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

The same evening we held two meetings, three or four miles distant from each other. March 6th. we held another meeting at Brother Nickerson

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

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’s the few unbelievers that attended were outrageous, and the meeting ended in complete confusion.

7 March 1834 • Friday

March 7th. we proceeded on our journey accompanied by brother Nickerson

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

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, leaving Brothers Gould

21 Dec. 1784–25 June 1855. Pastor, farmer. Born in New Hampshire. Married first Oliva Swanson of Massachusetts. Resided at Portsmouth, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire, 1808. Lived in Vermont. Moved to northern Pennsylvania, 1817. Served as minister in Freewill...

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and Mathews to prepare and gather up the companies, in the churches

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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in that region, and meet us in 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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, ready for Zion on the first of May. We arrived after dark, at Ellicutville

Formed 1820. Population in 1830 about 630. Included Ellicottville village; Cattaraugus Co. seat; incorporated 1837.

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, the county seat of Cataraugus, and tried for lodgings at every tavern in the place; it being court time we found no room, but were obliged to ride on in the dark, through mud and rain, and found shelter after travelling about one mile, for which we paid more than tavern fare.

8–9 March 1834 • Saturday–Sunday

On the 8th. We arrived at Palmer’s-ville [Farmersville]

Formed 1821. Population in 1830 about 1,000. Included Farmersville village, with post office, and Fairview post office. JS traveled through township on mission, Mar. 1834.

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, at the house of Elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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Mc. Gown [Marcellus McCown]

9 Sept. 1807–9 Oct. 1881. Born at Pompey, Onondaga Co., New York. Son of Henry McKown and Elizabeth Rounds. Married first Phebe Weston of Freeport, Cumberland Co., Maine. Lived at Farmersville, Cattaraugus Co., New York, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, by...

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’s, from whence we were invited to go to Esquire Walkers’ to spend the evening. We found them very friendly and somewhat believing, and tarried all night. Sunday 9th. we preached in a school house, and had great attention. We found a few disciples who were firm in the faith; and, after meeting, found many believing, and could hardly get away from them, and appointed a meeting in Freedom

Area settled, 1811. Township created, 1820. Population in 1835 and 1840 about 1,800. Included Freedom village, which had about fifteen dwellings in 1836. Branch of LDS church organized in township, 1834. Warren Cowdery appointed to preside in area. JS preached...

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for Monday the 10th.– and staid at Mr Warren A. 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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’s, where we were blessed with a full enjoyment of temporal and spiritual blessings, even all we needed, or were worthy to receive. ,

10 March 1834 • Monday

Monday, met our appointment, and preached to a great congregation; and at , evening preached again to an overflowing house. After meeting I proposed if any wished to obey, and would make it manifest, we would stay to administer at another meeting. A young man of the Methodist order arose and testified his faith in the fulness of the gospel, and desired to be baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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. We appointed another meeting, on the next day,

11–17 March 1834 • Tuesday–Monday

Tuesday 11th. fulfilled our appointment, and [p. 446]
The same evening we held two meetings, three or four  miles distant from each other. March 6th. we held  another meeting at Brother Nickerson

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

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’s the few unbelievers  that attended were outrageous, and the meeting end ed in complete confusion.

7 March 1834 • Friday

March 7th. we proceeded on our journey accompanied  accompanied by brother Nickerson

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

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, leaving Brothers Gould

21 Dec. 1784–25 June 1855. Pastor, farmer. Born in New Hampshire. Married first Oliva Swanson of Massachusetts. Resided at Portsmouth, Rockingham Co., New Hampshire, 1808. Lived in Vermont. Moved to northern Pennsylvania, 1817. Served as minister in Freewill...

View Full Bio
 and Mathews to prepare and gather up the com panies, in the churches

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
in that region, and meet us  in 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...

More Info
, ready for Zion on the first of May. We  arrived after dark, at Ellicutville

Formed 1820. Population in 1830 about 630. Included Ellicottville village; Cattaraugus Co. seat; incorporated 1837.

More Info
, the county seat  of Cataraugus, and tried for lodgings at every tavern  in the place; it being court time we found not room,  but were obliged to ride on in the dark, through mud  and rain, and found shelter after travelling about one  mile, for which we paid more than tavern fare.

8–9 March 1834 • Saturday–Sunday

On the 8th. We arrived at Palmer’s-ville [Farmersville]

Formed 1821. Population in 1830 about 1,000. Included Farmersville village, with post office, and Fairview post office. JS traveled through township on mission, Mar. 1834.

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, at the  house of Elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
Mc. Gown [Marcellus McCown]

9 Sept. 1807–9 Oct. 1881. Born at Pompey, Onondaga Co., New York. Son of Henry McKown and Elizabeth Rounds. Married first Phebe Weston of Freeport, Cumberland Co., Maine. Lived at Farmersville, Cattaraugus Co., New York, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, by...

View Full Bio
’s, where <from whence> we was were invited to go  to Esquire Walkers’ to spend the evening. We found  them very friendly and somewhat believing, and  tarried all night. Sunday 9th. we preached in a  school house, and had great attention. We found  a few disciples who were firm in the faith; and,  after meeting, found many believing, and could  hardly get away from them, and appointed a meeting  in Freedom

Area settled, 1811. Township created, 1820. Population in 1835 and 1840 about 1,800. Included Freedom village, which had about fifteen dwellings in 1836. Branch of LDS church organized in township, 1834. Warren Cowdery appointed to preside in area. JS preached...

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for Monday the 10th.– and staid at Mr <Warren A.>  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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’s, where we were blessed with a full enjoyment  of temporal and spiritual blessings, even all we needed,  or were worthy to receive. Monday,

10 March 1834 • Monday

Monday, met our appointment, and preached  to a great congregation; and at onevening, <evening> preached  again to a crowded assembly, <and> an overflowing house. After  meeting I proposed if any wished to obey, and would  make it manifest, we would stay to administer  to atthem another meeting. A young man of the  Methodist order arose and testified his faith in  the fulness of the gospel, and desired to be baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
.  We appointed another meeting, come for t <on> the nex[t] day,

11–17 March 1834 • Tuesday–Monday

Tuesday 11th. fulfilled our appointment, and [p. 446]
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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