53992718

History, circa 1841, draft [Draft 3]

Whitmer

27 Aug. 1778–Jan. 1856. Born in Germany. Immigrated to Pennsylvania. Married Peter Whitmer Sr., before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania, by 1800. Moved to Fayette, Seneca Co., New York, by 1809. Member of German ...

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and Elizabeth Ann Whitmer

22 Jan. 1815–7 Jan. 1892. Born in Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Daughter of Peter Whitmer and Mary Musselman. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 18 Apr. 1830, in Seneca Co. Moved to Jackson Co., Missouri, by 1832. Married Oliver Cowdery, 18 Dec....

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were also baptized—
During this month I paid a visit to Mr. 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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of Coles vill [Colesville]

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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Broome County N.Y. with whom I had previously been acquainted and of whom I have before spoken
Mr. Knights

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 family were Universalists but were willing to reason with me and receive the truth when made known to them— We held several meetings in the neighborhood where we soon found many friends and a few enemies our meetings were well attended and many began to pray to Almighty God for wisdom to understand the truth one of these was 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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son of Joseph Knights

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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with whom I had many serious conversations on the important subject of man’s eternal salvation. We were in the habit of praying much at our meetings and Newel

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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had become convinced that it was his duty to take up his cross which he avowed a determination to do; but when we again met he excused himself by saying he would wait until he could retire to the woods and then he would pray On the following morning he retired to the grove where he made several attempts to pray but could not do so feeling that he had neglected his duty on the previous evening on his return to the house his appearance was such as to very much alarm his 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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—having requested his 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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to bring me to him I went and found him suffering very much in mind and his body acted upon in a very strange manner his face and limbs distorted and twisted into almost every shape possible and finally he was raised from the floor by the spirit which possessed him and tossed about [p. 70]
Whitmer

27 Aug. 1778–Jan. 1856. Born in Germany. Immigrated to Pennsylvania. Married Peter Whitmer Sr., before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania, by 1800. Moved to Fayette, Seneca Co., New York, by 1809. Member of German ...

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and Elizabeth Ann Whitmer

22 Jan. 1815–7 Jan. 1892. Born in Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Daughter of Peter Whitmer and Mary Musselman. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 18 Apr. 1830, in Seneca Co. Moved to Jackson Co., Missouri, by 1832. Married Oliver Cowdery, 18 Dec....

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were also  baptized—
During this month I paid a  visit to Mr. 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
of Coles vill [Colesville]

Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...

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Broom[e]  County N.Y. with whom I had previously been  acquainted and of whom I have before spoken
Mr. Knights

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 family were Universalists  but were willing to reason with me and receive  the truth when made known to them— We  held several meetings in the neighborhood where  we soon found many friends and a few  enemies our meetings were well attended and  many began to pray to Almighty God for wis dom to understand the truth one of these was  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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son of Joseph Knights

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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with whom I now  had many serious conversations on <the> important sub jects of man’s eternal salvation. We were in  the habit of praying much at our meetings and  Newel

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
had become convinced that it was  his duty to take up his cross which he avowed a  determination to do; but when we again met together  he excused himself by saying he would wait  until he could retire to the woods and then he  would pray accordingly On the following  morning he retired to the grove where he made sever al attempts to pray but could not do so feeling that  he had neglected his duty on the previous evening  on his return to the house his appearance was such  as to very much alarm his 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
—having requested  his 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
to bring me to him I went and found him  suffering very much in mind and his body acted  upon in a very strange manner his face and  limbs distorted and twisted into <almost> every shape  possible and finally he was raised from the floor  by the spirit which possessed him and tossed about [p. 70]
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JS, History, [ca. 1841], draft; handwriting of Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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; 102 pages and one attached slip; CHL.
Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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inscribed two copies of a new draft of JS’s history in about 1841. The earlier draft copy is the document transcribed herein. At the bottom of page 1 of the later fair copy is an inscription in the handwriting of Howard Coray identifying it as the second copy, and similar inscriptions are found on the last page of each bifolium of the fair copy. In addition to the draft copy and the fair copy, there is a four-page partial copy, also in the handwriting of Howard Coray, that corresponds to text on pages 13–16 of both the draft and fair copies.1

The four-page fragment contains a copy of Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3], and is housed in Revelations Collection, CHL. As explained later, the text in the draft copy and fair copy match page for page, so each page begins at the same point. The fragment is not a page-for-page copy, though the first and third pages begin at the same point as do pages 13 and 15 of the other two copies.  


The draft copy contains twenty-five bifolia (making one hundred pages) and a final loose leaf. Pages 1–92 measure from 12½ to 12⅝ inches high and 7⅝ inches across (32 × 19 cm); pages 93–102 measure 12 × 7⅝ inches (30 × 19 cm). The larger pages are lined with between thirty-four and thirty-eight blue horizontal lines, and the shorter pages contain thirty-eight blue horizontal lines; most of the ruling throughout the manuscript is now faint or completely faded. Page numbering appears at the top center of each page. Embossed in the upper left corner of the first recto side of many bifolia is a decorative star and “D & J. Ames Springfield”, the insignia of a Springfield, Massachusetts, paper mill firm established by brothers David and John Ames in 1828.2

Whiting, “Paper Making in New England,” 309; Gravell et al., American Watermarks, 235.  


The draft was inscribed in ink that is now brown. It includes several graphite insertions in Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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’s handwriting. Quill and steel pens were used interchangeably for inscription. The paper is cream colored and yellowed at the edges, with some foxing. The first page and last page of the draft exhibit moderate wear. Ink was spilled on the gutter edge of the stacked manuscript, slightly staining many bifolia. At one time the manuscript was sewn together, as evidenced by a single needle hole in the upper left corner of each bifolium. A slip of paper containing a handwritten insertion was pinned to page 36. The lower left corner of the final leaf (page 101) was torn off, and it was subsequently reattached to the page with a straight pin.
Offsetting, a characteristic of iron gall ink corrosion, is present throughout the manuscript. The offsetting pattern indicates that at some point after the composition process, the bifolia were opened and laid flat on each other, then folded together to form temporary gatherings. The manuscript was put into three such groups, comprising pages 1–60, 61–92, and 93–100. The bifolia were subsequently reordered to create a normal pagination sequence. The purpose of these temporary gatherings is unknown. Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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’s fair copy of the history has an offsetting pattern comparable to the draft, though pages 9–20 and 81–88 bear sequential offsetting, meaning these pages were not overlaid as elsewhere. The fair copy ends after one hundred pages and does not include the material on pages 101–102 of the draft copy.
Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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’s handwriting style varies throughout both the draft copy and the fair copy. The handwriting varies to such an extent that the manuscripts could be mistaken for the work of two scribes. However, evidence such as letter combinations, letter formation within words and lines of text, and consistent misspelling of specific words indicates that both manuscripts were inscribed entirely by Coray.
The draft copy was created from both dictation and copying. Evidence of dictation, including absence or excess of punctuation as originally inscribed (the latter possibly signaling pauses by the speaker) and misspellings indicative of misheard phonemes, is found on manuscript pages 1–8, 17–22, 27–28, 57–58, and 77–78. At other points in the manuscript, Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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faithfully reproduced paragraph breaks and end-of-sentence blank spaces occurring in the large history volume (his source for the draft), suggesting that these portions of the draft were copied rather than dictated. Where the blank spaces signal breaks in the narrative, they have been transcribed herein as paragraph breaks.
At an unknown time, the draft and the fair copy were gathered with other papers, wrapped in brown paper, and tied with string. The other papers in the bundle included the “Book of Commandments and Revelations” (Revelation Book 1), notes on JS’s boyhood leg operation in the handwriting of 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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, and historical material by Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, which was situated between the draft and the fair copy of Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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’s work.3

Revelation Book 1 is reproduced in JSP, MRB:3–405. Portions of the Partridge materials were published in the 1839–1840 Times and Seasons series “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints in Missouri,” reproduced in JSP, H2:206–229.  


It is unclear how or why these different records became associated with each other. At some point, a cream-colored slip of paper measuring 3⅞ × 8 inches (5 × 20 cm) was attached to the bundle. The slip contains a note written in black and red ink by Historian’s Office clerk Robert L. Campbell and signed in red ink by Howard Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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: “Two copies of the first hundred pages of Dft. Mss. History of Joseph Smith[.] These hundred pages of History were written by me, under Joseph the Prophet’s dictation. Dr Miller helped me a little in writing the same. (Historians office, 1869.) H. Coray”. This note was taped over a penciled notation in the handwriting of Joseph Fielding Smith: “Book of Commandments MS Early history (H. Coray) MS”. Smith began working at the Church Historian’s Office in 1901. Other filing notations were made in the mid-1980s to identify and distinguish the various documents in the bundle.
The custodial history of Coray

6 May 1817–16 Jan. 1908. Bookkeeper, clerk, teacher, farmer. Born in Dansville, Steuben Co., New York. Son of Silas Coray and Mary Stephens. Moved to Providence, Luzerne Co., Pennsylvania, ca. 1827; to Williams, Northampton Co., Pennsylvania, by 1830; and...

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’s two copies of the 1838–circa 1841 history is uncertain between their creation and the 1846 Latter-day Saint exodus from Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois, though they likely remained in the possession of JS, his office staff, and subsequent church leadership. The Church Historian’s Office inventory from 1846 lists “Rough Book.— Revelation History &c.,” possibly referring to the grouping of Revelation Book 1, Coray’s draft and fair copy, and miscellaneous historical material.4

“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.  


A “Ms. History of Jos. Smith (2 copies of the first 100 pages)” is listed with the manuscript “Book of Commandments and Revelations” in a Church Historian’s Office inventory from 1858.5

“Contents of the Historian and Recorder’s Office. G. S. L. City July 1858,” [5], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.  


Both history copies were presumably among manuscript material in the possession of church historian and recorder Joseph Fielding Smith, who held that office from 1921 to 1970, since they became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became president in 1970.6

A 1970 inventory confirms that material authored by Howard Coray was grouped with Revelation Book 1 and was in the possession of Joseph Fielding Smith later in his life. (“Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970, First Presidency, General Administration Files, CHL.)  


Both copies of the history were then transferred, along with Revelation Book 1 and the other historical materials in the bundle, from the First Presidency’s office to the Church History Library in 2005.

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