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History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

And Newel

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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had promised me on a certain day, that he would that evening take up his cross and pray vocally in the meeting the same evening— The evening came, and the meeting was held, but when Newel

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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was asked to pray, he begged to be excused. I tryed to prevail upon him and encourage him to pray, he replied that when he got out in the woods by himself he should there take up his cross. I endeavored to persuade him that where so many were , ready & willing to assist him there was the place for him to pray—and that for my part I would & could help him by my faith, provided he would only, make an attempt to pray. He now brought up the following figure, Suppose I should be traveling along the road & through carelessness get into a mudhole and a number of men came along, it is natural to expect, that I should be so much ashamed that I would rather wait untill they would go past & then try to get out myself.— To this I replied that provided he should get into a situation of the kind, that it was most likely he would require help, but that no person would help him out of a mud hole, unless he would show a willingness to Assist himself also. All arguments were however useless, he deferred praying untill next morning—when he then retired into the woods, where according to his own account afterwards he made several attempts to pray, but could scarcely do so, feeling as he said, that he had not done his duty, but that he should have taken up his cross in the presence of others, he began to feel uneasy and felt worse both in mind and body, untill upon reaching his house, his appearance was such as to alarm his wife

1804–15 Sept. 1834. Born in Oxford (later in Guilford), Chenango Co., New York. Daughter of Amariah Coburn and Rose Linda Lyon. Resided in Oxford, Chenango Co., by 1810. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., by 1820. Moved to Colesville, Broome Co., New York, by...

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very much—he requested her to go and bring me to him, I went and found him suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a most strange manner, His visage and limbs distorted & twisted into every possible shape and appearances, and finally he was caught up off the floor of the apartment and tossed about most fearfully. his situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had thus suffered for some time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by the hand, when almost immediately he was able to speak, and requested with great earnestness I should cast the Devil out of him, that [p. [12]]
And Newel

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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had promised me on a certain day, that he would that evening  take up his cross and pray vocally in the meeting the same evening—  The evening came, and the meeting was held, but when it came to Newel

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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s  was asked to pray, he begged to be excused. I tryed to prevail upon him  and encourage him to pray, <when> he brought up as figure the following, “Suppose  that a man travelling along the road, sho he replied that when he got out  in the woods by himself he should there take up his cross. I endeavored to  persuade him that where so many were there, ready & willing to assist him  there was the place for him to pray—and that for my part I would &  could help him by my faith, provided he would only, make an attempt  to pray. He now brought up the follow[ing] figure, Suppose I should  be traveling along the road & through carelessness get into a mudhole  and a number of men came along, it is natural to expect, that I should  be so much ashamed that I would rather wait untill they would go past & then  try to get out myself.— To this I replied that provided he should get  into a situation of the kind, And that it was most likely he would require  help, but that no person would help him out of a mud hole, unless he  would show a willingness to Assist himself also. All arguments were  however useless, he deferred praying untill next morning—when he then  retired into the woods, where according to his own account afterwards  he made several attempts to pray, but could scarcely do so, feeling  as he said, that he had not done his duty, but that he should have  taken up his cross in the presence of others, he began to feel uneasy and  felt worse both in mind and body, untill upon reaching his  house, his appearance was such as to alarm his wife

1804–15 Sept. 1834. Born in Oxford (later in Guilford), Chenango Co., New York. Daughter of Amariah Coburn and Rose Linda Lyon. Resided in Oxford, Chenango Co., by 1810. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., by 1820. Moved to Colesville, Broome Co., New York, by...

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very much— he requested her to go and bring me to him, I went and found him  suffering very much in his mind, and his body acted upon in a most  strange manner, His visage and limbs distorted & twisted into  every possible shape and appearances, and finally he was caught  up off the floor of the apartment and tossed about most fearfully.  his situation was soon made known to his neighbors and relatives  and in a short time as many as eight or nine grown  persons had got together to witness the scene. After he had  thus suffered for some time, I succeeded in getting hold of him by  the hand, when almost immediately he was able to speak, and requested  with great earnestness that I should cast the Devil out of him, that [p. [12]]
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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