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History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

Mean time our translation drawing to a close, we went to Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

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, and agreed there with Mr Egbert Granden [Grandin]

30 Mar. 1806–16 Apr. 1845. Printer, newspaper editor and publisher, butcher, shipper, tanner. Born in Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Son of William Grandin and Amy Lewis. Moved to Williamson, Ontario Co., New York, by 1810; to Pultneyville, Ontario Co...

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to print five thousand copies for three thousand Dollars, and about this time secured the copy right. I would mention here also in order to correct a misunderstanding, which has gone abroad concerning the title page of the Book of Mormon, that it is not a composition of mine or of any other man’s who has lived or does live in this generation, but that it is a literal translation taken from the last leaf of the plates, on the left hand side of the collection of plates, the language running same as all Hebrew writing in general. And that no error can henceforth possibly exist I give here the Title so far as it is a translation.
Title page—
 
Revelation page 174
 
Whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer, we still continued to bear testimony, to such as would hear as far as we had opportunity. We made known also to those who had already been baptized, that we had received commandment to organize the Church: and accordingly we met to together, (being six in number) besides a number who were beleiving—met with us on Tuesday the Sixth day of Aprile A.D. One thousand, Eight hundred and thirty, and proceeded, as follows, at the house of the above mentioned 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——
Revelation Page 177——
Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father and the brethren & sisters having by a unamious vote, accepted us as &c I proceeded to lay my hands upon 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 ordained him an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, after which he ordained me also to the office of an Elder of said Church. We then took bread, blessed it, & brake it with them, also wine, blessed it, and drank it with them. We then laid our hands on each individual member of the Church present, to confirm them members of the Church of Jesus Christ, and that they might receive the Holy Ghost, when immediately the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us all to a greter or less degree. . Father Smith [Joseph Smith Sr.]

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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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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baptized this evening 6th April Mother [Lucy Mack] Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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& Sister Rockwell 2 or 3 days afterwards Some [p. [9]]
Mean time our translation drawing to a close, we went to  Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

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, and agreed there <with Mr> Egbert Granden [Grandin]

30 Mar. 1806–16 Apr. 1845. Printer, newspaper editor and publisher, butcher, shipper, tanner. Born in Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Son of William Grandin and Amy Lewis. Moved to Williamson, Ontario Co., New York, by 1810; to Pultneyville, Ontario Co...

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to print and publish  it five thousand <copies> for three thousand Dollars, and about this  time secured the copy right. I would mention here also  in order to correct a misunderstanding, which has gone abroad  concerning the title page of the Book of Mormon, that it is not  a composition of mine or of any other man’s who has lived or does  live in this generation, but that it is a literal translation taken  from the last leaf of the plates, on the left hand side of the collec tion of plates, the language running same as the <all> Hebrew <wr[i]ting>  language <in general>. And that no error can henceforth possibly  exist I give here the Title so far as it is a translation.
Title page—
 
Revelation page 1745

TEXT: James Mulholland inscribed this revelation reference and left blank lines to be filled in later. He subsequently inserted the next paragraph, which flowed beyond the reserved space and into the space he left after “Revelation Page 177”. It is unknown exactly where the insertion ends and the original inscription after “Revelation Page 177” recommences.  


 
<Whilst the Book of Mormon was in the hands of the printer, we still  continued to bear testimony, and preach to such as would hear  as far as we had opportunity. And <We> made known also to the <those> members  who had already been baptized, that we had received commandment  to organize the Church: and according to accordingly <we> met to together, <(being about 30 <six> in number) besides a number who were beleiving—met with us> on Tuesday  the Sixth day of Aprile in the year of our A.D. A thousand &  One thousand, Eight hundred and thirty, and proceeded, as follows,  <at the house of the above mentioned 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——>>
Revelation Page 177——6

That is, Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830, in Doctrine and Covenants 46, 1835 ed. [D&C 21], copied into drafts 2 and 3.  


Having opened the meeting by solemn prayer to our Heavenly Father  <and the meeting Ch brethren & sisters having by a unamious vote, accepted us as &c>  I proceeded to lay my hands upon 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 ordained him  an Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, after which he  ordained me also to the office of an Elder of said Church. We then took  bread, blessed it, & brake it with them, also wine, blessed it, and drank it  with them. We then laid our hands on each individual member of the Church  present, to confirm them members of the Church of Jesus Christ, and that they  might receive the Holy Ghost, when immediately the Holy Ghost was  poured out upon <us all> the whole community <to a greter or less degree.> in a <very> miraculous manner. <Father Smith [Joseph Smith Sr.]

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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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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baptized this evening 6th April  Mother [Lucy Mack] Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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& Sister Rockwell 2 or 3 days afterwards>7

TEXT: This insertion by James Mulholland runs along the bottom of pages 9 and 10 of Draft 1, with the page break occurring between “April” and “Mother”.  


Some [p. [9]]
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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 ...

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; 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...

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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 ...

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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