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

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James Mulholland handwriting begins.  

Owing to the many reports which have been put in circulation  by evil disposed and designing persons in relation to the rise and progress of the  Church of Latter day Saints, all of which have been designed by the authors  thereof to militate against its character as a church, and its progress in the world;  I have been induced to write this history so as to disabuse the publick mind, and put  all enquirers after truth into possession of the facts as they have transpired in relation  both to myself and the Church as far as I have such facts in possession.
In this history I will present the various events in relation to this Church in truth  and righteousness as they have transpired, or as they at present exist, being now the  eighth year since the organization of said Church.
I was born in the  year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and five, on the twenty third day of  December, in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, State of Vermont.1

A later redaction here by Willard Richards points to “Note A,” which he penned by December 1842 on pages 131–132 of the manuscript book. The note describes JS’s contraction of typhoid fever as a child, a leg infection that ensued, and the operation he underwent to remove pieces of the bone. The note also recounts the difficult journey JS made with his mother and siblings to join his father, who had relocated to Palmyra, New York.  

My father  Joseph Smith Senior2

A later redaction here by Willard Richards points to “Note E page 2. adenda.” The relevant note is actually note C, which was written in the handwriting of Charles Wandell in the “Addenda” section following page 553 of the manuscript book. The note provides birth information for JS’s paternal ancestors.  

left the State of Vermont and moved to Palmyra, Ontario,  (now Wayne) County, in the State of New York when I was in my tenth year.3

Joseph Smith Sr. left Vermont in late summer or early fall 1816, when JS was ten years old. The rest of the Smith family joined him in Palmyra in early 1817, shortly after JS turned eleven. (Palmyra, NY, Record of Highway Taxes, 1817, Copies of Old Village Records, 1793–1867, microfilm 812,869, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 3, [3]–[6]; JS History, vol. A-1, 131–132.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

Smith, Lucy Mack. History, 1844–1845. 18 books. CHL. Also available in Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed., Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001).

JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). CHL. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

In about four years after my father’s arrival at Palmyra, he moved with his fa mily into Manchester in the same County of Ontario.4

Lucy Mack Smith stated that two years after they arrived in Palmyra, or by 1819, the Smiths settled on the Palmyra side of the Palmyra-Farmington township line and began clearing land for a farm on the Farmington side. The eastern part of Farmington, which included the Smith farm, was divided off and became Manchester Township in 1822. The Smiths did not actually move across the township line onto their Manchester farm until they completed their frame house in late 1825. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 3, [7]–[8]; Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 32–34; Porter, “Study of the Origins,” 38–43, 76–77.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



Smith, Lucy Mack. History, 1844–1845. 18 books. CHL. Also available in Lavina Fielding Anderson, ed., Lucy’s Book: A Critical Edition of Lucy Mack Smith’s Family Memoir (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2001).

Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. With the assistance of Jed Woodworth. New York: Knopf, 2005.

Porter, Larry C. “A Study of the Origins of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 1816–1831.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1971. Also available as A Study of the Origins of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 1816–1831, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2000).

His family consisting of eleven  souls, namely, My Father Joseph Smith, My Mother Lucy Smith whose name  previous to her marriage was Mack, daughter of Solomon Mack, my brothers  Alvin (who is now dead) Hyrum, Myself, Samuel Harrison, William, Don  Carloss [Carlos], and my Sisters Soph[r]onia, Cathrine [Katharine] and Lucy.
Sometime in  the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where  we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with  the Methodist,5

Methodists held camp meetings at Palmyra in June 1818 and at Oaks Corners, near Vienna and within six miles of Palmyra, in July 1819. (Latimer, Three Brothers, 12; Peck, Early Methodism, 502; Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 128–130.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



Latimer, E. The Three Brothers: Sketches of the Lives of Rev. Aurora Seager, Rev. Micah Seager, Rev. Schuyler Seager, D. D. New York: Phillips and Hunt, 1880.

Peck, George. Early Methodism Within the Bounds of the Old Genesee Conference from 1788 to 1828; or, The First Forty Years of Wesleyan Evangelism in Northern Pennsylvania, Central and Western New York, and Canada. . . . New York: Carlton and Porter, 1860.

Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.

but soon became general among all the sects in that region of  country, indeed the whole district of Country seemed affected by it and great [p. [1]]
JS, History, [ca. June 1839–ca. 1841]; handwriting of James Mulholland and Robert B. Thompson; sixty-one pages; in JS History, 1838–1856, vol. A-1, CHL. Includes redactions, use marks, and archival marking.
Large blank book composed of ruled paper printed with forty horizontal lines in (now faint) blue ink. The text block includes thirty gatherings of various sizes, each about a dozen leaves per gathering, and originally had 384 interior leaves cut to measure 13⅝ × 9 inches (35 × 23 cm). The text block, which was conserved in the late twentieth century, was probably originally sewn on recessed cords and was apparently also glued on leather tapes. The binding features false bands. The endpapers were single-sided marbled leaves featuring a traditional Spanish pattern with slate blue body and veins of black and red. The block was bound to pasteboard covers, probably with a hollow-back ledger binding, making a book measuring 14¼ × 9½ × 2½ inches (36 × 24 × 6 cm). The boards were bound in brown suede calfskin. At some point, blind-tooled decorations were made around the outside border and along the board edges and the turned-in edges of the inside covers.
The volume was originally used for JS’s 1834–1836 history, comprising 154 pages.1

See Source Note for 1834–1836 history.
Comprehensive Works Cited



JS History, 1834–1836 / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1834–1836. In Joseph Smith et al., History, 1838–1856, vol. A-1, back of book (earliest numbering), 9–20, 46–187. CHL.

It was subsequently turned upside down so the back cover became the front cover, and on the new first page, James Mulholland began copying the history that had been begun by the church presidency in 1838. He left the first seventeen lines blank, presumably to create a large title when the work was complete, although a title was never added. Because the volume had been turned upside down, the unlined top margin became the bottom margin and there was no longer any top margin. Mulholland inscribed pages 2–19 beginning at the head of the page; then, beginning with page 20, he left the line at the top of the page blank, effectively creating a top margin. He also inscribed one line of text below the lowest printed line at the foot of the page, in the original top margin. Starting on page 13, he penciled in a horizontal line at the bottom of each page to ensure straight text on this last line. Mulholland inscribed 59 pages in all. Robert B. Thompson, who replaced Mulholland as scribe, commenced on page 60 and wrote for sixteen pages, the first two pages of which are included in the transcript herein. Thompson maintained the blank upper margin, but instead of filling in the lower margin as Mulholland had done, he left the space blank. In addition, he created a left margin on each page by penciling in a vertical line. Both Mulholland and Thompson numbered the pages as they inscribed them. At a later time, Willard Richards inserted headings giving the year, or the month and year, narrated on each page.2

Of the excerpt transcribed here, manuscript pages 1–9, 18, 19, and 36 do not have a heading.  

The volume includes 553 pages of the history inscribed beginning in 1839, followed by sixteen pages of addenda that were recorded by Charles Wandell and Thomas Bullock. Four blank pages separate the addenda from the end of the 1834–1836 history. Multiple layers of emendations and other later marks accumulated as the history was created, revised, and published. The transcript here presents the initial text, along with only those revisions made to it by the first two scribes, Mulholland and Thompson.
With the later history’s side of the book upward, the spine of the book was at some point in time labeled as volume “A | 1” of the multivolume history. Archival stickers were also added at some point to the spine and inside front cover. Two interior leaves are now missing from the initial gathering of the volume and one leaf is missing from the final gathering. The original flyleaves and pastedowns were also removed.3

See JS History, vol. A-1, microfilm, Dec. 1971, CHL. Only one leaf of the original pastedowns and flyleaves is extant. The pastedowns were replaced with undecorated paper in 1994, according to a conservation note on the verso of the extant marbled leaf archived with the volume.
Comprehensive Works Cited



JS History, vol. A-1. Microfilm, Dec. 1971. CHL.

The volume shows moderate wear, browning, water staining, and brittleness. It has been resewn, rebound, and otherwise conserved.
In the first half of the 1840s, the volume was in the possession of church scribes and printers while JS’s history was updated and prepared for publication, which was begun in the church newspaper in Nauvoo, Illinois, in the 15 March 1842 issue. JS maintained custody of the volume through his later life, as indicated by a note he inscribed memorializing his deceased brother Alvin Smith, which was attached to the verso of the front flyleaf. The volume is listed in the first extant Historian’s Office inventory, made in Nauvoo in February 1846 by clerk Thomas Bullock, and it is listed in inventories of church records made in Salt Lake City in the second half of the nineteenth century.4

“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1]; “Historian’s Office Catalogue 1858,” 2, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited



Historian’s Office. Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904. CHL.

These and later archival records, as well as archival marking on the volume, indicate continuous institutional custody.