53992717

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

Having got ready for their journey they bade adieu to their Brethren and friends and commenced their journey, preaching by the way and leaving a sealing testimony behind them lifting up their voice like a trump in the different villages through which they passed. They continued their journey until they came to 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, where they tarried some time there being quite a number in that place who believed their testimony and came forward and obeyed the gospel among the number was Elder Sidney S. 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 a large portion of the Church over which he presided.
As there has been a great rumor and many false statements have been given to the world respecting Elder 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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s’ connexion with the church of Jesus Christ, it [is] necessary that a correct account of the same be given so, that the public mind may be disabused on the subject. I shall therefore proceed to give a brief history of his life drawn from Authentic sources, as also, an account of his connexion with the Church of Christ. [p. 61]
Having got ready for their journey they bade adieu to their  Brethren and friends and commenced their journey, preach ing by the way154

Accounts by three of the participants, Oliver Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, and Peter Whitmer Jr., mention preaching at only one location between Fayette, New York, and Mentor, Ohio—in the vicinity of Buffalo, New York, to the Cattaraugus band of the Seneca Indians. However, John Corrill’s account of his own initial encounter with the missionaries shortly before they reached Mentor indicated that they shared their message more broadly. (Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to “beloved brethren,” 12 Nov. 1830, in Knight, Autobiography, 207–210; “History of Parley P. Pratt,” 1, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; Pratt, Autobiography, 49; Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1]; Corrill, Brief History, [7].)  


and leaving a sealing testimony behind them  lifting up their voice like a trump in the different  villages through which they passed. They continued their  journey until they came to 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,155

Kirtland” was later corrected—probably in the handwriting of Willard Richards—to “Mentor.” As JS’s history subsequently indicated, Sidney Rigdon was the first person the missionaries contacted in Mentor. Parley P. Pratt, a recent convert to Mormonism, had joined a congregation of Reformed Baptists in 1829 in Ohio as a result of preaching by Rigdon, who had been his “friend and instructor.” After proselytizing at Mentor, the missionaries soon continued on to Kirtland. (JS History, vol. A-1, 67, 72–74; Pratt, Autobiography, 31–32, 49.)  


where they tarried  some time there being quite a number in that place who  believed their testimony and came forward and obeyed the  gospel among the number was Elder Sidney S. 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 a large portion of the Church over which he presided.
As there has been a great rumor and many false  statements have been given to the world respecting Elder  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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s’ connexion with the church of Jesus Christ,156

Following the publication of the Book of Mormon in March 1830, JS’s critics began to suggest alternative explanations for its production. Most influential was Eber D. Howe’s 1834 compilation of anti-Mormon material, Mormonism Unvailed. Howe presented a theory advanced by Doctor Philastus Hurlbut that sometime before Rigdon publicly staged his acceptance of Mormonism, he discovered a manuscript in a print shop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, written by Solomon Spaulding. The manuscript, titled “Manuscript Found,” was a historical romance that cast the first settlers of America as descendants of the lost tribes of Israel, discovered by a Roman ship blown off course. Spaulding died in 1816 and his manuscript was left with a printer who never published it. Hurlbut argued that after Rigdon discovered the work, he went on to work secretly with JS to create the Book of Mormon based on the story. Solomon Spaulding’s original manuscript was discovered in 1884; a transcript may be found in Kent P. Jackson, ed., Manuscript Found: The Complete Original “Spaulding Manuscript” (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1996). (See also Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, chap. 19; and Jackson, Manuscript Found, ix–xi, xiv–xvi.)  


it [is]  necessary that <a> correct account of the same be given  so, that the public mind may be disabused on the subject.  I shall therefore proceed to give a brief history of  his life drawn from Authentic sources, as also, an  account of his connexion with the Church of Christ.157

In the original manuscript volume, the handwriting of Robert B. Thompson continues for thirteen more pages, giving a brief biography of Sidney Rigdon. The remainder of the volume is in the handwriting of William W. Phelps and Willard Richards, carrying the narrative up through 30 August 1834.  


[p. 61]
Previous
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