53992720

John Corrill, “Brief History,” Manuscript, circa 1838–1839

John Fletcher Darby Papers, Missouri History Museum Archives, St. Louis.

Chapter 17

Chap 17
Secret society formed. Presidency upheld. Former revelations refered to. Organization. Sampson Arverd [Avard]

23 Oct. 1800–15 Apr. 1869. Physician. Born at St. Peter, Isle of Guernsey, Channel Islands, Great Britain. Migrated to U.S., by 1830. Married Eliza, a native of Virginia. Located at North Carolina, 1830. Moved to Virginia, by 1831. Moved to Freedom, Beaver...

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. Intentions. Perversions. Object of gathering. Tyrany exercised. New constitution. Names of society. And numbers.
Some time in June last, a few individuals began to form a society that should be agreed in all things. In order to this, they bound themselves under very close restrictions. As this society began to increase, they secretly entered into solem covenants before God, and bound themselves under oath to keep the secrets of the society, and covenanted to stand by one another in difficulty, whethr right or wrong; but said they would correct each other’s wrongs among themselves. As the presidency stood next to God, or between God and the church, and was the oracle through which the word and will of God was communicated to the church, they esteemed it very essential to have their word or the word of God through them strictly adhered to. They therefore entered into a covenant that the word of the presidency should be obeyed, and no one should be suffered to raise his hand or voice against it; for as they stood at the head of the church, it was considered no more than reasonable that they knew more about the will of God than any others did. Consequently all things must be in submission to them, and moreover, all tattling, lying & backbiting must be put down, and he that would not submit willingly should be forced to it or leave the county

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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. Now this secret combination was directly opposed to the former revelations, and especially to [p. [55[a]]]

Chapter 17

<Chap 17>
<Secret society formed. Presidency upheld. Former  revelations refered to. Organization. Sampson  Arverd [Avard]

23 Oct. 1800–15 Apr. 1869. Physician. Born at St. Peter, Isle of Guernsey, Channel Islands, Great Britain. Migrated to U.S., by 1830. Married Eliza, a native of Virginia. Located at North Carolina, 1830. Moved to Virginia, by 1831. Moved to Freedom, Beaver...

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. Intentions. Perversions. Object of gather ing. Tyrany exercised. New constitution. Names  of society. And numbers.>
<Some time in June>  last, a few individuals began to form a  society that should be agreed in all things.  In order to this, they bound themselves under  very close restrictions. As this society began  to increase, they <secretly> entered into solem covenants  before God, and bound themselves under oath  to keep the secrets of the society, and cove nanted to stand by one another in difficulty,  whethr right or wrong; but said they would  correct each other’s wrongs among themselves.  As the presidency stood next to God, or  between God and the church, and was the  oracle through which the word and will  of God was communicated to the church,  they esteemed it a very essential thing to have  their word or the word of God through them  strictly adhered to. They therefore entered  into a covenant that the words of the  presidency should be obeyed, and no one  should be suffered to raise his hand or voice  against it; for as they stood at the head  of the church, it was considered no more  than reasonable that they knew more about  the will of God than any others did.  Consequently all things must be in submission  to them, and moreover, all tattling, lying  & backbiting must be put down, and he  that would not submit willingly should  be forced to it or leave the county

Located in northwest Missouri. Settled by whites, by 1831. Described as being “one-third timber and two-thirds prairie” in 1836. Created specifically for Latter-day Saints by Missouri state legislature, 29 Dec. 1836, in attempt to solve “Mormon problem.” ...

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. Now  this secret combination was directly opposed  to the former revelations, and especially to [p. [55[a]]]
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Even while the embers of the 1838 Mormon War smoldered in 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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, John Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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labored on the manuscript for his 1839 publication, A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, (Commonly Called Mormons;) Including an Account of Their Doctrine and Discipline; with the Reasons of the Author for Leaving the Church. Corrill had begun serving the church as a historian after 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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’s excommunication in March 1838, replacing Whitmer in that role in April. Whatever his initial labors as historian, Corrill completed A Brief History after distancing himself from JS and the Saints, as the full title implies.
Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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, a careful observer, had enjoyed a close association with Mormon leaders, and consequently his account provides valuable insights into the development and structure of the early church. He summarized many of the doctrines taught by JS and provided a detailed description of the conflict between the Latter-day Saints and other 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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settlers. But his chronicle also related the story of a personal spiritual journey into and then out of the church as Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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came to disapprove of the church’s course in 1838 in Missouri. Yet despite his estrangement from the church and his excommunication in 1839, he retained a degree of sympathy for the Saints and maintained some contact.
Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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apparently began compiling portions of his account while serving as an officially appointed church historian in Far West

Originally called Shoal Creek. Located fifty-five miles northeast of Independence. Surveyed 1823; first settled by whites, 1831. Site purchased, 8 Aug. 1836, before Caldwell Co. was organized for Latter-day Saints in Missouri. William W. Phelps and John Whitmer...

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. He probably completed his narrative by 11 February 1839, when he secured a copyright with the 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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district federal copyright office. He arranged for Thomas Watson & Son of St. Louis

Located on west side of Mississippi River about fifteen miles south of confluence with Missouri River. Founded as fur-trading post by French settlers, 1764. Incorporated as town, 1809. First Mississippi steamboat docked by town, 1817. Incorporated as fourth...

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to print A Brief History. The entire print run may have included up to twelve hundred copies.
The document presented here, Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s circa 1838–1839 rough draft of his history, is incomplete. It includes the title page, copyright notice, and preface but is missing twenty-one pages, including the nineteen pages that constitute chapters 1 through 6. The manuscript is almost entirely in Corrill’s handwriting, though some of the chapter summaries (added after he drafted the narrative) were written in a different hand, possibly that of the printer.
Corrill

17 Sept. 1794–26 Sept. 1842. Surveyor, politician, author. Born at Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Married Margaret Lyndiff, ca. 1830. Lived at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, 1830. Baptized into LDS church, 10 Jan. 1831, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Ordained...

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’s published version of A Brief History receives comprehensive treatment in volume 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers and is available on this website as part of the history series.

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