26049

Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 6 November 1829

begin to write of the mercies of God I know not when to Stop but time and paper fails I would inform that Hyram Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

View Full Bio
and Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
went out to fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

More Info
last week they had a joyful time and found all in as good health as could be expected Martin

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
thinks of comeing to the South8

A reference to Harmony, Pennsylvania, where JS and Emma Smith were living.  


in the course of two or three weeks and will callculate to take back that horse9

JS commented in his 22 October 1829 letter that he had purchased a horse from Josiah Stowell and wanted “some one to come after it.” (Letter to Oliver Cowdery, 22 Oct. 1829.)  


the printing goes rather Slow yet as the type founder has been sick10

Cowdery was likely referring to a compositor or typesetter, whose ill health would have certainly delayed the process. Founding—that is, cutting and casting—type was a highly specialized skill, and none of those assisting with the printing of the Book of Mormon is known to have been a type founder. It is possible that JS made a transcription error when he copied this letter into the letterbook.  


but we expect that the type will be on and Mr, Granden Egbert B. Grandin

30 Mar. 1806–16 Apr. 1845. Printer, newspaper editor and publisher, butcher, shipper, tanner. Born in Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Son of William Grandin and Amy Lewis. Moved to Williamson, Ontario Co., New York, by 1810; to Pultneyville, Ontario Co...

View Full Bio
Still think he will finish printing by the first of febuary11

The printing of the Book of Mormon was completed in March 1830, and the volume was first advertised for sale in the Wayne Sentinel, a newspaper also published in Grandin’s shop. (John H. Gilbert, Memorandum, 8 Sept. 1892, photocopy, CHL; “The Book of Mormon,” Wayne Sentinel [Palmyra, NY], 26 Mar. 1830, [3].)  


we all send respects to yourself and Emma

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
——
My dear Brother I cannot hardly feel to close this letter as yet without informing you that we received one from Mr— Thomas B. Marsh

1 Nov. 1800–Jan. 1866. Farmer, hotel worker, waiter, horse groom, grocer, type foundry worker, teacher. Born at Acton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of James Marsh and Molly Law. Married first Elizabeth Godkin, 1 Nov. 1820, at New York City. Moved to ...

View Full Bio
from Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

More Info
Masacuchusetts [Massachusetts] dated the 25th Oct. he informs us that he wishes to hear from us and know of our wellfare he says he has talked considerable to Some respecting our work12

Although Marsh’s letter is not extant, in a later history he wrote that after becoming familiar with the Book of Mormon during its printing, he “corresponded with Oliver Cowdery & Jos Smith.” During a trip from his home in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to New York in late summer or early fall 1829, Marsh visited Harris at Grandin’s printing office and obtained from him a proof sheet of the first sixteen pages of the Book of Mormon. He took the pages home to show members of his family, and he and his wife, Elizabeth, became early believers in JS’s work. (“T B Marsh,” [1], Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; see also Thomas B. Marsh and Elizabeth Godkin Marsh to Lewis Abbott and Ann Marsh Abbott, [ca. 11 Apr. 1831], Abbott Family Collection, CHL.)  


with freedom but others could not because they had no ears my great desire is that we may be faithful and obedient and humble children of Christ here that we may meet together in his kingdom of Eternal Glory to go no more out to Spend an Eternity where the wicked cese from troubling13

See Job 3:17.  


and the humbl and penitent child in christ finds rest I remain with much Esteem and profound respect your Brother and companion in tribulation and persecution in the kingdom of patience and hope of a Glorious reserrection in christ our Savior and redemer Amen
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
Joseph Smith Jr
Letter 5 P S I have Just got to alma commandment to his Son in coppyinng the manscrip14

The prophet Alma addresses his three sons—Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton—in Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 323–340 [Alma 36–42]. Cowdery by this point had created 261 pages of the printer’s manuscript, which ultimately numbered 464 pages.  


we are all in tolerable health here but my Father

5 Sept. 1765–26 Feb. 1847. Farmer, physician. Born at East Haddam, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of William Cowdery and Hannah Emmons. Raised Congregationalist. Married first Rebecca Fuller. Moved to Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont, ca. 1787. Appointed surveyor...

View Full Bio
health is poor15

Oliver Cowdery’s father, William Cowdery Jr., born in 1765, recovered from his ill health and lived nearly twenty more years. (Mehling, Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray Genealogy, 95.)  


[p. 8]
begin to write of the mercy mercies of God I know not when  to Stop but time and paper fails I would inform  that Hyram [Hyrum Smith]

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

View Full Bio
and Martin [Harris]

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
went out to fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

More Info
last  week they had a joyful time and found all in  as good health as could be expected Martin

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
th inks of comeing to the South8

A reference to Harmony, Pennsylvania, where JS and Emma Smith were living.  


in the course  of two or three weeks and will callculate to  take back that horse9

JS commented in his 22 October 1829 letter that he had purchased a horse from Josiah Stowell and wanted “some one to come after it.” (Letter to Oliver Cowdery, 22 Oct. 1829.)  


the printing goes rather  Slow yet as the type founder has been sick10

Cowdery was likely referring to a compositor or typesetter, whose ill health would have certainly delayed the process. Founding—that is, cutting and casting—type was a highly specialized skill, and none of those assisting with the printing of the Book of Mormon is known to have been a type founder. It is possible that JS made a transcription error when he copied this letter into the letterbook.  


 but we expect that the type will be on and  Mr, Granden [Egbert B. Grandin]

30 Mar. 1806–16 Apr. 1845. Printer, newspaper editor and publisher, butcher, shipper, tanner. Born in Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Son of William Grandin and Amy Lewis. Moved to Williamson, Ontario Co., New York, by 1810; to Pultneyville, Ontario Co...

View Full Bio
Still think we <he> will finish  printing by the first of febuary11

The printing of the Book of Mormon was completed in March 1830, and the volume was first advertised for sale in the Wayne Sentinel, a newspaper also published in Grandin’s shop. (John H. Gilbert, Memorandum, 8 Sept. 1892, photocopy, CHL; “The Book of Mormon,” Wayne Sentinel [Palmyra, NY], 26 Mar. 1830, [3].)  


we all send  respects to yourself and Emma

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

View Full Bio
——
My dear Brother I cannot hardly feel to close this  letter as yet without informing you that we received  one from Mr— [Thomas B.] Marsh

1 Nov. 1800–Jan. 1866. Farmer, hotel worker, waiter, horse groom, grocer, type foundry worker, teacher. Born at Acton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of James Marsh and Molly Law. Married first Elizabeth Godkin, 1 Nov. 1820, at New York City. Moved to ...

View Full Bio
from Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

More Info
Masacuchusetts [Massachusetts]  dated the 25th Oct. he informs us that he wishes to  hear from us and know of our wellfare he says  he has talked conside[r]able to Some respecting our  work12

Although Marsh’s letter is not extant, in a later history he wrote that after becoming familiar with the Book of Mormon during its printing, he “corresponded with Oliver Cowdery & Jos Smith.” During a trip from his home in Charlestown, Massachusetts, to New York in late summer or early fall 1829, Marsh visited Harris at Grandin’s printing office and obtained from him a proof sheet of the first sixteen pages of the Book of Mormon. He took the pages home to show members of his family, and he and his wife, Elizabeth, became early believers in JS’s work. (“T B Marsh,” [1], Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; see also Thomas B. Marsh and Elizabeth Godkin Marsh to Lewis Abbott and Ann Marsh Abbott, [ca. 11 Apr. 1831], Abbott Family Collection, CHL.)  


with freedom but others could not because  they had no ears my great desire is that we may  be faithful and obedient and humble children of  Christ here that we may meet together in his kingdom  of Eternal Glory to go no more out to Spend an  Ete[r]nity where the we wicked cese from troubling13

See Job 3:17.  


 and the humbl and penitent child in christ  finds rest I remain with much Esteem and  profound respect your Brother and compa[n]ion in  tribulation and persecution in the kingdom  of patience and hope of a Glorious reserrecti on in christ our Savior and redemer Amen
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
Joseph Smith Jr
<Let[ter] 5>

This designation, meant to indicate the fifth letter copied into JS Letterbook 1, was written by Frederick G. Williams, who mistook Cowdery’s postscript for a separate letter.  


P S I have Just got to alma command ment to his Son in coppyinng the mansc rip14

The prophet Alma addresses his three sons—Helaman, Shiblon, and Corianton—in Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 323–340 [Alma 36–42]. Cowdery by this point had created 261 pages of the printer’s manuscript, which ultimately numbered 464 pages.  


we are all in tolerable hea[l]th here  but my Father

5 Sept. 1765–26 Feb. 1847. Farmer, physician. Born at East Haddam, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of William Cowdery and Hannah Emmons. Raised Congregationalist. Married first Rebecca Fuller. Moved to Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont, ca. 1787. Appointed surveyor...

View Full Bio
health is poor15

Oliver Cowdery’s father, William Cowdery Jr., born in 1765, recovered from his ill health and lived nearly twenty more years. (Mehling, Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray Genealogy, 95.)  


[p. 8]
Previous
Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
composed this letter in response to JS’s letter two weeks earlier.1 By this time Cowdery had been involved with the printing of the Book of Mormon for several weeks, and here he provided JS with a brief update of that work. He also informed JS of the estimated date of completion and explained that illness had delayed the work. In the postscript, Cowdery noted his progress copying the original Book of Mormon manuscript. Pages of the resulting “printer’s manuscript” were then delivered to the printer, E. B. Grandin

30 Mar. 1806–16 Apr. 1845. Printer, newspaper editor and publisher, butcher, shipper, tanner. Born in Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Son of William Grandin and Amy Lewis. Moved to Williamson, Ontario Co., New York, by 1810; to Pultneyville, Ontario Co...

View Full Bio
, ensuring that if the copy were damaged, either through mischief or carelessness, the original would still be preserved.2

Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 9, [2]; John H. Gilbert, Memorandum, 8 Sept. 1892, photocopy, CHL.  


The sentiments and language of Cowdery’s expressions of faith in the letter reveal his familiarity with passages from the manuscript.

Facts