53992717

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

who lived in Chenango County

Created in south-central New York state, 1798. Population in 1830 about 37,000. In this county, Josiah Stowell employed JS as farmhand and millworker, 1825–1827. JS married Emma Hale in South Bainbridge, Chenango Co., 1827. JS was charged with and acquitted...

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, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony

Located in northeastern Pennsylvania. Area settled, by 1787. Organized 1809. Population in 1830 about 340. Population in 1840 about 520. Contained Harmony village (no longer in existence). Josiah Stowell hired JS to help look for treasure in area, Oct. 1825...

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, Susquahanah [Susquehanna] County, State of Pensylvania, and had previous to my hiring with him been digging in order if possible to discover the mine. After I went to live with him he took me among the rest of his hands to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.
During the time that I was thus employed I was put to board with a Mr Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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of that place, ’Twas there that I first saw my wife, (his daughter) Emma Hale

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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. On the eighteenth of January Eighteen hundred and twenty seven we were married while yet I was employed in the service of Mr Stoal

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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. Owing to my still continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecution still followed me, and so much was my wife

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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’s father

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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excited, that he was greatly opposed to our being married, in so much that he would not suffer us to be married at his house, I was therefore under the necessity of taking her elsewhere, so we went, and were married at the house of Squire Tarbill [Zechariah Tarble]. in South Bainbridge. Chenango County. New York. Immediately after my marriage I left Mr Stoal

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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s, and went to my father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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’s and farmed with him that season.
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummin and the breastplate, On the twenty second day of September, One thousand Eight hundred and twenty seven, having went as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge that I should be responsible for them. That if I should let them go carelessly or through any neglect of mine I should be cut off, but that if I would use all my endeavours to preserve them untill he (the messenger) should call for them, they should be protected.
I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required at my hand, he would call for them, for no sooner was it known that I had them than the most strenious exertions were used to get them from me. Every stratagem that could be invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continualy to get them from me if possible but by the wisdom of God they remained safe in my hands untill I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand, when according to arrangement the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him and he has them in his charge untill this day, being the Second day of May, One thousand Eight hundred and thirty eight.
The excitement however still continued, and rumour with her thousand tongues was all the time employed in circulating tales about my father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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’s family and about myself. If I were to relate a thousandth part of them it would fill up volumes. The persecution however became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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and going with my wife

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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to Susquahanah County in the State of Pensyllvania. While preparing to start (being very poor and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise) in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a Gentleman by name of 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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, who came to us and gave me fifty dollars [p. 8]
who lived in Chenango County

Created in south-central New York state, 1798. Population in 1830 about 37,000. In this county, Josiah Stowell employed JS as farmhand and millworker, 1825–1827. JS married Emma Hale in South Bainbridge, Chenango Co., 1827. JS was charged with and acquitted...

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, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver  mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony

Located in northeastern Pennsylvania. Area settled, by 1787. Organized 1809. Population in 1830 about 340. Population in 1840 about 520. Contained Harmony village (no longer in existence). Josiah Stowell hired JS to help look for treasure in area, Oct. 1825...

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, Susquahanah [Susquehanna] County, State of  Pensylvania, and had previous to my hiring with him been digging in order if possible to  discover the mine.24

According to Oliver Cowdery, Stowell hoped to discover a substantial quantity of coins said to have been minted by Spaniards from ore they had mined in the vicinity and left in a “subterraneous vault.” (Oliver Cowdery, “Letter VIII,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1835, 2:201.)  


After I went to live with <him> he took me among the rest of his hands to dig  for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in  our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after  it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.25

JS acknowledged receiving wages of fourteen dollars per month from Stowell for his assistance in treasure seeking. Additionally, JS and his father purportedly were parties to a contract regarding shares in the distribution of any valuables they found.a Several of JS’s neighbors recounted his participation in treasure-seeking activities between 1823 and 1826 in locations ranging from the Palmyra-Manchester area to Harmony.b  


a[JS], Editorial, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 42–44; Isaac Hale et al., Agreement, Harmony, PA, 1 Nov. 1825, in “An Interesting Document,” Salt Lake Daily Tribune, 23 Apr. 1880, [4].

bTrial proceedings, Bainbridge, NY, 20 Mar. 1826, State of New York v. JS, [J.P. Ct. 1826], in “The Original Prophet,” Fraser’s Magazine, Feb. 1873, 229–230; “Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly, July 1859, 164; see also Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 48–52.

During the time that I was thus employed I was put to board with a Mr Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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of that  place, ’Twas there that I first saw my wife, (his daughter) Emma Hale

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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. On the eighteenth of  January Eighteen hundred and twenty seven we were married while yet I was employed in the  service of Mr Stoal

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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. Owing to my still continuing to assert that I had seen a vision, persecu tion still followed me, and so much was my wife

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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’s father

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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excited, that he was greatly opp osed to our being married,26

Isaac Hale wrote later that he told JS his reasons for refusing to consent to the marriage, “some of which were, that he was a stranger, and followed a business that I could not approve,” apparently referring to JS’s involvement with treasure seeking. (Isaac Hale, Affidavit, 20 Mar. 1834, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 263.)  


in so much that he would not suffer us to be married at his  house, I was therefore under the necessity of taking her elsewhere, so we went, and were  married at Mr St

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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the house of Mr Stoal

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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<Squire Tarbill [Zechariah Tarble].27

Porter, “Study of the Origins,” 75, 86n40.  


in South Bainbridge. Chenango County. New York>. Immediately after my marriage I left  Mr  Stoal

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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s, and went to my father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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’s and farmed with him that season.
At length the time arrived for obtaining the plates, the Urim and Thummin and the  breastplate, In <On> the twenty second day of September, One thousand Eight hundred and  twenty seven, having went as usual at the end of another year to the place where they were  deposited, the same heavenly messenger delivered them up to me with this charge that I  should be responsible for them. That if I should let them go carelessly or <through> any neglect  of mine I should be cut off, but that if I would use all my endeavours to preserve  them untill <he> (the messenger) called should call for them, they should be protected.
I soon found out the reason why I had received such strict charges to keep them safe  and why it was that the messenger had said that when I had done what was required  at my hand, he would call for them, for no sooner was it known that I had them than  the most strenious exertions were used to get them from me.28

Lucy Mack Smith related that JS hid the plates in the woods the day he obtained them and that a few days later, after retrieving them from their hiding place, he was attacked three times while carrying them home. Subsequently, she wrote, two more unsuccessful attempts were made to take the plates from the Smith property in Manchester. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 5, [6], [12]; bk. 6, [2].)  


Every stratagem that could  be resorted invented was resorted to for that purpose. The persecution became more  bitter and severe than before, and multitudes were on the alert continualy to get them  from me if possible but by the wisdom of God they remained safe in my hands untill I  had accomplished by them what was required at my hand, when according to arrangement  the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him and he has them in his charge un till this day, being the Second day of May, One thousand Eight hundred and thirty eight.29

JS worked on the initial composition of this text in late April and early May 1838, and James Mulholland incorporated the 1838 work into Draft 2 in 1839. (See JS, Journal, 30 Apr.4 May 1838.)  


The excitement however still continued, and rumour with her thousand tongues was  all the time employed in circulating tales about my father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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’s family and about myself.  If I were to relate a thousandth part of them it would fill up volumes. The persecution  however became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

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and  going with my wife

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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<to> Susquahanah County in the State of Pensyllvania.30

Lucy Mack Smith indicated that in response to a request from JS and Emma Smith to the Hales, Emma’s brother Alva Hale came to Manchester to help the couple move to Harmony, Pennsylvania. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 6, [6].)  


While preparing  to start (being very poor and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability  that we would ever be otherwise) in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a  Gentleman by name of 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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, who came to us and gave me fifty dollars [p. 8]
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JS, History, [ca. June 1839–ca. 1841]; handwriting 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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and 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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; 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.  


It was subsequently turned upside down so the back cover became the front cover, and on the new first page, 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 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

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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, 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

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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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.  


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

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, 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

11 Feb. 1798–19 Nov. 1823. Farmer, carpenter. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; returned to Tunbridge, before May 1803. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804, and to...

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, 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

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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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.  


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

Facts