Sidney Rigdon's purported pre-1830 presence in the area. The denial of a Joseph Smith cave in Miner's Hill is a strange attempt at refuting Tucker's claim for an "artificial cave... said to be one hundred and sixty feet in extent." The refutation was made all the more absurd by the 1886 publication of F. W. Morton's description of the artificial cave, in the Chicago Times, and by the New York Herald's June 25, 1893 report of a reporter's visit to the cave. The latter article relies upon information supplied by Palmyra residents Major John H. Gilbert and Orson Saunders -- witnesses easily accessible to the Weekly Gazette editor, had he cared to make any further investigation.

Note 3: Although the "old resident's" report is of little historical value, it does have a ring of authenticity about it that is sorely lacking in a contemporary account, purportedly supplied by an otherwise unknown "Daniel Hendrix" and published in the San Francisco Chronicle of May 14 1893. The latter article probably escaped the attention of the "old resident," since the Weekly Gazette announced receipt of his report several weeks before reprints of the initial "Hendrix" account could have possibliy appeared in upstate New York.



Vol. XXIX.                       Union Springs, N. Y., Thurs., Sept. 13, 1894.                       No. 19.


... The old Cherry Valley academy, which was recently destroyed by fire, was nearly a hundred years old, and it was there that many of the most famous men and women in New York state received their early education. Dr. Eliphalet Nott, later president of Union college, was at one time principal of this academy, and its first head was Rev. Solomon Spaulding, afterwards the alleged author of the Book of Mormon. The building was a remarkably fine specimen of colonial architecture.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Union  [  and  ]  Advertiser.

Vol. ?                                 Rochester, N. Y., Sunday, January 27, 1895.                                 No. ?


[Initial postmark and greeting to editor missing from clipping]

Major John H. Gilbert, the oldest printer in New York state, died Saturday evening at 5:35, at his home, on Gates street, at the age of 92 years and 6 months. Major Gilbert was born August 13, 1802, and at the early age of twelve years he was thrown upon his own resources, his father dying and leaving a widow and a large family of children in reduced circumstances. Mr. Gilbert, when a lad of sixteen, entered the office of the old Canandaigua Repository, and graduated into one of the best all-round printers in this section. After remaining there several years, and thinking more money could be made in city offices, he resigned his position and worked for a short time in Utica, Albany and other eastern points. Not liking city work, he came to Palmyra in the early '30's, and went to work on the old Wayne Sentinel, Pomeroy Tucker being the proprietor.

At about this time the Mormon excitement broke out under Joseph Smith, who claimed he had dug up plates in the side of a hill, some three miles south of this village, which is now known all over the civilized world as Mormon hill, with divine messages upon them, from which the Mormon Bible was printed.

This book was brought to the Sentinel office to be printed, and it fell to Major Gilbert to do the type-setting, proof-reading and press-work upon this volume. Mr. Gilbert was known over the United States as the man who printed the first Mormon Bible. In 1827 Mr. Gilbert was married to Miss Chloe P. Thayer, who died some fifteen years ago. Twelve Children were born to them, five of whom are still living: Miss Sarah, of this place, who kept house and cared for the major in his declining years; Charles, a successful business man at Detroit, Mich.; William, at Rochester; Mrs. J. C. Williams, of New York City, and Miss Belle, of the same city.

Major Gilbert was authority on matters pertaining to the Mormon Bible and the period at the Mormon excitement in this county, and when the faithful from far off Utah visited Palmyra he was always sought out for personal interview, and piloted the excursionists over Mormon hill, while they gleaned from him interesting bits of the Prophet's early life and doings in this place. In printing the Mormon Bible, Mr. Gilbert kept the "true" sheets together, unbound, which he sold to Hon. Pliny T. Sexton of this place, who is the possessor of the first Mormon Bible ever printed.

Major Gilbert was a life-long Democrat of the Jackson type, and had held local offices, being at one time collector at Palmyra for the Erie canal, when that waterway was in its palmiest days. He was an expert violinist.

On each birthday the major used to visit our local printing office and set his "stick full of type," as he would say, "just to show the boys how the old man did it," and tell them jokes of his early career as a printer, when local offices, as the occasion demanded, used carpet tacks for type.

In the passing away of Major Gilbert the connecting link of early Mormon times with the present is gone.

In the "early training days," when the local militia was each town's pride and glory, Mr. Gilbert was a well known figure, and it was here he won his title of "major," being in command of the local organization for some time.

Note: See also the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and the Palmyra Wayne County Dispatch for Jan. 27th.


Democrat  [   and   ]  Chronicle.

Vol. LXIII.                 Rochester, New York, Sunday, January 27, 1895.               No. 27.


Death of the Man Who Assisted in
Publishing the Mormon Bible.


Special dispatch to the Democrat and Chronicle.

Palmyra, N. Y., Jan. 26. -- Major John Hulburt Gilbert, the oldest printer in Western New York and the only connecting link with "Joe" Smith and the origin of Mormonism, died this afternoon at 5:45 o'clock. He suffered a stroke of paralysis some time ago and ever since had been slowly but surely failing. He was born April 13, 1802, in the town of Richmond, near the foot of Honeoye lake. He was left an orphan when he was 12 years of age. His little schooling was gained in Canandaigua. He learned the printing trade in that village and was employed in Albany and Lewiston.

In 1824 he came to Palmyra and secured employment on the Wayne Sentinel, published by Egbert Grandin. In 1827 he was married to Miss Chloe P. Thayer. They had twelve children, five of whom survive. It was during this time that Mr. Gilbert did his work on the Mormon Bible, the printing contract for which was given to his employer. He toiled faithfully at his trade until failing health compelled him to relinquish it. He was at one time a collector on the canal and commanded a company in the militia, hence his title. His memory until lately was remarkable, and his reminiscences of men who achieved fame, fortune and notoriety were most interesting.

Note: See also the Rochester Union & Advertiser and the Palmyra Wayne County Dispatch for Jan. 27th.


The Auburn Bulletin.

Vol. LV.                             Auburn, N. Y., Wed., Mar. 13, 1895.                           No. 7,788.



And Tells How Joseph Smith Wrote it at
Palmyra and How He Came Into Possession of the
Ground Work of the Bible of the Latter Day Saints.

President Henry M. Booth of the Theological seminary read a very interesting paper before ihe Cayuga County Historical society last evening, on "The Book of Mormon."

In opening Mr. Booth thanked the society for selecting him to appear before them, saying that the society comprised all that was best in Cayuga county, and thus all that was best in New York State. In the limited time which he had, Mr. Booth said, that he could only give a brief outline of a book which was somewhat famous and yet not much known, the Book of Mormon. The recital might be judged somewhat pertinent as it had connection with a prominent man of our city. It would be interesting as it had some connection with the city in which we reside. The Book of Mormon was the sacred book of the Latter Day Saints or Mormons. The book is divided into 15 small books and each book bears the name of a man, said to be the author of each small book. The small books are divided into chapters and paragraphs and each chapter usually begins with a passage from the Bible. It was "written to Jew and Gentle," "written and sealed up and hid unto the Lord to come forth in due time," "to show what great things the Lord has done for their forefathers." The Mormons are not a people that could be called heathen as they believe in Jesus Christ. In the beginning of the book, is the testimony of 11 witnesses, taken under oath, who haye seen and handled the gold plates upon which was written the records of their people. Three of these witnesses say that they saw an angel of God, come down to earth in a cloud of light and give tbe gold plates to the Mormons. They say it is a history of America from the time wh n a people started from the tower of Babel and starting out to an unknown country settled in America. In the beginning, Lehi started out from the city of Jerusalem, accompanied by his family and taking with him only the necessaries of life, leaving behind his house, possessions and all his valuables of gold and silver. Nephi, a son of Lehi is the Joseph of the family and dreamed dreams in which the course of the journey was laid out and advice given how they should proceed. In one of his dreams, an angel appears to him from the Lord and tells him that he must go back to Jerusalem and get certain brass plate in the possession of Labon, a rich merchant of Jerusalem. Upon these plates are the records of their forefathers, and also instructions as to how they should proceed on their journey. Lehi and his other three sons laugh to scorn the dreams of Nephi, but after much persuasion Lehi consents and the four sons start for Jerusalem. Laman, one of the sons regards the journey as a big joke and thus treats it all through. When at the city they cast lots to see who shall go after the plates, and the lot falls upon Laman. Laman goes to the house of Laban and tries to get the plates by threats. Labon thinks that Luman is a robber and throws him out of his house and drives him and his three brothers out of the city. Nephi is not discouraged by this repulse, as an angel appears to him and tells him to try again, but this time it must be with a bribe of gold and other precious things. They returned to their father and told him of their trip. Then Nephi goes to his father's house in Jerusalem and secures gold with which to bribe the ararcious Labon. Labon plans to keep both the gold and the plates. On his way to Labon's house, Nephi met a man overcome with wine and lying in the road. He discovered that it was the greedy Labon and at this point an angel appears to him. Labon's sword was at his side, and " the handle thereof was of the most precious gold, and the blade thereof of the most costly metal." The dress of Labon was also of the most costly stuff. The angel directs Nephi to slay Labon. This Nephi did, cutting off Labon's head. Then by the direction of the angel, Nephi arrays himself in Labon's clothes and proceeds to the home of Labon. When he reached the home of Labon Nephi went to the treasurer and told him that he wanted the precious plates. The treasurer, completely deceived by Nephi's appearance, gave up the plates and at the commend of Nephi went with him out of the city. When they were outside of the city Nephi overcame the servant and persuaded him to go away with him. The brothers were waiting a short distance from the city and when Nephi and the servant joined them, they all proceeded to their father. On investigation, the plates are found to contain an entire history of the Jews, and Nephi learns that he is a descendant of Jacob. Nephi again dreams and the dream tells him that he and his family must migrate. For seven years they travel, and at last reach the sea. Here they build a ship, and eight men with their wives and two little children embark for the unknown land.

As they are crossing the equator Laman and Lemuel bind Nephi according to a custom practiced by sailors. Nephi does not like this, neither does he like the boisterous ways of his brothers. His brothers find that they can not manage the ship without Nephi and they release him and he again takes command. They reached America on the Western coast of South America near Chili. Here they settled and planted all the seed that they brought with them from Jerusalem. Their crops comes forth in great abundance and prosperity comes to them. They journeyed in the wilderness and saw all manner of wild beasts, the wild horse, cow, sheep, mountain goat; and all animals adapted to the use of man. Tbey also find gold and silver ore, diamonds and other precious stones and all sorts of metals. After a time a part of the tribe became wicked and a separation takes place, the wicked ones following Laman and the rest go with Nephi. The followers of Laman, because of their wickedness, have dark skins, but those of Nephi, even under a tropical sun, retain their white skin. After a time battles occur and tens of thousands are slain on each side. This according to the Mormon belief will account for the mounds of earth found in America in which are human bones. The followers of Nephi migrated to the North and West and built buildings and... worked in brass and other ores and built a temple like Solomon's temple, but not built of such costly wood. Nephi lived [70?] years and at his death the plates went to his brother Jacob. Eleven years from the time when Lehi left Jerusalem another band landed in America. They at once degenerated, and were discovered by Nepni's followers and were educated by them. At this time another book containing 24 plates was discovered. This was a history of earliest times down to the time of the Tower of Babel. In this was the history of Jeredites. They started out on their voyage to America in boats "built like unto a dish." After a voyage of 344 days they landed in America. At first they prospered, then they degenerated and totally disappeared. There were constant wars tietween the two divisions.

The account of the conversion to Christianity is that a great storm came upon them and it thundered and [lightninged], and the earth rolled like a wave of the ocean. This lasted three hours and then three days of darkness covered the earth. After three day Christ appeared near the temple, coming down in a cloud and clad in a white robe. The people felt the holes in his hands and feet in order that they might know he was the true Christ. He healed the sick, raised a man from the dead and worked several other miracles.[...] At this point of the war, the Lamanites pushed the Nephites hard to the North. Mormon and his son Marone were left for dead on the field. The plates were hid in the hill of Cumorah, near this city, by, the Nephites and they wandered over the continent as Indians.

The doctrine of the Book of Mormon is hard to decipher. There are in it 300 passages from the Bible in the language used in the translation of the Bible in 1611, and this coincidence in not explained. One of the beliefs of the Mormons is that of "constant revelations" and it is hard to tell what people will do who believe in this. The Mormons are an uneducated, oppressed people and their leaders can persuade them to do most anything.

Joseph Smith was, according to the Mormon belief, ordained a minister of God by John the Baptist and believed that Zion will be built up in America. They believe that God was once a man, became so intelligent that he became perfect and thus infinite, that he eats, drinks, sleeps and has his passions of love and hate of a human being. When this world is filled up, the Mormons think that [they] will build another. They believe in the personal reign of Jesus Christ for 1,000 years. About 600 years after the arrival in America, fevers broke out among the Nephites and the people died in large numbers. They relied on herb medicine and thus in come the Indian belief in herbs and incantations.

In a battle between the two tribes it tells how Coriantumr, one of the leaders, fought three days. Lib, another leader presses Coriantumr, and Coriantumr leaves htm dead on tbe field. In this battle over 2,000,000 warriors were slain on each side. Then Shiz, son of Lib, and Coriantumr meet in personal combat and Coriantumr is wounded. They meet a second time and Shiz is killed.

This Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith in 1830. Smith was born Dec. 23, 1805 in Vermont and went from there to New York and settled in Palmyra. Joseph became a student of the Bible and in one of his times of enthusiasm, an angel appeared to him and told him he was a man chosen by God, and that the Indians were the remnants of the Israelites. At the bidding of the angel he went to a hill and found a box. Four years after, the records were given to him and ordered translated. These plates were of very thin gold, oblong in shape and bound together like a book, and were inscribed with Egyptian letters. With the plates, was an instrument by which the inscription could be translated. Smith was a poor writer and secured a man to write for him. He put a blanket in front of him so that his secretary could not see him, put on his instrument of translation and dictated to his secretary. After the Book of Mormon was translated the angel appeared and took the plates away and has kept them ever since. People who oppose this book say that it was written by Solomon Spaulding, a minister who failed in his ministerial calling. He was fond of writing novels, but they were never published as no one wanted them. He wrote a romance called "Manuscript Found" and said that it was found in a cave, and the language of this is almost the same as that of the Book of Mormon. Peter Ingersoll says, under oath, that the Book of Mormon was a gross fraud and that the persons whose testimony is written in the beginning of the book, went back on their word and left the Mormon religion. Smith had a reputation as a bad man and his family were a shiftless lot, always looking for hidden treasure. Smith was an enthusiast and probably while in one of these moods thought an angel appeared to him. He became acquainted with Sidney [Rigdon] who had access to Spaulding's library and from him secured Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," inserted passages from the Bible and passed the book off as the Book of Mormon, translated from the ancient gold plates by means of heavenly aid.

In 1869 William H. Seward had an interview with Brigham Young and he asked Mr. Seward about certain places here in Auburn, and said that at the time he was connected with the seminary he had lived in the same house in which Mr. Seward had lived. The only way that he could have been connected with the seminary, Mr. Booth thought, was in working on it, as his name was not on the roll as a scholar. Mormonism is directly in opposition to the United Spates government. The people are not thrifty and schools do not flourish. There were not public schools in the Mormon land till 1873.

In conclusion Dr. Booth said: "Such a system must disappear but how no one can tell, perbaps by war and maybe by the gentler method of Christianity and science. In future this book will be found on library shelves as a curiosity. Were it not for the streams that flow into tbe Great Salt lake its waters would evaporate and the sluggish and dead water would give out death in many forms. In time perhaps the inflowing waters will become greater and cut a channel to the sea and thus make a beautiful lake of the Great Salt lake, abounding in fish and all the other characteristics of a fresh water lake. And so we hope will Mormonism disappear."

At the close of Mr. Booth's paper remarks were made by various members, and a motion made by Dr. Sprague extending the thanks of the society to Mr. Booth and recommending that a copy of the paper be kept for publication....

Notes: (forthcoming)


Democrat  [   and   ]  Chronicle.

Vol. LXIII.                 Rochester, New York, Sunday, October 6, 1895.                 No. 279


Incidents in the Early Career of
Brigham Young.


Recollections of Him as Related by Captain
George Hickox, of Canandaigua, on Whose
Farm Brigham Used to Work.

Correspondence of Democrat and Chronicle.

Canandaigua, N. Y., Oct. 6th. -- Captain George Hickox is the oldest man in Canandaigua township. He has lived his four score years and ten and more -- he will celebrate his ninety-third birthday on the twenty-ninth of December next. Mr. Hickox is a man of remarkable vigor, mentally and physically. He is the sole survivor of a large family; he has seen children born, grow, and die in old age; he delights in telling of the Indians; of Red Jacket, the famous Indian orator, who frequently called at his father's house; he recalls the time when Rochester was a small settlement; when Mendon was a thriving village and when Canandaigua was larger than Rochester.

There are probably other men who are at or past the ninety-three mile post of life, but to Mr. Hickox doubtless belongs the honor of being the only living person who knew Brigham Young before Mormonism had secured a lifelong lease upon his talents, and drawn his name into national and world-wide prominence. The writer called upon Mr. Hickox at his farm near Canandaigua the other day. He lives with his daughter, Mary B. Hickox, and his farm is situated two miles west and south of Canandaigua village. The old man is about the farm every day and occasionally comes to the village. It was in the forenoon that the old gentleman was seen. His daughter called him, and he came into the room with a steady step, which never would have betrayed his age.

"Did I know Brigham Young?" he said, in reply to a question; "Well, I reckon; we were boys together, you might say. Brigham used to work for me; one day he left. Years passed and a short time before his death he wrote me a letter; that was the only time I ever heard of him since his departure, except through the newspapers."

"It was on the old place over yonder," said theold man, pointing to a house nestling beneath a small hill to the west,"that I first met Brigham. That was in the 'twenties!'" and the old man stared off over the meadows as if his mind were crossing the vast expanse of years which had passed, and was bringing back the memories of his earlier days. From the story told by Mr. Hickox the following interesting facts were learned:

Brigham Young came to Canandaigua from Auburn in the latter part of the "twenties." Three brothers, John, Finius [sic - Phineas?] and Lorenzo, and two sisters, accompanied him. Brigham was married, and with his wife and four children, lived short distance north of Cheshire. At Auburn he [sic - Phineas?] had worked at the printing business. He had not the means to buy a place, and worked as a common farm laborer. He found employment at day labor about the neighborhood, and worked for the Hickoxs a great deal. He was one year older than Hickox. With a family of four children, it was by no means an easy task for the young man to keep both ends within respectable proximity, and the unwelcome wolf from the door. He had nothing but his wage upon which to support his family, but they were never known to want. It was while serving in this humble capacity, that Brigham Young showed the qualities that were in him. He was not contented with his lot as a farm laborer, but he performed his humble duty well. He had a thirst for knowledge, and every source within his reach he utilized. His kind and agreeable disposition won him friends from all the community. In sickness, Brigham was a wise counselor. Whatever the disease, he could prescribe, and his remedies and advice were much sought throughout the neighborhood. He was often heard to remark that what was worth doing at all, was worth doing well. He believed in it; he practiced it, and his name is now written upon the nation's history as one of her greatest natural leaders of men.

"I was chopping wood one day," said the old man, continuing in a reminiscent mood, "when Brigham came over and wanted to borrow a dollar. 'Chop wood with me to-day and earn it,' I said. Brigham was very poor and work was not easily found. He was glad of an opportunity to earn the money, and in two days we had chopped together eighteen cords."

"At another time Brigham owed me a bill. One day he came to me and confessed that he saw no way of being able to pay it, unless I would accept a dozen chairs. The proposition pleased me, and when the chairs were done, they showed the handiwork of Brigham Young; they were honestly made." The writer was invited to the front porch, where one of the set, well preserved, is still doing duty.

During the time that Brigham Young was a resident of Canandaigua, Mormonism was beginning to stir in a few localities. Brigham was peculiar in his religious belief, and was a faithful adherent to the doctrines of the Reformed Methodist church. To within a very short time before his departure, Mormonism seemed to have no grip upon the young man; but he was looking for a higher calling than that of a common farm laborer. Something was in store for him. The day came. Mormon missionaries were flooding the country. In the old meeting house in Brigham's district, meetings were held, and Brigham was converted. He worked for the Hickoxs at that time. A few days after his conversion three men came to the farm. They inquired at the house for Brigham, and were told that he was working on the hill in the rear. "Brigham and I were cradling grain together that day," said the old man. "I saw a man come up the hill. When he saw Brigham he went toward him and the two held a few minutes' earnest conversation. After the stranger had left, Brigham said to me: 'George, I am not going to work for you any more.' I was surprised at this sudden declaration, and asked the reason. 'I am going in better business,' he said. 'I am going to preach the everlasting gospel.'" His earnest manner betokened the veracity of his statement, although it was at first treated with sarcasm by the employer. "That was the last honest day's work Brigham ever did," remarked the old gentleman with a smile.

The two men left the field and went to the house. Brigham was paid the few dollars due him, and with them he took the best wishes for success of his employer. That day, late in the summer of 1832, marked the beginning of the career of a man whose name will go down to posterity as a leader, legislator and ruler.The men who had called to see Brigham were Mormon missionaries, and with them he went to Auburn. In four or five days he returned, packed up his limited belongings, and with his family, started for Nauvoo, Ill. [sic - Kirtland, Ohio?] His career from that time on is a part of the nation's history. On the 19th of February, 1875, Mr. Hickox received a letter from Brigham, which he still preserves. In it, the great Mormon leader recalled many events with which he had been familiar while pursuing humble services upon farms in the neighborhood. Brigham was now seventy-five years of age, and the letter was written in a beautiful hand, unmistakably that of a woman. The great saint referred to the death of his son Joseph, as a severe blow, and one from which he would never recover.

This is the brief history of Brigham Young during the period which preceded his public career. He would have been a great man or leader in any department of life. Though he introduced and practiced polygamy in Mormonism, he possessed many qualities which could be pointed out to the sons of to-day as well to follow and worthy of development. The theory of Brigham Young, as shown in his early life, and more clearly exemplified in his latter years, was that the poor of the earth should have homes and lands, and that their chief happiness should be found in toil. He was a man of which any sect or country might be proud -- of the metal from which heroes are made. And the city which he laid out and governed, stands to-day, with its silent temple, an enduring monument to the little band which found its way, with privation and suffering, across a continent. Nothing which Brigham planned in the self-exiled community in the basin of the Great Salt Lake has failed to reach a well-rounded fulfillment in the modern Utah.

He closesly observed throughout his life the motto of his early days -- "What is worth doing at all is worth doing well."

Note 1: The main features of the above account were reproduced in numerous articles and books down through the years, but the Rochester source has seldom been cited as furnishing the unique information relating to the early career of Brigham Young. The Hickox farm, where he once worked, was located in Canadaigua's township number 9, a little north of the hamlet of Cheshire, between what are now Woolhouse and Hickox roads. Brigham Young's primary reason for residing in that area in 1830-31 was to construct a new house for Jonathan Mack, who lived a little south of the Hickox farm on Woolhouse road (see Alonzo Beebe's letter in the Ontario Republican Times of Aug. 27, 1857 and Brigham Young's letter of July 23, 1858, in the same paper's issue of Sept. 9, 1858).

Note 2: It appears very unlikely that Brigham Young ever "worked at the printing business," at Auburn or elsewhere. The more probable candidate for that description would be Phinehas Young (Brigham's brother) who was sufficiently skilled in that trade to work in the Mormon printing office at Kirtland. Phinehas did indeed come to Canandaigua from Auburn and he had a sister (Susannah) who reportedly was romantically involved with the Auburn Free Press's editor, Richard Oliphant. It seems reasonable to assume that it was brother Phinehas who "worked at the printing business," in Auburn, before moving to Canandaigua to preach Reformed Methodism.


Binghampton Weekly Herald.

Vol. ?               Binghampton, New York, Wednesday, December 18, 1895.               No. ?

History of Its Origin and Wonderful Growth.


The Mormon Church was Early Developed in our County of Broome
and from Here Joseph Smith Branched Out into the Great West.

Joseph Smith the Mormon prophet and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, December 23, 1805. His parents and he removed to Manchester, Wayne [sic] county, N. Y., and there, at the age of 15, Joseph conceived . the idea that he was to found a church, and, as he claimed, met the damning emissary of God face to face. He soon after received a vision in which he claims to have been directed to delve in a hill for plates of the divine law, and at various times did so delve. This vision was in 1823, and for four years thereafter he was [on] probation. He claimed to have found the plates soon after the vision, and to have raised them with an iron bar, but to have been commanded to let them lay four years while the Lord prepared him to do his chosen work. The hill Cumorah, where the plates are alleged to have been found, was and is on the road from Palmyra to Rochester, 25 miles southwest of the larger city and four miles from Palmyra. It is even to this day known as the "Mormon Hill." Here in 1823 as stated he saw the plates in a stone box but it was not until 1827 that he was permitted to remove and make use of them. In January of this year he had married a wife, Miss Emma Hale by name, at South Bainbridge, Chenango county, N.Y., and it was in September of this year that he was permitted to remove the plates and commence translating them. The Angel Moroni, who had been, as Joseph claims, sent to superintend the job of discovery, removal, etc., here disappeared, and Joseph was thenceforth free to write and preach. Assisted by his wife and living on his father-in-law, he worked diligently at what we now believe to have been a literary fake, but which he declared scriptural inspiration and finally prevailed on a Mr. Joseph Knight of Colesville, Broome county, to furnish him $3,000 with which to print the first edition of the Mormon bible or Book of Mormon. The copyright was procured June 11, 1829, and early in 1830 Mr. Egbert B. Grandin produced 5,000 copies of the work.

Mormonism commenced and the meetings held in Broome and adjoining counties made many converts and roused much opposition. Joseph was continually receiving what he called revelations and was as constantly fought by those who considered him not only a blasphemer but a disturber of the public peace and a perverter of public morals. However, he was gaining ground in both New York and Pennsylvania, and was constantly baptising and preaching his strange doctrines. The formal organization of the church was in the house of Peter Whitmer, at Fayette, Seneca county, for the people of Broome had made the county too hot for Joseph and his kind.

The date of this organization was April 6, 1830. Mr. Knight of Broome County who had aided him, was a Universalist and to his home in Broome, Joseph returned during the summer of 1830, where he performed what is claimed to have been miraculous works, such as the healing of the sick, etc. Here or near here he persisted in baptising thirteen converts, and this so incensed the populace of Broome that a mob drove him and his away. He was arrested and tried at South Bainbridge in Chenango, and at Colesville in Broome county, and was acquitted of the charges brought. Later he attempted other work in Broome county at the house of this same Mr. Knight, but the people took the law in their own hands and drove him from the place. At Harmony, Pa., anything but harmony prevailed, and finally the Mormon missionaries sent out by Joseph made such flattering reports of Ohio that it was decided to remove from Colesville, Fayette, Harmony and other places to Independence, Ohio [sic]. Here the work went on and within a few years at Kirtland, Ohio, the Mormons held a conference, at which it was shown that the church had a membership of more than 2,000.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                         Buffalo, New York, Sunday, March 22, 1896.                         No. ?


The Most Famous Book of Western New-York.


In December, 1842, Attica was visited by a fire that swept the entire business portion of Market Street, 11 stores, besides a large flowering mill, built in 1809 It was about three hours burning itself out...

In this fire was destroyed the press on which was printed William Morgan's purported exposure of tbe secrets and ritual of Free Masonry.

In 1834, David Scott, an Attica business man experimentiug in politics, became ambitious to add a newspaper to his other irons in the fire, and, to that end, purchased of David C. Miller, the proprietor of the Batavia Republican Advocate, a quantity of printing material, includiug that press. Mr. Scott's paper wa4 christened the Attica Republican; it subsequently changed hands as well as name, once or twice, and finally became a Whig paper under the title of the Attica Democrat, published by E. A. Cooley, and for several years was issued from quarters in the third story of one of the buildings referred to. A new-fashioned iron "Hoe" press had been added, and had displaced the Morgan press, which, however, was set up and kept in working order, in an ante-room of the main office.

In the Hard Cider campaign of 1840, I, a boy not yet 12 years old. and an enthusiastic Whig, became possessed with the idea of serving my country aad gaining distinction by learning the printer's trade, and was accorded the privilege of doing so in Mr. Cooley's office -- without pay. I pursued my whim long enough to become quite a passable compositor, and I likewise picked up considerable concerning other branches of the art. The old Morgan press was frequently brought into service, when "forms" were on the other press, and I was often permitted to assist in working it.

About 1842, the printing office was removed to quarters across the street, but from want of room the old press was left in the deserted office, and there it remained until destroyed in that fire....

Morgan's book is said to have entirely disappeared from the public reach within a few years after it was issued, it and its revelations are now a matter of tradition only. So the public think. But within a short time I have been placed in possession of a specimen of anti-Masonic literature, almost as curious, and, in some respects even more so than Morgan's book itself; I had not supposed that any such publication was extant. It is a leather-bound, duodecimo of over 600 pages, and bears the imprint of William Williams, Printer, Utica, N. Y., 1829. The title page reads:

"Light on Masonry: A collection of all the most important documents documents on the subject of Free Masonry: embracing the Reports of the Western Committees in relation to the abduction of William Morgan; Proceedings of Conventions, Orations, Essays, etc., etc., with all the degrees of tbe order conferred in a Masters' Lodge, as written by Captaim William Morgan. All the degrees conferred in the Royal Arch Chapter and Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, with the appendant orders, as published by tbe Convention of Seceding Masons, held at LeRoy, July 4 and 5, 1828. Also, a revelation of all the degrees conferred in the Lodge of Perfection, and fifteen degrees of a still higher order, with seven French degrees, making forty eight degrees, of Free-Masonry. With notes and critical remarks. By Elder David Bernard, of Warsaw, Genesee Co., N. Y., once an Intimate Secretary in the Lodge of Perfection; and Secretary of the Convention of Seceding Masons, held at LeRoy, July 4 and 5, 1828."

A sufficiently comprehensive "prelude," one would say. It claims to embody all that Morgan divulged and a great deal more. The purported disclosures are of the most minute and detailed character, and fill 300 pages of the work. I shall not allude to them; but some reference to certain historical features of the book may not be out of place:

The volume is illustrated by two steel engravings, one of which is a portrait of William Morgan, from a painting in oil by F. R. Spencer, and defects the subject as a man of refined appearance, in a ruffled shirt front, with spectacles raised and resting across has forehead, seated at a table, with a pile of manuscript and several large tomes before him. No well-grounded opinion can now be formed as to his real character. He was born about 1776, in Culpepper Coauty, Virginia, and in 1810 was married to Lucinda Pendleton, a young lady only 16 years old. He was a mason by trade: became a merchant in Richmond, and in 1821 removed to York, Canada, where he built a brewery, which was burned, the loss reducing him to poverty. He then removed to Rochester, in this State, and finally turned up in Batavia. It is said that he was a captain in the War of 1812.

Much more is known about his publisher and collaborator, David C. Miller. Sixty-five to 70 years ago, he, in Batavia and Thurlow Weed in Rochester, were the two foremost journalists in Western New-York. He was a quaint and striking figure, as he stalked the streets or strode into a political convention, in the cocked hat, knee breeches and shoe buckles, to which he adhered long after that garb bad been discarded by every one else. His ability was recognized; his paper had a wide circulation; he was afraid of nothing, and was an unsparing foe. The politicians feared him. The following, addressed to a Congressional candidate, is a sample of his method of soliciting contributions in support of his journal:

"Mr. T____, I understand. Sir. that you are going to vote for Smith Thompson (for Governor); my press is straitened for funds; I must have $300, and if the money to not forthcoming, I'll blow you to h___, Sir!" All expostulations were unavailing; the "assessment" was paid, and the candidate, a most worthy man, was elected for that and for two succeeding terms.

As between Morgan and Miller, the latter was by far the leading spirit. Both were Masons; but Morgan had advanced to higher degrees. He had not yet completed the literary work of his "Exposure," when be was abducted and a large portion of his manuscript seized; but Miller proceeded with the publication of the book. Attempts had been made to burn his office, and he had bean obliged to barricade himself and his workmen in it, but he finally gave the book to the public -- not, however, until the autbor had disappeared.

Morgan was abducted at Batavia and spiritd away to Canandaigua, September 11, 1826. The next day about noon, a crowd of 60 or 70 strangers, "armed with clubs," suddenly appeared at Danold's tavern in Batavia, and arrested Miller on some kind of process issued by a Le Roy Justice, and escorted him to that town. He was either released or escaped from his captors, about midnight, and made his way back to Batavia. It was afterwards ascertained that this was part of a plan to destroy his printing office and its contents.

Milier's persistence and audacity never failed him; his war with the Masons lasted for 10 years, and until the downfall of the anti-Masonic party, of which he and Thurlow Weed may be said to have been tbe creators.

No man ever had more or bitterer enemies; he justly turned his back on them and hied himself to Meadviiie, Pa., where he sank into obscurity.

In the investigation as to the fate of Morgan, a large number of affidavits were taken, including that of his wife; they all appear in Elder Bernard's book. That of Mrs. Morgan, though drawn up in a cold and formal style, one can see to a deposition filled with tears. The unhappy young woman states she 23 years old, with two infant chilfren to support, and that she is almost a stranger in the community and has no means. She adds that she is broken in health and to in great distress of mind. She further testifies that she had been called upon by certain Masons, giving their names, who assured her that while she might not see her husband under a year, and perhaps never, their order had her case under consideration, and would see that she and her children should be properly provided for during their lives, and the latter educated as soon as they arrived at a suitable age; these overtures she declined, and entreated that her husband might be restored to her, as the only favor she could ask.

Much has been published about Morgan for the last five years; but little or nothing as to what became of his wife. The daughter of the Virginia Pendletons had a checkered and romantic career. Prominent among the original supporters of Miller and Morgan was G. W. Harris, a Batavia jeweler, who afterwards acted a conspicuous part in the convention of seceding Masons, July 4 and 5, 1828. as well as in the organisation of tbe anti-Masonic party. He was not without talent, but was considered by many as superficial and ambitious beyond his real abilities. "Ah, Harris," said Clement Carpenter, a dissolute Batavia lawyer, "you are destined to become a great man some day; but I shan't live to see it!" And he didn't; for he died in a drunken frolic a few years after. Harris was a widower, and when the belief became settled that Morgan was no more, be espoused the young and pretty widow.

Soon after, that most unparalleled of all religious impostures, Mormonism, had its birth, and Harris, always fanatical, embraced the new faith, with all his mind and all his heart. He muat not be confounded with Martin Harris, the Palmyra farmer who mortgaged his farm to defray the cost of publishing the Joe Smith bible: but from their similarity of temperament, I suspect they were related.

When the first Mormon colony was formed at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831, Harris and his new wife went along with the other converts. The famous temple, costing $40,000, was built in 1834. In 1836 the two Smiths, Rigdon aad others employed the church funds in the land speculations then prevailing, and also started a fraudulent bank, that flooded the country with a large amount of worthless paper money. The crash of 1837 came, and Smith and Rigdon fled the State to avoid arrest for illegal basking. They found refuge with a branch colony of the saints, in Western Missouri, and most of the Kirtland flock followed suit. More trouble followed; the saints got by the ears with the Missourians, and were driven from one point to another, until tbey were finally forced across tbe Mississippi, into Quincy, Ill.; this was in 1839. They went up the river 60 miles and founded a new city of their own -- Nauvoo -- which grew in a few years to a population of 15,000. and the great temple was built, costing nearly $1,000,000. Again troubles with the Gentiles arose, ending in the assassination of Joseph and Hiram Smith, in 1844, and the expulsion of the Mormons from tbe State two years after.

What became of Mr. and Mrs. Harris? Up to this time, it does not appear that G. W. Harris had attained any very exalted rank among the Mormons. With all his vagaries, he was an honest man, and was no match in cunning and political craft for the Smiths, Sidney Rigdon, Brigbam Young, Parley P. Pratt and others: but when the final breaking up occurred in 1846, he took the lead of that portion -- probably not large in number -- who went to Iowa and became known as non-polygamous Mormons. They got a foothold in several localities, including Council Bluffs, and refused to re-unite with tbe main body when Brigbam Young led tbe latter across the plains to Utah. Harris became the object of the devoted attachment and superstitious veneration of his followers, who recognised him as the legitimate successor of Joseph Smith.

As long ago as 1847 I became acquainted with his son. Alexander Henry Harris, by his first wife. The son died at Council Bluffs in the winter of 1890. He came East in 1860, to wed the daughter of the good old lawyer of other days, whose portrait hangs above the judge's bench in tbe Batavia court-house. He used to describe the funeral rites over his father as something copied after those accorded to members of the ancient Jewish priesthood. The patriarch lay in state, in a kind of gaudy splendor, sacerdotally robed in divers colors and surrounded by sundry cabalistic emblems and paraphernalia, attempted after the Hebraic sort: and when the people came from the surrounding region to look upon the strange scene, they likewise beheld a gathering not of their own kind, mute, tearful, reverential, as of a great sorrow; for was not this their lost leader, the successor of the Prophet: a High Priest of the Order of Aaron: the Anointed of the Lord!

Poor Carpenter did not live to see all this!
R. H. FARNHAM.           

Note: Lucinda Morgan married George W. Harris at Batavia on Nov. 23, 1830. No record of their moving to or visiting Kirtland has been located, so Farnham's recollections on that point may be in error. The couple eventually moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, where they were baptized Mormons by Orson Pratt, about the beginning of November, 1834. The story Farnham tells -- of G. W. Harris becoming the leader of a Mormon splinter group -- is likewise unspported by facts.


The  Olean  Democrat.

Vol. XVII.                         Olean, Cattaraugus Co., N.Y., Apr. 24, 1896.                        No. 40.


The Reorganized Church of Joseph Smith's Followers.

True Descendants of the Original Mormons -- Who have no Sympathy with
the Present Church of that Name -- Recent Conference in
the Old Temple at Kirtland, O.

At this quaint little hamlet of Kirtland, O., was recently held a gathering of a queer religious sect. It was the annual conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it was presided over by Joseph Smith, a son of the Joseph Smith who founded the original Church of Latter Day Saints and who was murdered by a mob at Carthage, Ills., in 1844.

The delegates who assembled there claim their organization is the one founded by Joseph Smith nearly a century ago and that the Salt Lake Mormons are dissenters. These original Latter Day Saints are most bitterly opposed to polygamy, and they roundly denounce the followers of Brigham Young -- in fact they had a long legal battle with the Utah Mormons over the ownership of the old Mormon temple at Kirtland, in which the recent conference was held.

Although the Latter Day Saints have some queer rites and are a quaint people, their religion does not differ greatly from that of orthodox creeds, and the prejudice with which the old Mormons were looked upon in Illinois is not applied to them at all. Their neighbors hold them in high esteem as citizens, and their somewhat peculiar views are generally respected.

A strange history has this church had. The original church was founded in Fayette, N. Y., on April 6, 1830, by Joseph Smith and five others. The followers of this faith were at first persecuted in several western states because they refused to hold slaves [sic!] and in 1839 they were driven out of Missouri. From there they went into Illinois and settled at Commerce, afterward called Nauvoo, which in 1844 had grown to be the largest city in the state. In that year the Church of the Latter Day Saints had become a power in the land and numbered no less than 150,000 members. Their leaders had become prominent in politics, and when Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were mentioned as candidates for president and vice president the anti-Mormon sentiment knew no bounds. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were compelled to ask protection from the governor of the state and were finally killed by a mob.

Then the Latter Day Saints split up into factions. Some followed the lead of Sidney Rigdon and settled near Pittsburg. This branch of the church soon died out.

Another faction, under the leadership of J. J. Strang, took up its headquarters on Beaver island, in Lake Michigan, and came to grief when Strang was assassinated by one of his own followers.

The greater portion of the Latter Day Saints, led by Brigham Young, adopted the odious practice of polygamy, for which they were driven out of Illinois in 1846 by a mob. Young and his followers, after many tribulations, settled at what afterward became Salt Lake City.

So many changes had been made in the original faith that the few and scattered survivors of the church finally began, in 1851, to reorganize the church. According to their old traditions, a promise had been given that in due season Joseph, the eldest son of Joseph Smith, the first president of the church, should come back to them and preside as his father had done...

The recent conference was held at Kirtland for purely sentimental reasons, for the little hamlet is several miles from the nearest railroad station, and it was with some difficulty that all the delegates were accommodated. President Joseph Smith presided... Besides being the chief officer of the church he is the editor of The Saints' Herald, the official newspaper of the church. He is now 64 years old, but is hale and vigorous.

Note: The oversimplification and ambiguity of the above report is typical for turn of the century news items that depended upon RLDS historical recollections. The resulting story is a strange one -- the Mormons were run out of Missouri because they did not keep slaves; they were persecuted in Illinois because their leaders ran for high national office; and they were driven west because they were polygamists. In this dreamy account polygamy is initiated by Brigham Young and the RLDS movement began in 1851, not due to disillusionment with the Strangite doctrines but because the Latter Day Saint church had been changed too much from its pristine origins. Such may have been the RLDS self image in 1896, but it was an account far removed from historical facts.



Vol. ?                                     Utica, N. Y., Sunday, June 7, 1896.                                     No. ?



True Descendants of the Original Mormons. Who Have No Sympathy With the
Present Church of That Name -- Recent Conference in the Old Temple at Kirtland.

At the quaint little hamlet of Kirtland, O., was recently held a gathering of a [----] religious sect. It was the annual conference of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and it was presided over by Joseph Smith, a son of the Joseph Smith who founded the original Church of Latter Day Saints and who was murdered by a mob at Carthage, Ills., in 1844.

The delegates who assembled there claim their organization is the one founded by Joseph Smith nearly a century ago and that the Salt Lake Mormons are dissenters. These original Latter Day Saints are most bitterly opposed to polygamy, and they roundly denounce the followers of Brigham Young -- in fact, they had a long legal battle with the Utah Mormons over the ownership of the old Mormon temple at Kirtland, in which the recent conference was held.

Although tbe Latter Day Saints have some queer rites and are a quaint people, their religion does not differ greatly from that of orthodox creeds, and the prejudice with which the old Mormons were looked upon in Illinois is not applied to them at all. Their neighbors hold them in high esteem as citizens, and their somewhat peculiar views are generally respected.

A strange history has this church had. The original church was founded in Fayette, N. Y., on April 6, 1830, by Joseph Smith and five others. The followers of this faith were at first persecuted in several western states because they refused to hold slaves, and in 1839 they were driven out of Missouri. From there they went into Illinois and settled at Commerce, afterward called Nauvoo, which in 1844 had grown to be tbe largest city in the state. In that year the Church of the Latter Day Saints had become a power in the land and numbered no less than 160,000 members. Their leaders had become prominent in politics, and when Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were mentioned as candidates for president and vice president the anti-Mormon sentiment knew no bounds. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were compelled to ask protection from the governor of the state and were finally killed by a mob.

Then the Latter Day Saints split up into factions. Some followed the lead of Sidney

[graphic: JOSEPH SMITH III - not copied]

Rigdon and settled near Pittsburg. This branch of the church soon died out.

Another faction, under the leadership of J. J. Strang, took up its headquarters on Beaver island, in Lake Michigan, and came to grief when Strang was assassinated by one of his own followers.

The greater portion of the Latter Day Saints, led by Brigham Young, adopted the odious practice of polygamy, for which they were driven out of Illinois in 1846 by a mob. Young and his followers, after tribulations, settled at what afterward became Salt Lake City.

So many changes had been made in the original faith that the few and scattered survivors of tbe church finally began, in [1851] to reorganise the church. According to their old traditions, a promise had been given that in due season Joseph, the eldest son of Joseph Smith, the first president of the church, should come back to them and preside as his father had done. It was hard work building again the church which had been brought into such disrepute by the practices of the various factions, but in spite of all existing prejudice a reorganization was effected, and in 1860, at a conference held in Amboy, Ills., Joseph Smith, eldest son of the founder of the faith, appeared, accompanied by his mother, and was unanimously chosen president of the reorganized church. He was confirmed with great rejoicing, according to the old prophecy which had been fulfilled.

Since that day the church has been steadily growing in wealth, influence and numbers. About 13 years ago they gained possession of the old temple at Kirtland, restored it to its original condition, and today a thriving settlement of Latter Day Saints has grown up around it.

The reorganized church now has missions in almost every state in the Union as well as in Canada, Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and in the Sandwich and Society islands. The communicants of the church number about 85,000, and the number of local churches is 500. Over 800 active missionaries are in the field working in various parts of the world.

The church has a large and well equipped publishing house In Lamoni, Ia., and another one at Independence, Mo. These two houses each print a weekly paper besides numerous books, pamphlets and [----]. The church is erecting a nonsectarian college at Lamoni which will be completed during the coming summer. It is also building a Home For Aged and Indigent People at the same place.

The racent conference was held at Kirtland for purely sentimental reasons, for the little hamlet is several miles from the nearest railroad station, and it was with some difficulty that all the delegates were accommodated. President Joseph Smith presided. He is a big, brainy looking man who looks like a born leader. He is supposed to direct the affairs of tbe church through divine inspiration, but this feature of the faith is not made prominent. He lives at Lamoni, the headquarters of the reorganized Latter Day Saints. Besides being the chief officer of the church [he is] the editor of The Saints' Herald, the official newspaper of tbe church. He is now 64 years old, but is hale and vigorous. FRANKLIN PRICE.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XXVII.                             Syracuse, N. Y., Sunday, Sept. 20, 1896.                            No. 850.

The Masons.

Another "oldest Mason" has appeared as claimant of that title, in the person of M. C. Waite of St. Louis. He was born on December 18th, 1808, in Ontario county of this State. Mr. Waite was made a Mason In 1830, in Western New York, during the aggressive times of anti-Masonry. He was made a master Mason in the same year, and it was he who took out the charter for the Harlboo lodge, No. 34, of Wisconsin in 1851. He is also a member of the Grand lodge of Wisconsin. His first visit to St. Louis was in the yenr 1838. He stayed there but a short time, returning to his native State of New York that year. In October of 1891 he went to St. Louis to live permanently, as his daughter was married and living there.

Mr. Waite is still hale and hearty, and no one to look at him would imngine he was 88 years old. He possesses all his faculties, which serve him well, except a slight deafness. He enjoys excellent health, which he ascribes to his early out-of-doors life and his habits of regularity. He is an early riser and invariably goes to bed at 7:30 in the evening. Mr. Waite does not believe in tobacco, and rarely ever uses it. He was seen by a reporter the other day and indulged in a few interesting reminiscences of his early life and the events which led up to the founding of Mormonism in New York State. Having been personally acquainted with Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, his recital has an added interest.

"I knew Joe Smith very well," began Mr. Waite. "He was some fifteen or twenty years older than I, and I remember distinctly his peculiarities and mannerisms. The boys in the villages around Victor, Ontario county, New York, used to go over to Manchester Hill, which was five miles from Victor, for the purpose of sliding down the mountain side. Smith found the bronze tablets there, which he claimed had been discovered to him in a vision. Smith was of a fearless, determined spirit, a dauntless, ranting man. He didn't fear anything, and when the boys tried to scare him one day he said he was not made to be scared: that he feared neither God, man nor the devil.

"It was just at this time 'Joe' was beginning to be talked about, that A. C. [sic] Spalding of Ohio was engaged on his book. He heard of 'Joe' and realised that he was the very person he needed to carry out his schemes. He accordingly entered into communication with him. Soon afterwards the book was named the Mormon's Bible and a short while after that 'Joe' found the two bronze plates which had been cast either in Boston or Philadelphia.

"Brigham Young lived half a mile from our house. He worked out by the day and generally worked for my father. He took his pay in corn beef, pickled pork and flour, and sometimes, if his pay amounted to so much, took it in sheep's gray cloth, to be used for trousors. He was a shrewd, sharp fellow, and was attracted by Smith's preaching from the first. He soon controlled the entire community of Mormons and finally got enough money from them to be considered the heaviest depositor in the Bank of England, outside of Great Britain. Brigham Young and his brother Phineas and Solomon Kimball of New York and Sidney Rigdon and A. C. Spalding of Ohio, who were supposed to have got up the plates, and many others whose names I have forgotten, figured prominently in the early days of Mormonism. Of the character of Joseph Smith it is difficult to speak. That he was a charlatan, of course, I knew, and yet the man was so in earnest and stuck so firmly to his convictions, even to the time of his murder in the Illinois prison, that I am divided between admiration and contempt. As for Brigham Young, I think he was simply a daring adventurer. You see, I speak of these things confidently, because I knew these men and am conversant with the events which happened then as I daresay no other living man is. I saw the so-called golden plates. They are made of bronze, I believe, and are covered with rude inscriptions."

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. III.                     Palmyra, New York, Wednesday, November 4, 1896.                     No. 18.

A Mormon elder from Salt Lake City, Utah, has been visiting Mormon Hill, three miles south of this village, and claims that if the land can be purchased adjoining where it is alleged that Joseph Smith dug the golden plates from which the Mormon Bible was printed, the Mormons of that city will erect a chapel there on to the memory of the late lamented Joseph. It is becoming quite the proper thing for the Mormons of Utah to make a journey to Palmyra, to pay proper respect and tribute to the memory of the expounder and originator of their faith.

Notes: (forthc0ming)


The Auburn Bulletin.

Vol. ?                             Auburn, N. Y., Monday, Jan. 18, 1897.                           No. ?


WATERLOO. Jan. 18. -- Two Mormon Elders from Salt Lake City held services in the Methodist Protestant church of Waterloo Saturday Afternoon. They were Elders Brim and Burton, who presented the claims of the Church of Latter Day Saints in eloquent terms. These men have been in Fayette for some days past, where Joseph Smith and his little band of followers first rested after their departure from Bainbridge. Chenango county, many years ago. From a point near Kendig's creek the Mormon brethren of an early day sought to familiarize the people of this vicinity with their peculiar religious views. They labored to increase their number and Joseph Smith himself visited Waterloo and Seneca Falls and held repeated interviews with Gideon Skaats and Garry V. Sackett and other citizens of the two villages, with a view of interesting them religiously and financially in the church of which he was then and for many years thereafter its controlling mind. Some converts were made in Fayette, but none in Waterloo or Seneca Falls. After a sojourn of several months Smith and his followers proceeded to Palmyra where they remained until the Mormon bible was printed, the manuscript of which, it is claimed, was found in a hill between Shortsville and Palmyra, and to which the Lord directed the head of the church. In time the Mormon colony left for Nauvoo, Ill. These people then moved to Salt Lake City where they founded a great church organization. The elders who appeared in Waterloo yesterday were sent to this vicinity to learn something of the early history of the church.

Note 1: Gideon Skaats (1840-aft.1864) was the son of David S. Skaats (1789-1858), who arrived in Waterloo in 1817. It is thus impossible that the earliest Mormons would have interacted with Gideon. In 1830 David lived at Seneca, south of Penn Yan, but he also operated in Waterloo at least as early as 1831. A portion of a survey map for the Cayuga and Seneca Canal shows a piece of Skaats' property situated adjacent to a lot then owned by John Cowdery, in Section 92 of Waterloo township. The survey map was published in 1834, from data collected a couple of years before. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that both John Cowdery and David S. Skaats' had a presence in Waterloo overlapping the residence of the first Mormons in that area (who did not depart from Seneca County until April of 1831). All of which makes it more likely that Joseph Smith's reported "repeated interviews with Gideon Skaats," were actually conducted with Gideon's father.

Note 2: Judge Garry V. Sackett (1780-1865) was a Roman Catholic who lived in Seneca Falls, a few miles east of Waterloo. His possible association with Joseph Smith and the Mormons during the late 1820s remains undetermined. Lucy L. Sackett (1816-1902), one of Judge Sackett's relatives, married John Van Cott and the couple became Mormons in the 1840s, after the death of Joseph Smith.


Democrat  [   and   ]  Chronicle.

Vol. LXV.                   Rochester, New York, Sunday, March 7, 1897.                   No. 66.



Recollections of One Who Knew Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon.


Smith's Dirty and Tattered Garments. The Finding of the
Golden Plates and How the Inscriptions on Them Were Translated.


San Jacinto Correspondence of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.

(SAN JACINTO, CAL. February 2) -- Daniel Hendrix, one of the two persons now living who were associated with the members of the earliest Mormon Church at Palmyra, N. Y., lives at the home of his son in this vicinity. He is 87 years of age, and retains his full mental faculties. Although a disbeliever in any part of the Mormon faith, he is often visited by descendants of Joseph Smith and of Sidney Rigdon, the founders of Mormonism, for reminiscences of the early days of the Latter Day Saints in Wayne County, N. Y. Edgar Smith, a grandson of Joseph Smith, told the writer less than a year ago that he found Daniel Hendrix, the last man living who had the closest personal acquaintance with his famous grandparent at the time of the finding of the golden Bible.

Mr. Hendrix's mind is wonderfully retentive of events of sixty-five years ago. He has a few proof-sheets of the original Mormon Bible, as printed by Major John Gilbert, at Palmyra, in 1834 [sic], and at one time had a copy of the first complete Bible. He sold it twenty years ago for $200 to a gentleman who acted as an agent for Lord Beaconsfield. He has since learned that two Mormon Bibles of the first edition have been bought in Europe for about $700 each. The present Joseph Smith has tried hard to procure a copy of that edition for Mr. Gladstone, who sent word to San Francisco that he would be willing to pay a handsome price for the book.

"I was a very young man in a store in Palmyra, N.Y., from 1822 until 1830," said Mr. Hendrix to us recently, in talking of his recollections of the origin of Mormonism, "and among the daily visitors at the establishment was Joseph Smith, Jr. Every one knew him as Joe Smith. He had lived in Palmyra a few years previous to my going there from Rochester. Joe was the most ragged, lazy fellow in the place, and that is saying a good deal. He was about twenty-five years old. I can see him now, in my mind's eye, with his torn and patched trousers, held to his form by a pair of suspenders made out of sheeting, with his calico shirt as dirty and black as the earth, and his uncombed hair sticking through the holes in his old battered hat. In winter I used to pity him, for his shoes were so old and worn out that he must have suffered in the snow and slush; yet Joe had a jovial, easy, don't-care way about him that made him a lot of warm friends. He was a good talker, and would have made a fine stump speaker if he had had the training. He was known among the young men I associated with as a romancer of the first water. I never knew so ignorant a man as Joe was to have such a fertile imagination. He never could tell a common occurrence in his daily life without embellishing the story with his imagination; yet I remember that he was terribly grieved one day when old Parson Reed told Joe that he was going to hell for his lying habits.

"Mrs. Smith, Joe's mother, was a staunch Presbyterian, and was a great admirer of her son, despite his shiftless and provoking ways. She always declared that he was born with a genius, and did not have to work. 'Never mind about my son Joseph,' said she one day, when my employer had railed her upon her heir's useless ways, 'for the boy will be able some of these fine days to buy the whole of Palmyra and all the folks in it. You don't know what a brain my boy has under that old hat.'

"For over two years Joe Smith's chief occupation was digging for gold at night and sleeping in the daytime. He was close-mouthed on the subject of his gold-seeking operations around on the farms of Wayne County, where not a speck of gold was ever mined, and when people joked him too severely concerning his progress in getting the precious metal, he would turn his back upon the jokers and bystanders and go home as fast as possible. With some of us young men, however, who were always serious with him and affected an interest in his work, he was more confidential.

"Joe, in his excursion after gold, carried a divining rod to tell him where there was hidden treasure, and he left many holes in the ground about that region, which testified that he could work if the spirit moved. He had all the superstitions of the money diggers of the day, one of which was that the digging must be done at night and not a word must be spoken, for at the first utterance the gold would fly away to some other locality; in fact, Joe claimed that he had more than once been on the point of reaching some great treasure, when, in his eagerness, some unlucky exclamation would escape him, and presto! the treasure would vanish under his feet.

"Finally, in the fall -- in September, I believe -- of 1823 [sic], Joe went about the village of Palmyra, telling people of the great bonanza he had at last found. I remember distinctly his sitting on some boxes in the store and telling a knot of men, who did not believe a word they heard, all about his vision and his find. But Joe went into such minute and careful details about the size, weight and beauty of the carvings on the golden tablets, the strange characters and the ancient adornments, that I confess he made some of the smartest men in Palmyra rub their eyes in wonder. The women were not so skeptical as the men, and several of the leading ones in the place began to feel at once that Joe was a remarkable man after all.

"Joe declared, with tears in his eyes and the most earnest expression you can imagine, that he had found the gold plates on a hill six miles south of Palmyra, on the main road between that place and Canandaigua. Joe had dug and dug there for gold for four years, and from that time the hill has been known as Gold Hill.

"For the first month or two at least Joe Smith did not say himself that the plates were any new revelation or that they had any religious significance, but simply said that he had found a valuable treasure in the shape of a record of some ancient people which had been inscribed on imperishable gold for preservation. The pretended gold plates were never allowed to be seen, though I have heard Joe's mother say that she had lifted them when covered with a cloth, and they were very heavy -- so heavy, in fact, that she could scarcely raise them, though she was a robust woman. What Joe at that time expected to accomplish seems difficult to understand, but he soon began to exhibit what he claimed to be copies of the characters engraved on the plates, though the irreverent were disposed to think that he was more indebted to the characters found on China tea chests and in histories of the Egyptians and Babylonians than to any plates he had dug up near Palmyra. Before long, however, a new party appeared on the scene in the person on one Sidney Rigdon, and thenceforward a new aspect was put upon the whole matter.

"I remember Rigdon as a man of about 40 years, smooth, sleek and with some means. He had a wonderful quantity of assurance, and in these days would be a good broker or speculator. He was a man of energy of contrivance, and would make a good living anywhere and in any business. He was distrusted by a large part of the people in Palmyra and Canandaigua, but had some sincere friends. He and Joe Smith fell in with each other, and were cronies for several months. It was after Rigdon and Smith were so intimate that the divine part of the finding of the golden plates began to be spread abroad. It was given out that the plates were a new revelation and were part of the original Bible, while Joe Smith was a true prophet of the Lord, to whom it was given to publish among men.

"Rigdon, who, from his first appearance, was regarded as the 'brains' of the movement, seemed satisfied to be the power behind the throne. Not only were pretended copies of the engraved plates exhibited, but whole chapters of what were called translations were shown; meetings were held at the Smith house, and in the barns on the adjoining farms, which were addressed by Smith and Rigdon, and an active canvass for converts was inaugurated. Strange as it may appear from the absurdity of the claims set forth and the well-known character of Joe Smith, these efforts were to quite a degree successful, particularly among the unsophisticated farmers of the vicinity, and a number of them, who were regarded as equal in intelligence to the average rural population, became enthusiastic proselytes of the new faith.

"One feature of the claim in relation to the translation from the plates was quite in character with the claims that have been from time to time set up by the Mormon Church down to the present day. Joe Smith was, of course, an illiterate man, and some way must be provided for the translation of his record. But Joe, or Rigdon, was equal to the emergency, for he claimed to have found with the 'Gold Bible,' as they always called it, a wonderful pair of spectacles, which he described as having very large round glasses, larger than a silver dollar, and he asserted that by placing the plates in the bottom of a hat or other deep receptacle, like a wooden grain measure, he could put on those spectacles, and looking down upon the plates, the engraved characters were all translated into good plain English, and he had only to read it off and have it recorded by a copyist.

"This claim with all its absurdity was not more absurd than one that was made to me personally by Martin Harris, who was one of the early and most faithful proselytes. Harris was a farmer of good property, residing about a mile from the village, with whom I was well acquainted, as a customer of a farm where I was employed. On one occasion I had been out on horseback on a collecting trip, and returning in the early evening, as I passed the house of Mr. Harris he came out, and joining me we rode together toward the village. It was a beautiful evening in October, and as we were on elevated ground sloping toward the village in the same direction in which we were going, the full moon, which was just rising, made everything before us look most charming.

"As I made some remark on the beauty of the moon, he replied to the effect that if I could see it as he had done I might well call it beautiful. I was at once anxious to know what he meant, and plied him with questions; but beyond the assertion that he had actually visited the moon in his own person and seem its glories face to face, he was not disposed to be communicative, remarking that it was only the faithful that were permitted to visit the celestial regions, and with that he directed the conversation in less ethereal channels.

"For three or four years Smith, Rigdon, and Harris worked for converts to the new faith. They all became from constant practice and study good speakers, and Smith was at that time as diligent and earnest as he had previously been lazy and careless. The three men traveled all over New York State, particularly up and down the Erie canal. They were rotten-egged in some places, hooted and howled into silence in others, and had some attention in a few communities. Their meetings were generally poorly attended, and people regarded the men as fools, whose cause would soon die out. I attended several of the meetings in Wayne and Ontario Counties. Smith would always tell with some effect how the angel had appeared to him, how he felt an irresistible desire to dig where he did, and how he heard celestial music and the chanting of a heavenly host as he drew the golden plates from the earth and bore them to his home.

"He became so proficient in his description of the ecstatic joy in heaven when he found the plates, that I have known a large audience to hold its breath as the sentences rolled from Smith's mouth. I have seen farmer's wives powerless and almost unconscious in the spell of religious enthusiasm that Smith and Rigdon had created. The latter told in scores of meetings and to every one with whom he came in contact, how he was frequently transported to the celestial spheres at night, while his body lay on his bed at home; how he had listened to counsels from Moses and Elisha; how he actually walked in flowery beds and down golden streets on some far-off planet; and he would repeat instructions that he pretended he had from Bible characters in the other world.

"Of the printing of the 'Book of Mormon' I have a particularly keen recollection. Smith and Rigdon had hard work to get funds together for the new Bible. Smith told me himself that the world was so wicked and perverse that it was hard to win converts; that he had a vision to print the Bible and that as soon as that was done the work would be prospered wonderfully. A new convert named Andrews, a plain old farmer in Auburn, N. Y., mortgaged his property for $3,000 to start the printing. The Wayne 'Sentinel,' published at Palmyra, did the work on a contract for 5,000 copies for $5,000. The printing office was an upper floor, near the store where I worked, and I was one of the few persons who was allowed about the office while the publishing was going on.

"I helped to read proof on many pages of the book, and at odd times set some type. The copy was about half ready for the printer when there came a halt in the proceedings, for Mrs. Harris, wife of Martin Harris, had become so disgusted with her husband's conversion to the new religion and his abandonment of his fine farm for preaching Mormonism that she one morning threw in the fire all the Bible manuscript that had been brought to him for a review by Smith. It was weeks before Joe Smith and Rigdon recovered from their dismay at this act. Harris went down into his pockets for $300 to repay the loss caused by his wife's destruction of the manuscript.

"The copy for the 'Book of Mormon' was prepared in a cave that Smith and others dug near the scene of the finding of the golden plates on Gold Hill. I went out there frequently for a Sunday walk during the process of the translation of the plates and the printing of the book. Some one of the converts was constantly about the entrance to the cave, and no one but Smith and Alvin [sic] Cowdry, a school teacher there, who had proselyted that season, was allowed to go through the door of the cave. Rigdon had some hopes of converting me, and I was permitted to go near the door, but not so much as to peep inside. Smith told me later that no one had ever seen the golden plates but himself, and that he wore the glasses found with the plates, and was thus able to translate the new message from heaven to the people. He read aloud, and Cowdry, who was seated on the other side of a screen or partition in the cave, wrote down the words as pronounced by Joe.

"The penmanship of the copy furnished was good, but the grammar, spelling and punctuation were done by John H. Gilbert who was chief compositor in the office. I have heard him swear many a time at the syntax and orthography of Cowdry, and declare that he would not set another line of type. The copy came in one conglomerate mass, and there were no paragraphs, no punctuation and no capitals. All that was done in the printing office, and what a time there used to be in straightening sentences out, too!

"During the work of printing the book I remember that Joe Smith kept in the background. He was wanted several times at the printing office to explain some obscure sentences and apparent blunders in composition, but he never came near the printers. He sent word by his brother, Hyrum, that the work of translating absorbed his mind and functions so that he could not attend to mundane business. Every morning Hyrum Smith appeared at the office with installments of copy of twenty-four pages buttoned up in his vest, and came regularly and punctually for them at night.

"The publication of the book of 538 [sic] pages was pushed with spirit, but until it was completed not a copy was allowed to leave the office. Every volume was packed in an upper room, and the pile they made struck me at the time, and has since been vividly in my mind, as comparing in size and shape with a cord of wood, and I called it a cord of Mormon Bibles. The work was finished in the spring of 1830. Not long after the publication was completed Smith and his followers began their preparations for a removal, and ere long the parties with their converts, packed up all their belongings and left for Kirtland, O.

"This removal was not 'on compulsion' from any complaints of their neighbors, like those they were subsequently compelled to make from Kirtland and Nauvoo, but all seemed to enter into it readily and with the utmost cheerfulness, though many abandoned homes of great comfort and comparative wealth. In the exodus there were farmers who sold their farms to the amount of $15,000, all of which was committed to the care and tender mercies of Joe Smith, and the votaries committed themselves to his care and guidance."

Note: See the J. F. Peck letter to the Springfield Republican, as reprinted in the Montpelier, Vermont Watchman of Oct, 26, 1887, for the source of much of the "reminisicences" attributed to "Daniel Hendrix." The set of assertions attributed to Hendrix was evidently compiled by Henry Greenwood Tinsley (1861-1920), who was born in Lyons, NY. See notes appended to his article in the San Francisco Chronicle of May 14, 1893.



Vol. IX.                               Belmont, N.Y., Wednesday, April 28, 1897.                               No. ?


Its True Origin -- Some Facts
as Told by a Resident of Palmyra


Editor Dispatch:

In a late number of your paper I noticed an article on "Mormonism's Beginning," which I read with much interest. Mr. Hendrix's history after the pretended finding of the gold plates was all true enough, yet there were many interesting incidents connected with the Smith family which the bygone generation of Palmyrenes used often to relate. Neither is it my purpose here to do so. But the question is where did Joseph Smith obtain the gold plates? Certainly not in Gold, now Mormon, Hill. The very idea is preposterous and it seems strange that any sane mind would for a moment credit the statement. The gold plates on which 538 pages could be written, would of themselves be a fortune, and if true, the matter traced thereon would make them of fabulous value.

And yet, after the pretended transcription, nothing was ever heard of those wonderful gold plates. Why were they not utilized to defray the expense of publication which was delayed some time for lack of funds? It was not until Martin Harris, a well to do farmer joined them, and a plain old farmer named Andrews mortgaged his farm for $3,000, that this work could progress.

The publication of the so-called Mormon Bible caused a great sensation wherever it became known. Many strange and conflicting stories were told. One only will I mention. It was that Joseph Smith obtained the manuscript of the widow of Mr. Spaulding, an Episcopal [sic] minister. The late Rev. E. D. Kennicott, also an Episcopal minister, learning in Rochester that the widow of Mr. Spaulding resided a few [sic] miles from the city, went out to ascertain the truth in regard to the report. Permit a slight digression here in order to give a better understanding of the subject.

At that time the state of New York was one diocese presided over by Bishop B. T. Onderdonk. The churches outside the cities and larger towns were weak and languishing, mainly supported in this way. Each incumbent received from the missionary stipend $150 annually, the parish would raise what they could, generally a sum equal to the stipend, often payable in merchandise and farm produce. On this meager salary the ministers were expected to live -- to give in return three services, preach three sermons and superintend the Sunday school every Sunday; visit the families in the parish once each month, the sick oftener, bury the dead, (without remuneration) celebrate marriages, baptisms, etc., and were granted no vacation.

What wonder that the ministers after a few years of unremitting toil and hardship "dropped in the harness" and were carried off the field to recuperate or languish and die! The latter was the fate of the Rev. Mr. Spaulding. For the sake of health and economy he took his wife and little one out into the country, and there he died.

The substance of Mr. Kennicott's interview with the widow, can be told in a few words. Mr. Spaulding possessed a very active and imaginative mind, and to while away the tedium of illness had written what purported to be a history or diary of the lost tribes of Israel. Of course it was written in biblical style. He often read portions of this to friends who called to see him. These friends advised him to publish them in a book form, thinking thereby to assist in the maintenance of his family. This he had not the means to do.

Not long after her husband's death there came to her humble home a strange uncouth looking man, introducing himself as Joseph Smith of Palmyra. He had learned that her husband had left [a] manuscript which he wished much to see. After examining various portions he offered her $300 for it. She looked sadly around upon her little flock. The winter was coming on and how many comforts it would bring them, so choking down her tears she accepted his offer, and with a heavy heart, gave him the manuscript, "but" said she, "had I known what use would have been made of it, I would never have done so."

This the true origin of the Mormon Bible, the vagaries of a sick man's imagination in the hands of unscrupulous and designing men, yet Joe Smith claimed that it was a portion of the true Holy Bible.

Smith brought the manuscript he had purchased of Mrs. Spaulding to Palmyra, but for some time nothing was done with it, and perhaps never would have been had he not fallen with Sidney Rigdon, a sharp business man who thought he saw a fine chance for making money.

Rigdon immediately became the "brains" of the enterprise, a position he ever after held. Smith was as clay in his hands to be molded as he wished.

They decided to go to Gold Hill, so called because Joe had made there the largest excavation of the many he had made in search of gold. They put up a slight partition behind which Joe Smith would sit and read from the Spaulding manuscript and a Mr. Cowdery copied as he read. But the illiterate school-master made strange work of the copying, causing the task of the type setters to be a very laborious one. But it may be asked, why was this not told at the time? I answer, it was "many a time and oft," not only by Mr. Kennicott but others.

Did it never occur to you that the world likes to be humbugged and the greater the humbug the more eagerly the world receives it? The old proverb has it that "Falsehood will fly to the ends of the earth while truth stoops to fasten her shoe latchet." The multitude will seize with avidity the flying garments of falsehood and be borne onward with her wherever she chooses to go, rather than remain with the circlet of the pure light of truth.

"The faithful" now make frequent pilgrimages to their "Mecca," Mormon Hill, but when peering down with silent awe into the place where the gold plates were said to have lain, how astonished they would be if from the other side of the hill a deep sepulchral voice should utter, not there but here. For it is stated as a fact that the then owner of the hill promised to allow the place to remain undisturbed, but when sold to another with the same understanding, the purchaser finding that side more prolific filled up the excavation and dug another on the opposite side. The last time I was there a little purling stream ran along the road side laving with its pure waters the feet of a pretty willow which it was said Joe Smith placed in the soft earth when no larger than a riding whip. If still standing it is doubtless a large tree.

An effort is being made by the Mormons to purchase Gold Hill on which to erect a monument to Joseph Smith, one of the greatest and most successful impostors of modern times. It will serve a double purpose. It will also commemorate the folly and blindness of multitudes of self-deceived, willing votaries. Mormonism is a foul blot upon the fair escutcheon of our country's greatness. Nor is the end yet.
                    MRS. C. H. PARLIAMAN.

Note 1: This clipping is marked with the handwritten notation: "Dispatch, 4-28-97." The files of the Alleghany Co., NY Belmont Dispatch have not yet been checked to confirm the citation.

Note 2: Mrs. Charlotte H. Parliaman (1822-1902) was an inventor and a temperance advocate -- see her letter in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle of May 14, 1901. She appears to have been the estranged wife of Charles H. Parliaman of Palmyra and may have grown up there. Charlotte's reference to "a plain old farmer named Andrews" is apparently taken from the Dispatch's previous article relating the bogus recollections of "Daniel Hendrix." It says: "A new convert named Andrews, a plain old farmer in Auburn, N. Y., mortgaged his property for $3,000 to start the printing, and the Wayne Sentinel, published at Palmyra, did the work on a contract for 5,000 copies for $5,000." Her curious reliance on the Hendrix account (along with her saying "Mr. Hendrix's history after the pretended finding of the gold plates was all true enough"), and her mistaken assertions regarding Spalding's widow, Joseph Smith, etc., render Mrs. Parliaman's account practically useless as a source for historical facts.

Note 3: Given its imaginative detachment from actual past events, Mrs. Parliaman's story appears eligible for a place among the fictional accounts related to the Spalding authorship claims, wherein a readership that "likes to be humbugged" can find ample literary artifice.


Utica Semi-Weekly Herald AND GAZETTE AND COURIER.

Vol. XLIX.                              Utica, N. Y., Tues., July 27, 1897.                             No. No. 77.


The people of Utah, more particularly the Mormons, last week celebrated the semi-centennial anniversary of the arrival of Brigham Young and his pioneer party in the valley of the great Salt lake. They reached the valley on July 24, 1847, exactly fifty years ago Saturday.

The rise of Mormonlsm is the most marvelous illustration of religious delusion the history of this country affords. It is all the more remarkable because it has taken place in the midst of intelligence and in the face of positive proof that the faith it teaches was based upon fraud. At Ashford, Conn., in 1761, was born one Solomon Spalding. He graduated from Dartmouth In 1785. After preaching for a few years, he engaged in mercantile business at Cherry Valley, N. Y. In 1809 he removed to Conneaut, O., in 1812 to Pittsburg, and in 1814 to Amity, Pa., where he died two years later. During his residence in Ohio Spalding wrote a romance to account for the peopling of America by deriving the Indians from the Hebrews, in accordance with a notion then somewhat prevalent that the red men were descended from the lost tribes of Israel. In 1813 this work was announced to be forthcoming, and as containing a translation of the "Book of Mormon." Spalding entitled his book "Manuscript Found," and intended to publish with it by way of preface or advertisement a fictitious account of its discovery in a cave in Ohio. A Pittsburg printer to whom the manuscript was sent declined to publish it at his own expense, and it was returned to Spalding, who soon after died. While it was in the Pittsburg office, however, the manuscript was copied by a printer named Sidney Rigdon. The latter began to preach doctrines similar to those afterwards incorporated into the "Book of Mormon."

About this time a man named Joseph Smith, living in Ontario county, N. Y., had a vision, according to his own story, during which an angel informed him that in a certain place in the earth there was a record written upon gold plates giving an account of the ancient inhabitants of America and God's dealings with them. With the plates were two transparent stones thro which the writing could be read. Smith declared that on Sept. 22, 1827, an angel actually placed the plates and stones in his hands. The fact is that Smith himself made the plates and inscribed them with meaningless characters. In 1829 he became acquainted with Rigdon, and thro him obtained possession of a copy of Spalding's "Book of Mormon" manuscript. Then Smith summoned three persons as witnesses and from behind a blanket read to them Spalding's manuscript, with additions of his own, as the translation of the writing on the gold plates, which were in fact only brass. A man named Martin Harris was induced to print the "Book of Mormon" in the belief that there was money in it. In addition to the history of the lost tribes, the book also recorded the appearance of Christ to them in America, immediately after his resurrection, and their conversion to Christianity.

Smith and Rigdon began to preach the new gospel, and by April 6, 1830, they had converts enough to establish a Mormon church at Manchester, N. Y. The people of the community, however, made things so hot that in January, 1831, the church was removed to Kirtland. O. Here it grew, but the outside opposition became so bitter that finally Smith and Rigdon were tarred and feathered. Brigham Young arrived at Kirtland towards the close of 1832 and his shrewdness and talents soon gave him great influence. He was elected one of the twelve apostles and was sent east as a missionary. where he made many converts. Two missionaries were also sent to England. A large and costly temple was dedicated at Kirtland in 1836. In 1838, owing to crooked business transactions. Smith and Rigdon were obliged to flee to Missouri. Here many Mormons collected. They were soon engaged in fights with the people, and were driven from place to place. Besides there were dissensions among the faithful themselves. Smith being accused of gross crimes and frauds. Finally the Mormons were driven out of Missouri, and they settled at Commerce, Ill., where they built a city called Nauvoo, the charter being granted by the legislature. They also organized a military company called the Nauvoo legion, and the foundation of a great temple was laid in 1841. Meanwhile Smith had persuaded several women to live with him, and in 1843, to pacify his lawful wife, he announced that he had received a revelation authorizing polygamy. The announcement caused great indignation among the better Mormons, and two of them, Dr. Foster and his wife, seceded, and published a paper to expose Smith. The latter and some of his partisans, on May 6, 1844, destroyed the plant of the paper. The Fosters got out a warrant for Smith and the county authorities called upon the militia to serve it. Smith surrendered and he and another Smith were taken to the Carthage jail. A mob attacked the jail and shot both Smiths.

Brigham Young succeeded Joseph Smith as president. The Mormons were finally driven from Nuuvoo. In 1846 they gathered at Council Bluffs, and in 1847 Brigham Young and a few pioneers crossed the plains to Utah. The main body of the saints arrived in the fall of 1848. Converts from Europe soon began to reinforce the new colony. In March, 1849, the state of Deseret was organised, Congress refused to recognize it and organized the territory of Utah, President Fillmore appointing Brigham Young the first governor. Conflicts with the federal authorities followed. Alfred Cummings was appointed governor and United States troops were sent to the territory. In the spring of 1838 peace was restored, but the troops remained until 1860. Meanwhile, on Sept 15, 1887, a party of emigrants passing thro Utah to California were attacked by Indians at Mountain Meadow. Two Mormons, John D. Lee and Isaac Haight, induced the emigrants to surrender after they had kept the Indians at bay for five days, promising them safe return to the east. No sooner had they surrendered, however, than the Indians, led by Mormons, massacred 120 men, women and children. Lee was executed for the crime twenty years afterwards.

The Mormons in Utah under the guidance of Brigham Young, became prosperous and powerful. Polygamy was practiced until 1890, when it was practically stamped out by the Edmunds law. When the question of statehood was being pressed, it was charged that polygamy was still secretly practiced, but the territory was admitted us the forty-fifth state. It is probable that the plural marriage system no longer exists, but the old Mormon influence is still strong. Gradually this may be overcome by the Gentile element, which is becoming more and more of a factor every year. The only thing in the way of a speedy redemption of Utah is the fact that Mormon missionaries continue to make converts in this and other countries, despite absolute proof that the religion they teach is the most monstrous delusion of the age.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. IV.                     Palmyra, New York, Wednesday, December 8, 1897.                     No. 23.



A Brief Account of the Sect from
the time of Joseph Smith down
to the Present Day -- Story
of the Mormon Bible.

Every religious sect almost is founded on the belief or visions of some one person. This is the case in the Mormon doctrine The faith of the Mormons is founded on the fact that Joseph Smith claimed to have dug from the earth certain golden plates on which was graven the Mormon creed.

The boyhood history of Smith is full of interest. When he was and idle and thriftless lad of fifteen he first began to have his visions, which it is claimed, appeared to him on numerous occasions all through his eventful life. As a boy he was a sort of a half-foolish and half-wise genius. He told of his visions and in consequence [became] the butt of the jibes and taunts of his [neighbors]. He was looked upon in those days as a [suitable] candidate for the asylum.


Joseph Smith was born at Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, in the year 1805. His parents, from all accounts, were not of the thrifty class. Joseph followed closely in their footsteps and was not noted as a worker. He spent more time at the swimming hole or whittling dry goods boxes on the street corners of his native town than he did at labor of any kind, however light. He was a happy go lucky boy, the kind that exists in great plentitude at the present day.

Some people say that Joseph's mother had unbounded faith in the fact that Joseph would some day become famous. She told the neighbors that the very boys who mocked him would see the day when they would be honored by a chance to untie his shoes.

At 15 when Joseph began to have his visions in which an angel visited him, sarcastic people intimated that said visions were only the natural result of an overdose of pork sausage or cabbage. But such remarks as these didn't stop the visions, for according to the boy Joseph, they came with persistent regularity. His reputation in his native town was such that he was called "dream Joseph."

When the founder of the Mormon faith was sixteen, his parents moved to Manchester, N. Y. It was in this vicinity that the doctrine was hatched and started in consequence of Smith's famous vision.

It was on the night of September 21, 1823 that Smith was visited by an angel three times according to the Mormon side of the story. Smith said the angel appointed him divine agent to establish the Mormon doctrine. The angel instructed him to go to the foot of the mountain Moroni, which was near his home, and there, by digging at a certain spot, he would find the Mormon scripture engraved on golden plates.

Smith did as he was directed and is said to have found the golden plates, which however, soon afterward mysteriously disappeared. It is said the plates were of thin gold 7x8 inches, and that when Smith found them they were enclosed in an iron box.

Smith, who was very illiterate and unable to read himself, employed Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris, two farmers, to translate the plates which were, according to Mormon history, graved in reformed Egyptian language -- into the English tongue. He appointed Cowdery and Harris his divine lieutenants and the work of translation was carried on in great secrecy in a cave some miles out of town.

By some peculiar coincidence that cannot be explained the people in this section of the State suddenly became interested in the new faith. In a short time Smith began to enjoy the sensation of having a few believers, although the main facts of the doctrines had not yet been made public.

As each page of writing was turned out by the translators it was taken to Palmyra and given over to a printer named Sidney Rigdon [sic!] who set the type and controlled the printing until the bible was completed. It was reported that Major Gilbert realized about $300 from Pliny T. Sexton for the first proof. Everyone connected with the alleged translation were swore to great secrecy, and this fact served to stir up the curiosity of the people more than ever.

Several years were spent in the translation and finally in the year 1830 the book was published under the title of the "Book of Mormon."

This made the idea of the "Book of Mormon" in that it professes to give the history of a certain family who departed from the tower of Babel at the time of the confusion of tongues, which occasion is mentioned in the Bible.

This family was comprised of a certain Lehi (not the Lehigh Valley), his wife and their sons, who sailed at that early date for this continent and finally landed on the coast of Chili, in South America.

All went well with the small colony of refugees until Lehi died, before which he had appointed his younger son Nephi as the leader in his stead.

This caused anger and resentment on the part of Nephi's older brothers, and they were condemned to be an idle and dark-skinned race -- hence the American Indians.

After this, of course, there was an open feud between the followers of Nephi and the bad Hebrews, as they were called. They dwelt in different parts of the continent, and in time became as two races of people.

A fierce warfare was waged by the two factions for centuries. Finally in the year 384 A. D., the two tribes engaged in a great and crucial battle at the hill of Cumorah, better known as Mormon Hill, about four miles south of Palmyra, in Ontario county, N. Y. In this battle all the followers of the original Nephi were exterminated except a small number.

Among the small band of Nephites that escaped was a man named Mormon and his son, Moroni. Mormon was visited by an angel who told him to collect the records of the Nephites, kept by [a series of] kings and priests. He was ordered to engrave the history on the golden plates, which were furnished him by the angel, and to bury them before his death. These were the plates said to have been dug out of the earth [several] hundred years [later by] Joseph Smith.

This is one side of the story, and of course there is another side. It is [asserted] that what is now the "Book of Mormon" was really written in 1812 as an historical romance and was from the pen of one Samuel [sic] Spaulding, who is said to have been a cracked brained preacher. The manuscript of the story is said to have fallen into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, an unscrupulous printer, and was copied by him and given to Smith. Rigdon, so the other story says, was a shrewd calculator, and fixed up the plates with brass and had Smith discover them in order to lend color to the wild tale.

After the "Book of Mormon" was published adherents began to flock to Smith's religious standard. In 1830 the number was large enough to hold a conference and in July of the year the church was formally organized. Smith was appointed "seer, translator, prophet, apostle of Jesus Christ and elder of the church."

Proselyting agents were appointed and sent out in other parts of the country to get converts. In January 1831, Smith claimed to have had [a vision] in which the band was ordered to Ohio. They settled in the town of Kirtland.

It is charged that while here Smith and Rigdon indulged deeply into wild-cat banking -- that is, they started a bank and when the people were through depositing their money, the bank closed its portals, after which Smith made a hurried departure for Missouri, somewhat like the present day banker does when he fails.

Smith was driven with his band adherents from Missouri by the governor of the state, and the next refuge was at Nauvoo, Illinois, where the Mormons built a temple.

While the Mormons were still at Kirtland, Ohio, they were joined by Brigham Young, who soon after began to take an important part in the executive doings of the church.

It was in the year of 1833 that Smith began to practice polygamy. This aroused the antagonism of other members of the church. Smith's visions, however, were great friends in his adversity and he at once made the claim that polygamy had received divine sanction. It is said that up to the time that this part of the Mormon doctrine was not among the principles of the church.

In 1844 Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were arrested and placed in the Carthage jail. The same night a mob took them out and shot them to death.

Instead of this proving a blow to the Mormon faith it proved directly opposite. Smith and his brother soon came to be looked upon as martyrs, and the old saying that "the blood of the martyr is the seed of the church" came true.

After the death of Smith, Brigham Young took the leadership of the Mormons. When he took charge of the church he found it broken by dissenting factions, but through his executive ability and shrewd management the sect was soon in a more prosperous condition than ever before.

In 1844 the Mormons emigrated to the Great Salt Lake valley in Utah. After great hardships the main body of the Mormon emigrants arrived at the present spot where Salt Lake City now stands in 1848. Here the church continued in prosperity. A magnificent temple was built and stands to-day.

Brigham Young died August 29, 1877, at Salt Lake, after a short illness. He was the father of fifty-six children; he left seventeen wives, sixteen sons and twenty-eight daughters.

As a conclusion to the article it might be said that certain parts of the Mormon faith have been suppressed by the law of the state of Utah. The church still flourishes, however, with [--------ed] faith, and many towns all over the United States have their Reorganized Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, under which designation the followers of the faith prefer to be known.

Note: For an article written and published in historic Plamyra, New York, this report is remarkable in its avoidance of any local lore concerning Joseph Smith and the first Mormons. It appears to have been composed entirely from secondary sources.


The  Syracuse  Daily  Journal.

Vol. LIV.                           Syracuse, N.Y., Mon., February 7, 1898.                          No. 32.


Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson.

The remains of Mrs. Ellen E Dickinson, a former resident of this city, who died in Brooklyn Friday night, were received by Undertaker Hoyt this morning. The cause of death was pneumonia, although Mrs. Dickinson has been an invalid for several years. She was 67 years of age and is survived by one son Henry, who resides in New York. Interment was at Onondaga Valley, where brief services were held at the grave. Under the initials "E.E.D." Mrs. Dickinson for many years was the New York correspondent of the Journal."

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                             Syracuse, N.Y., Tues., February 8, 1898.                             No. ?




Made famous by Her Book "New Light on Mormonism," and
Was a popular Contributor to Magazines -- Was Buried in
Onondaga Valley Cemetary Yesterday.

The remains of Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson were laid at rest yesterday afternoon in the Onondaga valley cemetary, near where she was born in [1826]. It was in this vicinity and to a great extent from her relatives that she gained the material for the book, "New Light on Mormonism." which gave her a reputation as an author and made her generally known.

Her maiden name was Ellen Stuart, she being the daughter of Royal Stuart and Sarah Sabine. Her grandfather was William Harvey Sabin, and it was at his house where the romance, "The Manuscript Found." from which "The Book of Mormon" was formulated, was kept for a long time. The Rev. Solomon Spaulding, the author of this romance, was her mother's uncle by marriage.


(Whose remains were buried in Onondaga Valley
cemetary, yesterday afternoon.)

Ellen Stuart was married to Henry Pike, who built the Pike Block, but she subsequently went to Cincinnati and obtained a divorce in 1857. Then she was married to William H. Dickinson, a New York lawyer. She is survived by one son, Henry Pike, jr. Mrs. Dickinson's death occurred at Brooklyn on Friday of pneumonia.

It was in the early '80s that Mrs. Dickinson's book on Mormonism appeared. It was a thorough and unanswerable establishment of the fact that the Spaulding manuscript had been perloined and made to serve as the "Book of Mormon." The publication aroused the greatest interest and Mrs. Dickinson was requested to write articles for the magazines. She was also the author of "The King's Daughter, in 1888.

Note: See also the Literary World for June 27, 1885.



Vol. ?                              Palmyra, N. Y., Wednesday, July 27, 1898.                             No. ?


A stranger came into our office the other night. He refused to give us his name, but said he was a Mormon... He seemed quite aggrieved that none of his friends were here to meet him and after saying good night, started to take his departure, when he turned and asked us if we would not take a walk with him to Mormon Hill, where he would show us some wonderful things if we would swear to secrecy. The night was beautiful and although very late, we decided to take the four mile walk. We started toward Canandaigua, as we thought, but our guide turned toward Prospect Hill, saying that would be our nearest way. We were surprised, but followed at his side. We climbed the west side and descended on the east side, where, after nearly reaching the bottom, the stranger insisted that we must be blinded. After some demur we consented, when we heard the crunching and sliding of a great stone and then felt an icy cold atmosphere. After closing the entrance, the bandage was removed, and we found ourselves enveloped in a dark, crooked passage, which we could not penetrate at first, but after some minutes there seemed to be a glow of light surrounding us which came from something our companion had ignited. The passage was quite filled with pools and seemed to be of limestone formation. We hurried along as fast as possible in the feeble glow of light. The path seemed quite smooth, the walls and covering were sparkling with satelites, showing that the water penetrated through to a large extent. After traveling what seemed many miles, the ground seemed to rise suddenly, and our Mormon friend opened a huge oaken door, when our eyes were almost dazzled by the magnificence we beheld. There suspended from the side of the wall by massive golden cords were the original gold plates, from which Joseph Smith compiled the first Mormon bible. There were many other curious and beautiful things there, and on a huge divan sat a very old man. He seemed to be as old as Smith would be himself at the present time. We were asked many questions about the early [struggle] and origin of Mormonism, which we answered as best we could from what we had heard and read; after this the old patriarch waved us out of the cave and my [guide] and myself returned as we had come. At the entrance we were not blindfolded as before, as he wanted our [------] to close [----], and he also said they did not fear discovery as it was so [peculiar], and had been used by the brethren of his sect in the [district] for years. The passage for the most was natural, although it had been [blasted] in a few spots. Had we room we would give more particulars incident to the strange [underground] trip to the Hill of Mormon.

Note: Obviously the journalist's dream -- or an imaginary event -- quite equal to anything printed in the LDS Journal of Discourses or fanciful stories of Joseph Smith's cave in Miner's Hill. The report may have been inspired by an article run in the New York Herald of June 25, 1893



Vol. ?                             Syracuse, N. Y., Sunday, December 11, 1898.                            No. ?


Used by Mormons in This State, It is Believed.


How Converts Were Made in
Jefferson and St Lawrence.

Vessel Unearthed at Theresa. First Pronounced an
Indian Relic. Now Declared the Identical Dish
That Figured in the So-called Miracles
of the Latter-Day Saints.

Watertown. Dec. 10. -- The recent discovery of a curiously wrought piece of pottery lying half embedded in earth at the foot of the rocky cliffs which overhang the Indian river at the village of Theresa, and the growing belief that instead of an Indian relic the vessel is nothing more or less than the historic bowl used by certain Mormon apostles for anointing the converts to their faith after their baptism in the murky waters of the sunken gorge at Indian landing, recalls one of the strangest and at the same time least known chapters in the post history of this section, that of the attempted establishment of a branch of the Mormon church at Theresa.

While the actual advent of the Mormon missionaries did not occur until the early summer of 1832, the few remaining residents of Theresa who witnessed the attempt to found a branch of Zion there are of the opinion that the "Latter Day Saints" at their early settlement at Kirtland, O., sent one of their number to "spy out the land," after the fashion of the Israelites, the preceding winter. About the month of January, 1832, these old chroniclers relate, a talented young lawyer named Alanson Pettingill, whose father, Deacon Pettingill was a leading citizen of Butternuts, Otsego county, arrived at Theresa and was for several weeks the guest of the late Capt. Nathaniel Lull of that village. The Captain's wife had boarded in the Pettigill family when a teacher at Butternuts.

While the young man said never a word about Mormonism, it is remembered that he was greatly interested in the religious status of Theresa and surrounding communities, visiting this city, Plessis, Antwerp, Redwood and various other places and making many inquiries regarding the religious situation. It was learned later on that he had joined the Mormons the previous year and he afterward became the president of a bank at Kirtland [sic], which, not being chartered, could not legally collect its loans, and in trying to collect by "shotgun persuasion," Pettingill, who was quicker with a pen than with the trigger, lost his life.

One afternoon the following June [sic - June, 1836?], while the villagers were "working out their poll tax" under the generalship of Pathmaster DeGras Salisbury an open barouche drawn by a span of white horses was seen approaching the village. It contained six [spruce]-looking men in black broadcloth and shiny beavers, all of whom wore green, gold-bowed spectacles, and one of whom read from an open book for the edification of his companions. They proved to be Parley P. Pratt, the distinguished Hebrew scholar, who was afterward assasinated at Nauvoo [sic - in Arkansas.?]; David Whitmer, who with Oliver Cowdery wrote down from dictation the Book of Mormon as Joseph Smith, seated behind a [hung] blanket in a corner of his father's cabin, "deciphered it from the golden plates;" Orson Pratt, Orson Hyde and Samuel and Eden Smith, men of [culture] and scholarly attainment, who hadcome to "proclaim unto the Gentiles the new and true faith," in obedience to a revelation of Joseph Smith.

That night a meeting was held in the old brick schoolhouse, crowning the highest point in the village and now used as a village lock-up, and to the crowd that thronged around the openwindows the tenets of the new faih were expounded. There are old residents of Theresa who were present on that occasion, and who saw the "original Book of Mormon," a little volume of blue-ruled note paper about two inches in thickness, which David Whitmer read from and which he guarded with jealous care. There had recently been stirring religious revivals at Theresa and vicinity, and the seed sown fell upon a soil ready for its reception and many were converted.

During the ensuing summer fresh [delegations] of missionaries were constantly arriving. They sailed fromKirtland, O. to Sackets Harbor, traveled across the country to Theresa, and [thence] spread their gospel, holding largely attended meetings in groves, school houses, and even in barns, andkeeping the religious fervor at fever pitch. They claimed to heal the sick by the "laying on of hands" and even to restore the dead to life, and in the backwoods settlements surrounding the village of Theresa the people "marveled as they did of old." The [apostolic] age, they proclaimed, had been [revived]...

...[several remarkable cures were reported: in one case] that a fever-stricken boy named Thomas Gale, whose parents lived in the Parker Settlement, was instantly restored to health, by being anointed with some ointment taken from a peculiarly shaped earthen vessel of unglazed clay, which was used for the purpose of anointings by the Mormon priests and which they claimed was dug from the same hillside from which the golden Book of Mormon was taken.

This vessel had never been profaned, they said, by being brought into a human habitation, but was secreted by being buried in the ground. Hence the belief that the ancient and peculiar piece of pottery recently found is none other than the vessel used by the Mormon missionaries in their rites, and more especially as it was found not far from the spot where their immersions of converts took place, and where it might very naturally have been hidden and afterward forgotten. It is said, moreover, that one of their missionaries, when in a confidential mood, once told the late Ira Patten, that the vase was dug from an Indian mound at Kirtland, O., by one of the Mormon priests of "the order of Melechizedk."

Nor was the one already described the only so-called miracle in which the ancient vessel, if this indeed be the same, figured. During the same summer, it is said, a young girl, whose parents, David Rosenbarger and wife, lived near Hyde lake, not far from Theresa, apparently died after a short illness. Her parents, converts to the new faith, kept the body for three days unburied, until the arrival of Orson Pratt, who, after praying beside the corpse and anointing the brow from the strange vase of ointment, asked that all leave the room, and a moment later recalled the weeping friends to show them their daughter restored to life. Even the adherents of the new faith doubted this miracle, it is said, and attributed it to deception and connivance with the girl's parents, and there was a falling off in the attendance at the Mormon meetings.

As the converts to the new faith were taken largely from the Methodist flock, their doctrines being similar to those of the early Mormons as regards the atonement and mediation of Christ, Elder Phelps of the M. E. church took up the cudgel of argument against the heresy, as he termed it. There are old residents of Theresa who still recall with amusement the famous debate held at the old schoolouse at the west end of the village, between Phelps and David Patten, the village blacksmith, a swarthy giant who was a pillar of the new faith.

Patten was volable in Scripture quotations, it is said, while the elder indulged in sarcasm and ridicule, squinting through his fists in imitation of Joseph Smith peering through the "Urim and Thummim stone" while deciphering the golden plates. Patten, along, with a crowd of other converts, later sold out his goods at auction and emigrated to Kirtland, O. He followed the fortunes of the "Saints" to Nauvoo and then to Missouri, where he led a company of Mormons from a settlement called Far West in their, fight against the State troops under Governor Boggs, called out to put down the Mormon insurrection.

Afterward, in the battle of Crooked River, when the Mormons were pitted against the citizens of Ray, Clay, Carroll and Caldwell counties, Patten, whose reckless daring won for him the title of "Captain Fearnaught," was literally hacked to pieces by the corn cutters with which the opposing forces were armed and which they used in lieu of [sabers]. Amos Patten, his venerable father, and Ira Patton, his brother, were were also among the emigrants. The latter, after many years of wandering, was furnished with money by Alexander Cooper, late of Theresa, with which to return home, and a few years ago he died and was buried among his kinsmen.

Warren Parrish, a member of an influential Theresa family, was one of the first converts and sold his farm in the "Deacon Sill" neighborhood and joined the Mormons at Kirtland. He acted as clerk in the General assembly of the Church of Latter Day Saints in 1835, when the covenants of their faith were adopted by a unanimous vote. He tried to convert his venerable father to the new faith, but the old gentleman resisted the presumptuous act of his son by "pitching into" the youth of 30 years with his cane and thoroughly chastizing him. The father died in his early faith at the home of his son-in-law, Thompson Brooks of Theresa, and the remains were carried to Pamella Post Corners for burial, the cortege of sleighs reaching for a mile along the road and the procession being under the direction of Gen. Archibald Fisher.

Among other converts were "Uncle Jerry" Cheeseman and his son, Alonzo. The latter joined the "Strangite" division of the church, after the death of Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, and died recently at Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan, where the revelater and prophet Strang had founded his island kingdom. His wife was a member of the Robison family, still numerous and influential in this county. The Cooke family of Theresa also joined the Mormons. As fast as new converts were added to the flock they were baptized in Indian river, just below the falls at Theresa, and the historic bowl of Indian make was brought forth for the anointing.

After the fervor of novelty had worn away the membership of the Mormon flock at Theresa fell away rapidly. About the year 1848 the [-------ed] Prophet Strang arrived in the village and ordered a 3-day conference of all the faithful of that region, and many pilgrims came from various towns of Jefferson county and from St. Lawrence. The meeting was held in the old brick school house at Theresa, and a so-called citizens' meeting followed at Suel Wilson's tavern....

Note 1: The above article contains numerous historical errors and should not be depended upon for accuracy. Its contents appear to have been mostly derived from William Fayel's reminiscences, as published on pages 700-704 of John A. Haddock's 1895 book, History of Jefferson County. It appears unlikely that Mormon missionaries were at work in Jefferson County, New York in any serious way, prior to the May, 1833 arrival of former Theresa resident, Elder David W. Patten. Patten's missionary journal entry for May 20, 1833 reads: "brother Brigham Young came to Theresa, Indian River Falls, where I had been bearing testimony to my relatives; and after preaching several discourses, he baptized my brothers Archibald and Ira Patten, Warren Parrish, Cheeseman and my mother and my sister, Polly." This corresponds to the account published in the Deseret News and reprinted in the Millennial Star on June 25, 1864. See also the "Mission to Jefferson County" chapter in Linda S. Whiting's 2003 David W. Patten: Apostle and Martyr. According to Whiting, David, in company with a "Brother Lewis" arrived in Theresa early in May of 1833, where they were joined by missionaries Brigham Young and Jonathan Hampton.

Note 2: It appears likely that William Fayel conflated some c. 1835-1836 Mormon missionary activities in the Watertown area, with the earlier transitory presence of David W. Patten, Brigham Young, etc. Also, the quotations and paraphrases from Fayel's communications, as published in the 1898 Herald, contain several copyist's errors -- such as placing David Whitmer and the Book of Mormon manuscript in Theresa, New York in 1832. The newspaper's mentions of Theresa resident Ira Patten fail to include John A. Haddock's 1895 report, that "Ira Patten, a cabinet maker, was enrolled among the first converts." This detail corresponds with David W. Patten's statement, that his brother Ira was baptized at Theresa on May 20, 1833.

Note 3: The Herald's account of David Rosenbarger's son being raised from the dead by Orson Pratt is unique to this article and was probably inserted from some unattributed Watertown source. The same "county legend" is mentioned in Jefferson County Genealogy XII:1 (Apr. 11, 2002) which cites the Watertown Daily Times as a source for the miraculous report. More likely the newspaper article there quoted was the one published in the Syracuse Sunday Herald.

Note 4: William Fayel's recollection of "Prophet Strang" arriving in Theresa "about the year 1848" and ordering a "3-day conference," should be backdated to June 18-20, 1847 (see Strang's Gospel Herald of March 11, 1847). Alonzo Cheeseman (1812-90), was a resident of Jefferson County, New York, during that year -- see his January 25, 1847 letter to James J. Strang, in the Zion's Reveille of Feb. 11, 1847. Cheeseman mentions that Ira J. Patten was also in Theresa at that time. Four years later Ira was published to the world as filling the office of one of William Smith's Twelve Apostles.

Note 5: James J. Strang offered these curious remarks in his Gospel Herald of Aug. 24, 1848: "I last year spent six days in Jefferson County, New York, engaged three days in public preaching, and all that time, so that I scarcely got opportunity to sleep at all, with crowds of Saints and strangers, and during that time saw but three persons that I had ever seen before. There are certain doctrines of devils [sic - spiritual wifery?], which I had occasion to treat of, and which I set my face against as flint, publicly and privately, on all occasions. I never, by word, or by sign, or by silence, varied from the same unwavering testimony which I usually gave. And never in a single act, for a single moment did my example come short of my testimony. Yet I now have letters lying before me, written in that region, in which I am accused of criminal intercourse with more than forty different Saints there, including every sister in the church in that region, of whom I have not the slightest recollection, and several of whom I do not so much as know they exist."


Syracuse [ Semi-Weekly ] Standard

Vol. LXIX.                              Syracuse, N. Y., Fri., Dec. 30, 1898.                             No. ?


The defense offered by Congressman Roberts for the practice ot polygamy is a curious effort. The essential and moving part of it is that in which he pleads for recognition as a Christian, white declaring that Joseph Smith received a commandment from the Lord to introduce plural marriage into the church. Is it necessary to say that Christians do not acknowledge Joseph Smith as a prophet, any more than they acknowledge Mahomet; and the Book of Mormon has no standing with Christians, as an inspired work. The incongruity of the appeal to the Holy Scriptures and to the romance of Solomon Spalding in the same breath is manifest to all but a Latter Day Saint. The familiar and rather ingenious reference to Abraham does not mend Roberts' position. The Christian world is not under the Abrahamic dispensation, and polygamy, which was suffered, in the patriarchs, is as little tolerated by Christianity as it is by the laws of the United States.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. ?                   Shortsville, New York, Saturday, February 4, 1899.                     No. ?


In Sharon, Vermont, on December 23, 1805, a son was born to a thriftless and not too honest couple named Smith They called the boy Joseph. When he was about ten years old they removed Palmyra, N. Y. Four years later they removed to the village of Manchester, six miles away, and the next year Joseph, so he said, began having visions.

In 1827 he declared that an angel, name Moroni, had led him in his sleep to a hill, and there had delivered into his hands a stone box, in which was a volume six inches thick, made of thin gold plates eight inches by seven and fastened together by three gold rings. The plates were, as he affirmed, covered with minute characters, which the angel told him were "Reformed Egyptian," and with them was a pair "magic spectacles," made of crystals, set in a silver frame. With these upon his nose he could read the contents of the book into English. Having little education, he persuaded a man named Oliver Cowdery to write a translation at his dictation. Smith retired for the purpose of his dictation behind curtain, with the golden plates and the magic spectacles. A farmer named Martin Harris furnished money for the printing, and in 1830 the work was published under the name of The Book Mormon. There is no reliable record that any one, save Smith, ever saw the "golden plates."

Now in 1811, thirteen years before the Book of Mormon was written, a Presbyterian minister named Solomon Spaulding, living in Ohio, and deeply interested in the mounds of that region, had one opened near his home, and finding in it human bones and many curious relics, conceived the idea of writing a historical. romance, called The Manuscript Found, which should give the imaginary history of pre-historic America. He wrote the story in 1812, reading chapters to his friends and neighbors as the work progressed, and in the same year offered it to a Pittsburg printer, whose foreman was one Sidney Rigdon, twenty years later famous Mormon preacher. After keeping the work for some time, the printer returned it, declining to publish it, and in 1816 the Rev. Mr. Spaulding died.

His widow, went to visit her brother, William Sabine, soon after, at Onondaga [Hollow, N. Y.], taking with her all [----- -------- unpublished] manuscript book. Joseph Smith was then a laborer on the Sabine farm -- it was before he had found the "golden plates" -- and if he was as unscrupulous as the rest of the family, or as he is declared to have been, he might easily have read the volume. In 1834, after The Book of Mormon had been published, a man named Hurlburt called upon Mrs. Spaulding, who was then living in Massachusetts, and asked the privilege of reading her husband's unpublished story. He said that the persons to whom it had been read while Mr. Spaulding was composing it, declared it was the original of The Book of Mormon, just then very much talked about; and that he, with a committtee, wished to compare the two, or if a fraud had been perpetrated, to publish the fact. The book was loaned him, and he and it were never heard of after. How Joseph Smith gathered to himself a great following of believers, and with them was driven from Ohio to Missouri, and thence to Illinois, where he was shot because of his exasperating vices, and, it is said, because of his actual crimes by enraged citizens in 1844, is a part of our country's history. But in Utah Joseph Smith's name is spoken reverently and he is called "prophet," and a "martyr."

Accident, it is said, made Brigham Young Joseph Smith's successor. But accident did not keep him at the head of the growing Mormon people for 35 years. A Vermonter by birth, like Smith, and the son of poor parents, Young's boyhood and young manhood were spent in New York, in the beautiful region south of Utica. He joined the Mormons at Kirtland in 1832, and was at once put into office. He was made their leader immediately after the death of Smith, and became the very soul of the exodus that streamed across the plains in 1847 to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, on what was then the confines of Mexico. That he ordered the terrible massacre at Mountain Meadows (as well as crimes less well known, such as the murder of Captain Gunnison and party) cannot be doubted. He had, in an eminent degree, the power and art of inspiring belief in himself as a leader.

The portrait statue in bronze that now stands at the crossing of the ways before the Eagle Gate, in Salt Lake City, represents him as having a winning, though commanding presence. The forehead is noble. The eyes are long and somewhat narrow. The nose, lips and chin have a leonine effect at once cold and subtle. In Utah Brigham Young is venerated as a "prophet," and his name is spoken reverently.

About two hundred and sixty thousand Mormons are now in Utah, a large proportion of them foreign-born. Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, California and New Mexico have each a large Mormon population. Two thousand Mormon missionaries were sent out during the past year; most of them at work in the United States. There is an effort to send one to every county in the South. Only men are sent, and they pay their own way, begging, if necessary, to meet their expenses. They do not teach the distinctive doctrines of the Mormon Church, but talk like primitive Baptists, and they are winning many converts in quiet rural districts and in our large cities. They exhort these converts to "gather to Zion," namely to remove to Utah, which is now a State, and so beyond the hand of the Federal government in all local affairs.

Note: This article was evidently written by Elizabeth Cummings for publication in The Forward, a New York City paper. It was reprinted, with her name attached, in the Shortsville Enterprise of April 23, 1920.



Vol. ?                   Shortsville, New York, Saturday, February 11, 1899.                     No. ?



I have read with much interest, as doubtless many of your readers have, the excellent article on Mormonism contained in The Enterprise of last week. It is concise, right to the point, and is worth preserving by the residents of this town as a well told bit of Mormon history. Few persons now living remember much about Mormonism in its early days. I am more particularly interested in this matter because I was in my boyhood somewhat familiar with the rise and early history of this celebrated sect in the town of Manchester.

Oliver Cowdery, the person referred to, once lived in the village of Manchester. He was a man of some education, a sort of pettifogging, half-fledged lawyer and often attended suits held before 'Squire Mitchell, 'Squire Pierce and other magistrates in this part of the country. Like most lawyers, he had a most wonderful gift of gab.

My father belonged to the same persuasion as pettifogger Cowdery; often attended suits before a Justice of the Peace at the same time in opposition to his friend. As was quite natural, they became intimate and often visited at our house. I remember quite distinctly when I was a boy about 12 years old taking a trip in a one-horse wagon (buggies like we use now were then unknown) with my father and this man Oliver Cowdery to Palmyra. This was after Cowdery had joined the Mormons, and during this ride I recollect how he used all the powers of his persuasive eloquence to induce father to cast in his fortune with him in the new sect then much talked about, telling him what wonderful honors and promotions were waiting the acceptance of his invitation; but credulity was not one of my father's characteristics and all Cowdery's promises of promotion in the church failed in making a proselyte. Though nearly 70 years have passed since then, the writer remembers distinctly little bits of the conversation referred to. Cowdery told my father that not long before the Lord, in a mysterious manner, had appeared to him in the form of a young deer, who crossed the road before him one day when he was driving to Palmyra and disappeared instantly as if by magic. Whether Cowdery was a credulous fanatic or a designing knave this deponent saith not. He was not a fool, whatever else he may have been.

In this connection let me say how well I recollect going with the two pettifoggers before referred to, Cowdery and father, my father as a witness and Cowdery as. attorney for plaintiff or defendant, I forget which, to attend a lawsuit at the "Poplar Tavern" (Harmon's). A Canandaigua lawyer was there to oppose Cowdery and in his final summing up address for his client he made some disparaging remarks with reference to my father's testimony, which made me so angry that I could scarcely contain myself. Indeed, I was so indignant that I wrote to this Canandaigua lawyer -- I have forgotten his name -- a letter which I suppose was a very impertinent one, to which very properly he paid no attention whatever. I was a young, simple, sensitive boy then, and' years afterward when I had gained more knowledge of the world and its ways, I learned that this lawyer had, no personal ill feeling against my father, but was simply discharging his duty and working along the line of his profession and according to his knowledge in the interests of his client. The case was not decided until late in the evening, after which we drove home by way of Manchester where we left Cowdery and went on to our own home in Shortsville. Just after we passed Henry's tannery near the old Jed Dewey place we were overtaken by a terrific thunder storm which I shall never forget as long as I live. The night was as dark as black ink and I never heard such thunder or saw such lightning before or since. I was a timid boy and I was dreadfully frightened. I remember how I wondered that Cowdery and father could possibly carry on their conversation in the ordinary indifferent manner. I thought it was extremely irreverent in the face of what seemed to me most imminent danger.

I never knew or heard anything about Joseph Smith in those early days, but I have often heard the late Mrs. Walker say that while she did not recollect ever having seen Joseph Smith himself she knew and had heard a great deal about him when she was a girl. She said he was considered by the community generally as a simple-minded, though shrewd, fortune teller whose moral character was not first class. Mrs. Walker said he used to travel around the country telling the fortunes of people who were possessed of more credulity than sense, by means of a magic stone that he looked at concealed in an old hat which he carried around with him.

The first Mormon church, or rather the first church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, was organized in the town of Manchester on the 6th of April, 1830, but where this organization took place, whether in the village of Manchester, at some sqhool house, church or private residence, we have no record to show. The next year (1831) the "saints" removed to Kirtland, Ohio, where Joe's life became so profligate that the whole crowd was driven out of the State, when they took refuge in Missouri.

In after years when Oliver Cowdery, the Manchester pettifogger, had attained notoriety and distinction among the Latter Day Saints I often used to think I would write to his highness and remind him of old time boyish acquaintances in Manchester, but I never got to it.

By the way, what has become of the old-time pettifogger? We have not seen or heard of him for years. He was a well-known character in his day but he seems to have entirely disappeared from public view. He was once a useful man in the community and doubtless served a good purpose in those simple times when we had cheap law and cheap justice, too. The old-time pettifogger was regarded as one of the most knowing men of the community, and one who did a great deal of work for little pay. He was everybody's friend, counsellor, legal adviser, conveyancer and confident. He carried around under his vest more family secrets than any other person in the neighborhood except, perhaps, the doctor and the preacher. * * *

My father loved the profession -- he loved the law dearly and nothing delighted him so much as to attend a lawsuit whether as an active participant or not. He would any day cheerfully leave his plowing in the field and pettifog a suit before some Justice of the Peace for a neighbor, whether he ever got any pay or not. When he was selected as foreman of the grand jury, as was often the case, he would carefully write out all the testimony given by the different witnesses and bring home, with him for future reading and reference. This seemed congenial work. Speaking of cheap law, reminds me of a [----- ------ ------ ------- ---- docket book containing] a record of the cases tried by Judge Mitchell in the year 1817, in which have been very much interested as well as amused. I fancy a Justice of the Peace did not get very rich out of his office in those primitive times.

Take one case as an illustration: Casher Palmiston vs. Thomas Wadkins -- Fees, Justice of the Peace, 27 1/2 cents; constable's fees, 30 cents; witness fees, 12 1/2 cents; in all, 70 cents. Damages, $1.00. Execution issued Feb. 14, 1818, for $1.89, and delivercd to Hamilton Hagard, constable.

Take another case: Benzaleci Glenson vs. Abner Batts, 27th Nov., 1817; fees, Justice of the Peace, 12 1/2 cents; damages, $3.48; judgment, $3.60 1/2. One case where action was withdrawn, judgment was entered against plaintiff for 39 1/2 cents costs.

There are many similar cases where the amount at issue was less than $5 and there are few above $10.

In the article you quote it as stated that "There is no reliable record that anyone save Smith ever saw the 'golden plates.'" This may be true, still there is evidence (perhaps not reliable) that other persons than Joe Smithsaw and handled those plates, which had the appearance of being gold. Just read the following solemn declaration: "Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith, Jr., the author and proprietor of this work, has shown unto usthe plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold, and also the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work and of curious workmanship. And this we have record, with, words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us for we have seen and hefted, and known of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken and we lie not, God bearing witness of it. Signed -- Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hiram Smith, Samuel H. Smith." A similar declaration is made by Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris.     B. C. A.

Note 1: The above article was apparently written as a belated postscript to Mr. B. C. A.'s 1889 article series in the Enterprise, published under the heading of "Rambling Recollections." Those articles contain very little information directly related to Mormon origins, but they are a goldmine of information about mid-19th century Manchester township.

Note 2: Mr. B. C. A.'s 1899 "Recollections" article contributes practically nothing useful in the way of local lore regarding incipient Mormonism in Ontario County. The mention of "the Lord" appearing "in the form of a young deer" sounds more like a Martin Harris anecdote than anything resembling the preserved accounts attributable to Oliver Cowdery. Indeed, the writer has most certainly conflated some of his childhood recollections of Lyman Cowdery (Oliver's brother) with the famous Book of Mormon witness. Since Lyman is sometimes mentioned as having been a transitory convert to Mormonism, the entire story given by Mr. B. C. A. may have been derived from his lawyer father's early 1830s association with fellow lawyer Lyman. As late as 1833 Lyman was living in Arcadia and operating as an attorney in the Wayne/Ontario county region of western New York. Lyman Cowdery subsequently became a resident of Manchester township, attending a meeting there in August of 1834. In 1881 Elder William Kelley interviewed William Bryant, an old resident of Manchester, who recalled: "I knew Cowdery; Lyman Cowdery, I believe, was his name. They lived next door to us."

Note 3: The writer of the above article was Alexis Cuyler Buck, who was born in Manchester Village, June 25, 1818, and died in Shortsville, Jan. 5, 1906. Alexis was the first child of Addison Noble Buck (1795-1843) and Sabrina Short Buck (whose father was the founder of Shortsville). After Addison died, his widow married his former business partner, Stephen Brewster, who was the grandfather of Manchester's noted amateur historian, Rev. Mitchell Bronk (see Bronk's article "An Interesting Clipping," in the Nov. 10, 1927 issue of the Enterprise.) --- Most of Sabrina's children disappeared from her household following their father's demise. One younger brother, Myron M. Buck, sought his fortune in Chicago and St. Louis, only to return years later to endow and establish Shortsville's Myron M. Buck Public Library. Alexis spent much of his adult life in Ontario, Canada but returned to New York in the late 1880s. Alexis C. Buck was almost certainly too young to have known Oliver Cowdery prior to Oliver's removal to Ohio and Missouri in 1830, but it is entirely possible that a slightly older Alexis crossed paths with Oliver's brother, Lyman Cowdery, in Manchester township during the early 1830s.


Democratic  [     ]  Herald.

Vol. ?                             Clyde, N. Y., Wednesday, May 24, 1899.                           No. ?

A  Sermon  on  Mormonism.

The following interesting article is an extract from a sermon recently delivered in St. Louis by Rev. Wm. H. Bates, formrly pastor of ihe Clyde Presbyterian Church.

"In that beautiful, garden-like country, Central New York, on the gentle declivity that slopes from the central ridge or backbone of that portion of the State northward to Lake Ontario, is a series of peculiar hills, 'hog backs' they are vulgarly called, that run north and south, generally more pointed and often abrupt at the northern end. Four miles south of the charming village of Palmyra, in Wayne county, is one of these eminences, which now bears the name of 'Mormon Hill,' but was previously called 'Cumorah.'

"As I was passing one day along the highway which skirts its western foot, the driver of the vehicle, pointing to what appeared to be a little up-thrown bank of earth, perhaps two-thirds of the way to its summit, said, 'There is the hole from which Joe Smith dug out the golden plates of the Mormon Bible.' Over the [----], by the roadside were still to be seen short sections of sawn tree trunks, which he said furnished the foundation of the Smith shop.

"Joseph Smith was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, December 23, 1805. Ten years later his parents migrated to Palmyra, N. Y. His mother was thoroughly imbued with religious enthusiasm. She early gave out that from her family should spring forth one who thould be a prophet and the founder of a new religion. Her husband was her faithful ally, and their son Alvah [sic] was designated as the one. He died of colic, and his prophetic mantle fell on Joe, his brother.

"Joe was a queer boy. A Palmyra writer says that to such an extent did the mother impress upon him his his future mission that all the instincts of childhood were repressed. He rarely laughed or smiled, never indulgued in demonstrations or fun.

"When about 15 years old, while watching his father dig a well, a curious stone shaped like a child's foot was thrown up, which attracted the lad's attention. This was the famous Palmyra 'peek stone.'

"[Then] Joe made his way to Harmony, a little settlement on the north bank of the river near Susquehanna, Pa. Residing in that vicinity was a man named Jack Belcher; who, while employed at the salt works near Cehna, became possessed of a 'seeing stone' that had, as alleged, miraculous powers. It quite outrivaled Joe's "peek stone.' Seeing how its possession would enable him to make money more rapidly and easily, he bought the stone of Belcher. He concocted a policy of expansion, both for his business and his fame. He induced a well-to-do farmer, named Martin Harris to become his financial backer. With the funds that Harris furnished, he engaged men and began digging for some buried money, the locality of which his new stone had revealed. The party boarded with one Isaac Hale. They did not find the money, but Smith found something else. He fell in love with Hale's daughter, Emma. The father, opposing the suit, the couple eloped to New York State, where they were married. Writing back, the young husband declared he had given up what he called 'glass-looking,' and was willing and expected to work hard for a living, which placated his father-in law.

"Joe's mother had her heart set upon her 'prophet scheme,' and under her stimulus he would sometimes give out that he was 'the anointed of God, and his special prophet.' Looking into his stone one day, he saw some golden plates buried near the top of the hill Cumorah. This is the story the family told. But Joe says that they were revealed to him by an angel. After due probationary discipline, in the solemn stillness of night he repairs to the hill, and after a time of laborious digging he strikes a stone box, which he finds to contain a volume six inches thick, made of thin plates of gold, eight inches by seven, and fastened together with three gold rings. Examining them, he finds them written over with hieroglyphics, or 'reformed Egyptian' characters as he afterwards called them. Who shall read this strange language? Fortunately, accompanying the volume was a pair of spectacles, consisting of two crystals set in a silver bow called 'Urim and Thummim.' Putting on these he could read the plates like a book. Able to read or write, but indifferently, he procured Oliver Cowdery, a schoolmaster, as an amanuensis. To guard ngain«t profane curiosity, he gives out that no one save himself can see thede plates, on pain of immediate death. Sitting behind n screen, he dictates and the amanuensis writes down what he gives. In this way the translation was made, and he brings back to Palmyra the Mormon Biblw. Martin Harris, the well-to-do farmer, securing for himself one-half the proceeds of the sale until he should be reimbursed to the extent of $2,500, puts up the money for printing it. The book was published by Pomeroy Tucker [sic], editor and proprietor of the Wayne Sentinel, in Palmyra in the year 1830. Thus tbe "Book of Mormon' saw the light.

"Early in the summer of 1827 a mysterious stranger seeks admission to Joe Smith's cabin. Conference after conference followed. Joe's 'peekstone' is at hand. He looks into it and sees -- the golden plates in the hillside. Their recovery, translation and its publication I have alreadv narrated.

"The preaching of the new faith was begun. The first converts were part of a Whitmer family in Fayette, Seneca County, N. Y. On the 6th of April, 1830 in Whitmer's hhouse, the Mormon church was organizedd, consisting of six persons -- Joe Smith, his two brothers, two Whitmers and Oliver Cowdery, who had been Smith's amanuensis. Nut a prophet has not much honor at home. Mormon progress was slow. Westward had been the way of the star of empire. Smith, with thirty of his followers, removed to Kirtland, O., near Rigdon's old parish. This was to be the new Jerusalem of these 'Latter Day Saints,' as they styled themselves. The 'Saints' were directed to consecrate all their property to God, and start a bank, of which Smith should be the president. Smith's course might have led to the disruption of the whole thing had it not been for the accession of Brigham Young, a 30-year old Yermont painter and glazier, who turned up in Kirtlard that same year and was soon ordained elder. In 1838 the populace of Kirtland [sic - Missouri?] drove the 'Saints' out by force. Leaving, they settled at Nauvoo. Ill., for which settlement Smith obtained a city charter.

"At Nauvoo the foundation of a new temple was laid April 6th., 1841, and rapid became the growthid the city in size and prosperity. July 12th, 1843, Smith had a brand new revelation; from Heaven or somewhere, expressly establishing and approving polygamy. A whirwind of excitement was created both inside and outside Mortnondom. To quell it, Smith resorted to such high handed measures as almost to bring on civil war. The Governor of the State pursuaded him to surrender and stand trial. But only a little before this his followers had nominated him for President of the United States. On June 27, 1844, an infuriated mob broke into the jail where Smith and his brother Hyram were held, and shot the two men dead.

"Sydney Rigdon, a follower of Smith, aspired to the headship of the Mormon Church, but Brigham Young's shrewdness, zeal, persuasive eloquence and indomitable will carried him triumphantly into the chief seat of Mormonism.

"Of ihe removal of the Mormoas from Nauvoo, under the leadership of Young, and their settlement in the great Salt Lake Valley, in Utah, then in the domain of Mexico (for they wished to be free from the power of the United States,) whither the the 142 pioneers arrived July 24, 1847, I cannot now speak."

Doctor Bates then spoke of the constitution and work of the Mormon Church, closing as follows:

"According to the census of 1890, in Utah, the Mormons are about three-fifths of the entire population, which is about 250,000. They have l,058 communicants in Nebraska; 1,106 in Kansas; 1,330 in Wyoming; 1,309 in California; 1,540 in Michigan; 1.762 in Colorado; 5,303 in Iowa; 6,500 in Arizona, and 14,972 in Idaho. They virtually cortrol, not only Utah, but Idaho, Wyoming and Arizona: and in a close election would hold the balance of power in other states. Their missionaries are now encompassing not only this country, but are sent out into all lands, and are working with a craft, devotion and persistence unsurpassed by any religious devotees the world has ever known. In 1897 the Congregationalists gained about 12,000 members; the Presbyterians about 17,000; the Methodists about 19,700; the Mormons 63,000 -- i. e., to say, 13,300 more than all those three denominations together!

"One of the tenets of the Mormon faith is that the pre-existence of souls. There are myriads of these souls waiting for incarnation, and he is the best fellow who provides most bodies for them!

"For more than fifty years sane people of this country have been laughing at the absurdities of Mormonism, and thought that it must die of its own inherent folly. But its aggressiveness and growth have awakened us to the fact that the time has come to cease laughing at it. Let your hearts say, "Down with Mormonism," and your hands stir the action to the word whenever and wherever opportunity offers."

Notes: (forthcoming)


Buffalo   Courier.

Vol. 64.                        Buffalo, New York, Sunday, August 6, 1899.                         No. 218.


The last man who personally knew Joseph Smith during the days that the foundations of the great Mormon hierarchy were laid -- away back in Wayne County, New York -- died in Santa Monica, Cal., the other day. For the last dozen years he remained the sole survivor of all the people who knew from actual knowledge of the beginnings of Mormonism, and he was visited every year by scores of Mormons from all over the Pacific Coast and by other people interested in his recollections of Joseph Smith.

The old gentleman was Daniel Hendrix. He was born in 1806, and was therefore almost 94 years of age when he died, He came to live with his children in Ontario, Cal., ten years ago. He retained his full mental faculties until last fall, and when the reporter chatted with the old gentleman last May, the latter has a very clear memory of his early life. He was a lifelong, devout Presbyterian.

Mr. Hendrix kept for over seventy years several blurred and yellow proof sheets of the original Book of Mormon (or the Mormon Bible, as it has been more generally known) printed by Maj. John Gilbert, at Palmyra, Wayne County, New York in 1834 [sic]. Thirty years ago he had one of the few original copies of the Book of Mormon, but he sold it for $300 to an agent for Lord Beaconsfield. Since that sale one of two copies of the first Mormon Bible have sold for over $1,500 each.

"I was a very young man in a store in Palmyra, N. Y. from 1822 until 1830," said he, "and among the daily visitors at the establishment was Joseph Smith, Jr. He had lived in Palmyra a few years previous to my going there from Rochester. Joe was the most ragged, lazy fellows in the place. He was twenty-five years old. I used to pity him, yet Joe had a jovial, easy, way about him that made warm friends. He was a good talker, and with training would have made a persuasive stump speaker. He never could tell a common occurrence in his daily life without embellishing the story.

"Mrs. Smith, Joe's mother, was a staunch Presbyterian, and was an admirer of her son, despite his shiftless ways. 'Never mind about my son Joseph,' said she one day when my employer had rallied her upon her heir's useless ways, 'for the boy will be able some of these fine days to buy the whole of Palmyra and all the folks in it.'

"For over two years Joe Smith's chief occupation was digging for gold at night and sleeping in the daytime. He was close-mouthed on the subject of his gold-seeking operations around on the farms of Wayne County, where not a speck of gold was ever mined. Joe carried a divining rod to tell him where there was hidden treasure, and he left many holes in the ground about that region which testified that he could work if the spirit moved. He had all the superstitions of the money diggers of the day, one of which was that the digging must be done at night, and not a word must be spoken, for at the first utterance the gold would fly away to some other locality.

"Finally, in the fall -- in September, I believe -- of 1828 [sic], Joe went about the village of Palmyra telling people of the great bonanza he had at last found. I remember distinctly his sitting on some boxes in the store and telling a knot of men, who did not believe a word they heard, all about his vision and his find. But Joe went into such minute and careful details about the size, weight, and beauty of the carvings on the golden tablets, the strange characters and the ancient adornments, that I confess he made some of the smartest men in Palmyra rub their eyes. The women were not so skeptical as the men, and several of the leading ones in the place began to feel at once that Joe was a remarkable man after all.

"Joe declared that he had found the gold plates on a hill six miles south of Palmyra, on the main road between that place and Canandaigua. Joe had dug and dug there for gold for four years, and from that time the hill has been known as Gold Hill. For the first month or two at least Joe Smith did not say himself that the plates were any new religious significance, but simply said that he had found a valuable treasure in the shape of a record of some ancient peoples which had been inscribed on imperishable gold for preservation. The gold plates were never allowed to be seen, though I have heard Joe's mother say that she had lifted them when covered with a cloth, and they were heavy. Joe soon began to exhibit what he claimed to be copies of the characters engraved on the plates, though the irreverent were disposed to think they were the characters found on China tea-chests and in histories of the Egyptians and Babylonians rather than any plates he had dug up near Palmyra. Before long, however, a new person appeared on the scene in the person of one Sidney Rigdon, and thenceforward the golden plate matter took on a new and serious character.

"I remember Rigdon as a man of about forty years, soft, agreeable and extremely quiet, and with some means. He had a wonderful assurance, was a man of energy and contrivance, and would make a good living anywhere. He and Joe Smith became cronies. I used to see them sitting on a warm da