53992716

History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

us very much in writing during the remainder of the work. in the mean time David

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...

View Full Bio
, John

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
and Peter Whitmer Jr.

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

View Full Bio
became our zealous friends and assistants in the work, and being anxious to know their respective duties, and having desired with much earnestness that I should enquire of the Lord concerning them I did so through the means of the Urim and Thummin and obtained for them the following revelations, in succession.——
3 revelations, Book of Covenants Page 169
 
We found the people of Seneca Co. in general, friendly, and disposed to enquire in to the truth of these strange matters, which now began to be noised abroad. Many opened their houses to us, in order that we might have an opportunity of meeting with their friends for the purpose of instruction, and explanation. We met with many willing to hear us, and wishful to find out the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and apparently willing to obey the Gospel when once, fairly convinced and satisfied in their own minds; and in this same month of June, My Brother Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

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...

View Full Bio
and Peter Whitmer Jr

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

View Full Bio
were baptized, the two former by myself, and the latter by 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...

View Full Bio
. From this time forth, many became believers, and were baptized whilst we continued to instruct and persuade as many as applied for information, In the course of the work of translation, we ascertained that three especial witnesses were to be provided by the Lord, to whom he would grant, that they should see the plates from which this work, (The Book of Mormon) should be translated, and that these witnesses should bear record of the same [p. [4]]
us very much in writing &c during the remainder of the work.  The family in in the mean time however David

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...

View Full Bio
, John

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

View Full Bio
and  Peter Whitmer [Jr.]

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

View Full Bio
became very zealous in the cause <our zealous friends and assistants in the work,> and <being> anxious  to know their respective duties, and <having> desired with much  earnestness that I should enquire of the Lord concerning them  I did so through the means of the Urim and Thummin  and obtained for them the following revelations, in  succession.——
3 revelations, Book of Covenants Page 1693

TEXT: James Mulholland inscribed a partial embellished circle around this reference, presumably to indicate the intent to supply text from the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.  


 
We found the people in general of Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

More Info
<of> Seneca Co. in  general, friendly, and disposed to enquire in to the truth  of these strange matters, which now began to be noised  abroad. Many opened their houses <to us,> in order that we might  have an opportunity of meeting with their friends for the purpose  of instruction, and explanation. We met with many willing to  hear us, and wishful to find out the truth as it is in Christ  Jesus, and apparently willing to obey the truth <Gospel> when once, fairly  convinced and satisfied in their own minds; and in this same  month (June) of June, My Brother Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

View Full Bio
, and  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...

View Full Bio
and Peter Whitmer Jr

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

View Full Bio
were baptized, the  two former by myself, and the latter by 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...

View Full Bio
.  From this time forth, many became believers, and were baptized  whilst we continued to instruct and persuade as many as  expressed desires applied for information, In the course  of the work of translation, <we> became we ascertained that this <three> <work>  especial witness[es] were to be provided by the Lord, to whom he  would grant, that they should have a see the plates from which  this work, (The Book of Mormon) should be translated, and that these  witness[es] should bear testimony of the same publickly to record of the same [p. [4]]
PreviousNext
JS, History, [ca. June–Oct. 1839], draft; 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 ...

View Full Bio
; twenty-five pages; CHL. Includes file notes.
This draft history was inscribed in a makeshift gathering of nine loose leaves measuring 12⅜ × 15¾ inches (31 × 40 cm), folded in half to form eighteen unlined leaves measuring 12⅜ × 7⅞ inches (31 × 20 cm). The loose leaves are held together by a piece of string threaded through two holes in the upper half of the center fold of the leaves. Other holes in the folds indicate that additional sewing was in place at some earlier time. The eighteen-leaf gathering was used circa July 1833 as part of an effort to index JS’s revision of the Bible.1

See Jensen, “Ignored and Unknown Clues of Early Mormon Record Keeping,” 147–154.  


Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

View Full Bio
inscribed the first page of the gathering with the title “Scriptures on Covenants”, followed by five lines of references from JS’s revision of Genesis. This entire page was lined in graphite by Frederick G. Williams. A remnant of a wafer is also found on the upper left corner of this original first page, indicating that it may have been attached to a book or that another document was attached to the page. At some point, apparently in preparation to be used for the history draft, the fold of the gathering was inverted so that the original first and last pages became the center of the gathering (pages 18 and 19) and the original center spread became the first page and last 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 ...

View Full Bio
inscribed the history draft on twenty-five pages of the gathering, leaving eleven pages blank.
After its inscription in 1839, the whereabouts of this text for the remainder of the nineteenth century are unknown, though it presumably remained in church custody. The document was not listed on any of the known early Church Historian’s Office inventories, which did not detail all holdings. The first known listing of the history draft is in the inventory from circa 1905.2

“Contents of Box No. Two,” Joseph Fielding Smith, Papers, 1893–1973, CHL.  


The document is also listed on a 1970 inventory of papers of Joseph Fielding Smith, who had served as church historian and recorder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1921, perhaps indicating that the document had been in his possession for some time.3

“Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970, First Presidency, General Administration Files, CHL.  


The draft history became part of the First Presidency’s papers when Smith became president of the church in 1970, and it remained there until it was transferred in 2010 to the Church History Library.

Facts