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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

3 April 1843 • Monday

Monday April 3d 1843 Millers’s William Miller’s

15 Feb. 1782–20 Dec. 1849. Farmer, author, military officer, preacher. Born in Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Miller and Paulina Phelps. Moved to Hampton, Washington Co., New York, 1786. Married Lucy Phelps Smith, 29 June 1803. Moved...

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Day of Judgment has arrived. but. tis too. pleasant. for false prophets.—115

Though Miller affirmed many times that he had never set a precise date for the second coming of Christ, many “Millerites” predicted specific days. One of the most widely anticipated and reported dates was 23 April 1843. George Storrs, however, a prominent Millerite preacher and publisher from New York, was involved in a controversy that led many Millerites to believe 3 April 1843 was the date of the Second Coming. The Christian Secretary reported that Storrs had set 3 April as the precise date in lectures given in Hartford, Connecticut, because it coincided with the day of the Crucifixion. The Millerite newspaper the Signs of the Times repudiated the idea that any date had been fixed by Miller and after interviewing Storrs denied that the latter had ever fixed 3 April as the day of the advent. The Christian Secretary refused to retract, stating that not only had witnesses heard Storrs’s affirmation but that 3 April was a widespread belief among Millerites in the area. The view that 3 April was the date affixed by many Millerites was evident in Moses Stuart’s book on interpreting biblical prophecy, which referred to Millerites as “the men of April 3d.” JS evidently accepted 3 April as the common Millerite designation for the Second Advent, a supposition possibly conveyed to him two months earlier through his conversation on Millerism with a group of “young men” from New York City. (Doan, Miller Heresy, Millennialism, and American Culture, 47–48; “The Time of the End,” Christian Secretary, 13 Jan. 1843, [3]; “The Christian Secretary of Hartford,” Christian Secretary, 27 Jan. 1843, [3]; “The Time of the End,” Signs of the Times, 4 Jan. 1843, 121; Notice, Signs of the Times, 18 Jan. 1843, 141; see also “Spring,” Vermont Chronicle [Bellows Falls], 5 Apr. 1843, 55; Stuart, Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, 173; and JS, Journal, 12 Feb. 1843.)  


Dined at Joel Johnson

23 Mar. 1802–24 Sept. 1882. Miller, farmer, merchant. Born at Grafton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ezekiel Johnson and Julia Hills. Moved to Newport, Campbell Co., Kentucky, 1813. Moved to Pomfret, Chautauque Co., New York, 1815. Baptized into Baptist...

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s on a big Turkey. 2. P.M— startd for carthage

Located eighteen miles southeast of Nauvoo. Settled 1831. Designated Hancock Co. seat, Mar. 1833. Incorporated as town, 27 Feb. 1837. Population in 1839 about 300. Population in 1844 about 400. Site of anti-Mormon meetings and resolutions, early 1840s. Site...

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arrived at 4. P.M.116

JS and his companions may have stopped at Carthage, Illinois, to search the records there for any evidence that Horace Hotchkiss and John Gillett had been legally able to sell the several hundred acres of land JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith had contracted to purchase from them in August 1839. Chauncey Robison, Hancock County recorder, wrote JS in March that he had found record of a deed Hotchkiss and Gillett had executed in 1836, conveying the lands they owned in Commerce to another party. “I have not yet discovered on Record any Deed of power of Attorney authorizing the said Hotchkiss and Gillett to convey the said Lands,” Robison wrote JS, “and am doubtful whether their Conveyance to you and your Brother & S Rigdon is valid.” Robison had recommended that JS “send some Competent person” to make a thorough search of the records in Carthage for some evidence that Hotchkiss and Gillett had authority to make the sale. The evening’s “business at the Court house” to which William Clayton refers in his journal may have included the recommended search. (Clayton, Journal, 3 Apr. 1843; Brigham Young et al., “An Epistle of the Twelve,” Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1841, 2:568; Chauncey Robison, Carthage, IL, to [JS], 8 Mar. 1843, Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU.)  


staid at Jacob B. Backenstos

8 Oct. 1811–25 Sept. 1857. Merchant, sheriff, soldier, politician, land speculator. Born at Lower Paxton, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Jacob Backenstos and Margaretha Theis. Member of Lutheran Reformed Church. Married Sarah Lavina Lee, niece of Robert...

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’s.—— evening reading Book of Revelation with Elder Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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& conversing with esqr Backman George Bachman.— [7 lines blank] [p. [45]]

3 April 1843 • Monday

Monday April 3d 1843  Millers’s [William Miller’s]

15 Feb. 1782–20 Dec. 1849. Farmer, author, military officer, preacher. Born in Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Miller and Paulina Phelps. Moved to Hampton, Washington Co., New York, 1786. Married Lucy Phelps Smith, 29 June 1803. Moved...

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Day of Judgment has  arrived. but. tis too. pleas[a]nt. for  false prophets.—115

Though Miller affirmed many times that he had never set a precise date for the second coming of Christ, many “Millerites” predicted specific days. One of the most widely anticipated and reported dates was 23 April 1843. George Storrs, however, a prominent Millerite preacher and publisher from New York, was involved in a controversy that led many Millerites to believe 3 April 1843 was the date of the Second Coming. The Christian Secretary reported that Storrs had set 3 April as the precise date in lectures given in Hartford, Connecticut, because it coincided with the day of the Crucifixion. The Millerite newspaper the Signs of the Times repudiated the idea that any date had been fixed by Miller and after interviewing Storrs denied that the latter had ever fixed 3 April as the day of the advent. The Christian Secretary refused to retract, stating that not only had witnesses heard Storrs’s affirmation but that 3 April was a widespread belief among Millerites in the area. The view that 3 April was the date affixed by many Millerites was evident in Moses Stuart’s book on interpreting biblical prophecy, which referred to Millerites as “the men of April 3d.” JS evidently accepted 3 April as the common Millerite designation for the Second Advent, a supposition possibly conveyed to him two months earlier through his conversation on Millerism with a group of “young men” from New York City. (Doan, Miller Heresy, Millennialism, and American Culture, 47–48; “The Time of the End,” Christian Secretary, 13 Jan. 1843, [3]; “The Christian Secretary of Hartford,” Christian Secretary, 27 Jan. 1843, [3]; “The Time of the End,” Signs of the Times, 4 Jan. 1843, 121; Notice, Signs of the Times, 18 Jan. 1843, 141; see also “Spring,” Vermont Chronicle [Bellows Falls], 5 Apr. 1843, 55; Stuart, Hints on the Interpretation of Prophecy, 173; and JS, Journal, 12 Feb. 1843.)  


I Dined at Joel Johnson

23 Mar. 1802–24 Sept. 1882. Miller, farmer, merchant. Born at Grafton, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Ezekiel Johnson and Julia Hills. Moved to Newport, Campbell Co., Kentucky, 1813. Moved to Pomfret, Chautauque Co., New York, 1815. Baptized into Baptist...

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s on a big  Turkey. 2. P.M— startd for carthage

Located eighteen miles southeast of Nauvoo. Settled 1831. Designated Hancock Co. seat, Mar. 1833. Incorporated as town, 27 Feb. 1837. Population in 1839 about 300. Population in 1844 about 400. Site of anti-Mormon meetings and resolutions, early 1840s. Site...

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 arrived at 4. P.M.116

JS and his companions may have stopped at Carthage, Illinois, to search the records there for any evidence that Horace Hotchkiss and John Gillett had been legally able to sell the several hundred acres of land JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith had contracted to purchase from them in August 1839. Chauncey Robison, Hancock County recorder, wrote JS in March that he had found record of a deed Hotchkiss and Gillett had executed in 1836, conveying the lands they owned in Commerce to another party. “I have not yet discovered on Record any Deed of power of Attorney authorizing the said Hotchkiss and Gillett to convey the said Lands,” Robison wrote JS, “and am doubtful whether their Conveyance to you and your Brother & S Rigdon is valid.” Robison had recommended that JS “send some Competent person” to make a thorough search of the records in Carthage for some evidence that Hotchkiss and Gillett had authority to make the sale. The evening’s “business at the Court house” to which William Clayton refers in his journal may have included the recommended search. (Clayton, Journal, 3 Apr. 1843; Brigham Young et al., “An Epistle of the Twelve,” Times and Seasons, 15 Oct. 1841, 2:568; Chauncey Robison, Carthage, IL, to [JS], 8 Mar. 1843, Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU.)  


staid at J[acob] B. Back enstos

8 Oct. 1811–25 Sept. 1857. Merchant, sheriff, soldier, politician, land speculator. Born at Lower Paxton, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Jacob Backenstos and Margaretha Theis. Member of Lutheran Reformed Church. Married Sarah Lavina Lee, niece of Robert...

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’s.—— even[in]g reading <Book of> Revelati[o]n  with Elder [Orson] Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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& conversing with  esqr Backman [George Bachman].— [7 lines blank] [p. [45]]
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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.

Facts