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History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

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About this time 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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baptized the following viz: John Poorman, John Jolly

2 Mar. 1812–11 Feb. 1885. Farmer. Born in New York, likely at Fayette, Seneca Co. Son of William Jolly and Elizabeth Stones. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. Moved to Parkman, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1831. Married...

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, Julia Anne Jolly

7 Feb. 1815–25 Feb. 1889. Born in New York, likely at Fayette, Seneca Co. Daughter of William Jolly and Elizabeth Stones. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. Married David Whitmer, 9 Jan. 1831, at Fayette. Moved...

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—and Harriette Harriett Jolly

Apr. 1816–May 1865. Born in New York, likely at Fayette, Seneca Co. Daughter of William Jolly and Elizabeth Stones. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. Moved to Parkman, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1831. Married Arza Bisbee...

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Jerushee Jerusha Barden Smith

15 Feb. 1805–13 Oct. 1837. Born in Norfolk, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Seth Barden and Sarah. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., New York, by 1820. Married Hyrum Smith, 2 Nov. 1826, in Manchester, Ontario Co., New York. Moved to Palmyra, Wayne Co...

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Katharine Smith

28 July 1813–2 Feb. 1900. Seamstress, weaver. Born at Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1813; to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817; and to Manchester, Ontario...

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Wm Smith

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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, Don Carlos Smith

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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Orrin Porter Rockwell

28 June 1813–9 June 1878. Ferry operator, herdsman, farmer. Born in Belchertown, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Orin Rockwell and Sarah Witt. Moved to Farmington (later in Manchester), Ontario Co., New York, 1817. Neighbor to JS. Baptized into LDS church...

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Caroline Rockwell

Ca. 1812–20 Feb. 1887. Born in Massachusetts. Daughter of Orin Rockwell and Sarah Witt. Moved to Farmington, Ontario Co., New York, by Aug. 1820. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, ca. 9 June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co., New York. Moved to Ohio...

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and Electa Rockwell

May 1816–12 Nov. 1900. Farmer. Likely born in Belchertown, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Orin Rockwell and Sarah Witt. Moved to Farmington, Ontario Co., New York, by Aug. 1820. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, ca. 9 June 1830, in Seneca...

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in Seneca Lake.
Immediately after the conference, I returned to my own house & from thence (in company with 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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) 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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John Whitmer

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...

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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...

View Full Bio
) journeyed again on a visit to Mr Knights’ Joseph Knight Sr.’s

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

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Broome Co.

Area settled by emigrants from western Massachusetts, 1785. County created, 28 Mar. 1806. Population in 1825 about 14,000; in 1830 about 18,000; and in 1835 about 20,000. Susquehanna River flows through eastern and southern portions of county. Several hundred...

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We found a number in the neighborhood still believing and now anxious, to be baptized, accordingly we appointed a meeting on the next Sabbath day, intending to attend to the ordinance. On the afternoon previous, we had erected a dam across a stream in order to form a place for baptism, but during the night a mob collected (at the instigation of sectarian Priests of the neighborhood) and tore away our dam, which hindered our intentions of baptizing those who wished at this time, We however held our meeting, 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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preached, & many of us bore record & testimony to the truth of the book of Mormon, the doctrine of repentance &c Amongst our Audience were those who had torn down our dam the night previous, seemed wishful to give us trouble, but did not untill after our meeting had been dismissed, when they immediately commenced talking to those who they considered our friends—to try to turn them against us and our doctrines. [p. [15]]
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About this time 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
baptized the following viz:  John Poorman, John Jolly

2 Mar. 1812–11 Feb. 1885. Farmer. Born in New York, likely at Fayette, Seneca Co. Son of William Jolly and Elizabeth Stones. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. Moved to Parkman, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1831. Married...

View Full Bio
, Julia Anne Jolly

7 Feb. 1815–25 Feb. 1889. Born in New York, likely at Fayette, Seneca Co. Daughter of William Jolly and Elizabeth Stones. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. Married David Whitmer, 9 Jan. 1831, at Fayette. Moved...

View Full Bio
—and Harriette [Harriett] Jolly

Apr. 1816–May 1865. Born in New York, likely at Fayette, Seneca Co. Daughter of William Jolly and Elizabeth Stones. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. Moved to Parkman, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1831. Married Arza Bisbee...

View Full Bio
 Jerushee [Jerusha Barden] Smith

15 Feb. 1805–13 Oct. 1837. Born in Norfolk, Litchfield Co., Connecticut. Daughter of Seth Barden and Sarah. Moved to Greene, Chenango Co., New York, by 1820. Married Hyrum Smith, 2 Nov. 1826, in Manchester, Ontario Co., New York. Moved to Palmyra, Wayne Co...

View Full Bio
Kath[a]rine Smith

28 July 1813–2 Feb. 1900. Seamstress, weaver. Born at Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1813; to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817; and to Manchester, Ontario...

View Full Bio
Wm Smith

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...

View Full Bio
, Don C[arlos] Smith

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...

View Full Bio
 [Orrin] Porter Rockwell

28 June 1813–9 June 1878. Ferry operator, herdsman, farmer. Born in Belchertown, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Orin Rockwell and Sarah Witt. Moved to Farmington (later in Manchester), Ontario Co., New York, 1817. Neighbor to JS. Baptized into LDS church...

View Full Bio
Caroline Rockwell

Ca. 1812–20 Feb. 1887. Born in Massachusetts. Daughter of Orin Rockwell and Sarah Witt. Moved to Farmington, Ontario Co., New York, by Aug. 1820. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, ca. 9 June 1830, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co., New York. Moved to Ohio...

View Full Bio
and Electa Rockwell

May 1816–12 Nov. 1900. Farmer. Likely born in Belchertown, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Daughter of Orin Rockwell and Sarah Witt. Moved to Farmington, Ontario Co., New York, by Aug. 1820. Baptized into LDS church by David Whitmer, ca. 9 June 1830, in Seneca...

View Full Bio
 in Seneca Lake.
Immediately after the conference, I <returned to my own house & from thence> (in company with 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
)  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
John Whitmer

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
—<&> 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
) returned journeyed <again>  on a visit to Mr Knights’ [Joseph Knight Sr.’s]

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
Broom[e] Co.

Area settled by emigrants from western Massachusetts, 1785. County created, 28 Mar. 1806. Population in 1825 about 14,000; in 1830 about 18,000; and in 1835 about 20,000. Susquehanna River flows through eastern and southern portions of county. Several hundred...

More Info
We found a number in the  neighborhood still believing and now anxious, to be baptized, according ly we appointed a meeting on the <next> Sabbath day, intending to attend to the  ordinance. On the afternoon previous, we had erected a dam across a  stream in order to form a place for baptism, but during the night  a mob collected (at the instigation of sectarian Priests of the neighbor hood) and tore away our dam, which hindered our intentions of  baptizing those who wished at this time, We however held our  meeting, 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
preached, & many of us bore record &  testimony to the truth of the book of Mormon, the doctrine of repentance &c  Amongst our Audience were those who had torn down our dam  the night previous, &13

TEXT: Possibly an ink blot rather than a cancellation.  


seemed wishful to give us trouble, but did not  untill after our meeting had been dismissed, when they immediately  commenced talking to those who they considered our friends—<to try  to turn them against us and our doctrines.> [p. [15]]
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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