53992717

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

to assist us in our affliction,31

According to Lucy Mack Smith, JS asked her to approach Harris for financial assistance to enable JS to continue translation work. JS was preparing to move to Harmony when Harris met him and Alva Hale at a “public house” and gave him a bag of silver valued at fifty dollars “to do the Lords work with.” In a later interview, Harris was quoted as saying that he encouraged JS to move to Harmony, paid JS’s debts, and “furnished him money for his journey.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 6, [3], [6]; “Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly, Aug. 1859, 170.)  


Mr 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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was a resident of Palmyra township

First permanent white settlers arrived, ca. 1789. Included village of Palmyra. Erie Canal opened, 1825, in southern portion of township. Population in 1810 about 2,200. Population in 1830 about 3,400. Home of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family, beginning...

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Wayne County in the State of New York and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pensylvania

Area first settled by Swedish immigrants, 1628. William Penn received grant for territory from King Charles II, 1681, and established British settlement, 1682. Philadelphia was center of government for original thirteen U.S. colonies from time of Revolutionary...

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, and immediately after my arrival there I commenced copying the characters of the plates. I copyed a considerable number of them and by means of the Urim and Thummin I translated some of them which I did between the time I arrived at the house of 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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in the month of December, and the February following. Some time in this month of February the aforementioned Mr 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...

View Full Bio
came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off of the plates and started with them to the City of New York

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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.32

Although this account does not indicate why Harris took the sample to New York City, other narratives suggest that his errand was to explore the possibilities for obtaining a translation and that JS began translating only after Harris returned without finding a translator. (Knight, Reminiscences, 3; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 6, [7]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 6.)  


For what took place relative to him and the characters I refer to his own account of the circumstances as he related them to me after his return which was as follows. “I went to the City of New York

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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and presented the Characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Anthony Charles Anthon

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

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a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthony

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

View Full Bio
stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.
I then shewed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldeak, Assyriac, and Arabac, and he said that they were true characters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of Palmyra

First permanent white settlers arrived, ca. 1789. Included village of Palmyra. Erie Canal opened, 1825, in southern portion of township. Population in 1810 about 2,200. Population in 1830 about 3,400. Home of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family, beginning...

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that they were true characters and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct.
I took the Certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr Anthony

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

View Full Bio
called me back and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an Angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said to me, let me see that certificate, I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministring of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them.* I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them, he replied “I cannot read a sealed book”. I left him and went to Dr Mitchel Samuel Mitchill who sanctioned what Professor Anthony

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

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had said respecting both the Characters and the translation.”33

The origin of the Harris account quoted here is unknown. In none of the earlier accounts of this episode was there an indication that Harris took a copy of JS’s translation of the characters to Anthon or Mitchill. Journalist James Gordon Bennett produced the earliest known written account of what Harris said about his trip to New York. According to Bennett, Harris told lawyer Charles Butler that Anthon “said that he did not know what language they were” and referred Harris to Mitchill. The latter “compared them with other hieroglyphics—thought them very curious—and they were the characters of a nation now extinct which he named.” Harris then revisited Anthon, “who put some questions to him and got angry with Harris.”a According to two later accounts by Anthon, Mitchill referred Harris to Anthon, who concluded that the story of the gold plates was “a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money” and declined to give Harris a written statement.b  


aArrington, “James Gordon Bennett’s 1831 Report on ‘the Mormonites,’”355; see also [James Gordon Bennett], “Mormon Religion—Clerical Ambition—Western New York—The Mormonites Gone to Ohio,” Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer [New York City], 1 Sept. 1831 [2]; and Bennett, “Read This I Pray Thee,” 212–216.

bCharles Anthon, New York, to Eber D. Howe, Painesville, OH, 17 Feb. 1834, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 270–272; Charles Anthon, New York, to Thomas Winthrop Coit, New Rochelle, NY, 3 Apr. 1841, in Clark, Gleanings by the Way, 233–238.

Mr 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...

View Full Bio
having returned from this tour he left me and went home to Palmyra

First permanent white settlers arrived, ca. 1789. Included village of Palmyra. Erie Canal opened, 1825, in southern portion of township. Population in 1810 about 2,200. Population in 1830 about 3,400. Home of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family, beginning...

More Info
, arranged his affairs, and returned again to my house about the twelfth of April, Eighteen hundred and twenty eight, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, which we continued untill the fourteenth of June following, by which time he had written one hundred and sixteen pages of manuscript on foolscap paper.34

Emma Smith later stated that she also served as a scribe for the translation of the Book of Mormon, as did her brother Reuben Hale. Their inscriptions were likely included in this earliest manuscript, along with Harris’s. (Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, 289–290.)  


Some time after Mr 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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had began to write for me, he began to tease me to give him liberty to carry the writings home and shew them, and desired of me that I would enquire of the Lord through the Urim and Thummin if he might not do so. I did enquire, and the answer was that he must not. However he was not satisfied with this answer, and desired that I should enquire again. I did so, and the answer was as before. Still he could not be contented but insisted that I should enquire once more. After much solicitation I again enquired of the Lord, and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain conditions, which were, that he shew them only to his brother. Preserved Harris

Ca. 1785–18 Apr. 1867. 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 Nancy Warren. One of five to whom JS gave Martin...

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, his own wife Lucy Harris Harris

1 May 1792–summer 1836. Born at Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York. Daughter of Rufus Harris and Lucy Hill. Affiliated with Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Married Martin Harris, 27 Mar. 1808, in Palmyra. Partially deaf, by ...

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, his father Nathan Harris, and his mother Rhoda Lapham Harris, and a Mrs Mary (Polly) Harris Cobb a sister to his wife

1 May 1792–summer 1836. Born at Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York. Daughter of Rufus Harris and Lucy Hill. Affiliated with Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Married Martin Harris, 27 Mar. 1808, in Palmyra. Partially deaf, by ...

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. In accordance with this last answer I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me [p. 9]
to assist us in our affliction,31

According to Lucy Mack Smith, JS asked her to approach Harris for financial assistance to enable JS to continue translation work. JS was preparing to move to Harmony when Harris met him and Alva Hale at a “public house” and gave him a bag of silver valued at fifty dollars “to do the Lords work with.” In a later interview, Harris was quoted as saying that he encouraged JS to move to Harmony, paid JS’s debts, and “furnished him money for his journey.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 6, [3], [6]; “Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly, Aug. 1859, 170.)  


Mr 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...

View Full Bio
was a resident of Palmyra township

First permanent white settlers arrived, ca. 1789. Included village of Palmyra. Erie Canal opened, 1825, in southern portion of township. Population in 1810 about 2,200. Population in 1830 about 3,400. Home of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family, beginning...

More Info
Wayne County  in the State of New York and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled  to reach the place of my destination in Pensylvania

Area first settled by Swedish immigrants, 1628. William Penn received grant for territory from King Charles II, 1681, and established British settlement, 1682. Philadelphia was center of government for original thirteen U.S. colonies from time of Revolutionary...

More Info
, and immediately after my arrival  there I commenced copying the characters of all the plates. I copyed a considerable number  of them and by means of the Urim and Thummin I translated some of them which I did  between the time I arrived at the house of 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...

View Full Bio
’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...

View Full Bio
in the month of December, and  the February following. Some time in this month of February the aforementioned Mr  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...

View Full Bio
came to our place, got the characters which I had drawn off of the plates  and started with them to the City of New York

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...

More Info
.32

Although this account does not indicate why Harris took the sample to New York City, other narratives suggest that his errand was to explore the possibilities for obtaining a translation and that JS began translating only after Harris returned without finding a translator. (Knight, Reminiscences, 3; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 6, [7]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 6.)  


For what took place relative to him  and the characters I refer to his own account of the circumstances as he related them  to me after his return which was as follows. “I went to the City of New York

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...

More Info
and presented  the Characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Anthony [Charles Anthon]

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

View Full Bio
a  gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthony

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

View Full Bio
stated that the trans lation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian.
I then shewed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were  Egyptian, Chaldeak, Assyriac, and Arabac, and he said that they were true charac ters. He gave me a certificate certifying to the people of Palmyra

First permanent white settlers arrived, ca. 1789. Included village of Palmyra. Erie Canal opened, 1825, in southern portion of township. Population in 1810 about 2,200. Population in 1830 about 3,400. Home of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family, beginning...

More Info
that they were true char acters and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct.
I took the Certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when  Mr Anthony

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

View Full Bio
called me back and asked me how the young man found out that there were  gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an Angel of God had  revealed it unto him. He then said to me, let me see that certificate, I accordingly took  it out of my pocket and gave it [to] him when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that  there was no such thing now as ministring of angels, and that if I would bring the plates  to him, he would translate them.<*> <I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them, he replied  “I cannot read a sealed book”.> I left him and went to Dr Mitchel [Samuel Mitchill] who sanction ed what Professor Anthony

17 Nov. 1797–29 July 1867. College professor, lawyer. Born in New York City. Son of George Christian Anthon and Genevieve Judot. Attended Columbia College, 1811–1815, in New York City. Studied law; admitted to bar, 1819. Adjunct professor of Greek and Latin...

View Full Bio
had said respecting both the Characters and the translation.”33

The origin of the Harris account quoted here is unknown. In none of the earlier accounts of this episode was there an indication that Harris took a copy of JS’s translation of the characters to Anthon or Mitchill. Journalist James Gordon Bennett produced the earliest known written account of what Harris said about his trip to New York. According to Bennett, Harris told lawyer Charles Butler that Anthon “said that he did not know what language they were” and referred Harris to Mitchill. The latter “compared them with other hieroglyphics—thought them very curious—and they were the characters of a nation now extinct which he named.” Harris then revisited Anthon, “who put some questions to him and got angry with Harris.”a According to two later accounts by Anthon, Mitchill referred Harris to Anthon, who concluded that the story of the gold plates was “a scheme to cheat the farmer of his money” and declined to give Harris a written statement.b  


aArrington, “James Gordon Bennett’s 1831 Report on ‘the Mormonites,’”355; see also [James Gordon Bennett], “Mormon Religion—Clerical Ambition—Western New York—The Mormonites Gone to Ohio,” Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer [New York City], 1 Sept. 1831 [2]; and Bennett, “Read This I Pray Thee,” 212–216.

bCharles Anthon, New York, to Eber D. Howe, Painesville, OH, 17 Feb. 1834, in Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 270–272; Charles Anthon, New York, to Thomas Winthrop Coit, New Rochelle, NY, 3 Apr. 1841, in Clark, Gleanings by the Way, 233–238.

Mr 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...

View Full Bio
having returned from this tour he left me and went home to Palmyra

First permanent white settlers arrived, ca. 1789. Included village of Palmyra. Erie Canal opened, 1825, in southern portion of township. Population in 1810 about 2,200. Population in 1830 about 3,400. Home of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family, beginning...

More Info
, arranged  his affairs, and returned again to my house about the twelfth of April, Eighteen hundred and  twenty eight, and commenced writing for me while I translated from the plates, which we  continued untill the fourteenth of June following, by which time he had written one  hundred and sixteen <pages> of manuscript on foolscap paper.34

Emma Smith later stated that she also served as a scribe for the translation of the Book of Mormon, as did her brother Reuben Hale. Their inscriptions were likely included in this earliest manuscript, along with Harris’s. (Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, 289–290.)  


Some time after Mr 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...

View Full Bio
 had began to write for me, he began to tease me to give him liberty to carry the writings  home and shew them, and desired of me that I would enquire of the Lord through the Urim  and Thummin if he might not do so. I did enquire, and the answer was that he must  not. However he was not satisfied with this answer, and desired that I should enquire  again. I did so, and the answer was as before. Still he could not be contented but insis ted that I should enquire once more. after After much solicitation I again enquired  of the Lord, and permission was granted him to have the writings on certain condit ions, which were, that he shew them only to his brother. Preserved Harris

Ca. 1785–18 Apr. 1867. 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 Nancy Warren. One of five to whom JS gave Martin...

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, his own wife [Lucy Harris Harris

1 May 1792–summer 1836. Born at Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York. Daughter of Rufus Harris and Lucy Hill. Affiliated with Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Married Martin Harris, 27 Mar. 1808, in Palmyra. Partially deaf, by ...

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],  his father [Nathan Harris], and his mother [Rhoda Lapham Harris], and a Mrs [Mary (Polly) Harris] Cobb a sister to his wife

1 May 1792–summer 1836. Born at Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York. Daughter of Rufus Harris and Lucy Hill. Affiliated with Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Married Martin Harris, 27 Mar. 1808, in Palmyra. Partially deaf, by ...

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. In accordance with this  last answer I required of him that he should bind himself in a covenant to me [p. 9]
PreviousNext
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