31820

Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57]

Obtain provisions12

A May 1831 revelation directed that an agent be appointed to take money consecrated to the church and “provide food & raiment according to the wants of this people.” (Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:8].)  


& whatsoever things the Deciples may need to plant them in their inheritance

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

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13

See Exodus 15:17.  


& also let my servent Sidney

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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obtain license (behold here is wisdom & whoso readeth let him understand) that he may send goods also unto the lamanites

A name used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants or followers of Laman, one of the sons of Lehi. The Book of Mormon explained that Lehi and his Israelite family migrated from Jerusalem to America around 600 BC. After Lehi’s death, his family ...

View Glossary
even by whom he will as clerks employed in his service & thus the gospel may be preached unto them14

Oliver Cowdery and the others appointed to preach the gospel to the American Indians had been ordered off Indian lands; this revelation therefore provided another means for proselytizing. Ezra Booth, who arrived in Missouri just a few days after JS, later explained this provision as follows: “‘the Lord’s store-house,’ is to be furnished with goods suited to the Indian trade, and persons are to obtain license from the government to dispose of them to the Indians in their own territory; at the same time, they are to disseminate the principles of Mormonism among them.” Booth further claimed, “In addition to this, and to co-operate with it, it has been made known by revelation, that it will be pleasing to the Lord, should they form a matrimonial alliance with the Natives; and by this means the Elders, who comply with the thing so pleasing to the Lord, and for which the Lord has promised to bless those who do it abundantly, gain a residence in the Indian territory, independent of the agent.” Three decades later, William W. Phelps also recounted that JS dictated a revelation to this effect. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—Nos. VIII–IX,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 8 Dec. 1831, [1]; William W. Phelps to Brigham Young, 12 Aug. 1861, Revelations Collection, CHL.)  


And again verily I say unto you let my servent William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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also be planted in this place & be established as a Printer unto the Church & lo. if the world receiveth his writings (behold this is wisdom) let him obtain whatsoever he can obtain in righteousness for the good of the saints. And let my servent 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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assist him even as I have commanded

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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in Whatsoever place I shall appoint unto him to copy & to correct & select &c15

A June 1831 revelation instructed Phelps, who had previously worked as a newspaper editor, to “assist my servent Oliver to do the work of Printing & of Selecting & writing Books for Schools in this Church.” (Van Orden, “‘By That Book,’” 208; Revelation, 14 June 1831 [D&C 55:4].)  


that all things may be right before me as it shall be proved by the Spirit through him & thus let those of whom I have spoken be planted in the Land of Zion as speedily as can be with their families to do these things even as I have spoken And concerning the gethering

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

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let the bishop

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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& the agent

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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make preperations for thse families which have been commanded to come to this land as soon as posible & plant them in their inheritance16

Aside from the Partridge, Gilbert, and Phelps families, the only families who had been commanded to migrate to this point were church members originally from Colesville, New York, who had relocated to Ohio. A June 1831 revelation instructed these members to continue to the western Missouri border. (Revelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54:8].)  


& unto the residue of both Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
& members further directions shall be given hereafter even So Amen—— [p. 94]
Obtain provisions12

A May 1831 revelation directed that an agent be appointed to take money consecrated to the church and “provide food & raiment according to the wants of this people.” (Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:8].)  


& whatsoever things the Deciples may need to  plant them in their inheritance

Generally referred to land promised by or received from God for the church and its members. A January 1831 revelation promised church members a land of inheritance. In March and May 1831, JS dictated revelations commanding members “to purchase lands for an...

View Glossary
13

See Exodus 15:17.  


& also let my servents Sidney

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

View Full Bio
 obtain license (behold here is wisdom & whoso readeth let him under stand) that he may send goods also unto the lamanites

A name used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants or followers of Laman, one of the sons of Lehi. The Book of Mormon explained that Lehi and his Israelite family migrated from Jerusalem to America around 600 BC. After Lehi’s death, his family ...

View Glossary
 even by whom he will as clerks employed in his service & thus  the gospel may be preached unto them14

Oliver Cowdery and the others appointed to preach the gospel to the American Indians had been ordered off Indian lands; this revelation therefore provided another means for proselytizing. Ezra Booth, who arrived in Missouri just a few days after JS, later explained this provision as follows: “‘the Lord’s store-house,’ is to be furnished with goods suited to the Indian trade, and persons are to obtain license from the government to dispose of them to the Indians in their own territory; at the same time, they are to disseminate the principles of Mormonism among them.” Booth further claimed, “In addition to this, and to co-operate with it, it has been made known by revelation, that it will be pleasing to the Lord, should they form a matrimonial alliance with the Natives; and by this means the Elders, who comply with the thing so pleasing to the Lord, and for which the Lord has promised to bless those who do it abundantly, gain a residence in the Indian territory, independent of the agent.” Three decades later, William W. Phelps also recounted that JS dictated a revelation to this effect. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—Nos. VIII–IX,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 8 Dec. 1831, [1]; William W. Phelps to Brigham Young, 12 Aug. 1861, Revelations Collection, CHL.)  


And again verily I say unto  you let my servent William [W. Phelps]

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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also be planted in this place & be  established as a Printer unto the Church & lo. if the world receiveth  his writings (behold this is wisdom) let him obtain whatsoever  he can <obtain> in righteousness for the good of the saints. And let my  servents 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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assist him even as I have commanded

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
in Whatsoever  place I shall appoint unto him to copy & to correct & select &c15

A June 1831 revelation instructed Phelps, who had previously worked as a newspaper editor, to “assist my servent Oliver to do the work of Printing & of Selecting & writing Books for Schools in this Church.” (Van Orden, “‘By That Book,’” 208; Revelation, 14 June 1831 [D&C 55:4].)  


that  all things may be right before me as it shall be proved by the  Spirit through him & thus let those of whom I have spoken be  planted in the Land of Zion as speedily as can be with their  families to do these things even as I have spoken And concer ning the gethering

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
let the bishop

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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& the agent

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

View Full Bio
make preperations  for thse families which have been commanded to come to this  land as soon as posible & plant them in their inheritance16

Aside from the Partridge, Gilbert, and Phelps families, the only families who had been commanded to migrate to this point were church members originally from Colesville, New York, who had relocated to Ohio. A June 1831 revelation instructed these members to continue to the western Missouri border. (Revelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54:8].)  


& unto  the residue of both Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
& members further directions shall be  given hereafter even So Amen—— [p. 94]
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A 6 June 1831 revelation instructed JS, Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and certain elders to travel to “the land of Missorie

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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,” which God would “consecrate” to his people. It further stated that if JS and Rigdon remained faithful, God would reveal to them the land of their inheritance.1

Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:3, 5]. An earlier revelation indicated that land purchased for “an inheritance . . . shall be called the New Jerusalem.” The Book of Mormon contains references to God establishing the New Jerusalem, or the city of Zion, on the American continent. Nearly a year had passed since a September 1830 revelation had declared, “No man knoweth where the City shall be built But it shall be given hereafter Behold I say unto you that it shall be among the Lamanites.” (Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:65–66]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 497, 566 [3 Nephi 20:22; Ether 13:3–6]; Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28:9].)  


Leaving 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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, Ohio, on 19 June 1831, JS reached Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, on 14 July.2

William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix (Canandaigua, NY), 7 Sept. 1831, [2]; JS History, vol. A-1, 126.  


After arriving in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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, JS dictated this revelation on 20 July 1831 identifying “the land of Missorie” as the “land of promise.” 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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recorded it in Revelation Book 1 as the “first Revelation given in Missorie.”3

Revelation Book 1, p. [208], in JSP, MRB:387.  


In Independence, JS and his group—Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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, Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, and Joseph Coe

12 Nov. 1784–17 Oct. 1854. Farmer, clerk. Born at Cayuga Co., New York. Son of Joel Coe and Huldah Horton. Lived at Scipio, Cayuga Co., by 1800. Married first Pallas Wales, 12 Jan. 1816. Married second Sophia Harwood, ca. 1824. Moved to Macedon, Wayne Co....

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4

Revelation, 20 July 1831, in Gilbert, Notebook, [34]–[36] [D&C 57]; JS History, vol. A-1, 126; William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix (Canandaigua, NY), 7 Sept. 1831, [2].  


—met 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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, Ziba Peterson

Ca. 1810–1849. Teacher, farmer, law officer. Born in New York. Lived in Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, ca. 1830. Baptized into LDS church. Ordained an elder, by 9 June 1830. Served mission to Ohio and Missouri, 1830–1831. Stripped of office of elder, Aug. ...

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, Peter Whitmer Jr.

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

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, and 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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, who had reached Missouri by January 1831 to proselytize among the American Indians living just west of the Missouri state line.5

See Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830; Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 8 Apr. 1831; Knight, Reminiscences, 9; and Jennings, “First Mormon Mission to the Indians,” 288–299. A 29 January 1831 letter from Cowdery states that they had arrived “a few days since.” Peter Whitmer Jr.’s later account, however, says the group arrived on 13 December 1830. Accounting for the travel time to Independence in the winter, it is highly unlikely that the group, which left Kirtland by 22 November, could have arrived in mid-December, which suggests that Cowdery’s contemporary account is more accurate. (Oliver Cowdery, Independence, MO, to the Church in Ohio, 29 Jan. 1831, in Letter to Hyrum Smith, 3–4 Mar. 1831; Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1]; Givens and Grow, Apostle Paul of Mormonism, 42; see also Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1].)  


Some of the others assigned by the 6 June revelation to travel to Missouri arrived later in the month—apparently after the dictation of the 20 July revelation.6

Rigdon and Sidney and Elizabeth Van Benthusen Gilbert, for example, had decided to go by water from St. Louis to Independence, rather than overland, which delayed their arrival. (JS History, vol. A-1, 126–127.)  


According to a history JS initiated in 1838, JS spent time upon his arrival in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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ruminating on the situation of the American Indians living in the “wilderness” across the border. Perhaps because an earlier revelation explained that the city of Zion was to be built “among the Lamanites,”7

Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28:9]. Early church members sometimes referred to American Indians as “Lamanites.” The history of the people called the Lamanites is told in the Book of Mormon.  


these meditations prompted him to ask questions about when and where the city would be built: “When will the wilderness blossom as the rose; when will Zion be built up in her glory, and where will thy Temple stand unto which all nations shall come in the last days?”8 In another account, JS remembered “viewing the country” before “seeking diligently at the hand of God”; according to that account, God “manifested himself unto me, and designated to me and others, the very spot upon which he designed to commence the work of the gathering, and the upbuilding of an holy city, which should be called Zion.”9

JS, “To the Elders of the Church of Latter Day Saints,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Sept. 1835, 1:179. The “others” noted by JS may have referred to Harris, Partridge, Coe, Phelps, Cowdery, Whitmer, Peterson, and Williams. Sidney Gilbert’s copy of the revelation bears the notation “1st Commandment recd at Missouri after the arrival of Joseph Smith Jnr=M. Harris Edwd. Partridge=Joseph Coe & W.W. Phelps”—without mentioning himself or any of the others, who may not yet have arrived in Missouri at this point. (Gilbert, Notebook, [34].)  


The revelation designated Missouri as the “Land of Zion,” established Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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as the place at which to build the city of Zion, and designated the spot on which to build the temple.10

When embarking on his mission to preach to the Indians, Cowdery promised “to rear up a pillar as a witness where the Temple of God shall be built, in the glorious New-Jerusalem.” But it was this 20 July revelation that gave the first clear designation of the temple’s location. (Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830.)  


It also provided instruction to Partridge, who was appointed a bishop in February 1831, and Sidney Gilbert, who was designated in June 1831 as an agent to the church, on purchasing lands and distributing them to church members so that the members could gather in Missouri.11 It further assigned Gilbert to open a store and Phelps to establish a printing operation.
The original manuscript of this revelation is not extant. 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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, who did not go to 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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at this time, later copied it into Revelation Book 1, probably sometime after JS returned to Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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from Missouri.12 In August 1831, Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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wrote to his wife that “the commandments” given in Missouri would be “carr[ied] home” to Ohio by “our brethren.”13

Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.  


Facts