53992717

History, circa June 1839–circa 1841 [Draft 2]

from laying violent hands upon us, and so long as they chose to stay, we were obliged to answer them various unprofitable questions, and bear with insults and threatenings without number.
We had appointed a meeting for this evening, for the purpose of attending to the confirmation of those who had been the same morning baptized; the time appointed had arrived, and our friends had nearly all collected together, when to my surprise, I was visited by a constable, and arrested by him on a warrant, on charge of being a disorderly person; of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, &c &c. The Constable informed me (soon after I had been arrested) that the plan of those who had got out the warrant, was to get me into the hands of the mob, who were now lying in ambush for me; but that he was determined to save me from them, as he had found me to be a different sort of person from what I had been represented to him.
I soon found that he had told me the truth in this matter, for not far from Mr Knight

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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’s house, the waggon in which we had set out; was surrounded by the mob, who seemed only to await some signal from the Constable; but to their great disappointment—he gave the horse the whip and drove me out of their reach.
Whilst driving along pretty quickly, one of the waggon wheels came off, which left us, once more, very nearly surrounded by them, as they had came on, in close pursuit; however we managed to get the wheel on again and, again left them behind us.
He drove on to the Town of South Bainbridge Chenango County, where he lodged me for the time being, in an upper room of a Tavern, and in order that all might be right with himself and with me also, he slept during the night with his feet against the door, and a loaded musket by his side, whilst I occupied a bed which was in the room, he having declared that if we were interrupted unlawfully, that he would fight for me, and defend me as far as in his power.
On the day following a court was convened for the purpose of investigating those charges which had been preferred against me, A great excitement prevailed on account of the scandalous falsehoods which had been circulated, the nature of which will come out in the sequel.
In the mean time, my friend, 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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, had repaired to two of his neighbours viz: James Davidson

Ca. 1779–9 June 1847. Farmer. Likely born in Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of James Davidson and Lydia Wetherbee. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Tioga Co., New York, as early as 1797. Married Betsey. Died in...

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and John Reid [Reed]

Ca. 1785–1878. Farmer, lawyer. Born in Massachusetts. Son of Amos Reed and Hannah Slade. Married first Submit Joiner. Moved to Bainbridge, Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1823. Defended JS in trials in Chenango Co. and Broome Co., New York. Visited Nauvoo, Hancock...

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Esqrs, (respectable farmers; men renowned for their integrity, and well versed in the laws of their country,) and retained them on my behalf during my trial.
At length the trial commenced amidst a multitude of spectators who in general evinced a belief that I was guilty of all that had been reported concerning me, and of course were very zealous, that I should be punished according to my crimes. Among many witnesses called up against me, was Mr Josiah Stoal [Stowell]

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

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(of whom I have made mention, as having worked for him some time) and examined to the following effect.—
Q—Did not the prisoner Joseph Smith have a horse of you?
Ansr Yes.
Q—Did not he go to you and tell you, that an angel had appeared unto him, and authorised him to get [p. 44]
from laying violent hands upon us, and so long as they chose to stay, we were  obliged to answer them various unprofitable questions, and bear with  insults and threatenings without number.
We had appointed a meeting for this evening, for  the purpose of attending to the confirmation of those who had been the same  morning baptized; the time appointed had arrived, and our friends had nearly  all collected together, when to my surprise, I was visited by a constable, and arrested by  him on a warrant, on charge of being a disorderly person; of setting the country in  an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, &c &c.114

The constable was Ebenezer Hatch. Although the formal charge was for being a “disorderly person,” Joseph Knight Sr. wrote that the charge was “pertending to see under ground.” One of the legal definitions of “disorderly person” was someone “pretending to tell . . . where lost or stolen goods may be found.” The charges resembled those filed earlier against JS in a court proceeding in March 1826. (Trial bill, 1 June 1830, People v. JS [J.P. Ct. 1830], Chenango County Courthouse, Norwich, NY; Ebenezer Hatch, Bill of services, 4 July 1830, Chenango County Historical Society, Norwich, NY; Knight, Reminiscences, 8; Of Disorderly Persons, Revised Statutes of the State of New-York [1827–1828], 1:638, part 1, chap. 20, title 5, sec. 1; see also Madsen, “Joseph Smith’s 1826 Trial,” 91–95.)  


The Constable informed me  (soon after I had been arrested) that the plan of those who had got out the warrant, was  to get me into the hands of the mob, who were now lying in ambush for me; but that he  was determined to save me from them, as he had found me to be a different sort of person  from what I had been represented to him.
I soon found that he had told me the  truth in this matter, for not far from Mr Knight

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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’s house, the waggon in which we  had set out; was surrounded by the mob, who seemed only to await some signal  from the Constable; but to their great disappointment—he gave the horse the whip  and drove me out of their reach.
Whilst driving along pretty quickly, one of the  waggon wheels came off, which left us, once more, very nearly surrounded by them, as  they had came on, in close pursuit; however we now managed to get the wheel on again  and, again left them behind us.
He drove on to the Town of South Bainbridge  Chenango County, where he lodged me for the time being, in an upper room of a Tavern,  and in order that all might be right with himself and with me also, he slept during  the night with his feet against the door, and a loaded musket by his side, whilst I  occupied a bed which was in the room, he having declared that if we were interrupted un lawfully, that he would fight for me, and defend me as far as in his power.
On the day following a court was convened for the purpose of investigating  those charges which had been preferred against me, A great excitement prevailed  on account of the scandalous falsehoods which had been circulated, the nature of  which will come out in the sequel.
In the mean time, my friend, 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
, had repaired to two of his  neighbours viz: James Davidson

Ca. 1779–9 June 1847. Farmer. Likely born in Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of James Davidson and Lydia Wetherbee. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Tioga Co., New York, as early as 1797. Married Betsey. Died in...

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and John Reid [Reed]

Ca. 1785–1878. Farmer, lawyer. Born in Massachusetts. Son of Amos Reed and Hannah Slade. Married first Submit Joiner. Moved to Bainbridge, Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1823. Defended JS in trials in Chenango Co. and Broome Co., New York. Visited Nauvoo, Hancock...

View Full Bio
Esqrs, (respectable farmers; men  renowned for their integrity, and well versed in the laws of their country,) and retained  them on my behalf during my trial.
At <length> the trial commenced amidst a multi tude of spectators who in general evinced a belief that I was guilty of all that had been  reported concerning me, and of course were very zealous, that I should be punished  according to my crimes. Among many witnesses call<ed> up against me, was  Mr Josiah Stoal [Stowell]

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

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(of whom I have made mention, as having worked for him some  time) and examined to the following effect.—115

It is not known whether any transcript of the South Bainbridge or Colesville trial was available to those compiling JS’s history in Illinois. The only known trial report that predates the history was published in 1832 and does not include details found here. (See “Mormonism,” Morning Star, 16 Nov. 1832, 114.)  


Q—Did not the prisoner  Joseph Smith have a horse of you?
Ansr Yes.
Q—Did not he go to you and  tell you, that an angel had appeared unto him, and authorised him to get [p. 44]
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In addition to working on an initial draft of JS’s history in summer 1839, 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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devoted some of his time to inscribing the history compiled to that point into a large manuscript book. He began this new draft of the history in the back of the volume in which the 1834–1836 history had been inscribed, turning it over so the back cover became the front cover. Serving as principal sources for this version of the history were the manuscript that JS, Sidney Rigdon

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

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, and 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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had created in Missouri

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

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in 1838, and Draft 1. Textual evidence that the nonextant 1838 material was used when composing Draft 2 is found in the second paragraph of the latter, which situates the composition in “the eighth year since the [1830] organization of said Church,” and a later passage that gives the date of composition as “the Second day of May, One thousand Eight hundred and thirty eight.”1

JS History, vol. A-1, 1, 8.  


Starting at 15 May 1829, the remainder of the text in Mulholland’s handwriting is a copy of Draft 1. Although the first seven pages of Draft 1 match Draft 2 quite closely, the two versions are markedly less similar after that point. This contrast may indicate that an intermediate draft of the history was made beginning at about page 7 of Draft 1 and that Mulholland copied the text from this intermediate draft, not directly from Draft 1.
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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inscribed pages 1–59 in the large history volume. After his death in November 1839, 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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served as scribe for the history. Little is known about the circumstances surrounding Thompson’s inscription, totaling only sixteen pages, in the large history volume. The transcript of Draft 2 presented herein ends on page 61 of the manuscript volume, after the first two pages of Thompson’s inscription, to correspond with the end of Draft 3; the other fourteen pages in his hand give a biographical sketch of 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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, including a brief narrative of his conversion to Mormonism. Because the majority of the pages in Thompson’s hand deal with Rigdon’s life before joining the church, Rigdon was likely consulted for this portion of the narrative.
The opening statement of the draft in the large manuscript volume refers to defamation and persecution to which the Latter-day Saints and JS in particular had been subjected, and it characterizes such maltreatment as one motivation for telling the story of the church and its founder: “Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation by evil disposed and designing men,” JS proclaimed, the history was designed to “disabuse the publick mind, and put all enquirers after truth into possession of the facts” and set the record straight “in relation both to myself and the Church.” This introduction was written not long after JS had fled Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, for Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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, Missouri, under threat of several lawsuits; thus, when he began the history in summer 1838 he was especially motivated to justify himself and the church in light of what he considered a long history of persecution. Such an introduction may also have been written as a more general response to the accumulated negative reports transmitted orally and in the press beginning in JS’s youth and continuing throughout the 1830s.2

Although the history was begun in 1838, it is possible that the preamble in the first paragraph was added in 1839 when James Mulholland wrote Draft 2. If so, the concern with negative publicity may also have been a reaction to the widespread news of the Mormon conflict in Missouri in fall 1838 andJS’s imprisonment, or to the growing number of publications critical of JS and the church since 1838. See, for example, Origen Bacheler, Mormonism Exposed, Internally and Externally (New York, 1838), and La Roy Sunderland’s eight-part series published in the Methodist Zion’s Watchman from 13 January to 3 March 1838 and republished in pamphlet form as Mormonism Exposed and Refuted (New York: Piercy & Reid, 1838).  


After briefly narrating JS’s birth and early years, Draft 2 proceeds immediately to the circumstances that culminated in his first vision of Deity in the spring of 1820, followed closely by the visitations of an angel in 1823 and JS’s commission to retrieve a sacred record buried nearby. JS’s religious mission is the primary focus; his personal affairs, like his marriage to 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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, whom he met while employed in digging for a rumored silver mine, are discussed only briefly and in the context of that mission.
Following JS’s recitation of his retrieval of the ancient record, the beginnings of his translation thereof, and the loss of the translation manuscript, 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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began including the full texts of JS’s revelations, which became a major element of the account. The revelations were integrated into the history starting with July 1828, and they generally appear in chronological order. Mulholland copied the revelations into the history from the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, rather than from earlier versions. Many of JS’s early revelations underwent significant updating and expansion in order to suit rapidly changing circumstances after the organization of the Church of Christ in 1830, so the inclusion of the 1835 version of revelations into a narrative covering events before 1835 introduced numerous anachronisms. Significant instances of anachronism are identified in the annotation of the text herein.
Additionally, the narrative itself, composed beginning in 1838, necessarily reflects the perspective of JS and his collaborators at the time of its production, thus inadvertently introducing terminology and concepts that were not operative a decade earlier in the period the narrative describes. Examples include using later priesthood nomenclature such as “Aaronic” and “Melchizedek” and calling the church JS established “the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,” a name not designated until 1838. Such usage makes it difficult to trace the details of the unfolding of church governance and doctrine in the faith’s dynamic early years. Readers wishing to more fully understand these issues may consult the revelation texts and other documents found in the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers.
While much of the narrative is anchored by documents, particularly published revelations, JS and his associates were dependent upon unrecorded memories for the balance of the historical account found in Draft 2. JS used collective memory and oral recollections of fellow participants, such as 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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, to reconstruct the events of early church history. Such reminiscences formed the basis for not only factual details in the history but likely for quotations as well, such as long portions of the report of the 1830 trial proceedings in South Bainbridge and 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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, New York. JS evidently had to rely on his own memory and that of others to provide some extensive quotations, such as the words of the angel Moroni during his first appearance to JS and the remarks scholars in New York City

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

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made to Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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when he showed them characters copied from the gold plates. Lists of persons baptized may have come from records no longer extant or possibly from eyewitnesses consulted for the production of the history.
The manuscript itself was a dynamic text, emended at several times by various scribes. Revisions made in the hand of 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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at the time of inscription or shortly after are included in the transcript herein. Later changes in the hand 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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, made beginning in December 1842, are not incorporated into the transcript, although substantial changes are described in annotation. Thus, the transcript of Draft 2 presents the history in an early stage, before changes were made by Richards and others, and it approximates the state of the history when 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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used it for a new history draft in about 1841.
For more information about the relationship between this draft and Drafts 1 and 3, see Introduction to Early Drafts of History, 1838–1856.

Facts