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Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 2, 10 March 1843–14 July 1843

Journal, December 1842–June 1844; Book 2, 10 March 1843–14 July 1843

Dream.— last night dreamed of swimming in a river of pure water clear as crystal, over a school of fish. of the largest size I ever saw. they were directly under my belly— I was astonished & felt afraid they might drown me or do me injury. they were the largest I ever saw.—
conversed much about Porter

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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. wishing the boy well. [6 lines blank] [p. 10]
Dream.— last night dreamed of  swimming in a river of pure  water clear as crystal, over a  school of fish. of the largest <size> I  ever saw. they were directly under  my belly— I was astonished &  felt afraid they might drown  me or do me injury. they were  the largest I ever saw.—
conversed much about Porter

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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.  wishing the boy well. [6 lines blank] [p. 10]
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JS, “President Joseph Smith’s Journal,” Journal, 4 vols., Dec. 1842–June 1844; handwriting and signatures of Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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; 1,045 pages; JS Collection, CHL. Includes shorthand and illustrations; also includes redactions, use marks, and archival stickers.
Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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kept “President Joseph Smith’s Journal” in four small memorandum books. The paper in book 1 is blue, while the paper in books 2–4 is white. In the first two books, the paper was printed with seventeen blue lines and extra space for page headers, whereas the paper for book 3 was printed with nineteen blue lines and no header space. The first eight gatherings of paper for book 4 were printed with sixteen blue lines and header space, while the last nine gatherings were printed with nineteen blue lines and no header space. The four volumes have 147, 160, 142, and 190 free leaves, respectively, and were sewn with all-along sewing. The leaves in books 1–3 were trimmed to measure 6 × 3¾ inches (15 × 10 cm), while the paper in book 4 measures 6¼ × 3¾ inches (16 × 10 cm). Books 2–4 have the same red-speckled stain on the page edges. All four books were bound with a tight-back case binding and have brown leather over pasteboards. Books 1–3 measure 6¼ × 4 × ¾ inches (16 × 10 × 2 cm); book 4 measures 6⅜ × 4 × ¾ inches (16 × 10 × 2 cm). The outside covers of book 1 feature an embossed pattern around the borders. The cover of book 4 is red and features a gold pattern around the borders on the front and the back.
Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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inscribed most of the journal entries in these memorandum books with a quill pen in ink that is now brown, although he also used blue ink for several entries. Some of the graphite inscriptions in the volumes are also contemporaneous. Richards paginated the first 114 of the 285 inscribed pages in book 1—discounting the title page that precedes the pagination—and the first 20 of the 309 inscribed pages in book 2. There is no pagination in books 3–4. In book 2, pages 11, 17, and 20–21 feature illustrations of celestial observations.
The Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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memorandum books include later inscriptions that are not transcribed in this edition. At the end of book 2, Thomas Bullock added a list of Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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-era plural marriages. A few revisions, additions, or notes are penciled in throughout the volumes. There are also several use marks throughout the volumes—probably made when the journal entries were later revised for inclusion in the “History of Joseph Smith” published in Mormon newspapers in the mid-nineteenth century.1

This serialized history drew on the journals beginning with the 4 July 1855 issue of the Deseret News and with the 3 January 1857 issue of the LDS Millennial Star.  


The spines of the volumes are now labeled with blue-colored paper stickers that probably date from the early Utah period.2

The labels on the spines of the four volumes read respectively as follows: “Joseph Smith’s Journal—1842–3 by Willard Richards” (book 1); “Joseph Smith’s Journal by W. Richards 1843” (book 2); “Joseph Smith’s Journal by W. Richards 1843–4” (book 3); and “W. Richards’ Journal 1844 <Vol. 4>” (book 4; Richards kept JS’s journal in the front of this volume, and after JS’s death Richards kept his own journal in the back of the volume).  


Each of the four volumes also bears the mark of a square sticker removed from the upper right-hand corner of the outside front cover. Finally, a “Historian’s Office Archives” self-adhesive paper sticker appears in the front inside cover or on the first flyleaf of each book.
Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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identified himself as the scribe for the journal on the title pages of books 1 and 4. Because Richards kept the journals for JS and kept his own journal in the back of book 4 after JS’s death, the books may be included in the listing of “Drs private books & Papers”3

“Drs” in the quotation is a reference to Richards, a Thomsonian doctor. (“History of Willard Richards,” Deseret News, 23 June 1858, 73)  


in the inventory of church records made in Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois, in 1846.4

“Schedule of Church Records,” Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.  


The volumes are listed in inventories made in Salt Lake City, Utah, by the Church Historian’s Office in 1855, 1858, and 1878, as well as in the 1973 register of the JS Collection.5

“Inventory. Historian’s Office. 4th April 1855,” [1]; “Contents of the Historian and Recorder’s Office G. S. L. City July 1858,” 2; “Index of Records and Journals in the Historian’s Office 1878,” [11]–[12], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL; Johnson, Register of the Joseph Smith Collection, 7.  


These archival records and the physical evidence of archival stickers indicate continuous institutional custody and authenticity.
Note: The journal Willard Richards

24 June 1804–11 Mar. 1854. Teacher, lecturer, doctor, clerk, printer, editor, postmaster. Born at Hopkinton, Middlesex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joseph Richards and Rhoda Howe. Moved to Richmond, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, 1813. Moved to Chatham, Columbia...

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kept for JS is divided into four physical books. The transcript and annotation here are for the first part of book 2, covering 10 March through 30 April 1843. The transcript and annotation for the entirety of book 1, covering 21 December 1842 through 10 March 1843, are also available on this website. The transcript and annotation for the remainder of book 2 and for books 3 and 4 will be published later.

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