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History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]

expressed great dissatisfaction because we were short of bread, altho’ we had used all diligence to procure a supply, and Captain Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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had previously sent two men ahead to provide supplies for his Company—
Thursday 15th.. We forded Mad River and passing thro’ a beautiful country encamped a little West of Springfield

Settled by 1819. Incorporated as town, 1832. Became state capital, 1837. Incorporated as city, 1840. Sangamon Co. seat. Population in 1840 about 2,600. Stake of LDS church organized in Springfield, Nov. 1840; discontinued May 1841; branch organized, Jan. ...

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— This night Moses Martin fell asleep on sentry, and I went and took his sword, and left him asleep—
Friday 16th.. about nine o’clock while I was riding in a waggon with brother 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...

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, Ezra Thayre [Thayer]

Ca. 1792–6 Sept. 1862. Farmer, gardener, builder. Born in New York. Married Elizabeth Frank. Lived at Bloomfield, Ontario Co., New York, 1820. Lived at Farmington, Ontario Co., 1830. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt and confirmed by JS, fall 1830...

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, and George A. Smith

26 June 1817–1 Sept. 1875. Born at Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., New York. Son of John Smith and Clarissa Lyman. Baptized into LDS church by Joseph H. Wakefield, 10 Sept. 1832, at Potsdam. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833. Labored on Kirtland temple...

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, we came into a piece of thick woods of recent growth, where I told them I felt much depressed in Spirit, and lonesome, and that there had been a great deal of blood shed in that place, and whenever a man of God is in a place, where many have been killed; he will feel lonesome and unpleasant, and his spirits will sink; in about forty rods from where I made this observation, we came through the woods, we saw a large farm, and there was near the road on our left, a mound sixty feet high, , covered with apple Trees, and surrounded with oats, containing human bones, the ground being level for some distance around— At dinner time some of the brethren expressed— considerable fear on account of milk Sickness, with which the people were troubled along our route, many were afraid to use milk or butter, and appealed to me to know if it was not dangerous— I told them to use all they could get, unless they were told it was sick, some expressed fears that it might be sold to us by our enemies for the purpose of doing us injury— I told them not to fear, that if they would follow my counsel, and use all that they could get from friend or enemy, it should do them good, and none be sick in consequence of it, and altho’ we passed thro’ Neighborhoods where many of the people and cattle were infected with the sickness, yet my words were fulfilled. while passing thro’ Dayton, Ohio, great curiosity was manifested, various reports of our numbers and designs having gone before us, some of the Inhabitants enquired of the Company

The name of the spring 1834 military expedition from Kirtland, Ohio, to Clay County, Missouri. It later came to be known as “Zion’s Camp.” This relief expedition, appointed by revelation and led by JS, consisted of about two hundred armed but largely untrained...

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, where they were from, when Captain Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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replied “from every place but this, and we will soon be from this”— “Where are you going?” “To the West.” see page 479.

Addenda, Note 2 • 12–17 May 1834

No. 2 when some ten or a dozen gentlement came over from Dayton to count us, and ascertain our numbers, which they reported at least 600— These Gentlemen enquired of almost every man in the Camp where he was from and where he was going, and what was his business, and returned to Dayton, and reported that every man in the company was a gentleman, and gave a respectful answer to every question asked, but they could not ascertain where they were going, or what their business. This evening a Court Martial was held in Camp for the trial of Moses Martin for falling asleep on watch. — brother Martin pled his own case, that he was overcome with fatigue, and so overpowered that he could not keep awake &c I decided that he should be acquitted and never go to sleep again on watch, which was sanctioned by the Court, and I took occasion from this circumstnace to give the Brethren much useful instruction— (pa: 480)

Addenda, Note 3 • 18–21 May 1834

No 3 while we were eating dinner three gentlemen came riding up on very fine looking horses and commenced their inquiries of various ones concerning our travelling in so large a body, asking where we were from, and where we were going. The reply was as usual some from the State of Maine

Initially established as district of Massachusetts, 1691. Admitted as state, 1820. Population in 1830 about 400,000. Population in 1840 about 500,000. Capital city and seat of government, Augusta. First visited by Mormon missionaries, Sept. 1832. Branches...

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, another would say, I am from [New] York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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State, some from Massachusetts

One of original thirteen colonies that formed U.S. Capital city, Boston. Colonized by English religious dissenters, 1620s. Population in 1830 about 610,000. Population in 1840 about 738,000. Joseph Smith Sr. born in Massachusetts. Samuel Smith and Orson Hyde...

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, some from 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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, and some replied we are from the east, and as soon as we have done eating dinner, we shall be going to the west again. They then addressed themselves to Dr. [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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[p. 7 [addenda]]
expressed great dissatisfaction because we were short of bread, altho’ we had used all  diligence to procure a supply, and Captain Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

View Full Bio
had previously sent two men  ahead to provide supplies for his Company—
<Thursday> 15th.. We forded Mad River and passing thro’ a beautiful country encamped a little  West of Springfield

Settled by 1819. Incorporated as town, 1832. Became state capital, 1837. Incorporated as city, 1840. Sangamon Co. seat. Population in 1840 about 2,600. Stake of LDS church organized in Springfield, Nov. 1840; discontinued May 1841; branch organized, Jan. ...

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— This night Moses Martin fell asleep on sentry, and some of  the brethren <I> went and took his sword, and left him asleep—
<Friday> 16th.. about nine o’clock while I was riding in a waggon with brother 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
, Ezra Thayre [Thayer]

Ca. 1792–6 Sept. 1862. Farmer, gardener, builder. Born in New York. Married Elizabeth Frank. Lived at Bloomfield, Ontario Co., New York, 1820. Lived at Farmington, Ontario Co., 1830. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt and confirmed by JS, fall 1830...

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,  and George A. Smith

26 June 1817–1 Sept. 1875. Born at Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., New York. Son of John Smith and Clarissa Lyman. Baptized into LDS church by Joseph H. Wakefield, 10 Sept. 1832, at Potsdam. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833. Labored on Kirtland temple...

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, we came into a piece of thick woods <of recent growth,> where I told them I felt much depressed  in Spirit, and lonesome, and that there has had been a great deal of blood shed in that place, and  whenever a man of God is in a place, where many have been killed; he will feel lonesome  and unpleasant, and his spirits will sink; in about forty rods from where I made this  observation, we came through the woods, we saw a large farm, and there was near the road  on our left, a mound sixty feet high, occupying about half an acre of ground, covered with  apple Trees, and surrounded with oats, containing human bones, the ground being level  for a great <some> distance around— At dinner time some of the brethren expressed—  considerable fear on account of milk Sickness, with which the people were troubled along  our route, many were afraid to use milk or butter, and appealed to me to know if it  was not dangerous— I told them to use all they could get, unless they were told it was sick,  some expressed fears that it might be sold to us by our enemies for the purpose of doing us injury—  I told them not to fear, that if they would follow my counsel, and use all that they could get from friend  or enemy, that it should do them good, and none be sick in consequence of it, and altho’ we passed thro’  Neighborhoods where many of the people and cattle were infected with the sickness, yet my words were fulfilled.  We passed into <while passing thro’> Dayton, Ohio, where great curiosity was manifested, various reports of our numbers and  designs having gone before us, while we were passing thro’ Dayton some of the Inhabitants enquired of the  Company

The name of the spring 1834 military expedition from Kirtland, Ohio, to Clay County, Missouri. It later came to be known as “Zion’s Camp.” This relief expedition, appointed by revelation and led by JS, consisted of about two hundred armed but largely untrained...

View Glossary
, where they were from, when Brother Brigham <Captain> Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

View Full Bio
replied “from every place but this, and they would <we will>  soon be from this”— “Where are you going?” “To the West.” see page 479.

Addenda, Note 2 • 12–17 May 1834

<No. 2> when some ten or a dozen gentlement came over from Dayton to count us, and ascertain our numbers, which  they reported at least 600— These Gentlemen enquired of almost every man in the Camp where he was from  and where he was going, and what was his business, and returned to Dayton, and reported that every man  in the company was a gentleman, and gave a respectful answer to every question asked, but they  could not ascertain where they were going, or what their business. This evening a Court Martial was  instituted <held> in Camp for the trial of <Moses> Martin for falling asleep on watch. the night previous— brother Martin  pled his own case, that he was overcome with fatigue, and so overpowered that he could not keep awake &c  I decided that he should be acquitted and never go to sleep again on watch, which was sanctioned by the  Court, and I took occasion from this circumstnace to give the Brethren much useful instruction— (pa: 480)

Addenda, Note 3 • 18–21 May 1834

<No 3> Evening while we were eating dinner three gentlemen came riding up on very fine looking horses and  commenced their inquiries of various ones concerning our travelling in so large a body, asking where we  were from, and where we were going. The reply was as usual some from the State of Maine

Initially established as district of Massachusetts, 1691. Admitted as state, 1820. Population in 1830 about 400,000. Population in 1840 about 500,000. Capital city and seat of government, Augusta. First visited by Mormon missionaries, Sept. 1832. Branches...

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, another would say,  I am from [New] York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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State, some from Massachusetts

One of original thirteen colonies that formed U.S. Capital city, Boston. Colonized by English religious dissenters, 1620s. Population in 1830 about 610,000. Population in 1840 about 738,000. Joseph Smith Sr. born in Massachusetts. Samuel Smith and Orson Hyde...

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, some from 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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, and some replied we are from the east, and as soon  as we have done eating dinner, we shall be going to the west again. They then addressed themselves to Dr. [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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[p. 7 [addenda]]
PreviousNext
This document, volume A-1, is the first of the six volumes of the “Manuscript History of the Church.” The collection was compiled over the span of seventeen years, 1838 to 1856. Volume A-1 encompasses the period from JS’s birth in 1805 to 30 August 1834, just after the return of the Camp of Israel (later known as Zion’s Camp) from 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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to Kirtland

Located in Newel K. Whitney store in northwest Kirtland on northeast corner of Chardon and Chillicothe roads. Whitney appointed postmaster, 29 Dec. 1826. JS and others listed “Kirtland Mills, Geauga County, Ohio” as return address for letters mailed, 1833...

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, Ohio. For a fuller discussion of the entire six-volume work, see the general introduction to the history.
In April 1838 JS renewed his effort to draft a “history” with the aid of his counselor 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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. George W. Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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served as scribe. JS’s journal for late April and early May 1838 notes six days on which JS, Rigdon, and Robinson were engaged in “writing history.” Though not completed and no longer extant, that draft laid the foundation for what became a six-volume manuscript eventually published as the “History of Joseph Smith,” and at least a portion of its contents are assumed to have been included in the manuscript presented here.
On 11 June 1839 in Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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, Illinois, JS once again began dictating his “history.” James Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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now served as scribe. Apparently the narrative commenced where the earlier 1838 draft left off. When work was interrupted in July 1839, Mulholland inscribed the draft material, including at least some of Robinson

14 May 1814–10 Feb. 1878. Clerk, postmaster, merchant, clothier, banker. Born at Pawlet, Rutland Co., Vermont. Baptized into LDS church and moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1836. Clerk and recorder for Kirtland high council, beginning Jan. 1836. Married...

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’s earlier material, into a large record book already containing the text of an incomplete history previously produced over a span of two years, 1834–1836. For the new history, Mulholland simply turned the ledger over and began at the back of the book. The volume was later labeled A-1 on its spine, identifying it as the first of multiple volumes of the manuscript history.
Prior to his untimely death on 3 November 1839, Mulholland

1804–3 Nov. 1839. Born in Ireland. Baptized into LDS church. Married Sarah Scott, 8 Feb. 1838, at Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri. Engaged in clerical work for JS, 1838, at Far West. Ordained a seventy, 28 Dec. 1838. After expulsion from Missouri, lived ...

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recorded the first fifty-nine pages in the volume. Subsequently, his successor, Robert B. Thompson

1 Oct. 1811–27 Aug. 1841. Clerk, editor. Born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England. Member of Methodist church. Immigrated to Upper Canada, 1834. Baptized into LDS church by Parley P. Pratt, May 1836, in Upper Canada. Ordained an elder by John Taylor, 22...

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, contributed about sixteen more pages before his death in August 1841. William 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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then added a little over seventy-five pages. However, it was not until Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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was appointed JS’s “private secretary and historian” that substantial progress was made on the compilation of the history. Richards would contribute the remainder of the text inscribed in the 553-page first volume. The narrative recorded in A-1 was completed in August 1843. Thomas Bullock and Charles Wandell subsequently added sixteen pages of “Addenda” material, which provided notes, extensive revisions, or additional text to be inserted in the original manuscript where indicated. For instance, several of the addenda expanded on the account of the Camp of Israel as initially recorded.
JS dictated or supplied information for much of A-1, and he personally corrected the first forty-two pages before his death. As planned, his historian-scribes maintained the first-person, chronological narrative format initially established in the volume. When various third-person accounts were drawn upon, they were generally converted to the first person, as if JS was directly relating the account. After JS’s death, Brigham Young

1 June 1801–29 Aug. 1877. Carpenter, painter, glazier, colonizer. Born at Whitingham, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe. Brought up in Methodist household; later joined Methodist church. Moved to Sherburne, Chenango Co., New...

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, Heber C. Kimball

14 June 1801–22 June 1868. Blacksmith, potter. Born at Sheldon, Franklin Co., Vermont. Son of Solomon Farnham Kimball and Anna Spaulding. Married Vilate Murray, 22 Nov. 1822, at Mendon, Monroe Co., New York. Member of Baptist church at Mendon, 1831. Baptized...

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, George A. Smith

26 June 1817–1 Sept. 1875. Born at Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., New York. Son of John Smith and Clarissa Lyman. Baptized into LDS church by Joseph H. Wakefield, 10 Sept. 1832, at Potsdam. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833. Labored on Kirtland temple...

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, and others modified and corrected the manuscript as they reviewed material before its eventual publication.
Beginning in March 1842 the church’s Nauvoo periodical, the Times and Seasons, began publishing the narrative as the “History of Joseph Smith.” At the time of JS’s death only the history through December 1831 had been published. When the final issue of the Times and Seasons, dated 15 February 1846 appeared, the account had been carried forward through August 1834—the end of the material recorded in A-1. The “History of Joseph Smith” was also published in England in the church periodical the Millennial Star beginning in June 1842. Once a press was established in Utah and the Deseret News began publication, the “History of Joseph Smith” once more appeared in print in serialized form. Beginning with the November 1851 issue, the narrative picked up where the Times and Seasons had left off over five years earlier.
Aside from the material dictated or supplied by JS prior to his murder, the texts for A-1 and for the history’s subsequent volumes were drawn from a variety of primary and secondary sources including JS’s diaries and letters, minutes of meetings, the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, church and other periodicals, reports of JS’s discourses, and the reminiscences and recollections of church members. The narrative in A-1 provides JS’s personal account of the foundational events of his life as a prophet and the early progress of the church. It also encompasses contentions and disputations that erupted between the Latter-day Saints and their neighbors in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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, Pennsylvania

Area first settled by Swedish immigrants, 1628. William Penn received grant for territory from King Charles II, 1681, and established British settlement, 1682. Philadelphia was center of government for original thirteen U.S. colonies from time of Revolutionary...

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, 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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, and 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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. While it remains difficult to distinguish JS’s own contributions from composition of his historian-scribes, the narrative trenchantly captures the poignancy and intensity of his life while offering an enlightening account of the birth of the church he labored to establish.

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