53992716

History, circa June–October 1839 [Draft 1]

but that he was determined to save me from them, as he had found me to be a different kind of person, from what had been represented to him. We had a waggon to travel in and I soon found that he had told me the truth in this matter, for not far from Mr 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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’s house the waggon was surrounded by the mob, who seemed only to await some signal from the constable, but to their great disappointment—he gave the horse the whip, and drove me out of their reach, however whilst we were driving pretty quickly along one of our wheels came off, which left us very nearly once more in their power, as they were in close pursuit, however we managed to get the wheel on again and once more left them behind, he drove on to a town which was then called south Bainbridge, in Chenango Co where he lodged me for the time being in an upper room in a Tavern there, and in order that all might be right with me, and himself also, he slept during the night, with his feet against the door, and a loaded musket by his side whilst I occupied a bed, which was [in] the room. have declared that if we were interrupted, he would fight for me and defend me as far as in his power.
A court was here convened on the [blank] day of [blank] for the purpose of investigating those charges which had been preferred against me. A great excitement prevailed, on account of the scandalous falsehoods which had been circulated, the nature of which will come out in the sequel. In the mean time as soon as Mr Joseph Knights [Joseph Knight Sr.]

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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had heard of my arrest, he immediately repaired to two of his neighbours respectable farmers viz: Esq. James Davidson

Ca. 1779–9 June 1847. Farmer. Likely born in Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of James Davidson and Lydia Wetherbee. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Tioga Co., New York, as early as 1797. Married Betsey. Died in...

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& John Reed

Ca. 1785–1878. Farmer, lawyer. Born in Massachusetts. Son of Amos Reed and Hannah Slade. Married first Submit Joiner. Moved to Bainbridge, Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1823. Defended JS in trials in Chenango Co. and Broome Co., New York. Visited Nauvoo, Hancock...

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men, renowned for their integrity and well-versed in the laws of their country, and retained them on my behalf on the coming trial. At length the trial commenced amidst a multitude of spectators who in general evinced a belief that I was guilty, of all that had been reported concerning me. and of course were very zealous that I should be punished, according to my crimes— among many witnesses Mr Josiah Stoal [Stowell]

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

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, (of whom I have heretofore spoken) was called up and questioned, nearly as follows, Did not the prisener Joseph Smith have a horse of you? Ansr Yes, Did not he go to you and tell you, that an angel had appeared unto him, and authorized him to get the horse from you. Answer No, he told me no such story [p. [17]]
but that he was determined to save me from them, as he had found me  to be a different kind of person, from what had been represented to  him. We got into <had> a waggon to travel in and he I soon found that he  had told me the truth in this matter, for not far from Mr 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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’s  house the waggon was surrounded by the mob, who seemed only to  await some signal from the constable, but to their great disappoint ment—he gave the horse the whip, and left them far behind—  and drove me out of their reach, however whilst we were driving pretty  quickly along one of our wheels came off, which left us very nearly once  more in their power, as they were in close pursuit, however we managed  to get the wheel on again and once more left them behind, he drove on  to <a town> what which was then called south Bainbridge, <in Chenango Co> where he lodged me for  the time being in an upper room in a Tavern there, and in order  that all might be right with me, and himself also, he slept all  during the night, with his feet against the door, and a loaded musket  by his side whilst I occupied a bed, which was [in] the room.  have declared that if we were interrupted, he would fight for me  and defend me as far as in his power.
A court was here convened on the [blank] day of [blank] for the purpose of  investigating those charges which had been preferred against me.  A great excitement prevailed, on account of the scandalous falsehoods  which had been circulated, the nature of which will come out in the  sequel. In the mean time we as soon as Mr Joseph Knights [Joseph Knight Sr.]

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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had  heard of my arrest, he immediately repaired to two of his neighbours  respectable farmers <viz: Esq. James Davidson

Ca. 1779–9 June 1847. Farmer. Likely born in Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Son of James Davidson and Lydia Wetherbee. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Tioga Co., New York, as early as 1797. Married Betsey. Died in...

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& John Reed

Ca. 1785–1878. Farmer, lawyer. Born in Massachusetts. Son of Amos Reed and Hannah Slade. Married first Submit Joiner. Moved to Bainbridge, Chenango Co., New York, ca. 1823. Defended JS in trials in Chenango Co. and Broome Co., New York. Visited Nauvoo, Hancock...

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men>, renowned for their integrity and well-versed  in the laws of their country, and retained them on my behalf  on the coming trial. At length the trial commenced amidst  a multitude of spectators who in general evinced a belief of that I  was guilty, of all that had been hatched reported concerning me.  and of course were very zealous that I should be punished, according  to my crimes— <among many witnesses> Mr Josiah Stoal [Stowell]

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

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, (of whom I have heretofore spoken)  was called up and examined <questioned>, <nearly> as follows, Did not the prisener  Joseph Smith have a horse of you? Ansr Yes, Did <not> he go to you and  tell you, that an angel had appeared unto him, and authorized him  to get the horse from you. Answer No, he told me no such story [p. [17]]
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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