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History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

as will be found recorded Book of Mormon Page [blank] second Edition and Page [blank] first edition——
So soon as we had made this discovery, it almost immediately occurred to, Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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and the aforementioned 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 had came to see us, and make enquiry how we got along with our work— of translation; that they would have me enquire of the Lord, to know if they might not obtain of him to be allowed to be these three witnesses and finally they became so very solicitous, and teazed me so much almost without intermission for some time, that I at length complied, and through the Urim and Thummim I obtained of the Lord for them the folowing
Revelation to Oliver Cowder

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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&c, Book Covenants Page 171
 
Not many days after the above revelation was given, we four, viz; 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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, David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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and myself, agreed to retire into the woods, and try to obtain by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfillment of the promises given in this revelation (that they should have a view of the plates &c,) we accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient, to Mr Whitmer

14 Apr. 1773–13 Aug. 1854. Farmer. Born at Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer and likely Maria Salome. Member of Presbyterian church. Married Mary Musselman, before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., by...

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’s house to which we retired and, having knelt down, we began to pray in much faith, to Almighty God, to bestow upon us a realization of those promises. according to previous arrangement, I commenced by vocal prayer to our Heavenly Father, and was followed by each of the rest in succession, we however did not yet receive any answer or manifestation of the divine favour in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer each calling on and praying fervently to God in regular rotation. but with the same unbeneficial result as before. Upon our again failing, 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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proposed that he should withdraw himself from us believing, as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining the object [p. [5]]
as will be found recorded Book of Mormon Page [blank] second Edition and  Page [blank] first edition——
almost So soon as we had made this discovery, it <almost immediately> occurred to, Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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 David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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and the aforementioned 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  had came to see us, and make enquiry how we got along with our work— <of translation;>  that they would have me enquire of the Lord, to know if they  might not obtain of him to be allowed to be these three witnesses  and at length <finally> they became so very solicitous, and teazed me  so much almost without intermission for some time, that I at  length complied, and through the Urim and Thummim I  obtained <of the Lord> for them the folowing
Revelation to Oliver Cowder

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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&c, Book Covenants Page 171
 
Not many days after the above revelation was given, we four, viz;  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
, <David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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> Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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and myself, agreed to retire  into the woods, and try to obtain by faithful, and fervent and  humble prayer, the fulfillment of the promises given in the this revelation  (that they should have a view of the plates &c,) we accordingly made  choice of a retired piece of woods convenient, to Fat[her] Mr Whitmer

14 Apr. 1773–13 Aug. 1854. Farmer. Born at Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer and likely Maria Salome. Member of Presbyterian church. Married Mary Musselman, before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., by...

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’s  <house> to which we retired and, having knelt down, we began to pray  in much faith, to Almighty God, to bestow upon us a realiz ation of those promises. It was deci4

TEXT: “was deci” was canceled when initially inscribed and then canceled a second time with the rest of the passage.  


had been arranged by us pre  according to previous arrangement, I commenced by vocal  prayer to our Heavenly Father, and in succ and was followed  by each of the other three <rest> in succession, we however did not yet  receive any answer or manifestation of the divine favour in our  behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer each calling  on and praying fervently to God in regular rotation. but with  the same <unbeneficial> result as before. Upon our again failing, 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
proposed that he should withdraw himself from us  believing, as he expressed himself, that his presence was the  cause of our not obtaining the object [p. [5]]
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The history drafted in 1839 was inscribed by 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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, who began writing for JS on 3 September 1838. In addition to his work on the history, Mulholland served as a scribe for patriarchal blessing records, JS’s second letterbook, and JS’s journals. After an interruption of his clerical work brought on by JS’s 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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imprisonment, Mulholland “commenced again to write for the Church” on 22 April 1839.1

Mulholland, Journal, 22 Apr. 1839.  


JS’s journal noted that JS “began to study & prepare to dictate history” on 10 June and that he dictated history while Mulholland wrote on 11–14 June.2

JS, Journal, 10, 11, and 12–14 June 1839; see also Mulholland, Journal, 10–15 June 1839.  


During JS’s 15–26 June absence from Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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while visiting his brothers William

13 Mar. 1811–13 Nov. 1893. Farmer, newspaper editor. Born at Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811; to Norwich, Windsor Co., 1813; and to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816...

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and Don Carlos

25 Mar. 1816–7 Aug. 1841. Farmer, printer, editor. Born at Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817. Moved to Manchester, Ontario Co., 1825. Baptized into LDS church by David...

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, Mulholland remained in Commerce, “writing history” on three days and “studying for history” for part of another day.3

Mulholland, Journal, 17–20 June 1839.  


Work done by Mulholland in JS’s absence may have included organizing sources from which to compile history, drafting the history itself from other sources, or making a clean draft of the history, as explained in the next section. After JS returned, he dictated history to Mulholland on three additional days.4

JS, Journal, 3 and 4–5 July 1839; Mulholland, Journal, 3–6 July 1839.  


Mulholland mentioned in his journal spending several more days writing for the church, without specifying which project he was working on.5

See Mulholland’s journal entries from July to October 1839.  


Because the history produced by JS and 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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in 1838 is not extant, it is impossible to know the exact relationship between that work and the extant versions of JS’s history presented here. It is probable, however, that Draft 1 represents the resumption of the historical narrative at the point where the now-lost 1838 manuscript ended. The extant draft picks up the narrative at the baptism of JS and Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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and covers the publication of the Book of Mormon, the organization of the Church of Christ, and events later in 1830. The narrative covering mid-April through August 1830, much of which involved 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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as either a participant or an eyewitness, is relatively detailed. It was likely during work on this portion of the history that, according to JS’s journal, JS was “assisted by Br Newel Knight.”6

JS, Journal, 4–5 July 1839.  


When 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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created the twenty-five-page Draft 1, it appears he began with an outline, identifying revelations, events, and other pieces of information and leaving blank space between these notations to be filled in later with connective narrative supplied by JS, 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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, or other sources. Beginning on the second page, Mulholland named particular revelation texts from the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants that were to be inserted into the history, but he did not copy the full texts from the Doctrine and Covenants into this draft. The revelations served as the initial threads around which JS wove his dictated narrative. Beginning with page 9 of Draft 1, following the notation to insert the title page of the Book of Mormon, the inscription pattern becomes much more complex. It appears that at this point, Mulholland began to write in dates of conferences, names of individuals baptized, and other key details, leaving large blank spaces between. This procedure for creating the history was not without drawbacks. When Mulholland came back and composed text or transcribed JS’s dictation to fill in the details, the narrative sometimes exceeded the reserved space, forcing Mulholland to squeeze extra lines of text onto the page. At other times the inserted narrative fell short of filling in all the blank space set aside for it. False starts are evident throughout much of the middle portion of the draft history.
JS’s work on the history was interrupted in early July 1839 when a malaria epidemic in Commerce

Located near middle of western boundary of state, bordering Mississippi River. European Americans settled area, 1820s. From bank of river, several feet above high-water mark, ground described as nearly level for six or seven blocks before gradually sloping...

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and vicinity required JS and 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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to attend to the sick for an extended period.7

See JS, Journal, 8 July–28 Sept. 1839.  


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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continued to work on JS’s history until at least 26 July. Many of the entries in his personal journal that mention “writing for the Church” may refer to additional work on the history. Mulholland’s tenure as a scribe was cut short when he died on 3 November 1839, possibly the victim of a stroke.8

Emma Smith, Nauvoo, IL, to JS, Washington DC, 6 Dec. 1839, Charles Aldrich Autograph Collection, State Historical Society of Iowa, Des Moines.  


For more information about the relationship between this draft and Drafts 2 and 3, see Introduction to Early Drafts of History, 1838–1856. Note that the transcript includes only annotation that relates to textual aspects of this draft; Draft 2 carries the historical annotation.

Facts