26063

License for John Whitmer, 9 June 1830

“A License Liberty Power & Authority,” License, Fayette Township

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, Seneca Co., NY, for 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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, 9 June 1830; handwriting of 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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; signatures of JS and 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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; one page; Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Transcription from digital color image obtained from the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in 2010. Includes redactions.
Single leaf measuring 6⅞–7¼ × 7¾ inches (17–18 × 20 cm) with irregular tear along the bottom of the document. Docket on verso in handwriting of 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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: “John Whitmer | Lisence”. Under this is a mostly illegible pencil notation: “Sa◊◊◊◊ ◊◊◊◊ ◊◊ | ◊◊St ◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊◊”. Additional notation in pencil: “◊◊◊◊◊◊”. Beneath that is a “YALE” stamp in dark ink. And along the bottom verso, a docket in handwriting of John Whitmer, “Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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”, is inscribed in ink.
William E. Benjamin, a New York autograph and rare book collector and dealer,1

Dickinson, Dictionary of American Antiquarian Bookdealers, 13–14.  


likely obtained the license circa late 1899 from Whitmer family member George Schweich when Benjamin obtained the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon.2

Riley, Founder of Mormonism, 80n5, 100n59. The New York Times indicated the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon was “kept in a bank vault in this town.” On 17 January 1900, Schweich wrote to O. R. Beardsley telling him that the manuscript was with Benjamin in New York. (“The Book of Mormon,” New York Times, 21 Sept. 1899, 9; George Schweich, Richmond, MO, to O. R. Beardsley, 17 Jan. 1900, Miscellanea, Marie Eccles-Caine Archives of Intermountain Americana, Utah State University Special Collections, Logan.)  


William R. Coe obtained the document by the early 1950s at the latest, after which the Coe collection was obtained by the Beinecke Library at Yale University.3

See Withington, Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Collection of Western Americana, 32.  


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