26017

History, 1834–1836

having heard many reports of an unfavourable character, he desired now to know the truth of the matter.
He appeared to be an honest inquirer. Pres. Smith spent the evening with him, in conversation, & found him to be a candid man; but without any peculiarities about him except his simplicity, he tarried over night [with] us, and acknowledged in the morning, that although he had thought that he knew something about religion, he was now convinced, that he knew but little, which was the greatest trait of wisdom which he displayed.

5 December 1835 • Saturday

Saturday 5th. This morning the weather is cold & the snow is gently dropping from the heavens, & there is a prospect of sleighing again.— Presdts. [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...

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& [Frederick G.] Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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called and spent the fore noon in studying Hebrew with us.— our author Pres. Smith is labouring under a slight indisposition of health; but after taking a little repose, he resumed his wonted cheerfulness and through the blessings of God was abled to attend to his business. on this day he received a letter from Reuben McBride

16 June 1803–26 Feb. 1891. Farmer. Born at Chester, Washington Co., New York. Son of Daniel McBride and Abigail Mead. Married Mary Ann Anderson, 16 June 1833. Baptized into LDS church, 4 Mar. 1834, at Villanova, Chautauque Co., New York. Participated in Camp...

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dated at Villanovia Villanova

Also spelled Villenova. Located in southwest corner of state. Settled by 1810. Taken from Hanover Township, Jan. 1823. Population in 1830 about 1,100; in 1835 about 1,500; and in 1840 about 1,700. While recruiting Camp of Israel volunteers, JS and Parley ...

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NewYork, and another from Parley [P.] Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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’s mother in law, dated at Herkimer Co. N.Y. of no consequence as to what it contained but cost us 25 cents for postage; he mentioned this because it [is] a common occurrence, and he is subjected to a great expense in this way, by those who he knows nothing about, only that they are destitute of good manners, for if people wish to be benefited by his counsel & instruction, common respect, and good breeding would dictate them to pay the postage on their letters.

6 December 1835 • Sunday

Sunday 6th. He as usual attended meeting, being ever constant at the shrine of public & private devotion, setting an example of unremitting, & untiring zeal and piety teaching, & enforcing, both by precept, and example, the principles, & doctrines, of the holy religion he professes.
Eldr. Gideon Carter

1798–25 Oct. 1838. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married first Hilah (Hilda) Burwell, 1822. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, 1831. Baptized into ...

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occupied the desk in the morning and delivered an interesting discourse. In the P.M. an exhortation was delivered, and the Lords supper administered. br. Draper came forward to make a [p. 141]
having heard many reports of an unfavourable charac ter, he desired now to know the truth of the matter.
He appeared to be an honest inquirer. Pres. Smith  spent the evening with him, in conversation, & found  him to be a candid man; but without any peculia rities about him except his simplicity, he tarried  over night [with]324

Omitted word supplied from the corresponding journal entry.  


us, and acknowledged in the morning,  that although he had thought that he knew som ething about religion, he was now convinced, that  he knew but little, which was the greatest trait  of wisdom which he displayed.

5 December 1835 • Saturday

Saturday 5th. This morning the weather is cold & the  snow is gently dropping from the heavens, & there is a  prospect of sleighing again.— Presdts. [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...

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& [Frederick G.] Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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 called and spent the fore noon in studying Hebrew  with us.— our author Pres. Smith is labouring under  a slight indisposition of health; but after taking  a little repose, he resumed his wonted cheerfulness  and throug[h] the blessings of God was abled to attend  to his business. on this day he received a letter from  Reuben McBride

16 June 1803–26 Feb. 1891. Farmer. Born at Chester, Washington Co., New York. Son of Daniel McBride and Abigail Mead. Married Mary Ann Anderson, 16 June 1833. Baptized into LDS church, 4 Mar. 1834, at Villanova, Chautauque Co., New York. Participated in Camp...

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dated at Villanovia [Villanova]

Also spelled Villenova. Located in southwest corner of state. Settled by 1810. Taken from Hanover Township, Jan. 1823. Population in 1830 about 1,100; in 1835 about 1,500; and in 1840 about 1,700. While recruiting Camp of Israel volunteers, JS and Parley ...

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NewYork, and  another from Parley [P.] Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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’s mother in law,325

Thankful Cooper Halsey.  


dated at Herk imer Co. N.Y. of no consequ[e]nce as to what it contained  but cost us 25 cents for postage; he mentioned this beca use it [is]326

Omitted word supplied from the corresponding journal entry.  


a common occurrence, and he is subjected  to a great expense in this way, by those who he  knows nothing about, only that they are destitute  of good manners, for if people wish to be benefited  by his counsel & instruction, common respect, and  good breeding would dictate them to pay the postage  on their letters.

6 December 1835 • Sunday

Sunday 6th. He as usual attended meeting, being ever  constant at the shrine of public & private devotion, setting  an example of unremitting, & untiring zeal and piety  teaching, & enforcing, both by precept, and example, the  principles, & doctrines, of the holy religion he professes.327

This paragraph is a scribal elaboration by Warren Parrish; the 1835–1836 journal has only “went to meeting at the us[u]al hour.”  


Eldr. Gideon Carter

1798–25 Oct. 1838. Born at Killingworth, Middlesex Co., Connecticut. Son of Gideon Carter and Johanna Sims. Moved to Benson, Rutland Co., Vermont, by 1810. Married first Hilah (Hilda) Burwell, 1822. Moved to Amherst, Lorain Co., Ohio, 1831. Baptized into ...

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occupied the desk in the morning  and delivered an interesting discourse. In the P.M. an  exhortation was delivered, and the Lords supper  administered. br. Draper came forward to make a [p. 141]
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JS’s 1834–1836 history is a composite historical record consisting of genealogical tables, journal-like entries, and transcripts of newspaper articles. It shifts abruptly in format from one unfinished section to the next. The order of handwriting in the history roughly matches that found in the 1835–1836 journal, and like the journal, the history passed from 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...

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to Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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to Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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to Warren Cowdery

17 Oct. 1788–23 Feb. 1851. Physician, druggist, farmer, editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Married Patience Simonds, 22 Sept. 1814, in Pawlet, Rutland Co. Moved to Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., New York, 1816...

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. Finally, it returned to Parrish. The purpose for which the record was created is unclear, as is the rationale for its differing formats. At the beginning, the 1834–1836 history may have had as much to do with Oliver Cowdery, its first scribe, as with JS. Cowdery was serving at the time as scribe for JS’s first Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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journal. He had transformed that journal into a jointly authored document by writing in the first person plural, making both himself and JS the protagonists. Cowdery made his final entry in the first Ohio journal 5 December 1834, the day he was ordained an assistant president to JS in the general church presidency and placed ahead of JS’s other assistants. He may have begun the 1834–1836 history in response to his new appointment.
The new record was begun in a massive blank book. 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...

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left the first twelve pages blank, possibly for a title page and other introductory material to be written later. He then inscribed columns and headings on the next eight pages to reserve them for the genealogies of the four members of the new church presidency. On the following page, he began an entry dated 5 December 1834, the same date as his last entry in JS’s first Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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journal.
Just as 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...

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converted JS’s first Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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journal into a JS-Cowdery journal, he may have conceived of the 1834–1836 history as a record for all four members of the church presidency. Cowdery’s entry for 5 December 1834 provided a lengthier and more formal account of his elevation to the church presidency than did JS’s first Ohio journal. Regardless of its purpose, however, the daily log was discontinued after two entries.
The next section of the history, begun months later, is a transcript of 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...

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’s series of eight letters on church history published in the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate between October 1834 and October 1835. Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, who began the transcription, may have begun working under Cowdery’s direction, but by 29 October 1835 JS had assumed effective control of the document. JS’s journal entry of that date, which notes his employment of Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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as his scribe, also records that Parrish “commenced writing in my journal a history of my life, concluding President Cowdery 2d letter to W. W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, which president Williams had begun.”1

JS, Journal, 29 Oct. 1835; see also entry for 29 Oct. 1835 herein. In this case, “my journal” refers to JS’s 1834–1836 history, which JS also called his “large journal.”  


The final section of JS’s history, transcribed by Warren Cowdery

17 Oct. 1788–23 Feb. 1851. Physician, druggist, farmer, editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Married Patience Simonds, 22 Sept. 1814, in Pawlet, Rutland Co. Moved to Freedom, Cattaraugus Co., New York, 1816...

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and Warren Parrish

10 Jan. 1803–3 Jan. 1877. Clergyman, gardener. Born in New York. Son of John Parrish and Ruth Farr. Married first Elizabeth (Betsey) Patten of Westmoreland Co., New Hampshire, ca. 1822. Lived at Alexandria, Jefferson Co., New York, 1830. Purchased land at...

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, is a revised version of JS’s daily journal entries from late September 1835 to late January 1836.2 Warren Cowdery explained that the intention was to provide a “faithful narration of every important item in his every-day-occurrences.”3

JS History, 1834–1836, 105.  


The revised entries continue to 18 January 1836. Warren Parrish, the final scribe to write in JS’s 1834–1836 history, may have ceased his work in order to embark on a proselytizing mission. However, the reasons for JS’s discontinuing the history entirely are not known.
Further information about the different sections of the 1834–1836 history may be found in intratextual notes preceding each section.
As noted above, the first section of the history includes initial work to compile genealogical data for each member of the church presidency. In an 1832 letter to church leaders in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, JS outlined the contents of the church history to be kept by John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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. In addition to an account of “all things that transpire in Zion,” JS instructed that the record include the names of those who had formally consecrated their property and received church land. At the second coming of Jesus Christ, he wrote, this record would be used to reward “the Saints whose names are found and the names of their fathers and of their children enroled in the Book of the Law of God.”4

JS, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps, [Independence, MO], 27 Nov. 1832, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 1, 3.  


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...

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apparently followed this model when he began this new historical record in early December 1834. He reserved the pages at the beginning of the history to record family information for JS, himself, Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, the four members of the general church presidency as designated on 5 December 1834. Inscribing headings to eight pages, Cowdery intended to prepare two genealogical tables for each of the four presidents, one to identify wife and children and the second to identify parents and siblings. The left column lists births and marriages; the column on the right was reserved for deaths. That Cowdery did not create or even leave room for similar tables for the two assistant presidents appointed on 6 December 1834 suggests that he inscribed both the tables and the entry for 5 December between the 5 and 6 December meetings.

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