31772

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

tance, baptism for the remission of sins

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
, and laying on of hands

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordain to an office or calling, or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

View Glossary
for the gift of the Holy Ghost &c &c, amongst our audience were those who had torn down our dam and who seemed wishful to give us trouble, but did not untill after the meeting was dismissed, when they immediately commenced talking to those whom they considered our friends, to try to turn them against us and our doctrines.
Amongst the many present at this meeting was one Emily Coburn sister to the wife

1804–15 Sept. 1834. Born in Oxford (later in Guilford), Chenango Co., New York. Daughter of Amariah Coburn and Rose Linda Lyon. Resided in Oxford, Chenango Co., by 1810. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., by 1820. Moved to Colesville, Broome Co., New York, by...

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of Newel Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

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. The Revd Mr Shearer [John Sherer], a Priest of the presbyterian faith, who had considered himself her pastor, came to understand that she was likely to believe our doctrine, and had a short time previous to this, meeting, came to labor with her, but having spent some time with her without being able to persuade her against us, he endeavored to have her leave her sisters house, and go with him to her father’s, who lived at a distance For this purpose he had recourse to stratagem, he told her that one of her brothers was waiting at a certain place, wishful to have her go home with him; he succeeded thus to get her a little distance from the house when, seeing that her brother was not in waiting for her, She refused to go any further with him; upon which he got hold of her by the arm to force her along; but her sister, was soon with them; and the two women were too many for him and he was forced to sneak off without his prey, after all his labor and ingenuity. Nothing daunted however he went to her Father, represented to him something or other, which induced the Old Gentleman to give him a power of Attorney, which, as soon as our meeting was over, on the above named sunday evening, he immediately served upon her and carried her off to her father’s residence, by open violence, against her will. All his labor was in vain however, for the said Emily Coburn, in a short time afterwards, was baptized and confirmed

After baptism, new converts were confirmed members of the church “by the laying on of the hands, & the giving of the Holy Ghost.” According to JS’s history, the first confirmations were administered at the organization of the church on 6 April 1830. By March...

View Glossary
, a member of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

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
.”
However, early on Monday morning we were on the alert, and before our enemies were aware we had repaired the dam, and proceeded to baptize, when the following thirteen persons were baptized under the hands 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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viz: Emma Smith

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...

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, Hezekiah Peck

19 Jan. 1782–25 Aug. 1850. Millwright. Born at Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, by 1812. Married Martha Long, by 1812. Baptized...

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and wife, Joseph Knight [Sr.]

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

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and wife

16 Apr. 1774–7 Aug. 1831. Born in Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Daughter of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Married Joseph Knight Sr., 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ...

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— William Stringham and wife— Joseph Knight Jr

21 June 1808–4 Nov. 1866. Miller, carder, millwright. Born at Halifax, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1808. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

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Aaron Culver and wife— Levi Hale— Polly Knight

7 Mar. 1811–28 Apr. 1844. Born in Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York. Daughter of Joseph Knight and Polly Peck. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New York, 1811. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 28 June 1830, in...

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and Julia Stringham.— Before the baptism was entirely finished, the mob began again to collect, and shortly after we had retired, they amounted to about fifty men. They surrounded the house of Mr Knight [Joseph Knight Sr.]

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
(where we had retired to) raging with anger and apparently wishful to commit violence upon us. Some asked us questions, others threatened us, so that we thought it wisdom to leave and go to the house of Newel Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

View Full Bio
.
There also they followed us, and it was only by the exercise of great prudence on our part, and reliance on our heavenly Father that they were kept [p. 43]
tance, baptism for the remission of sins

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
, and laying on of hands

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordain to an office or calling, or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

View Glossary
for the gift of the  Holy Ghost &c &c, amongst our audience were those who had torn down our dam  and who seemed wishful to give us trouble, but did not untill after the meeting was  dismissed, when they immediately commenced talking to those whom they con sidered our friends, to try to turn them against us and our doctrines.
Amongst the many present at this meeting was one Emily Coburn  sister to the wife

1804–15 Sept. 1834. Born in Oxford (later in Guilford), Chenango Co., New York. Daughter of Amariah Coburn and Rose Linda Lyon. Resided in Oxford, Chenango Co., by 1810. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., by 1820. Moved to Colesville, Broome Co., New York, by...

View Full Bio
of Newel Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

View Full Bio
. The Revd Mr Shearer [John Sherer], a divine <Priest> of the  presbyterian faith, who had considered himself her pastor, came to understand  that she was likely to believe our doctrine, and had a short <time> previous to this,  our meeting, came to labor with her, but having spent some time with her  without being able to persuade her against us, he endeavored to have her leave  her sisters house, and go with him to her father’s, who lived at a distance of  at least [blank] miles off: For this purpose he had recourse to stratagem, he  told her that one of her brothers was waiting at a certain place, wishful to have  her go home with him; he succeeded thus to get her a little distance from the house  when, seeing that her brother was not in waiting for her, She refused to go any  further with him; upon which he got hold of her by the arm to force her along;  but her sister, was soon with them; and the two women were too many for him  and he was forced to sneak off without his errand <prey>, after all his labor and in genuity. Nothing daunted however he went to her Father, represented to him  something or other, which induced the Old Gentleman to give him a power of  Attorney, which, as soon as our meeting was over, on the above named sunday  evening, he immediately served upon her and carried her off to her father’s  residence, by open violence, against her will. All his labor was in vain how ever, for the said Emily Coburn, in a short time afterwards, was baptized  and confirmed

After baptism, new converts were confirmed members of the church “by the laying on of the hands, & the giving of the Holy Ghost.” According to JS’s history, the first confirmations were administered at the organization of the church on 6 April 1830. By March...

View Glossary
, a member of the “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

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
.”
However, early on Monday morning we were on the alert, and  before our enemies were aware we had repaired the dam, and proceeded to  baptize, when the following thirteen persons were baptized under the hands 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...

View Full Bio
viz: Emma Smith

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
, Hezekiah Peck

19 Jan. 1782–25 Aug. 1850. Millwright. Born at Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, by 1812. Married Martha Long, by 1812. Baptized...

View Full Bio
and wife,  Joseph Knight [Sr.]

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
and wife

16 Apr. 1774–7 Aug. 1831. Born in Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Daughter of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Married Joseph Knight Sr., 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ...

View Full Bio
— William Stringham and wife— Joseph Knight Jr

21 June 1808–4 Nov. 1866. Miller, carder, millwright. Born at Halifax, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1808. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

View Full Bio
 Aaron Culver and wife— Levi Hale— Polly Knight

7 Mar. 1811–28 Apr. 1844. Born in Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York. Daughter of Joseph Knight and Polly Peck. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New York, 1811. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 28 June 1830, in...

View Full Bio
and Julia String ham.— Before the baptism was entirely finished, the mob began  again to collect, and shortly after we had retired, they amounted to about  fifty men. They surrounded the house of Mr Knight [Joseph Knight Sr.]

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
(where we had  retired to) raging with anger and apparently wishful to commit vio lence upon us. Some asked us questions, others threatened us, so that  we thought it wisdom to leave and go to the house of Newel Knight

13 Sept. 1800–11 Jan. 1847. Miller, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Knight Sr. and Polly Peck. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1809. Moved to Windsor (later in Colesville), Broome Co., New...

View Full Bio
.
There also the<y> followed us, and it was only by the exercise of great  prudence on our part, and reliance on our heavenly Father that they were kept [p. 43]
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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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