The History of Joseph Smith By His Mother – Lucy Mack Smith

The history of Joseph Smith Jr., prophet and organizer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is in full below. This history was written by his mother, Lucy Mack Smith. This book is public domain, due to copyright expiration.

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The History of Joseph Smith

by his Mother

Lucy Mack Smith


Mack Ancestry

Chapter 1       A brief sketch is given of the life of Solomon Mack, father of Lucy Mack, from his own writings. His early military service. His marriage to Lydia Gates and service in the Revolutionary War. His final devotion to God and family.

September 15, 1732 to fall 1788

My father, Solomon Mack, was born in the town of Lyme, New London County, state of Connecticut, September 26, 1735. His father, Ebenezer Mack, was a man of considerable property and lived in good style, commanding all the attention and respect which are ever shown to those who live in fine circumstances and strict habits of morality. For some length of time, my grandparents lived in peace and plenty, fully enjoying the fruits of their industry, but at length a series of misfortunes visited them, occasioned in most instances by the perfidy of their fellowmen, which reduced them by degrees till at last they came to penury and want. A once happy and flourishing family was compelled to disperse, and throw themselves upon the charity of a cold, unfeeling world.

My father was taken into the family of a neighboring farmer, where he remained until he was nearly twenty-one years of age. I have here a sketch of my father’s life, written by himself, from which I extract the following:

“I was bound out to a farmer in the neighborhood. As is too commonly the case, I was considered rather a slave than a member of the family, and instead of allowing me the privilege of common hospitality, that kind of protection due to helpless and indigent children, I was treated by my master as his property and not as his fellow mortal.

“At the age of twenty-one years, I left my master. Shortly after which I enlisted in the services of my country under the command of Captain Harris, and was annexed to the regiment commanded by Colonel Whiting.

“From Connecticut, we marched to Fort Edward, in the state of New York. We were in a severe battle, fought at Halfway Brook in 1755. During this expedition I caught a heavy cold which rendered me unfit for business until the return of warm weather. I was carried the ensuing spring to Albany.

“In the year 1757, I had two teams in the King’s service, which were employed in carrying the general’s baggage. While thus engaged, I went one morning to yoke my team, but three of my oxen were missing. When this knowledge came to the officer, he was very angry, and drawing his sword, threatened to run it through me. He then ordered me to get three other oxen, which I accordingly did, and proceeded with the baggage to Fort Edward, and the next day I returned in order to find my missing oxen.

“While I was performing this trip, the following circumstance occurred. About halfway from Stillwater to Fort Edward, I espied four Indians nearly thirty rods distant, coming out of the woods. They were armed with scalping knives, tomahawks, and guns. I was alone, but about twenty rods behind me was a man by the name of Webster. I saw my danger, and that there was no way to escape unless I could do it by stratagem; so I rushed upon them, calling in the meantime at the top of my voice, ‘Rush on! rush on, my boys! We’ll have the devils.’ The only weapon I had was a walking staff, yet I ran toward them, and as the other man appeared just at that instant, it gave them a terrible fright, and I saw no more of them.

“I hastened to Stillwater the next day, as aforementioned, and finding my oxen soon after I arrived there, I returned the same night to Fort Edward, a distance of seven miles, the whole of which was a dense forest.

“In 1758, I enlisted under Major Spencer and went immediately over Lake George with a company who crossed in boats to the western side, where we had a bloody and hot engagement with the enemy in which Lord Howe fell at the onset of the battle. His bowels were taken out and buried, but his body was embalmed and carried to England.

“The next day we marched to the breastworks, but were unsuccessful, being compelled to retreat with a loss of five hundred men killed and as many more wounded.

“In this contest I narrowly escaped-a musket ball passed under my chin within half an inch of my neck. The army then returned to Lake George, and, on its way thither, a large scouting party of the enemy came round by Skenesborough and, at Halfway Brook, destroyed a large number of both men and teams. Upon this, one thousand of our men were detached to repair immediately to Skenesborough in pursuit of them; but when we arrived at South Bay, the enemy was entirely out of our reach.

“The enemy then marched to Ticonderoga, New York, in order to procure supplies, after which they immediately pursued us, but we eluded them by hastening to Wood Creek, and thence to Fort Anne, where we arrived on the 13th day of the month. We had just reached this place, when the sentry gave information that the enemy was all around us, in consequence of which we were suddenly called to arms. Major Putnam led the company, and Major Rogers brought up the rear. We marched but three-quarters of a mile, when we came suddenly upon a company of Indians that were lying in ambush. Major Putnam marched his men through their ranks, whereupon the Indians fired, which threw our men into some confusion. Major Putnam was captured by them, and would have been killed by an Indian had he not been rescued by a French lieutenant.

“The enemy rose like a cloud and fired a whole volley upon us, and as I was in the foremost rank, the retreat of my company brought me in the rear, and the tomahawks and bullets flew around me like hailstones. As I was running, I saw not far before me a windfall which was so high that it appeared to me insurmountable; however, by making great exertion, I succeeded in getting over it. Running a little farther, I observed a man who had in this last conflict been badly wounded, and the Indians were close upon him; nevertheless I turned aside for the purpose of assisting him, and succeeded in getting him into the midst of our army in safety.

“In this encounter, a man named Gersham Rowley had nine bullets shot through his clothes but received no personal injury. Ensign Worcester received nine wounds, was scalped and tomahawked, notwithstanding which he lived and finally recovered.

“The above engagement commenced early in the morning and continued until about three o’clock p.m., in which half of our men were either killed, wounded, or taken prisoners. In consequence of this tremendous slaughter, we were compelled to send to Fort Edward for men in order to assist in carrying our wounded, which were about eighty in number.

“The distance we had to carry them was nearly fourteen miles. To carry so many thus far was truly very fatiguing, insomuch that when we arrived at the place of destination, my strength was about exhausted.

“I proceeded immediately to Albany for the purpose of getting supplies, and returned again to the army as soon as circumstances would admit.

“Autumn having now arrived, I went home, where I tarried the ensuing winter.

“In the spring of 1759, the army marched to Crown Point, where I received my discharge. About this time I became acquainted with an amiable and accomplished young woman, a schoolteacher by the name of Lydia Gates, the daughter of  Daniel  Gates, a man living in ease and affluence in the town of East Haddam, state of Connecticut. To this young woman I was shortly united in the bands of matrimony; and a most worthy and invaluable companion did she prove to be, for I soon discovered that she was not only pleasant and agreeable by reason of the polish of education, but also possessed that inestimable jewel which in a wife and mother of a family is truly a pearl of great price, namely, a pious and devotional character.

“Having received a large amount of money for my services in the army, and deeming it prudent to make an investment of the same in real estate, I contracted for the whole town of Granville in the state of New York. On the execution of the deed, I paid all the money that was required in the stipulation, which also called for the building of a number of log houses. I accordingly went to work to fulfill this part of the contract, but after laboring a short time, I had the misfortune to cut my leg, which subjected me, during that season, to the care of the physician. I hired a man to do the work and paid him in advance, in order to fulfill my part of the contract; but he ran away with the money without performing the labor, and the consequence was, I lost the land altogether.

“In 1761, we moved into the town of Marlow, where we remained until we had four children. At that time Marlow was a desolate wilderness. There were but four families in forty miles. Then it was I learned to prize the talents and virtues of my wife. As our children were wholly deprived of the privilege of schools, she took the charge of their education, which task she performed as none but a mother can do. Debarred in their earliest years and in their first experience in some measure from intercourse with the world, the mother’s precepts and example took deeper root in their infant minds and had a more lasting influence upon their future character than all the flowery eloquence of the pulpit surrounded with its ordinary disadvantages.

“Thus, my older children became confirmed in habits of gentleness, piety, and reflection, which were under these circumstances more easily impressed upon the minds of those who came after them. And I often thought it would have been more difficult to have brought them into the channel they were reared in had they not inherited much of the disposition of their excellent mother, whose prayers and alms came up daily before that all-seeing eye that rests upon all his works.

“She, besides instructing them in the various branches of an ordinary education, was in the habit of calling them together both morning and evening and teaching them to pray, meanwhile urging upon them the necessity of love toward each other, as well as devotional feelings towards Him who made them.

“In 1776 I enlisted in the service of my country and was for a considerable length of time in the land forces, after which I went with my two sons, Jason and Stephen, on a privateering expedition commanded by Captain Havens. Soon after we set sail, we were driven upon Horseneck. We succeeded, however, in getting some of our guns on shore and bringing them to bear upon the enemy so as to exchange many shots with them; yet they cut away our rigging and left our vessel much shattered.

“We then hauled off and cast anchor, but in a short time we espied two row-galleys, two sloops, and two schooners. We quickly weighed anchor and hauled to shore again, and had barely time to post four cannon in a position in which they could be used before a sanguinary contest commenced. The balls from the enemy’s guns tore up the ground, cutting asunder the saplings in every direction. One of the row-galleys went round a point of land with the view of hemming us in, but we killed forty of their men with our small arms, which caused the enemy to abandon their purpose.

“My son Stephen, in company with the cabin boys, was sent to a house, not far from the shore, with a wounded man. Just as they entered the house, an eighteen-pounder followed them. A woman was engaged in frying cakes at the time, and being somewhat alarmed, she concluded to retire into the cellar, saying, as she left, that the boys might have the cakes, as she was going below.

“The boys were highly delighted at this, and they went to work cooking and feasting upon the lady’s sweet cakes, while the artillery of the contending armies was thundering in their ears, dealing out death and destruction on every hand. At the head of this party of boys was Stephen Mack, my second son, a bold and fearless stripling of fourteen.

“In this contest, the enemy was far superior to us in point of numbers, yet we maintained our ground with such valor that they thought it better to leave us and accordingly did so. Soon after this, we hoisted sail and made for New London.

“When hostilities ceased and peace and tranquility were again restored, we freighted a vessel for Liverpool. Selling both ship and cargo in this place, we embarked on Captain Foster’s vessel, which I afterwards purchased; but, in consequence of storms and wrecks, I was compelled to sell her, and was left completely destitute.

“I struggled a little longer to obtain property in making adventures, then returned to my family after an absence of four years about penniless. After this I determined to follow phantoms no longer, but devote the rest of my life to the service of God and my family.”

I shall now lay aside my father’s journal, as I have made such extracts as are adapted to my purpose, and take up the history of his children.


Chapter 2 The tragic history of Jason Mack and his courtship and engagement to  Esther  Bruce. Jason sails with his father to the Maritime Provinces. Another man deceives  Esther  Bruce and takes her to wife. Jason’s return and terrible disappointment.      1775 to 1790

My oldest brother, Jason, was a studious and manly boy. Before he attained his sixteenth year, he became what is termed a seeker, a believer in the power of God manifest through the medium of prayer and faith. He held that there was no church in existence which contained the pure principles of the gospel enjoyed by the ancient disciples ofChrist, and he labored incessantly to convince the people that, by an exercise of prayer, the blessings and privileges of the ancient disciples of Jesus might be and eventually would be obtained.

At the age of twenty he became a minister of the gospel. Shortly after this, he became enamored with a beautiful and wealthy young woman by the name of  Esther  Bruce of the state of New Hampshire. She was the pride of the place in which she resided, not so much on account of her splendid appearance as the soundness of her mind and her stately deportment, joined with an unaffected mildness of disposition and a condescension of manners which were admirably suited to the taste and principles of my brother. He was passionately fond of her, and she seemed also to have the most fervent attachment for him. It would have been as easy to have convinced Jason that he could exist without his head as that he could live and enjoy life without being united with her in marriage.

They were engaged to be married and every preparation was being made for their approaching nuptials, when my father received a letter from Liverpool stating that a heavy debt that had been due him for a long time was collected and ready for him. Thus, it was agreed that the marriage of Jason should be deferred, and he should accompany my father to Liverpool. He left his betrothed with a heavy heart but with this arrangement-that he was to write to her and his sisters conjointly once every three months. In due time, according to their agreement, a letter arrived which  Esther  received most joyfully, but it was never followed by another from him. A young man who kept the office where she received her letters formed in his heart a design to thwart my brother in his intentions and obtain the hand of  Esther  Bruce himself. He used every art to dissuade her from marrying Jason, meantime detaining his letters in order that she might not hear from him, and he might the more easily accomplish his fiendish purposes.

Unforeseen circumstances detained my father and Jason beyond the time appointed for their return. Meanwhile, the postmaster continued to importune Miss Bruce upon the subject of my brother’s neglect, until at last she received two or three epistles stating that Jason Mack was dead, that she and his relatives might cease to look for his return. This was two years after Jason had left the shores of America.  Esther  gave no credence to the first message, till the tale was so confirmed that she could no longer doubt; but still she rejected the young man from the post office until within four months of Jason’s arrival at home, three years and ten months from the time they had embarked for Liverpool.

Jason went immediately to her father’s house. She was absent with her husband. He seated himself in the same room where he had wooed her and obtained her consent to be his. He waited for her arrival with a beating heart, not knowing the perfidious game his rival had played him, until she entered. She was attired in a complete suit of mourning, as she had lost a brother recently by death, and beyond this there was a bitter disappointment preying like a cankerworm upon her very vitals, occasioned by the supposed death of him who now stood before her.

She bowed in gloomy silence as she entered the splendid apartment where he sat, fitted up as it had been in earlier, happier days to please the man now doomed to drink the bitter cup of sorrow to the dregs. She walked to the other side of the room and thrust aside her bonnet and shawl, but as she turned again to the stranger and beheld his distracted and inquiring look, she recognized to her amazement this person. She clasped her hands in agony and, with a piercing shriek, fell lifeless to the floor. My brother took the motionless form of her that should have been his own and, placing her on a sofa, resigned her into the hands of her cowering, conscience-smitten husband and left her with those pungent feelings which some few are fated to experience but none can tell nor imagine correctly.

By the active exertions of those who attended her, she at last revived to realize her lamentable situation more fully. Jason returned home, and hearing an explanation of the whole matter, which simply was that the man detained his letters and gave the intelligence of his death, he went immediately to sea. Jason lived single to his fiftieth year.

From this time forward,  Esther  never recovered her health but, lingering for two years, died the victim of disappointment.


Chapter 3 The sicknesses of Lovisa and Lovina. Miraculous healing of Lovisa. She preaches to and exhorts the people for three years. Lucy cares for Lovina. Deaths of Lovina and Lovisa.      January 1780 to 1794

The history of Lovisa and Lovina, my two oldest sisters, is so connected and interwoven that I shall not attempt to separate it.

They were one in faith, in love, in action, and in hope of eternal life. They were always together, and when they were old enough to understand the duties of a Christian, they united their voices in prayer and songs of praise to God. This sisterly affection increased with their years and continued steadfast until death. One might say as did one of old, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like theirs.” The pathway of their lives was never clouded with a gloomy shadow until Lovisa’s marriage and removal from home, which left Lovina very lonely.

In about two years after Lovisa’s marriage, she was taken violently sick with a disease so singular in its nature that her attendant physicians had seen no precedent and could give it no name. Suffice it to say she was nigh unto death and sorely afflicted for the space of two years. She revived a little about this time and showed some symptoms of recovery, but a malignant reattack soon brought her back in intense agony upon a bed of pain and languor. She grew worse and worse until she became utterly speechless, and was so for several days. Those who attended her were not allowed to move her. She ate not; she drank not, with the exception of a few drops of rice water which they were able to pour into her mouth with a teaspoon by prying her teeth apart. Thus she lay for three days and two nights. On the night of the third day at about two o’clock, she feebly pronounced the name of her sister Lovina, who had hovered indefatigably all the while around her pillow night and day like an attendant angel, watching every change with thrilling anxiety. Lovina now bent with deep emotion over the emaciated form of the invalid and said, “My sister!” but no more; her feelings choked her utterance.

Lovisa said emphatically, “The Lord has healed me, soul and body. Raise me up and give me my clothes. I want to get up.”

Her husband told those present to gratify her, as this was probably a revival before death, and he would not have her crossed in her last moments. They raised her in bed and handed her clothing to her and assisted her to dress, but when she was lifted to her feet both of her ankles were instantly dislocated by her weight resting upon them. She said, “Put me in a chair and pull my feet gently, and I shall soon be sound again.”

She then ordered her husband to bring her nourishment, and when she had taken some stimulance, she desired them to assist her to cross the street to her father-in-law’s, who was then sick. They did so, and when she entered the house, he cried out in amazement, “Lovisa is dead and her spirit has come to admonish me of my final exit.”

“No, Father, no,” she said. “God has raised me up, and I have come to tell you to prepare for death.” She then sat down and conversed with him some time, and afterwards, with the assistance of her husband and those who had attended upon her that night, she returned home.

When news of this excitement and her miraculous recovery was noised abroad, the inhabitants began to gather from all quarters, both to hear and see concerning the strange and marvelous circumstance which had taken place. She talked to them a short time, sang a hymn with angelic harmony, and then told them she would meet them at the village church on Thursday, where she would tell them all about the strange manner in which she had been healed.

The next day, according to promise, she proceeded to the meetinghouse, and when she arrived there a large congregation had collected. Soon after she entered, the minister arose and remarked that, as many of the congregation had doubtless come to hear a recital of the strange circumstance which had taken place in the neighborhood, and as he himself felt more interested in it than in hearing a gospel discourse, he would open the meeting and then give place to Mrs. Tuttle.

The minister then requested her to sing a hymn; she accordingly did so, and her voice was as high and clear as it had ever been. Having sung, she arose and addressed the audience as follows: “I seemed to be borne away to the world of spirits, where I saw the Savior as through a veil, which appeared to me about as thick as a spider’s web, and he told me that I must return again to warn the people to prepare for death; that I must exhort them to be watchful as well as prayerful; that I must declare faithfully unto them their accountability before God and the certainty of their being called to stand before the judgment seat of Christ; and that if I would do this my life should be prolonged.” After this she spoke much to the people upon the uncertainty of life.

When she sat down, her husband and sister, also those who were with her during the last night of her sickness, arose and testified to her appearance just before her sudden recovery.

Of these things she continued to speak boldly, and her house was always crowded for the space of three years, at the end of which time she was seized with the consumption.

A short time before Lovisa was healed in the miraculous manner before stated, Lovina was taken with the consumption, when I was sixteen, and languished three years with this fatal disease.

Two years before sister Lovina’s death, I visited sister Tuttle, who was then sick at South Hadley. Here lived one Colonel Woodbridge, who bought a large church bell about this time which was hung while I was there and I understand remains till this day.

Lovina’s character was that of a true follower of Christ, and she lived contemplating her final change with that peaceful serenity which characterizes those who fear God and walk uprightly. She spoke calmly of her approaching dissolution and conjured her young friends to remember that life on this earth could not be eternal, that they might see, therefore, the necessity of looking beyond this veil of tears to a far more glorious inheritance “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.”

The care of Lovina during her illness devolved chiefly upon myself. The task, though a melancholy one, I cheerfully performed and, although she had much other attention, I never allowed myself to go an hour at a time beyond the sound of her voice while she was sick. Finally, she called to me one night (who am the youngest daughter of my father’s family) and said, “Lucy, tell Mother and Father to come to me.” When Mother came she said, “Mother, I am going now, and I wish you to call my young mates that I may speak to them again before I die.” While my mother was giving the necessary directions, my sister bade me take her up and place her in a chair. When Mother and our associates with the family were seated, she commenced speaking, and finding that her strength failed her, she desired Mother to prepare her some food, saying, “‘Tis the last you will ever get for me.” She took the food, and after eating with seeming appetite a small quantity, she then gave back the dish to Mother and said, “There, Mother. You will never get me anything to eat again.”

She then proceeded, “I do not know when I received my material change of heart, unless it was when I was ten years old. God, at that time, heard my prayers and forgave my sins. Since then I have, according to my best ability, endeavored to serve him continually. I have called you here to give you my last warning and bid you all farewell and beseech you to endeavor to meet me where parting shall be no more.”

Then, holding up her hands and looking upon them as one would  mark  a trifling thing which she had not observed before, she said, smiling, “See, the blood is now settling under my nails.” As she contemplated the gradual change in her appearance, she again remarked how slowly death crept on there. Placing the fingers of her left hand across the right, she said, “‘Tis cold to there. Soon this mortal flesh will be food for worms.” Then, turning to me, she said, “Now, sister Lucy. Help me back to the bed.”

I did as she desired, but as I moved my hand from beneath her side, she shouted, crying, “Oh sister, that hurt me.” She moaned plaintively. As this was the last sad office I could ever perform for my sister, it wounded me to think that in laying her upon her deathbed I should cause her pain.

My sister now laid herself calmly back upon her pillow and said, “My nose is now quite cold.” Then, slightly turning and straightening herself in bed, she continued, “Father, Mother, brother, sister, and dear companions, all farewell, I am going to rest-prepare to follow me.” She then sang the hymn:

Death! ’tis a melancholy day
To those that have no God,
When the poor soul is forced away
To seek her last abode.
In vain to heaven she lifts her eyes;
But guilt, a heavy chain,
Still drags her downwards from the skies,
To darkness, fire, and pain.
Awake and mourn, ye heirs of hell,
Let stubborn sinners fear;
You must be driven from earth, and dwell
A long Forever there!
See how the pit gapes wide for you,
And flashes in your face;
And thou, my soul, look downward too,
And sing recovering grace.
He is a God of sov’reign love,
Who promised heaven to me,
And taught my thoughts to soar above,
Where happy spirits be.
Prepare me, Lord, for thy right hand,
Then come the joyful day,
Come, death, and some celestial band,
To bear my soul away.

After repeating this hymn, she folded her hands across her breast and closed her eyes to open them no more in this world.

Having led my readers to the close of Lovina’s life, I shall return to Lovisa, of whom there only remains the closing scene of her earthly career.

In the course of a few months subsequent to the death of sister Lovina, my father received a letter from South Hadley, stating that Lovisa was very low of the consumption and that she earnestly desired him to come and see her as soon as possible, as she expected to live but a short time.

My father set out immediately, and when he arrived there, he found her in rather better health than he expected. In a few days after he got there she resolved in her heart to return with him at all hazards. To this her father unwillingly consented, and, after making the requisite preparations, they started for Gilsum.

They traveled about four miles and came to an inn kept by a man by the name of Taff. Here her father halted and asked her if she did not wish to tarry a short time to rest herself. She replied in the affirmative. By the assistance of the landlord, she was presently seated in an easy chair. My father then stepped into the next room to procure a little water and wine for her. He was absent but a moment; however, when he returned it was too late, her spirit had fled from its earthly tabernacle to return no more until recalled by the trump of the archangel.

My father immediately addressed a letter to Mother, informing her of Lovisa’s death, lest the shock of seeing the corpse unexpectedly should overcome her. As soon as he could get a coffin he proceeded on his journey for Gilsum, a distance of fifty miles.

She was buried by the side of her sister Lovina, according to her own request.

The following is part of a hymn composed by herself a few days previous to her decease:

Lord, may my thoughts be turned to thee;
Lift thou my heavy soul on high;
Wilt thou, O Lord, return to me
In mercy, Father, ere I die!
My soaring thoughts now arise above-
Oh, fill my soul with heavenly love.
Father and Mother, now farewell;
And husband, partner of my life,
Go to my father’s children, tell
That lives no more on earth thy wife,
That while she dwelt in cumbrous clay,
For them she prayed both night and day.
My friends, I bid you all adieu;
The Lord hath called, and I must go-
And all the joys of this vain earth
Are now to me of little worth;
‘Twill be the same with you as me,
When brought as near eternity.

Thus closes this mournful recital, and when I pass with my readers into the next chapter, with them probably may end the sympathy aroused by this rehearsal, but with me it must last while life endures.


Chapter 4 The remarkable life of Stephen Mack. Young Revolutionary War soldier; successful businessman of Tunbridge, Vermont; pioneer developer of Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan.


June 15, 1766 to November 14, 1826

My brother Stephen, who was next in age to Jason, was born in the town of Marlow, June 15, 1766.


I shall pass his childhood in silence and say nothing about him until he attained the age of fourteen, at which time he enlisted in the army, the circumstances of which were as follows:

A recruiting officer came into the neighborhood to draft soldiers for the Revolutionary War, and he called out a company of militia to which my brother belonged in order to take therefrom such as were best qualified to do military duty. My brother, being very anxious to go into the army at this time, was so fearful that he would be passed by on account of his age that the sweat stood in large drops on his face and he shook like an aspen leaf. Fortunately the officer made choice of him among others, and he entered the army and continued in the service of his country until he was seventeen. During this time he was in many battles, both on land and sea, traveling through cold, hunger, and fatigue and enduring every species of hardship that human nature could endure. Several times he narrowly escaped death by famine; but, according to his own account, whenever he was brought into a situation to fully realize his entire dependence upon God, the hand of Providence was always manifested in his deliverance.

Not long ago I met with an intimate acquaintance of my brother Stephen, and requested him to furnish me such facts as were in his possession in relation to him; and he wrote the following brief yet comprehensive account for the gratification of my readers:

“I, Horace Stanly, was born in Tunbridge, Orange County, Vermont, August 21, 1798. I have been personally acquainted with Major Mack and his family ever since I can remember, as I lived in the same township, within one mile and a half of the Major’s farm, and two miles from his store, and eight miles from Chelsea, the county seat of Orange County, where he conducted the mercantile and tinning business.

“My eldest brother went to learn the tinning business of the Major’s workmen. The Major, being a man of great enterprise, energetic in business, and possessed of a high degree of patriotism, launched forth on the frontiers of Detroit in the year 1800 (if I recollect rightly), where he immediately commenced trading with the Indians.

“He left his family in Tunbridge, on his farm, and while he was engaged in business at Detroit he visited them-sometimes once in a year, in eighteen months, or in two years, just as it happened.

“I visited Detroit, November 1, 1820, where I found the Major merchandising upon quite an extensive scale, having six clerks in one store; besides this, he had many other stores in the territory of Michigan, as well as in various parts of Ohio.

“His business at Pontiac was principally farming and building, but in order to facilitate these two branches of business, he set in operation a saw and flour mill, and afterwards added different branches of mechanism. He made the turnpike road from Detroit to Pontiac at his own expense. He also did considerable other public work, for the purpose of giving employment to the poor.

“He never encouraged idleness, or the man above his business. In 1828, having been absent from Detroit a short time, I returned. The Major was then a member of the council of the territory, and had acted a very conspicuous part in enhancing its prosperity and enlarging its settlement; and it was a common saying, that he had done much more for the territory than any other individual.

“In short, the Major was a man of talents of the first order. He was energetic and untiring. He always encouraged industry, and was very cautious how he applied his  acts  of charity.”

My brother was in the city of Detroit in 1812, the year in which Hull surrendered the territory to the British crown. My brother, being somewhat celebrated for his prowess, was selected by General Hull to take the command of a company as captain. After a short service in this office, he was ordered to surrender. At this his indignation was roused to the highest pitch. He broke his sword across his knee and, throwing it into the lake, exclaimed that he would never submit to such a disgraceful compromise while the blood of an American continued to run through his veins.

This drew the especial vengeance of the army upon his head; and his property doubtless would have been sacrificed to their resentment had they known the situation of his affairs. But this they did not know, as his housekeeper deceived them by a stratagem related by Mr. Stanly as follows:

“At the surrender of Detroit, not having as yet moved his family hither, Major Mack had an elderly lady, by the name of Trotwine, keeping house for him. The old lady took in some of the most distinguished British officers as boarders. She justified them in their course of conduct towards the Yankees, and, by her shrewdness and tact, she gained the esteem of the officers, and thus secured through them the goodwill of the soldiery, so far as to prevent their burning (what they supposed to be) her store and dwelling, both of which were splendid buildings.

“The Major never forgot this service done him by the old lady, for he ever afterwards supported her handsomely.”

Thus was a great amount of goods and money saved from the hands of his enemies. But this is not all: the news came to her ears that they were about to burn another trading establishment belonging to the Major, and without waiting to consult him, she went immediately to the store and took from the counting room several thousand dollars, which she secreted until the British left the city. The building and goods were burned.

As soon as the English left the territory, he recommenced business and removed his family from Tunbridge to Detroit. Here they remained but a short time, when he took them to Pontiac; and as soon as they were well established or settled in this place, he himself went to the city of Rochester, where he built a sawmill.

But in the midst of his prosperity, he was called away to experience another state of existence with barely a moment’s warning, for he was sick only four days from the time he was first taken ill until he died, and even on the fourth day, and in the last hour of his illness, it was not supposed to be at all dangerous until his son, who sat by his bedside, discovered he was dying.

He left his family with an estate of fifty thousand dollars, clear of encumbrance. He was a moral man, a man of business, and a man of the most intrepid courage, which last was shown in the defense of his country which was ever the interest that lay nearest to his heart.


Chapter 5 Brief look at Lydia Mack, third daughter of Solomon Mack.


1764 to January 8, 1826

Of my sister Lydia I shall say but little; not that I loved her less, or that she was less deserving of honorable mention, but she seemed to float more with the stream of common events than those who have occupied the foregoing pages; hence fewer incidents of striking character are furnished for the mind to dwell upon.

She sought riches and obtained them, but in the day of prosperity she remembered the poor, for she dealt out her substance to the needy with a liberal hand through life and died the object of their affection. As she was beloved in life, so she was bewailed in death.


Chapter 6 Daniel  Mack’s courage in saving the lives of three men in Miller’s River by Montague, Massachusetts.      1790s

Daniel  comes next in order. He was a man of the world, but with one peculiarity-he was, as many can testify, in many scenes of danger where lives were exposed, and he was always the first to the rescue, and thus was the means of saving many a helpless victim from the jaws of death.

One circumstance of this kind took place in the town of Montague on Miller’s River, when one of the number proposed taking a swim.  Daniel  objected, saying it was a dangerous place to swim in, yet they were determined and three went in; but, going out into the stream rather too far, they were overpowered by the current and a kind of eddy which they fell into, and they sank immediately.

At this  Daniel  said, “Now, gentlemen, these men are drowning; who will assist them at the risk of his life?” No one answered. At this he sprang into the water and, diving to the bottom, found one of them fastened to some small roots.  Daniel  took hold of him and tore up the roots to which he was clinging and brought him out, and then told the bystanders to get a barrel for the purpose of rolling him on it in order to make him disgorge the water which he had taken. He then went in again and found the other two in the same situation as the first and saved them in like manner.

After rolling them a short time on the barrel, he took them to a house and gave them every possible attention until they had so far recovered as to be able to speak. As soon as they could talk, one of them, fixing his eyes upon Daniel, said, “Mr. Mack, we have reason to look upon you as our savior, for you have delivered us from a watery tomb; and I would that I could always live near you. We are now assured that you have not only wisdom to counsel, but when men have spurned your advice, you still have that greatness of soul which leads you to risk your own life to save your fellowman. No, I will never leave you as long as I live, for I wish to convince you that I ever remember you, and that I will never slight your counsel again.”

In this they were all agreed, and they carried out the same in their future lives.

Chapter 7Brief account of Solomon Mack, youngest son of Solomon Mack.      January 28, 1773 to fall 1845

Solomon, the youngest son of my father, was born and brought up, married, and still lives in the town of Gilsum, and although sixty-four years old, he has never traveled farther than Boston, where his business leads him twice a year to purchase goods.

He has gathered to himself in that rocky region fields, flocks, and herds, which multiply and increase upon the mountains. He has been known these twenty years as Captain Solomon Mack of Gilsum; but as he lives to speak for himself, and as I have to do chiefly with the dead, and not the living, I shall leave him, hoping that, as he has lived peaceably with all men, so he may die happily.

I have now given a brief account of all my father’s family, save myself; and what I have written has been done with the view of discharging an obligation which I considered resting upon me inasmuch as they have all passed off this stage of action except myself and youngest brother. And seldom do I meet with an individual with whom I was even acquainted in my early years, and I am constrained to exclaim-”The friends of my youth! where are they?” The tomb replies, “Here are they!” But, through my instrumentality,

Safely truth to urge her claims, presumes

On names now found alone on books and tombs.


Part 2 the New England Years Chapter 8 An introduction to the early life of Lucy Mack, her visits to Tunbridge, Vermont, and subsequent marriage to Joseph Smith.

July 8, 1775 to January 24, 1796

Now, my dear readers, I shall introduce myself to your attention. I was born in Gilsum, Cheshire County, state of New Hampshire, July 8, 1776.

When I arrived at the age of eight years, my mother had a severe fit of sickness. She was so low that she, as well as her friends, entirely despaired of her recovery. During this sickness, she called her children around her bed, and, after exhorting them always to remember the instructions which she had given them-to fear God and walk uprightly before him-she gave me to my brother Stephen, requesting him to take care of me and bring me up as his own child, then bade each of us farewell.

This my brother promised to do; but, as my mother shortly recovered, it was not necessary, and I consequently remained at my father’s house until my sister Lovisa was married. Some time after this event I went to South Hadley where Lovisa lived to pay her a visit.

I returned home to my parents in about six months, and remained with them in Gilsum until the death of Lovina. Shortly after this, my brother Stephen Mack came from Tunbridge on a visit. He persuaded my parents to let him take me to Tunbridge in order to divert my mind from the death of my sister, as the grief of it was preying upon my health and was likely to be a serious injury to me.

For months after this I did not feel as though life was worth seeking after, and in my reflections I determined to obtain that which was spoken of so frequently from the pulpit, namely a change of heart.

In order to accomplish this, I perused the Bible and prayed incessantly; but one thought interposed itself into all my meditations: If I remain out of any church, all religious people will say I am of the world. If I join any one church, the rest will all declare that I am in the wrong. No church will say I am right unless I unite with them, and this makes them witnesses against each other. How shall I decide, inasmuch as the Church of Christ in former days was not like any of them?

While I was in Tunbridge, my brother frequently spoke to me of one Mr. Asael Smith, an intimate acquaintance of his whose family I afterwards came to know. Their names were Jesse, Joseph, Asael, John, Samuel, Silas, Stephen, Priscilla, Mary, Susan, and Sarah-a worthy, respectable, amiable, and intelligent family. It was the second son of this family to whom I was afterwards married.

I remained with my brother one year, then went home to visit my parents in Gilsum and my uncles and aunts in Marlow. After a short time, my brother came, and upon his urgent request I went again to Tunbridge, and was with him until the ensuing January when I was married.


Chapter 9 A wedding present of one thousand dollars from Stephen Mack and  John  Mudget to Lucy. Six years on the farm at Tunbridge, Vermont. Two children, Alvin and Hyrum, added to the Smith family. Move to Randolph, Vermont.      January 1796 to spring 1802

Soon after I was married, I went with my husband to see my parents, and as we were about setting out on this visit, my brother Stephen and his partner in business,  John  Mudget, were making some remarks in regard to my leaving them, and the conversation presently turned upon the subject of giving me a marriage present.

“Well,” said Mr. Mudget, “Lucy ought to have something worth naming, and I will give her just as much as you will.”

“Done,” said my brother. “I will give her five hundred dollars in cash.”

“Good,” said the other, “and I will give her five hundred dollars more.”

So they wrote a check on their bankers for one thousand dollars and presented me with the same. This check I laid aside, as I had other means by me sufficient to purchase my housekeeping furniture.

Having visited my father and mother, we returned again to Tunbridge, where my companion owned a handsome farm upon which we settled ourselves and began to cultivate the soil. We lived on this place about six years, tilling the earth for a livelihood.

In 1802, we rented our farm in Tunbridge and moved to the town of Randolph with our first two children, Alvin and Hyrum, and my husband opened a mercantile establishment.


Chapter 10       Lucy’s sickness and near death at Randolph, Vermont.       Fall 1802       We had lived in Randolph but six months when I took a heavy cold, which caused a severe cough. A hectic fever set in which threatened to prove fatal and the physician believed my case to be confirmed consumption. My mother attended me day and night with much anxiety, sparing herself no pains in administering to my comfort, yet I grew so weak that I could not bear the noise of a footfall except in stocking feet, nor a word to be spoken in the room except in whispers.

One Mr. Murkley, a Methodist exhorter, heard of my afflictions and came to visit me. When he came to the door, he knocked in his usual manner, not knowing that I was so very weak and that the noise would disturb me. This agitated me so much that it was some time before my nerves were settled again. My mother stepped to the door and motioned him to a chair, informing him of my weakness in a whisper.

He seated himself and for a long time seemed pondering in his mind something he wished to say. I thought to myself, “He will ask me if I am prepared to die.” I dreaded to have him speak to me, for said I to myself, “I am not prepared to die, for I do not know the ways of Christ,” and it seemed to me as though there was a dark and lonely chasm between myself and Christ that I dared not attempt to cross.

I thought as I strained my eyes towards the light (which I knew lay just beyond the gloomy veil before me) that I could discover a faint glimmer.

Mr. Murkley left, and my husband came to my bed and caught my hand and exclaimed as well as he could amidst sobs and tears, “Oh, Lucy! My wife! You must die. The doctors have given you up, and all say you cannot live.”

I then looked to the Lord and begged and pled that he would spare my life that I might bring up my children and comfort the heart of my husband. Thus I lay all night, sometimes gazing gradually away to heaven, and then reverting back again to my babies and my companion at my side, and I covenanted with God that if he would let me live, I would endeavor to get that religion that would enable me to serve him right, whether it was in the Bible or wherever it might be found, even if it was to be obtained from heaven by prayer and faith. At last a voice spoke to me and said, “Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Let your heart be comforted. Ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

In a few moments my mother came in and looked upon me and cried out, “Lucy, you are better.” My speech came and I answered, “Yes, Mother, the Lord will let me live. If I am faithful to my promise which I have made to him, he will suffer me to remain to comfort the hearts of my mother, my husband, and my children.”

From this time forward I gained strength continually. I said but little upon the subject of religion, although it occupied my mind entirely. I thought I would make all diligence, as soon as I was able, to seek some pious person who knew the ways of God to instruct me in the things of heaven.

I was acquainted with one Deacon Davies, a man of exceeding piety, one who had known my situation and the miraculous manner of my recovery. When I had gained strength enough, I made him a visit, and here I expected the same that I heard from my mother: “The Lord has done a marvelous work; let his name have the praise thereof.” But no, from the time I came in sight until I left the house I heard nothing but, “Oh, Mrs. Smith is coming. Run. Build a fire. Make the room warm. Help her in. Fill the teakettle, get the great armchair,” etc., etc. Their excessive anxiety for my physical convenience, not tempered with one word pertaining to Christ or godliness, sickened and disgusted me, and I went home disappointed and sorrowful.

In the anxiety of my soul to abide by the covenant which I had entered into with the Almighty, I went from place to place to seek information or find, if possible, some congenial spirit who might enter into my feelings and sympathize with me.

At last I heard that one noted for his piety would preach the ensuing Sabbath in the Presbyterian church. Thither I went in expectation of obtaining that which alone could satisfy my soul-the bread of eternal life. When the minister commenced, I fixed my mind with breathless attention upon the spirit and matter of the discourse, but all was emptiness, vanity, vexation of spirit, and fell upon my heart like the chill, untimely blast upon the starting ear ripening in a summer sun. It did not fill the aching void within nor satisfy the craving hunger of my soul. I was almost in total despair, and with a grieved and troubled spirit I returned home, saying in my heart, there is not on earth the religion which I seek. I must again turn to my Bible, take Jesus and his disciples for an example. I will try to obtain from God that which man cannot give nor take away. I will settle myself down to this. I will hear all that can be said, read all that is written, but particularly the word of God shall be my guide to life and salvation, which I will endeavor to obtain if it is to be had by diligence in prayer.

This course I pursued for many years, till at last I concluded that my mind would be easier if I were baptized. I found a minister who was willing to baptize me and leave me free from membership in any church, a course I continued until my oldest son attained his twenty-second year.


Chapter 11 Joseph Smith Sr. begins the business of crystallizing ginseng root. He exports a large quantity to China but is taken by fraud and deceit, and the entire venture fails. He loses his business in Randolph and has to sell the Tunbridge farm. Visit of Jason Mack, brother of Lucy, and final correspondence from Jason before his death.      Fall 1802 to late spring 1803

Now I must return to the earlier part of my life and change the subject from spiritual to temporal things. As I said before, my husband followed merchandising for a season in Randolph. Shortly after he commenced business, he ascertained that crystallized ginseng bore an immense value in China, as it was used as a remedy for the plague.

He therefore decided to go into a traffic of this article, crystallizing and exporting the root. When he got a quantity of it on hand, a merchant of Royalton by the name of Stevens came and made him an offer of three thousand dollars for the whole lot, but that was not more than two-thirds of its worth. Mr. Smith refused, saying he would rather ship it himself than accept the offer.

My husband then went immediately to the city of New York and made arrangements to send his ginseng to China on board a vessel that was about to set sail, making arrangements with the captain to sell the ginseng in China and return the avails thereof to my husband. This the captain bound himself to do in a written obligation.

Mr. Stevens, being rather vexed at his failure, repaired immediately to New York, and by taking some pains, he ascertained the vessel on which Mr. Smith was shipping his ginseng, and having some of the same article on hand himself, he made arrangements with the captain to take his also, sending his son to China on the same ship to take charge of the goods.

It appears from circumstances that afterwards transpired that when the son arrived in China, he sold the ginseng which my husband sent and took possession of the avails.

When the vessel returned, Stevens the younger returned with it, and when my husband became apprised of his arrival, he went immediately to him and made inquiry respecting the success of the captain in selling his ginseng. Mr. Stevens told him quite a plausible tale, the particulars of which I have forgotten, but the amount of it was that the sale had been a perfect failure, and the only thing which had been brought for Mr. Smith from China was a small chest of tea, which chest had been delivered into his care for my husband.

In a short time after this, young Stevens hired a house of Major Mack, my brother, employed eight or ten hands, and commenced crystallizing ginseng. When Stevens had fairly set up business, my brother went to see him and found him intoxicated. “Well,” said my brother, “you are doing a fine business. You will soon be ready for another trip to China.” Then, turning in a gay, social manner, he said, “Oh, Mr. Stevens, how much did Brother Smith’s venture bring?”

The man, being under the influence of liquor, was off his guard, so he took my brother by the hand and led him to a trunk and archly observed, “There, sir, is the avails of Mr. Smith’s ginseng,” exhibiting a large amount of silver and gold.

My brother was astounded but smothered his feelings, talked a while indifferently to him, and then returned home. That night at ten o’clock he ordered his horse and started for Randolph to see my husband. When Mr. Stevens had overcome his intoxication, he began to reflect upon what he had done, and found upon inquiring of the hostler where my brother had gone. Mr. Stevens, conjecturing his business-that he had gone to see my husband respecting the ginseng adventure-went immediately to his establishment, dismissed his hands, called his carriage, and fled, cash and all, for Canada and has not been heard of in the United States since.

My husband pursued him a while, but finding that pursuit was vain, he returned home quite dispirited at the state of his affairs. He then overhauled his books and found that, in addition to the loss that he had met with in the ginseng traffic, he had lost more than two thousand dollars in bad debts and was himself owing eighteen hundred dollars for store goods purchased in the city of Boston. He had expected to discharge the debt at the return of the China expedition; but having invested almost all his means in ginseng, the loss rendered it impossible for him to pay his debt with the property which remained in his hands. The principal dependence left him, in the shape of property, was the farm at Tunbridge, upon which we were then living, having moved back to this place immediately after his venture was sent to China. This farm, which was worth about fifteen hundred dollars, my husband sold for eight hundred dollars in order to make a speedy payment on his debts in Boston. As I had not yet made use of the thousand-dollar present that my brother Stephen and Mr. Mudget had given me, I desired Mr. Smith to add this to the sum which he received for his farm and by this means we would be enabled to liquidate all debts that stood against us; and although we might be poor, we would have the satisfaction of knowing that we had given no man any cause of complaint, and having a conscience void of offense, the society of our children, and the blessing of health, we still might be indeed happy.

He acceded to my proposition and deposited the whole into the hands of Colonel Mack, who took the same to Boston and paid off the demands against us and returned with the receipts which set us free from the embarrassment of debt, but not from the embarrassment of poverty.

While we were living on the Tunbridge farm, my brother Jason made us a visit. He brought with him a young man by the name of William Smith, a friendless orphan whom he had adopted as his own son, and, previous to this time, had kept constantly with him; but he now thought best to leave him with us for the purpose of having him go to school. He remained with us, however, only six months before my brother came again and took him to New Brunswick, which they afterwards made their home, and where my brother had gathered together some thirty families on a tract of land which he had purchased for the purpose of assisting poor persons to the means of sustaining themselves. He planned their work for them, and when they raised anything which they wished to sell, he took it to market for them. Owning a schooner himself, he took their produce to Liverpool, as it was then the best market.

When Jason set out on the above-mentioned visit to Tunbridge, he purchased a quantity of goods which he intended as presents for his friends, especially his mother and sisters, but on his way thither he found so many objects of charity that he gave away not only the goods, but most of his money. On one occasion he saw a woman who had just lost her husband and who was very destitute; he gave her fifteen dollars in money and a full suit of clothes for herself and each of her children, which were six in number.

This was the last interview I ever had with my brother Jason, but twenty years later he wrote the following letter to my brother Solomon, and that is about all the intelligence I have ever received from him since I saw him:

South Branch of Oromocto, Province of New Brunswick,

June 30, 1835.

My Dear Brother Solomon:

You will, no doubt, be surprised to hear that I am still alive, although in an absence of twenty years I have never written to you before. But I trust you will forgive me when I tell you that, for most of the twenty years, I have been so situated that I have had little or no communication with the lines, and have been holding meetings, day and night, from place to place; besides, my mind has been so taken up with the deplorable situation of the earth, the darkness in which it lies, that, when my labors did call me near the lines, I did not realize the opportunity that presented itself of letting you know where I was. And, again, I have designed visiting you long since, and annually have promised myself that the succeeding year I would certainly seek out my relatives, and enjoy the privilege of one pleasing interview with them before I passed into the valley and shadow of death. But last, though not least, let me not startle you when I say, that, according to my early adopted principles of the power of faith, the Lord has, in his exceeding kindness, bestowed upon me the gift of healing by the prayer of faith, and the use of such simple means as seem congenial to the human system; but my chief reliance is upon him who organized us at the first, and can restore at pleasure that which is disorganized.

The first of my peculiar successes in this way was twelve years since, and from nearly that date I have had little rest. In addition to the incessant calls which I, in a short time had, there was the most overwhelming torrent of opposition poured down upon me that I ever witnessed. But it pleased God to take the weak to confound the wisdom of the wise. I have in the last twelve years seen the greatest manifestations of the power of God in healing the sick, that, with all my sanguinity, I ever hoped or imagined. And when the learned infidel has declared with sober face, time and again, that disease had obtained such an ascendancy that death could be resisted no longer, that the victim must wither beneath his potent arm, I have seen the almost lifeless clay slowly but surely resuscitated, and revive, till the pallid monster fled so far that the patient was left in the full bloom of vigorous health. But it is God that hath done it, and to him let all the praise be given.

I am now compelled to close this epistle, for I must start immediately on a journey of more than one hundred miles, to attend a heavy case of sickness. So God be with you all. Farewell!

Jason Mack

The next intelligence we received concerning Jason, after his letter to Brother Solomon, was that he, his wife, and oldest son were dead, and this concludes my account of my brother Jason.


Chapter 12 Lucy’s dream of the two beautiful trees by a very pure and clear stream in a magnificent meadow. Interpretation is given about Joseph Smith Sr. and his older brother, Jesse Smith.


Spring or summer 1803

While we were yet living in the town of Tunbridge, my mind became deeply impressed with the subject of religion, which probably was occasioned by my singular experience during my sickness at Randolph. I commenced attending Methodist meetings and endeavored to persuade my husband to attend with me. He went a few times to gratify me, but he had so little faith in the doctrine taught by them that my feelings were the only inducement for him to go.

As soon as his father and Brother Jesse heard that we were attending Methodist meetings, they were much displeased. His father came to the door one day and threw Tom Paine’s Age of Reason into the house and angrily bade him read it until he believed it. They also told him that he ought not to let me go to the meetings and it would be far better for him to stop going. Accordingly, my husband requested me not to go, as he considered it hardly worth our while to attend any longer, and it would prove of but little advantage to us, and it gave our friends such disagreeable feelings.

I was very much hurt by this, but did not reply to him then. I retired to a grove of handsome wild cherry trees not far distant and prayed to the Lord that he would influence the heart of my husband that it might be softened so as to receive the true gospel whenever it was preached, or that he might become more religiously inclined. After praying some time in this manner, I returned to the house much depressed in spirit, which state of feeling continued until I retired to my bed. That night I had the following dream:

I thought that I stood in a large and beautiful meadow, which lay a short distance from the house in which we lived, and that everything around me wore an aspect of peculiar pleasantness. The first thing that attracted my special attention in this magnificent meadow was a very pure and clear stream of water which ran through the midst of it; and as I traced this stream, I discovered two trees standing upon its margin, both of which were on the same side of the stream. These trees were very beautiful. They were well proportioned, and towered with majestic beauty to a great height. Their branches, which added to their symmetry and glory, commenced near the top and spread themselves in luxurious grandeur around. I gazed upon them with wonder and admiration, and after beholding them a short time, I saw one of them was surrounded with a bright belt that shone like burnished gold, but far more brilliantly. Presently, a gentle breeze passed by, and the tree encircled with this golden zone bent gracefully before the wind and waved its beautiful branches in the light air. As the wind increased, this tree assumed the most lively and animated appearance and seemed to express in its motions the utmost joy and happiness. If it had been an intelligent creature, it could not have conveyed by the power of language the idea of joy and gratitude so perfectly as it did; and even the stream that rolled beneath it shared, apparently, every sensation felt by the tree, for, as the branches danced over the stream, it would swell gently, then recede again with a motion as soft as the breathing of an infant, but as lively as the dancing of a sunbeam. The belt also partook of the same influence, and, as it moved in unison with the motion of the stream and of the tree, it increased continually in refulgence and magnitude until it became exceedingly glorious.

I turned my eyes upon its fellow, which stood opposite; but it was not surrounded with the belt of light as the former, and it stood erect and fixed as a pillar of marble. No matter how strong the wind blew over it, not a leaf was stirred, not a bough was bent, but obstinately stiff it stood, scorning alike the zephyr’s breath, or the power of the mighty storm.

I wondered at what I saw, and said in my heart, What can be the meaning of all this? And the interpretation given me was that these personated my husband and his oldest brother, Jesse Smith; that the stubborn and unyielding tree was like Jesse; that the other, more pliant and flexible, was like Joseph, my husband; that the breath of heaven, which passed over them, was the pure and undefiled gospel of the Son of God, which gospel Jesse would always resist, but which Joseph, when he was more advanced in life, would hear and receive with his whole heart and rejoice therein; and unto him would be added intelligence, happiness, glory, and everlasting life.


Chapter 13 The Smiths move from Tunbridge to Royalton, then to Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, where they rent a farm from Solomon Mack, Lucy’s father. Births of Joseph Jr.,  Samuel  Harrison, Ephraim, and William mentioned. First and second in a series of seven visions or dreams given to Joseph Smith Sr. First, the dream of the box, and second, the dream of the tree of life.


Summer 1803 to late summer 1812

The loss of the Tunbridge farm was a considerable trial to us, for it deprived us at once not only of the comforts and conveniences of life, but also a home of any description. After selling the farm at Tunbridge, we took our three oldest children and moved only a short distance to the town of Royalton. Here we resided a few months, then moved again to Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont. Here my husband rented a farm of my father, which he cultivated in the summer season and in the winter taught school. In this way my husband continued laboring for a few years, during which time our circumstances gradually improved until we found ourselves quite comfortable again.

Here it was that my son Joseph was born, December 23, 1805, one who will act a more conscious part in this work than any other individual.

We moved thence to Tunbridge. Here we had another son, whom we named  Samuel  Harrison, born March 13, 1808. We lived in this place a short time, then moved to Royalton, where Ephraim was born, March 13, 1810, who died in his infancy. We continued here until we had another son, born March 13, 1811, whom we called William.

About this time my husband’s mind became much excited upon the subject of religion; yet he would not subscribe to any particular system of faith, but contended for the ancient order, as established by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his Apostles.

One night my husband retired to his bed in a very thoughtful state of mind, contemplating the situation of the Christian religion, or the confusion and discord that were extant. He soon fell into a sleep, and before waking had the following vision, which I shall relate in his own words just as he told it to me the next morning:

“I seemed to be traveling in an open, barren field, and as I was traveling, I turned my eyes towards the east, the west, the north, and the south, but could see nothing save dead, fallen timber. Not a vestige of life, either animal or vegetable, could be seen; besides, to render the scene still more dreary, the most deathlike silence prevailed. No sound of anything animate could be heard in all the field. I was alone in this gloomy desert, with the exception of an attendant spirit, who kept constantly by my side. Of him I inquired the meaning of what I saw, and why I was thus traveling in such a dismal place. He answered thus: ‘This field is the world which now lieth inanimate and dumb in regard to the true religion or plan of salvation, but travel on and by the wayside you will find on a certain log a box, the contents of which, if you eat thereof, will make you wise, and give unto you wisdom and understanding.’

“I carefully observed what was told me by my guide, and proceeding a short distance, I came to the box. I immediately took it up, and placed it under my left arm. Then with eagerness I raised the lid and began to taste of its contents; upon which all manner of beasts, horned cattle, and roaring animals rose up on every side in the most threatening manner possible, tearing the earth, tossing their horns, and bellowing most terrifically all around me, and they finally came so close upon me, that I was compelled to drop the box and fly for my life. Yet, in the midst of all this I was perfectly happy, though I awoke trembling.”

From this time forward, my husband seemed more confirmed than ever in the opinion that there was no order or class of religionists that knew any more concerning the kingdom of God than those of the world, or such as made no profession of religion whatever.

In 1811, we moved from Royalton, Vermont, to the town of Lebanon, New Hampshire. Soon after arriving here, my husband received another very singular vision, which I will relate:

“I thought,” said he, “I was traveling in an open, desolate field which appeared to be very barren. As I was thus traveling, the thought suddenly came into my mind that I had better stop and reflect upon what I was doing before I went any farther. So I asked myself, ‘What motive can I have in traveling here, and what place can this be?’

“My guide, who was by my side as before, said, ‘This is the desolate world, but travel on.’ The road was so broad and barren that I wondered why I should travel in it, for, said I to myself, ‘Broad is the road, and wide is the gate that leads to death, and many there be that walk therein; but narrow is the way, and strait is the gate that leads to everlasting life, and few there be that go in thereat.’

“Traveling a short distance further, I came to a narrow path. This path I entered, and, when I had traveled a little way in it, I beheld a beautiful stream of water which ran from the east to the west. Of this stream I could see neither the source nor yet the mouth, but as far as my eyes could extend I could see a rope, running along the bank of it about as high as a man could reach, and beyond me was a low but very pleasant valley in which stood a tree such as I had never seen before. It was exceedingly handsome, insomuch that I looked upon it with wonder and admiration. Its beautiful branches spread themselves somewhat like an umbrella, and it bore a kind of fruit, in shape much like a chestnut bur, and as white as snow, or, if possible, whiter. I gazed upon the same with considerable interest, and as I was doing so, the burs or shells commenced opening and shedding their particles, or the fruit which they contained, which was of dazzling whiteness. I drew near and began to eat of it, and I found it delicious beyond description.

“As I was eating, I said in my heart, ‘I cannot eat this alone, I must bring my wife and children, that they may partake with me.’ Accordingly, I went and brought my family, which consisted of a wife and seven children, and we all commenced eating and praising God for this blessing. We were exceedingly happy, insomuch that our joy could not easily be expressed.

“While thus engaged, I beheld a spacious building standing opposite the valley which we were in, and it appeared to reach to the very heavens. It was full of doors and windows, and they were all filled with people, who were very finely dressed. When these people observed us in the low valley, under the tree, they pointed the finger of scorn at us, and treated us with all manner of disrespect and contempt. But their contumely we utterly disregarded.

“I presently turned to my guide and inquired of him the meaning of the fruit that was so delicious. He told me it was the pure love of God, shed abroad in the hearts of all those who love him and keep his commandments. He then commanded me to go and bring the rest of my children. I told him that we were all there. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘look yonder, you have two more, and you must bring them also.’ Upon raising my eyes, I saw two small children standing some distance off. I immediately went to them and brought them to the tree, upon which they commenced eating with the rest, and we all rejoiced together. The more we ate, the more we seemed to desire, until we even got down upon our knees and scooped it up, eating it by double handfuls.

“After feasting in this manner a short time, I asked my guide what was the meaning of the spacious building which I saw. He replied, ‘It is Babylon, it is Babylon, and it must fall. The people in the doors and windows are the inhabitants thereof, who scorn and despise the Saints of God because of their humility.’ I soon awoke, clapping my hands together for joy.”


Chapter 14 The Smiths settle in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The older children start school. Typhoid fever epidemic rages, and all the Smith children contract the disease. Sophronia’s ninety-day siege, near death, and miraculous recovery.      Fall 1811 to summer 1813 In Lebanon we settled down and began to congratulate ourselves upon our prosperity and also to renew our exertions to obtain a greater abundance of this world’s goods. We looked around us and said, What do we now lack? There is nothing of which we have not a sufficiency to make us and our children perfectly comfortable, both for food and raiment, as well as that which is necessary to a respectable appearance in society both at home and abroad.

Taking this view of the subject, we thought it time to begin to provide for the future wants of our family and ourselves when the decline of life would come upon us. This raised our ambition much. I commenced by laying in for the ensuing winter one hundred pounds of candles, that we might better pursue our labors; two hundred yards of cloth for a stock of clothing for my family; and as my children had been deprived of school, we made every arrangement to supply the deficiency. Our second son, Hyrum, we established in the academy in Hanover. The remainder who were old enough attended a school nearby,  whilst their father and myself were industriously laboring late and early to do all in our power for their future welfare.

We met with success on every hand, but the scene soon changed. In 1813, the typhus fever came into Lebanon and raged there horribly. Among the rest who were seized with this complaint was my oldest daughter, Sophronia, who was sick four weeks; next, Hyrum came from Hanover sick with the same disease; then, Alvin, my oldest, and so on until there was not one of my family left well, save Mr. Smith and myself. Here I must request my readers to bear with me, for I shall probably detain them some time.

Sophronia was very low and remained so eighty-nine days. On the ninetieth day the attendant physician declared that she was so far gone that it was impossible for her to receive any benefit from the effects of medicine and discontinued his attendance upon her. That night she lay utterly motionless, with her eyes wide open with that peculiar set which most strikingly exhibits the hue of death. I gazed upon my child as a mother looks on the last shade of life in a darling child. In the distraction of the moment, my husband and I clasped our hands together and fell upon our knees by the bedside and poured our grief and supplications into his ears who hath numbered the hair upon our heads.

Did the Lord hear our petition? He did hear us. And I felt assured that he would answer our prayers; but when we rose to our feet, the appearance was far otherwise. My child had apparently ceased to breathe. I seized a blanket, threw it round her, caught her in my arms, and commenced pacing the floor. Those present remonstrated with me, saying, “Mrs. Smith, it’s all of no use. You are certainly crazy. Your child is dead.” Notwithstanding, I would not, for a moment, relinquish the hope of again seeing her breathe and live.

My reader, are you a parent? Place yourself in the same situation. Are you a mother who has ever been in like circumstances? Feel for your heartstrings. Can you tell me how I felt with my expiring child strained to my bosom, which thrilled with all a mother’s love, a mother’s tender yearnings for her own offspring? Would you then feel to deny that God had power to save to the uttermost all who call on him? I did not then and I do not now.

At last, she sobbed. I still pressed her to my breast and walked the floor. She sobbed again and then looked up into my face with an appearance of natural life, breathing freely. My soul was satisfied but my strength was gone. I laid her on the bed and sank down beside her, overpowered by a swell of feeling.

From this time forward Sophronia continued mending, until she entirely recovered.


Chapter 15 Seven-year-old Joseph Smith Jr. suffers from a large fever sore, then contracts osteomyelitis in his left leg. Medical efforts to relieve his suffering. Drs. Smith, Perkins, Stone, et al. perform an experimental operation on Joseph’s leg in an attempt to save it. Joseph, now on crutches, eventually recovers and goes to Salem, Massachusetts, with his uncle.


Summer 1813 to late fall 1813

I shall here be under the necessity of turning the subject to my third son, Joseph, who had so far recovered that he could sit up. Then, one day, he suddenly screamed out with a severe pain in his shoulder and seemed in such extreme distress that we were fearful that something dreadful was about to ensue, and sent immediately for the doctor. When he arrived and had examined the patient, he said he was of the opinion that it was a sprain, but the child said this could not be the case, as he had not been hurt; but a sharp pain had taken him very suddenly, and he knew no cause for it.

The physician insisted upon the truth of his first opinion and anointed the shoulder with bone liniment, but the pain remained as severe as ever for two weeks. When the doctor came again, he made a closer examination and found that a very large fever sore had gathered between Joseph’s breast and shoulder. He immediately lanced it, upon which it discharged a full quart of matter.

As soon as this sore had discharged itself, the pain left it and shot like lightning (as he said) down his side into the marrow of his leg bone on the same side. The boy was almost in total despair and cried out, “Oh, Father, the pain is so severe! How can I bear it?”

His leg immediately began to swell and he continued in the most excruciating pain for two weeks longer. During this time, I carried him in my arms nearly continually, soothing him and doing all that my utmost ingenuity could suggest to ease his sufferings, until nature was exhausted and I was taken severely ill myself.

Then Hyrum, who was always remarkable for his tenderness and sympathy, desired that he might take my place. As he was a good, trusty boy, we let him do so, and, in order to make the task as easy for him as possible, we laid Joseph upon a low bed and Hyrum sat beside him, almost incessantly day and night, grasping the most painful part of the affected leg between his hands and, by pressing it closely, enabled the little sufferer the better to bear the pain which otherwise seemed almost ready to take his life.

At the end of three weeks, he became so low that we sent again for the surgeon. When he came, he made an incision of eight inches on the front side of the leg between the knee and ankle. This somewhat relieved the pain, and the patient was quite comfortable until the wound began to heal, when the pain became as violent as ever.

The surgeon was called again, and he this time enlarged the wound,  cutting to the bone. It commenced healing the second time, and as the healing progressed, the swelling continued to rise till we deemed it wisdom to call a council of surgeons; and when they met in consultation, they decided that there was no remedy but amputation.

Soon after coming to this conclusion, they rode up to the door, and I invited them into another room apart from the one where Joseph lay. “Now,” said I, “gentlemen [for there were seven of them], what can you do to save my boy’s leg?”

They answered, “We can do nothing. We have cut it open to the bone and find the bone so affected that it is incurable, and that amputation is absolutely necessary in order to save his life.”

This was like a thunderbolt to me. I appealed to the principal surgeon present, saying, “Dr. Stone, can you not try once more? Can you not, by cutting around the bone, take out the diseased part? There may be a part of the bone that is sound which will heal over, and thus you may save the leg. You will not, you must not, take off his leg, until you try once more. I will not consent to your entering his room until you promise this.”

After a short consultation, they agreed to do as I requested; then we went to my suffering son. The doctor said, “My poor boy, we have come again.” “Yes,” said Joseph. “I see you have; but you have not come to take off my leg, have you, sir?” “No,” said the surgeon. “It is your mother’s request that we should make one more effort, and that is what we have now come for.”

My husband, who was constantly with the child, seemed to contemplate for an instant my countenance; then, turning his eyes upon his boy, at once all his sufferings together with my intense anxiety rushed upon his mind. He burst into a flood of tears and sobbed like a child.

The principal surgeon, after a moment’s conversation, ordered cords to be brought to bind Joseph fast to the bedstead, but Joseph objected. When the doctor insisted that he must be confined, Joseph said decidedly, “No, Doctor. I will not be bound. I can bear the process better unconfined.”

“Then,” said the doctor, “will you take some wine? You must take something, or you can never endure the severe operation to which you must be subjected.”

“No,” answered the boy. “I will not touch one particle of liquor, nor will I be tied down, but I will tell you what I will do. I will have my father sit on the bed close by me, and then I will do whatever is necessary to be done in order to have the bone taken out. But, Mother, I want you to leave the room. I know that you cannot endure to see me suffer so. Father can bear it. But you have carried me so much and watched over me so long, you are almost worn out.” Then, looking up into my face, his eyes swimming with tears, he said beseechingly, “Now, Mother, promise me you will not stay, will you? The Lord will help me. I shall get through with it, so do leave me and go a way off, till they get through with it.”

To this I consented. So, after bringing a number of folded sheets to lay under his leg, I left and went several hundred yards from the house in order to be out of hearing.

The surgeons began operating by boring into the bone of his leg, first on one side of the affected part, then on the other side, after which they broke it loose with a pair of forceps or pincers. Thus, they took away nine large pieces of the bone. When they broke off the first piece, he screamed so loud with the pain of his leg that I could not forbear running to him, but as soon as I entered the room, he cried out, “Oh, Mother! Go back! Go back! I do not want you to come in. I will tough it out, if you will go.”

When the third fracture was taken away, I burst into the room again, and, oh, my God, what a spectacle for a mother’s eye! The wound torn open to view, my boy and the bed on which he lay covered with the blood that was still gushing from the wound. Joseph was pale as a corpse, and the big drops of sweat were rolling down his face, every feature of which depicted agony that cannot be described.

I was forced from the room and detained until they finished the operation. After they had placed him upon a clean bed with fresh clothing and had cleared the room from every appearance of blood and any apparatus used in the extraction, I was permitted to enter.

Joseph now began to recover, and when he was able to travel he went with his uncle Jesse Smith to Salem for the benefit of his health, hoping that the sea breezes might help him. In this, we were not disappointed, for he soon became strong and healthy.

After one whole year of affliction, we were able once more to look upon our children and each other in health, and I assure you, my gentle reader, we realized the blessing, for I believe we felt more to acknowledge the hand of God in preserving our lives through such a desperate siege of disease, pain, and trouble than if we had enjoyed health and prosperity during the interim.


Part 3  New York / Pennsylvania-Beginnings of the Restoration Chapter 16 The Smiths move to Norwich, Vermont. Three successive years of crop failures. Removal of the Smith family to Palmyra, New York. They obtain one hundred acres of virgin land. Lucy goes to tea with neighbors in Palmyra. Record of Joseph Smith Sr.’s third and sixth visions: the vision of the beautiful garden with twelve wooden images; the vision of going to meeting on the Day of Judgment.


Spring 1814 to spring 1819

When health returned to us, it found us, as may well be supposed, in very low circumstances. Sickness, with all its attendant expenses of nurses, medical attendants, and other necessary articles, reduced us so that we were now compelled to make arrangements for going into some kind of business to provide for present wants, rather than future prospects, as we had previously contemplated.

My husband now determined to change his residence. Accordingly, we moved to Norwich in Vermont and established ourselves on a farm belonging to Squire Moredock. The first year our crops failed, and we bought our bread with the proceeds of the orchard and our own industry. The second year they failed again. In the ensuing spring, Mr. Smith said that we would plant once more on this farm, and if he did not succeed better, we would go to New York, where the farmers raise wheat in abundance.

This next year was like the preceding seasons. An untimely frost blighted the vegetation, and being the third year in succession in which the crops had failed, it well nigh produced a famine. This was enough. My husband was now altogether decided upon going to New York. One day he came into the house and sat down, and after meditating some time, he said that could he so arrange his affairs, he would be glad to start soon for New York with one Mr. Howard, who was going to Palmyra. “But,” said he, “I cannot leave or you could not get along without me. Besides, I am owing some debts that I must pay.”

I told him I thought that he might call upon both his debtors and creditors and by so doing make an arrangement between them that would be satisfactory to all parties. As for the rest, I thought I could prepare myself and my family to follow him by the time he might be ready for us. He accordingly called upon all those with whom he had any dealings and settled up his accounts with them, but there were some who neglected to bring forward their books, consequently they were not balanced, or there were no entries made in them to show the settlement; but in cases of this kind he called witnesses that there might be evidence of the fact.

Having thus arranged his business, Mr. Smith set out for Palmyra, New York, with Mr. Howard. My sons Alvin and Hyrum followed their father with a heavy heart some distance. After the departure of my husband, we toiled faithfully until we considered that we were fully prepared to leave at a moment’s warning. We soon received a letter from Mr. Smith requesting us to make ourselves ready to take up a journey for Palmyra immediately. A messenger soon arrived with a conveyance for myself and my family.

As we were starting out on this journey, several of those gentlemen who had withheld their books in the time of settlement now brought them forth and claimed the accounts which had been settled, and which they had, in the presence of witnesses, agreed to erase. We were all ready for the journey, and the teams were waiting on expense. Under these circumstances, I concluded it would be more to our advantage to pay their unjust claims than to hazard a lawsuit. Thus I was compelled to pay 150 dollars out of the means reserved for bearing our expenses in traveling. This I made shift to do and saved sixty or eighty dollars for the journey.

A gentleman by the name of Flagg, a wealthy settler living in the town of Hanover, also a Mr. Howard, who resided in Norwich, were both acquainted with the circumstances mentioned above. They were very indignant at it and requested me to give them a sufficient time to get the witnesses together, and they would endeavor to recover that which had been taken from me by fraud. I told them I could not do so, for my husband had sent teams for me, which were on expense; moreover, there was an uncertainty in getting the money back again, and in case of failure, I should not be able to raise the means necessary to take the family where we contemplated moving.

They then proposed raising some money by subscription, saying, “We know the people feel as we do concerning this matter, and if you will receive it, we will make you a handsome present.” This I utterly refused. The idea of receiving assistance in such a way as this was indeed very repulsive to my feelings, and I rejected their offer.

We set out with Mr. Howard, a cousin of the gentleman who traveled to New York with Mr. Smith. I had prepared a great quantity of woolen clothing for my children; besides I had on hand a great deal of diaper and pulled cloth in the web. My mother was with me. She had been assisting in my preparations for traveling. She was now returning to her home in Royalton, where she resided until she died, which was two years afterwards, in consequence of an injury which she received by getting upset in a wagon while traveling with us.

When we arrived there, I had a task to perform which was a severe trial to my feelings, one to which I shall ever look back with peculiar sensations that can never be obliterated. I was here to take leave of that pious and affectionate parent to whom I was indebted for all the religious instructions as well as most of the educational privileges which I had ever received. The parting hour came. My mother wept over me long and bitterly. She told me that it was not probable she should ever behold my face again. “But, my dear child,” said she, “I have lived long. My days are nearly all numbered. I must soon exchange the things of earth for another state of existence, where I hope to enjoy the society of the blessed. And now as my last admonition, I beseech you to continue faithful in the exercise of every religious duty to the end of your days, that I may have the pleasure of embracing you in another, fairer world above.”

This parting scene was at one Willard Pierce’s, a tavern keeper. From his house my mother went to  Daniel  Mack’s, with whom she afterwards lived until her decease.

After this I pursued my journey, but it was only a short time until I discovered that the man who drove the team in which we rode was an unprincipled, unfeeling wretch by the manner in which he handled my goods and money, as well as his treatment of my children, especially Joseph. This child was compelled by Mr. Howard to travel for miles at a time on foot, though he was still somewhat lame. We bore patiently with repeated aggravations until we came twenty miles west of Utica, when one morning we were preparing as usual for starting on the day’s journey. My oldest son came to me and said, “Mother, Mr. Howard has thrown the goods out of the wagon and is about getting off with the team.” I told him to call the man in. I met him in the barroom, where there was a large company of travelers, both male and female, and I demanded his reason for such a procedure. He answered that the money which I had given him was all exhausted and he could go no farther.

I turned to those present and said, “Gentlemen and ladies, please give me your attention for a moment. Now, as there is a God in heaven, that wagon and horses, as well as the goods that accompany them, are mine. This man is determined to take away from me every means of proceeding on my journey, leaving me with eight little children, utterly destitute. But I forbid you, Mr. Howard, from driving one step with my wagon or horses. And here I declare that the teams, goods, and children, with myself, shall go together to my husband and their father. As for you, sir, I have no use for you, and you can ride or walk the rest of the way as you please; but I shall take charge of my own affairs.” I then proceeded on my way, and in a short time I arrived in Palmyra with a small portion of my effects, my babes, and two cents in money, but perfectly happy in the society of my family.

The joy I felt in throwing myself and my children upon the care and affection of a tender husband and father doubly paid me for all I had suffered. The children surrounded their father, clinging to his neck, covering his face with tears and kisses that were heartily reciprocated by him.

We all now sat down and maturely counseled together as to what course it was best to take, and how we should proceed to business in our then destitute circumstances. It was agreed by each one of us that it was most advisable to apply all our energies together and endeavor to obtain a piece of land, as this was then a new country and land was low, being in its rude state. But it was almost a time of famine. Wheat was $2.70 per bushel and other things in proportion. “How shall we,” said my husband, “be able to sustain ourselves and have anything left to buy land?” I had done considerable at painting oilcloth coverings for tables, stands, etc. Therefore, I concluded to set up a business, and if prospered, I would try to supply the wants of the family. In this I succeeded so well that it was not long until we not only had an abundance of good and wholesome provision, but I soon began to replenish my household furniture, a fine stock of which I had sacrificed entirely in moving.

My husband and our two oldest sons, Alvin and Hyrum, set themselves about raising the means of paying for one hundred acres of land for which Mr. Smith had contracted with a land agent. In one year’s time, we made nearly all of the first payment. The agent advised us to build a log house on the land and commence clearing it. We did so, and it was not long until we had thirty acres ready for cultivation.

Now the second payment was coming due, and we had no means as yet of meeting it. Alvin accordingly proposed that his father should take the business at home in his entire charge, “whilst,” he said, “I will go abroad to see if I cannot make the second payment and the remainder of the first.” By my son’s persevering industry, he was able to return to us after much labor, suffering, and fatigue with the necessary amount of money for all except the last payment. In two years from the time we entered Palmyra, strangers, destitute of friends, home, or employment, we were able to settle ourselves upon our own land in a snug, comfortable though humble habitation, built and neatly finished by our own industry.

If we might judge by any collateral manifestation, we had every reason to believe that we had many good and affectionate friends, for never have I seen more kindness or attention shown to any person or family than we received from those around us. Again we began to rejoice in our prosperity, and our hearts glowed with gratitude to God for the manifestations of his favor that surrounded us.

I shall change my theme for the present, but let not my reader suppose that because I shall pursue another topic for a season that we stopped our labor. We never during our lives suffered one important interest to swallow up every other obligation, but whilst we worked with our hands we endeavored to remember the service of and the welfare of our souls.

Permit me here to relate a little circumstance, by way of illustration, of a friend of mine having invited several of her associates to take tea with her one afternoon. She also sent an urgent request for me to call on her with the rest. The ladies invited were some wealthy merchants’ wives and the minister’s lady. We spent the time quite pleasantly, each seeming to enjoy those reciprocal feelings which render the society of our friends delightful to us.

When tea was served up, we were proffering some good-natured remarks to each other when one lady observed, “Well, I declare, Mrs. Smith ought not to live in that log house of hers any longer. She deserves a better fate, and I say she must have a new house.”

“So she should,” said another, “for she is so kind to everyone. She ought to have the best of everything.”

“Ladies,” said I, “thank you for your compliments, but you are quite mistaken. I will show you that I am the wealthiest woman that sits at this table.”

“Well,” said they, “now make that appear.”

“Now mark,” I answered them. “I have never prayed for the riches of this world as perhaps you have, but I have always desired that God would enable me to use enough wisdom and forbearance in my family to set a good example before my children, whose lives I always besought the Lord to spare, as also to secure the confidence and affection of my husband. I have hoped that we, acting together in the education and instruction of our children, might in our old age reap the reward of circumspection and parental tenderness-that is, the pleasure of seeing our children signify their father’s name by an upright and honorable course of conduct in life.

“I have been gratified so far in all this, and though I have to this time suffered many disagreeable disappointments in life with regard to property, I now find myself as comfortably situated as any of you are. What we have has not been obtained at the expense or the comfort of any human being. We owe no man; we never distressed any man, which circumstance almost invariably attends the mercantile life, so I have no reason to envy those who are so engaged.”

To the minister’s lady, I said, “I ask you how many nights of the week you are kept awake with anxiety about your sons who are in habitual attendance on the grog shop and gambling house.” They all said, with a look that showed conviction, “Mrs. Smith, you have established the fact.”

Reader, I merely relate this that you may draw a moral therefrom that may be useful to you.

In the spring after we moved onto the farm, we commenced making maple sugar, of which we averaged one thousand pounds per year. We then began to make preparations for building a house. The land agent of whom we purchased our farm was dead, and we could not make the last payment. We also planted a large orchard and made every possible preparation for ease when advanced age should deprive us of the ability to make those physical exertions of which we were then capable.

I shall now deviate a little from my subject, in order to relate another very singular dream which my husband had about this time, which is as follows:

“I dreamed,” said he, “that I was traveling on foot, and I was very sick, and so lame I could hardly walk. My guide, as usual, attended me. Traveling some time together, I became so lame that I thought I could go no farther. I informed my guide of this and asked him what I should do. He told me to travel on till I came to a certain garden. So I arose and started for this garden. While on my way thither, I asked my guide how I should know the place. He said, ‘Proceed until you come to a very large gate; open this and you will see a garden, blooming with the most beautiful flowers that your eyes ever beheld, and there you shall be healed.’

“By limping along with great difficulty, I finally reached the gate; and, on entering it, I saw the before-mentioned garden, which was beautiful beyond description, being filled with the most delicate flowers of every kind and color. In the garden were walks about three and a half feet wide, which were set on both sides with marble stones. One of the walks ran from the gate through the center of the garden; and on each side of this was a very richly carved seat, and on each seat were placed six wooden images, each of which was the size of a very large man. When I came to the first image on the right side, it arose and bowed to me with much deference. I then turned to the one which sat opposite me, on the left side, and it arose and bowed to me in the same manner as the first. I continued turning, first to the right and then to the left, until the whole twelve had made their obeisance, after which I was entirely healed.

“I then asked my guide the meaning of all this, but I awoke before I received an answer.”

The scripture which saith, “Your old men shall dream dreams,” was fulfilled in the case of my husband, for, about this time, he had another vision, which I shall here relate; this, with one more, is all of his that I shall obtrude upon the attention of my readers. He received two more visions, which would probably be somewhat interesting, but I cannot remember them distinctly enough to rehearse them in full. The following, which was the sixth, ran thus:

“I thought I was walking alone; I was much fatigued, nevertheless, I continued traveling. It seemed to me that I was going to meeting, that it was the Day of Judgment, and that I was going to be judged.

“When I came in sight of the meetinghouse, I saw multitudes of people coming from every direction, and pressing with great anxiety towards the door of this great building; but I thought I should get there in time, hence there was no need of being in a hurry. But, on arriving at the door, I found it shut. I knocked for admission and was informed by the porter that I had come too late. I felt exceedingly troubled and prayed earnestly for admittance.

“Presently I found that my flesh was perishing. I continued to pray, still my flesh withered upon my bones. I was in a state of almost total despair, when the porter asked me if I had done all that was necessary in order to receive admission. I replied that I had done all that was in my power to do. ‘Then,’ observed the porter, ‘justice must be satisfied; after this, mercy hath her claims.’

“It then occurred to me to call upon God, in the name of his Son Jesus; and I cried out, in the agony of my soul, ‘Oh, Lord God, I beseech thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to forgive my sins.’ After which I felt considerably strengthened and I began to mend. The porter or angel then remarked that it was necessary to plead the merits of Jesus, for he was the advocate with the Father, and a Mediator between God and man.

“I was now made quite whole and the door was opened, but on entering, I awoke.”

The following spring, we commenced making preparations for building another house, one that would be more comfortable for persons in advanced life.


Chapter 17

Assassination attempt upon fourteen-year-old Joseph. The seventh and final vision of Joseph Smith Sr. Religious excitement in the region of Palmyra. Young Joseph wants to know which church he should join. Account of the First Vision. Account of the first three visits of the angel Moroni.


December 1819 to September 22, 1823

I now come to the history of Joseph, who was born December 23, 1805. I shall say nothing respecting him until he arrived at the age of fourteen. However, in this I am aware that some of my readers will be disappointed, for I suppose, from questions which are frequently asked me, that it is thought by some that I shall be likely to tell many very remarkable incidents which attended his childhood; but, as nothing occurred during his early life except those trivial circumstances which are common to that state of human existence, I pass them in silence.

At the age of fourteen an incident occurred which alarmed us much, as we knew not the cause of it. Joseph being a remarkably quiet, well-disposed child, we did not suspect that anyone had aught against him. He was out on an errand one evening about twilight. When he was returning through the dooryard, a gun was fired across his pathway with evident intention of killing him. He sprang to the door, threw it open, and fell upon the floor with fright.

We went in search of the person who fired the gun, but found no trace of him until the next morning when we found his tracks under a wagon where he lay when he fired. We found the balls that were discharged from his piece the next day in the head and neck of a cow that stood opposite the wagon in a dark corner, but we never found out the man, nor ever suspected the cause of the act.

I shall here insert the seventh vision that my husband had, which was received in the year 1819. t was as follows:

“I dreamed,” said he, “that a man, with a peddler’s budget on his back came in and thus addressed me: ‘Sir, will you trade with me today? I have now called upon you seven times, I have traded with you each time, and have always found you strictly honest in all your dealings. Your measures are always heaped and your weights overbalance; and I have now come to tell you that this is the last time I shall ever call on you, and that there is but one thing which you lack in order to secure your salvation.’ As I earnestly desired to know what it was I still lacked, I requested him to write the same upon paper. He said he would do so. I then sprang to get some paper, but in my excitement, I awoke.”

Shortly after my husband received the foregoing vision, there was a great revival in religion, which extended to all the denominations of Christians in the surrounding country in which we resided. Many of the world’s people, becoming concerned about the salvation of their souls, came forward and presented themselves as seekers after religion. Most of them were desirous of uniting with some church but were not decided as to the particular faith which they would adopt. When the numerous meetings were about breaking up, and the candidates and the various leading church members began to consult upon the subject of adopting the candidates into some church or churches, as the case may be, a dispute arose, and there was a great contention among them.

While these things were going forward, Joseph’s mind became considerably troubled with regard to religion; and the following extract from his history will show, more clearly than I can express, the state of his feelings and the result of his reflections on this occasion:

“I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy, my brothers Hyrum and  Samuel  Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.

“During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all those parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong.

“My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.

“In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?

“While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads, ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.’

“Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.

“At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as  James  directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to ‘ask of God,’ concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.

“So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

“After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.

“But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction-not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being-just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.

“It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other-This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!

“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)-and which I should join.

“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: ‘they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’

“He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, ‘Never mind, all is well-I am well enough off.’ I then said to my mother, ‘I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.’ It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?

“Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement; and, conversing with him upon the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there was no such thing as visions or  revelations  in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.

“I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects-all united to persecute me.

“It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.

“However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.

“So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.”

We were still making arrangements to build us a comfortable house, the management and control of which devolved chiefly upon Alvin. And when November 1822 arrived, the frame was raised, and all the materials necessary for its speedy completion were procured. This opened to Alvin’s mind the pleasing prospect of seeing his father and mother once more comfortable and happy. He would say, “I am going to have a nice, pleasant room for Father and Mother to sit in and everything arranged for their comfort, and they shall not work anymore as they have done.”

From this time until the twenty-first of September, 1823, Joseph continued, as usual, to labor with his father, and nothing during this interval occurred of very great importance-though he suffered every kind of opposition and persecution from the different orders of religionists.

The third harvest time had now arrived since we opened our new farm, and all our sons were actively employed in assisting their father to cut down the grain and store it away in order for winter.

On the evening of the twenty-first of September, as he recorded:

“After I had retired to my bed for the night, I betook myself to prayer and supplication to Almighty God for forgiveness of all my sins and follies, and also for a manifestation to me, that I might know of my state and standing before him; for I had full confidence in obtaining a divine manifestation, as I previously had one.

“While I was thus in the act of calling upon God, I discovered a light appearing in my room, which continued to increase until the room was lighter than at noonday, when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside, standing in the air, for his feet did not touch the floor.

“He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. It was a whiteness beyond anything earthly I had ever seen; nor do I believe that any earthly thing could be made to appear so exceedingly white and brilliant. His hands were naked, and his arms also, a little above the wrist; so, also, were his feet naked, as were his legs, a little above the ankles. His head and neck were also bare. I could discover that he had no other clothing on but this robe, as it was open, so that I could see into his bosom.

“Not only was his robe exceedingly white, but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person. When I first looked upon him, I was afraid; but the fear soon left me.

“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Moroni; that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues; or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.

“He said there was a book deposited, written upon gold plates, giving an account of the former inhabitants of this continent, and the source from whence they sprang. He also said that the fulness of the everlasting Gospel was contained in it, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants; also, that there were two stones in silver bows-and these stones, fastened to a breastplate, constituted what is called the Urim and Thummim-deposited with the plates; and the possession and use of these stones were what constituted “seers” in ancient or former times; and that God had prepared them for the purpose of translating the book.

“After telling me these things, he commenced quoting the prophecies of the Old Testament. He first quoted part of the third chapter of Malachi; and he quoted also the fourth or last chapter of the same prophecy, though with a little variation from the way it reads in our Bibles. Instead of quoting the first verse as it reads in our books, he quoted it thus: ‘For behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall burn as stubble; for they that come shall burn them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.’

“And again, he quoted the fifth verse thus: ‘Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.’

“He also quoted the next verse differently: ‘And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.’

“In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty-third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when ‘they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,’ but soon would come.

“He also quoted the second chapter of Joel, from the twenty-eighth verse to the last. He also said that this was not yet fulfilled, but was soon to be. And he further stated the fulness of the Gentiles was soon to come in. He quoted many other passages of scripture, and offered many explanations which cannot be mentioned here.

“Again, he told me, that when I got those plates of which he had spoken-for the time that they should be obtained was not yet fulfilled-I should not show them to any person; neither the breastplate with the Urim and Thummim; only to those to whom I should be commanded to show them; if I did I should be destroyed. While he was conversing with me about the plates, the vision was opened to my mind that I could see the place where the plates were deposited, and that so clearly and distinctly that I knew the place again when I visited it.

“After this communication, I saw the light in the room begin to gather immediately around the person of him who had been speaking to me, and it continued to do so until the room was again left dark, except just around him; when, instantly I saw, as it were, a conduit open right up into heaven, and he ascended till he entirely disappeared, and the room was left as it had been before this heavenly light had made its appearance.

“I lay musing on the singularity of the scene, and marveling greatly at what had been told to me by this extraordinary messenger; when, in the midst of my meditation, I suddenly discovered that my room was again beginning to get lighted, and in an instant, as it were, the same heavenly messenger was again by my bedside.

“He commenced, and again related the very same things which he had done at his first visit, without the least variation; which having done, he informed me of great judgments which were coming upon the earth, with great desolations by famine, sword, and pestilence; and that these grievous judgments would come on the earth in this generation. Having related these things, he again ascended as he had done before.”

When the angel ascended the second time, he left Joseph overwhelmed with astonishment, yet gave him but a short time to contemplate the things which he had told him before he made his reappearance, and rehearsed the same things over, adding a few words of caution and instruction, thus: that he must beware of covetousness, and he must not suppose the record was to be brought forth with the view of getting gain, for this was not the case, but that it was to bring forth light and intelligence, which had for a long time been lost to the world; and that when he went to get the plates, he must be on his guard or his mind would be filled with darkness. The angel then told him to tell his father all which he had both seen and heard.


Chapter 18 Joseph tells his father of the visits of Moroni. His father believes every word and tells Joseph to do as he is commanded. Joseph goes to the hill and finds the ancient record hidden in a stone box. Joseph is shown by contrast the powers of darkness and light.  Moroni  informs Joseph that the time has not yet come for the record to come forth. Evening after evening Joseph teaches his family about the ancient inhabitants of America.

September 22, 1823 to November 1823

The next day Joseph, his father, and his brother Alvin were reaping in the field together. Suddenly, Joseph stopped and seemed to be in a deep study for some time. Alvin hurried him, saying, “Joseph, you must keep to work or we shall not get our task done.” Joseph worked again diligently, then stopped in the same way a second time. When his father saw that Joseph was very pale, he urged him to go to the house and tell his mother that he was sick. He went a short distance till he came to a beautiful green under an apple tree. Here he lay down on his face, for he was so weak he could go no farther.

He was here but a short time, when the messenger whom he had seen the night before came to him again and said, “Why did you not tell your father what I told you?” Joseph said he was afraid his father would not believe him. “He will believe every word you say to him,” said the angel.

Joseph then promised to do as he was told by the angel and rose up and returned to the field, where he had left my husband and Alvin; but when he got there, his father had just gone to the house, as he was somewhat unwell. Joseph then requested Alvin to go to the house and ask his father to the field, for, said he, “I have something to tell him.” When his father came to him, Joseph rehearsed all that had passed between him and the angel the previous night. Having heard this account, his father charged him not to fail in attending strictly to the instruction which he had received from this heavenly messenger.

Soon after Joseph had this conversation with his father, he repaired to the place where the plates were deposited, which place he describes as follows:

“Convenient to the village of Manchester, Ontario county, New York, stands a hill of considerable size, and the most elevated of any in the neighborhood. On the west side of this hill, not far from the top, under a stone of considerable size, lay the plates, deposited in a stone box. This stone was thick and rounding in the middle on the upper side, and thinner towards the edges, so that the middle part of it was visible above the ground, but the edge all around was covered with earth.

“Having removed the earth, I obtained a lever, which I got fixed under the edge of the stone, and with a little exertion raised it up. I looked in, and there indeed did I behold the plates, the Urim and Thummim, and the breastplate, as stated by the messenger.”

While Joseph remained here, the angel told him, “Now I will show you the distance between light and darkness, and the operation of a good spirit and an evil one. An evil spirit will try to crowd your mind with every evil and wicked thing to keep every good thought and feeling out of your mind, but you must keep your mind always staid upon God, that no evil may come into your heart.”

The angel showed him, by contrast, the difference between good and evil, and likewise the consequences of both obedience and disobedience to the commandments of God, in such a striking manner, that the impression was always vivid in his memory until the very end of his days; and in giving a relation of this circumstance, not long prior to his death, he remarked that ever afterwards he was willing to keep the commandments of God.

Furthermore, the angel told him at the interview mentioned last that the time had not yet come for the plates to be brought forth to the world; that he could not take them from the place wherein they were deposited until he had learned to keep the commandments of God-not only till he was willing, but able to do it. The angel bade Joseph come to this place every year, at the same time of the year, and he would meet him there and give him further instructions.

When Joseph came in that evening, he told the whole family all that he had made known to his father in the field and also of finding the record, as well as what passed between him and the angel while he was at the place where the plates were deposited.

We sat up very late and listened attentively to all that he had to say to us, but his mind had been so exercised that he became very much fatigued. When Alvin saw this he said, “Now, brother, let us go to bed. We will get up early in the morning and go to work so as to finish our day’s labor by an hour before sunset, and if Mother will get our suppers early, we will then have a fine, long evening and all sit down and hear you talk.”

The next day we worked with great ambition and were ready by sunset to give our whole attention to the discourse of my son, pertaining to the obtaining of the plates, the goodness of God, his knowledge and power, our own liability to error and transgression, and the great salvation that lay before the faithful. “Now,” said he, “Father and Mother, the angel of the Lord says that we must be careful not to proclaim these things or to mention them abroad, for we do not any of us know the weakness of the world, which is so sinful, and that when we get the plates they will want to kill us for the sake of the gold, if they know we have them. And as soon as they do find that we pretend to have any such thing, our names will be cast out as evil, and we shall be scoffed at and all names of evil spoken concerning us.”

This astonished us very much, and we wondered in our hearts how these things could be. Why would anyone have a disposition to take our lives merely for a thing like this? But he continued, “If we are wise and prudent in that which is revealed to us, God is able to make all things known to us. Do you believe it?” said he to his father.

“Why, yes, certainly,” answered Mr. Smith. “He has all power and wisdom, knowledge and understanding and, of course, can teach us all things if we are worthy, and we will try to live in such a way as to deserve the favor of God, that he may be pleased to instruct from day to day.”

From this time forth Joseph continued to receive instructions from time to time, and every evening we gathered our children together and gave our time up to the discussion of those things which he instructed to us. I think that we presented the most peculiar aspect of any family that ever lived upon the earth, all seated in a circle, father, mother, sons, and daughters, listening in breathless anxiety to the religious teachings of a boy eighteen years of age who had never read the Bible through by course in his life. For Joseph was less inclined to the study of books than any child we had, but much more given to reflection and deep study.

We were convinced that God was about to bring to light something that we might stay our minds upon, something that would give us a more perfect knowledge of the plan of salvation and the redemption of the human family than anything which had been taught us heretofore, and we rejoiced in it with exceeding great joy. The sweetest union and happiness pervaded our house. No jar nor discord disturbed our peace, and tranquility reigned in our midst.

In the course of our evening conversations, Joseph gave us some of the most amusing recitals which could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, their manner of traveling, the animals which they rode, the cities that they built, and the structure of their buildings with every particular, their mode of warfare, and their religious worship as specifically as though he had spent his life with them. It will be recollected by the reader that all that I mentioned and much more took place within the compass of one short year.


Chapter 19

Alvin Smith’s illness and death. He speaks to each of his brothers and sisters and to his parents, encourages them, and bids them farewell. Cause of his death is determined. His funeral. Alvin’s great zeal for the work of the Lord.


November 15, 1823 to end of November 1823

On the fifteenth of November, 1823, about ten o’clock in the morning, Alvin was taken very sick with the bilious colic. He came to the house in great distress and requested his father to go immediately for a physician, which he accordingly did. But the doctor who generally attended upon our family being absent, Mr. Smith was compelled to go further than he expected. However, he found in the next village one Dr. Greenwood, who, when he came, immediately administered a heavy dose of calomel to the patient, although he objected much to it.

This calomel lodged in his stomach, and all the powerful medicine which was afterwards prescribed by skillful physicians could not remove it.

On the third day of his sickness, Dr. McIntyre, the favorite of the family and a man of great skill and experience, was brought and with him four other professors of medicine. But all their exertions were of no avail, just as Alvin had declared would be the case. He said, “The calomel is still lodged in the same place and you cannot move it. Consequently, it must take my life.”

He then called Hyrum to him and said, “Hyrum, I must die, and now I want to say a few things to you that you must remember. I have done all that I could do to make our dear parents comfortable. I now want you to go on and finish the house and take care of them in their old age and do not let them work hard anymore.”

He then called Sophronia to him and said, “Sophronia, you must be a good girl and do all that lies in your power for Father and Mother. Never forsake them. They have worked hard, and they are now getting old. Be kind to them and remember what they have done for us.”

In the latter part of the fourth night he called for all the children and again exhorted them separately to the same effect as before. But to Joseph he said, “Joseph, I am going to die now. The distress which I suffer and the sensations that I have tell me my time is very short. I want you to be a good boy and do everything that lies in your power to obtain the record. Be faithful in receiving instruction and in keeping every commandment that is given you. Your brother Alvin must now leave you, but remember the example which he has set for you, and set a good example for the children that are younger than you. Always be kind to Father and Mother.”

He then asked me to take his little sister Lucy up and bring her to him, for he wished to see her. This child was the youngest of the family, and he was extremely fond of her and was in the habit of taking her up and caressing her, which naturally attached her to him. She could not then talk plainly, and always called her brother “Amby.” I went to her and said, “Lucy, Amby wants to see you.” At this she started out of her sleep and screamed out, “Oh, Amby, Amby.” We took her to him, and she sprang from my arms and caught him round the neck and cried out, “Oh, my Amby,” and kissed him again and again.

To Lucy he said, “You must be the best girl in the world and take care of Mother. You can’t have your Amby anymore. Amby is going away; he must leave little Lucy.” He then kissed her and said, “Take her away. I think my breath offends her.” We took hold of the child, but she clenched hold of him with such a desperate grasp that it was very difficult to disengage her hands.

As I turned with the child, Alvin said, “Father, Mother, brothers, sisters, farewell! I can now breathe out my life as calmly as a clock,” and immediately closed his eyes in death.

The child still cried to go back to Alvin. One present said to her, “Alvin is gone. An angel has taken his spirit to heaven.” When the babe heard this, she renewed her cries, and as I bent over his corpse with her in my arms, she again threw her arms around him and kissed him repeatedly, screaming as before. And until the body was taken from the house, she continued constantly crying and showing such manifestation of affection mingled with terror at the scene before her as is seldom witnessed in a child.

This harrowed up our feelings almost to distraction, for Alvin was a youth of singular goodness of disposition-kind and amiable manners, so much so that lamentation and mourning filled the whole neighborhood where we lived, and, of course, more than usual grief filled the hearts of those from whose immediate circle he was taken, those who felt and saw the effects of his nobleness and generosity every hour of his existence.

It was the wish of the principal physician that Alvin’s body should be cut open to ascertain, if possible, the cause of his disease and death. When this was done, they found the calomel still lodged in the upper bowels, untouched by anything which he had taken to carry it off. It was as near in its natural state as it could be, surrounded as it was with gangrene.

Dr. McIntyre and Dr. Robinson performed the operation. The last named doctor was seventy years of age. He spoke long and earnestly to the younger physicians upon the danger of administering powerful medicine without the thorough knowledge of the practice of physic. “Here,” he said “is one of the loveliest youth that ever trod the streets of Palmyra destroyed, murdered as it were, by him at whose hand relief was expected, cast off from the face of the earth by a careless quack who even dared to trifle with the life of a fellow mortal.”

When the time for interment arrived, the inhabitants of the surrounding country gathered together, and during the funeral obsequies they gave the most affectionate manifestations of their sympathy; but there was one that felt our grief more deeply than the rest-a lovely young woman who was engaged to be married to my son. The disconsolate girl was rendered most desolate by his unexpected death, and as long as we knew her, she never recovered her wonted animation and good spirits.

Thus was our happiness blasted in a moment. When we least expected the blow, it came upon us. The poisoned shaft entered our very hearts’ core and diffused to deadly effect throughout our veins. We were for a time almost swallowed up in grief, so much so that it seemed impossible for us to interest ourselves at all about the concerns of life. The feeling of every heart was to make speedy preparation to follow him who had been too much the idol of our hearts. And then if it pleased God to take us also, we would receive the call as a favor at his hands from whom it came.

Alvin had ever manifested a greater zeal and anxiety, if it were possible, than any of the rest with regard to the record which had been shown to Joseph, and he always showed the most intense interest concerning the matter. With this before our minds, we could not endure to hear or say one word upon that subject, for the moment that Joseph spoke of the record it would immediately bring Alvin to our minds with all his kindness, his affection, his zeal, and piety. And when we looked to his place and realized that he was gone from it, to return no more in this life, we all wept with one accord over our irretrievable loss, and we could “not be comforted, because he was not.”


Chapter 20

A man tries to unify the churches in Palmyra. Joseph gives a prophecy about Deacon Jessup that is fulfilled. Joseph goes to the hill September 22, 1824, and is unable to obtain the plates. A lesson from the angel on keeping all the commandments. Joseph works for Josiah Stowell in Harmony, Pennsylvania. The frame house is completed. Joseph becomes acquainted with Emma Hale.


Winter 1824 to December 1825

Shortly after the death of Alvin, a man began laboring in the neighborhood to effect a union of all the churches, that all denominations might be agreed and thus worship God with one mind and one heart.

This, I thought, looked right. I wished to join them, and I tried to persuade my husband to do so, and it was the inclination of all the family to unite with their numbers, except Joseph. He refused from the first to attend the meetings with us. He would say, “Mother, I do not wish to prevent you from going to meeting or joining any church you like, or any of the family who desire the like; only do not ask me to do so, for I do not wish to go. But I will take my Bible and go out into the woods and learn more in two hours than you could if you were to go to meeting for two years.”2

To gratify me, my husband attended some two or three meetings, but peremptorily refused going any more, either for my gratification or any other person’s. But he did not object to myself and such of the children as chose to go or to become church members, if we wished.

During this excitement, Joseph said, “It will do you no hurt to join them, but you will not stay with them long, for you are mistaken in them. You do not know the wickedness of their hearts. I will,” said he, “give you an example, and you may set it down as a prophecy. Now, you look at Deacon Jessup. You hear him talk very piously. Well, you think he is a very good man, but suppose that one of his poor neighbors owes him the value of one cow. This man has eight small children. Suppose the poor man should be taken sick and die, leaving his wife with one cow but destitute of every means of support for herself and family. Now, I tell you that Deacon Jessup, religious as he is, wouldn’t hesitate to take the last cow from the widow and orphans rather than lose the debt, although he has an abundance of everything.” This seemed impossible, but it was not one year from the time this was spoken until we saw the very thing fulfilled.

After a short time, the first shock occasioned by Alvin’s death passed off, and we began to resume our usual avocations.

The angel had informed Joseph that he might make an effort to obtain the plates on the twenty-second of the ensuing September [1824]. Accordingly, when the time arrived he visited the place where the plates were hid; and supposing at this time that the only thing required, in order to possess them until the time for their translation, was to be able to keep the commandments of God-and he firmly believed he could keep every commandment which had been given him-he fully expected to carry them home with him. Having arrived at the place appointed, he removed the moss and grass from the surface of the rock, and then pried up the flat stone, according to the directions which he had received. He then discovered the plates lying on four pillars in the inside of the box. He put forth his hand and took them up, but when he lifted them from their place, the thought flashed across his mind that there might be something more in the box that would be of a pecuniary benefit to him. In the excitement of the moment, he laid the record down in order to cover up the box, lest someone should come along and take away whatever else might be deposited there. When he turned again to take up the record, it was gone, but where he knew not, nor did he know by what means it had been taken away.

He was much alarmed at this. He knelt down and asked the Lord why it was that the record was taken from him. The angel appeared to him and told him that he had not done as he was commanded, for in a former  revelation  he had been commanded not to lay the plates down, or put them for a moment out of his hands, until he got into the house and deposited them in a chest or trunk having a good lock and key; and contrary to this, he had laid them down with the view of securing some fancied or imaginary treasure that remained.

In the moment of excitement, Joseph was overcome by the powers of darkness and forgot the injunction that was laid upon him.

After some further conversation, Joseph was permitted to raise the stone again, and there he beheld the plates, the same as before. He reached forth his hand to take them, but was hurled to the ground with great violence. When he recovered, the angel was gone, and he arose and returned to the house, weeping for grief and disappointment.

As he was aware that we would expect him to bring the plates home with him, he was greatly troubled, fearing that we might doubt his having seen them. As soon as he entered the house, my husband asked if he had obtained the plates. The answer was, “No, Father, I could not get them.”

His father then said, “Did you see them?”

“Yes,” replied Joseph, “I saw them, but could not take them.”

“I would have taken them,” rejoined his father, with much earnestness, “if I had been in your place.”

“Why,” returned Joseph, in quite a subdued tone, “you do not know what you say. I could not get them, for the angel of the Lord would not let me.”

Joseph then related the circumstance in full, which gave us much uneasiness, as we were afraid that he might utterly fail of obtaining the record through some neglect on his part. We, therefore, doubled our diligence in prayer and supplication to God, in order that he might be more fully instructed in his duty and be preserved from all the wiles and machinations of him “who lieth in wait to deceive.”

Having the building of the house already paid for, we thought it would be well to set the mechanics at work and have it completed. We accordingly did so, and ere long, we had a pleasant, commodious habitation ready to receive us. Mr. Stoddard, the principal workman on the house, would have been very glad to have purchased it for fifteen hundred dollars, but that was no temptation. Nothing could persuade Mr. Smith to abandon the scene of his labor and the toiling of this family, for here they had borne the burden and heat of the day. We contemplated with much happiness the enjoyment of the fruit of our labors.

A short time before the house was completed, a man by the name of Josiah Stowell came from Chenango County, New York, with the view of getting Joseph to assist him in digging for a silver mine. He came for Joseph on account of having heard that he possessed certain means by which he could discern things invisible to the natural eye.

Mr. Stowell came into the Palmyra district with Joseph Knight Sr. to buy grain. In that way he became acquainted with the Smith family.

This project of Stowell’s was undertaken from this cause-an old document had fallen into his possession, in some way or other, containing information of silver mines being somewhere in the neighborhood in which he resided.

Joseph endeavored to divert him from his vain pursuit, but he was inflexible in his purpose and offered high wages to those who would dig for him in search of said mine, and still insisted upon having Joseph to work for him. Accordingly, Joseph and several others returned with him and commenced digging. After laboring for the old gentleman about a month without success, Joseph prevailed upon him to cease his operations, and it was from this circumstance of having worked by the month, at digging for a silver mine, that the very prevalent story arose of Joseph’s having been a money digger.

While Joseph was in the employ of Mr. Stowell, he boarded a short time with one Isaac Hale, and it was during this interval that Joseph became acquainted with his daughter, Miss Emma Hale, to whom he immediately commenced paying his addresses, and was subsequently married.

When Mr. Stowell relinquished his project of digging for silver, Joseph returned to his father’s house.

Soon after his return we received intelligence of the arrival of a new agent for the Evertson land, of which our farm was a portion. This reminded us of the last payment, which was still due and which must be made before we could obtain a deed to the place.

Having made the acquaintance of a couple of gentlemen from Pennsylvania, Mr. Stowell and Mr. Knight, who were desirous of purchasing a quantity of wheat, which we had down on the place, we agreed with them that if they would furnish us with a sum of money requisite for the liquidation of this debt, the wheat should be carried to them in flour the ensuing season.

Having made this arrangement, Mr. Smith sent Hyrum to the new agent in Canandaigua to inform him that the money should be forthcoming as soon as the twenty-fifth of December 1825. This, the agent said, would answer every purpose, and he agreed to retain the land until that time. Thus assured that all was safe, we gave ourselves no further uneasiness about the matter.

When the time had nearly come for my husband to set out for Pennsylvania to get the money, Joseph called Mr. Smith and myself aside and told us that he had felt so lonely ever since Alvin’s death, that he had come to the conclusion of getting married if we had no objections. He thought that no young woman that he ever was acquainted with was better calculated to render the man of her choice happy than Miss Emma Hale, a young lady whom he had been extremely fond of since his first introduction to her. His father was highly pleased with Joseph’s choice, and told him that he was not only willing that he should marry her but desired him to bring her home with him, that we might have the pleasure of her society.

Since Mr. Smith was going to Mr. Stowell’s and Mr. Knight’s to get the money to bring up the arrearages on the farm, Joseph concluded to set off with him as soon as the necessary preparations could be made.


Chapter 21

Evil-designing men purchase deed to Smith property and press for immediate eviction of the Smiths. Mr. Durfee helps them, and they become tenants on their own land. Joseph’s and Hyrum’s marriages. Three-hour reprimand from  Moroni  to Joseph. The time is near for the plates to be received.


December 1825 to spring 1827

Immediately after my husband’s departure, I set myself to work to put my house in order for the reception of my son’s bride. I felt that pride and ambition in doing this that is common to mothers upon such occasions. My oldest son, previous to this, had married a wife that was one of the most excellent of women, and I anticipated as much happiness with my second daughter-in-law, as I had received great pleasure from the society of the first. There was nothing in my heart which could give rise to any forebodings as to an unhappy connection.

One very pleasant afternoon, immediately subsequent to this, being by myself and somewhat at leisure, having just finished arranging my house for the reception of my son and his bride, I looked around me upon the various comforts with which I found myself surrounded and which seemed to surpass our most flattering expectations, and I fell into a very agreeable train of reflections. I poured out my soul to God in thanks and praise for the many blessings which he had conferred upon us as a family. The day was exceeding fine and would of itself have produced fine feelings, but everything seemed to contribute to raise in the heart those soothing and grateful emotions that we all have reason to enjoy when the mind is at rest and the circumstances favorable.

As I stood musing upon the busy, bustling life we had led, and the apparent prospect of a quiet and comfortable old age, my attention was suddenly attracted across the yard to a trio of strangers who were entering. Upon their nearer approach, I recognized Mr. Stoddard, the man who took charge of building the house that we now occupied. When they entered, I seated them and we commenced commonplace conversation, but one of them soon began to ask impertinent questions as to our making the last payment on the place and if we did not want to sell the house; where Mr. Smith and my son had gone; etc., etc.

“Sell the house?” I replied. “No, sir, we have no occasion to sell the house. We have made every necessary arrangement for getting the deed and have an understanding with the agent, so we are quite secure about the matter.”

To this they made no answer but went out to meet Hyrum, who was then coming in. They propounded the same questions to him and received the same answers. When they had experimented in this way to their satisfaction, they proceeded to inform my son that he need not put himself to any further trouble with regard to the farm, “for,” said they, “we have bought the place and paid for it, and we forbid you touching anything on the farm. Moreover, we warn you to leave forthwith and give possession to the lawful owners, as we have got the deed in our possession.”

This conversation passed within my hearing. When they reentered the house, I said, “Hyrum, what does this mean? Is this a reality, or is it a sham to startle and deceive me?” One collected look at the men convinced me of their purpose. I was overcome and fell back into a chair, almost deprived of sensibility.

When I recovered, Hyrum and I talked to them at length to reason them out of what they seemed determined to do, namely, to rush us out of our premises straightway into the common air like the beasts of the field or the fowls of heaven, with naught but the earth for a resting place and the canopy of the skies for a covering. But our only answer was, “Well, we’ve got the place, and d-m you, help yourselves if you can.”

Hyrum went straightway to Dr. Robinson, an old friend of ours who lived in Palmyra and a man of influence and notoriety. He told the doctor the whole story. Then this gentleman sat down and wrote the character of my family, our industry and faithful exertions to obtain a home in the forest where we had settled ourselves, with many commendations calculated to beget confidence in us as to business transactions. This writing he took in his own hands and went through the village, and in an hour there was attached to the paper the names of sixty subscribers. He then sent the same by the hand of Hyrum to the land agent in Canandaigua.

The agent was enraged when he found out the facts of the case. He said that the men told him that Mr. Smith and his son Joseph had run away and that Hyrum was cutting down the sugar orchard, hauling off the rails, burning them, and doing all possible manner of mischief to everything on the farm. Believing this, he had sold them the place, got his money, and given them a deed to the premises.

Hyrum related the circumstances under which his father and brother had left home and also informed him that there was a probability of their being detained on the road on business. Hearing this, the agent directed him to write to his father by the first mail and have letters deposited in every public house on the road which Mr. Smith traveled. It might be that some of these letters would meet his eye and cause him to return more speedily than he otherwise would.

The agent then dispatched a messenger to bring the men who had taken the deed of our farm, in order to make some compromise with them and, if possible, get them to relinquish their claim on the place. But they refused to come. The agent then sent another message to them, that if they did not make their appearance forthwith, he would fetch them with a warrant. To this they gave heed, and they came without delay.

The agent used all the persuasion possible to convince them of the unjust, impolitic, and disgraceful measures which they had taken and urged them to retract from what they had done and let the land go back into Mr. Smith’s hands. But they were for a long time inexorable, answering every argument with taunting sneers like the following, “We’ve got the land, sir, and we have got the deed, so just let Smith help himself. Oh, no matter about Smith. He has gold plates, gold money; he’s rich. He don’t want anything.” At length, however, they agreed that if Hyrum could raise one thousand dollars by Saturday at ten o’clock in the evening, they would give up the deed.

It was now Thursday near noon, and Hyrum was at Canandaigua, which was nine miles distant from home, and hither he must ride before he could make the first move towards raising the required amount. He came home with a heavy heart, supposing it impossible to effect anything towards redeeming the land, but when he arrived there he found his father, who had found one of the letters within fifty miles of home.

The next day Mr. Smith requested me to go to an old gentleman who was a Quaker, a man with whom we had been intimate since our first commencement on the farm now in question, and who always admired the neatness and arrangement of the same. He had manifested a great friendship for us from our first acquaintance with him. We hoped that he would be able to furnish the requisite sum to purchase the place, that we might reap the benefit, at least, of the crops which were then sown on the farm. But in this we were disappointed, not in his will or disposition, but in his ability. This man had just paid out to the land agent all the money he could spare, within five dollars of his last farthing, in order to redeem a piece of land belonging to a friend in his immediate neighborhood. Had I arrived at his house thirty minutes earlier, I would have found him with fifteen hundred dollars in his pocket.

When I told him what had occurred, he was much distressed for us and regretted having no means of relieving our necessity. He said, however, “If I have no money, I will try to do something for you. So, Mrs. Smith, say to your husband that I will see him as soon as I can and let him know what the prospects are.”

It was near nightfall, the country new, and my road lay through a dense forest. I had ten miles to ride alone; however, I hastened to inform my husband of the disappointment.

The old gentleman, as soon as I left, started in search of someone who could afford us assistance, and hearing of a Mr. Durfee, who lived four miles distant, he came the same night, and directed us to go and see what he could devise for our benefit.

Mr. Smith went immediately and found Mr. Durfee still in his bed, as it was not light. He sent Mr. Smith still three miles further to his son, who was a high sheriff, and bid him say to the young man that his father wished to see him as soon as possible. Mr. Durfee, the younger, came without delay. After breakfasting, the three preceded together to the farm. It was now Saturday at ten o’clock a.m. They tarried a short time, and then rode on to meet the agent and our competitors.

What I felt and suffered in that short day no one can imagine who has not experienced the same. I did not feel our early losses so much, for I realized that we were young and might by exertion better our situation. I, furthermore, had not felt the inconvenience of poverty so much as I had now done and consequently did not appreciate justly the value of property. I looked upon the proceeds of our industry, which smiled on every side of me, with a yearning attachment that I had never felt before.

Mr. Smith and the Messrs. Durfee arrived at Canandaigua at half past nine o’clock in the evening. The agent immediately sent for Mr. Stoddard and his friends, who, when they came, averred that the clock was too slow, that it was really past ten. However, being overcome in this, they received the money and gave up the deed to Mr. Durfee, the high sheriff, who now came into possession of the farm.

With this gentleman, we were now renters. Mr. Durfee gave us the privilege of the place for one year with this provision-that Samuel, our fourth son, was to labor for him six months. These things were all settled upon with the conclusion that if after we had kept the place in this way one year, we chose to remain, we still could have the privilege.

Now Joseph, who had returned from his journey with his father, began to turn his mind again to what had occupied his attention previous to our disaster. He set out for Pennsylvania a second time and had such fine success that in January he returned in fine health and spirits.

Soon after this, Mr. Smith had occasion to send Joseph to Manchester on business. He set out in good time, and we expected him to be home as soon as six o’clock in the evening, but he did not arrive. We had always had a peculiar anxiety about this child, for it seemed as though something was always occurring to place his life in jeopardy, and if he was absent one-half an hour longer than expected, we were apprehensive of some evil befalling him.

It is true he was now a man, grown and capable of using sufficient judgment to keep out of common difficulties. But we were now aware that God intended him for a good and an important work; consequently we expected that the powers of darkness would strive against him more than any other, on this account, to overthrow him.

But to return to the circumstances which I commenced relating. He did not return home until the night was considerably advanced. When he entered the house, he threw himself into a chair, seemingly much exhausted. He was pale as ashes. His father exclaimed, “Joseph, why have you stayed so late? Has anything happened to you? We have been in distress about you these three hours.”

As Joseph made no answer, he continued his interrogations, until finally I said, “Now, Father, let him rest a moment-don’t trouble him now-you see he is home safe, and he is very tired, so pray wait a little.”

The fact was, I had learned to be a little cautious about matters with regard to Joseph, for I was accustomed to see him look as he did on that occasion, and I could not easily mistake the cause thereof.

After Joseph recovered himself a little, he said, “Father, I have had the severest chastisement that I ever had in my life.”

My husband, supposing that it was from some of the neighbors, was quite angry and observed, “Chastisement indeed! Well, upon my word, I would like to know who has been taking you to task and what their pretext was. I would like to know what business anybody has to find fault with you.”

Joseph smiled to see his father so hasty and indignant. “Father,” said he, “it was the angel of the Lord. He says I have been negligent, that the time has now come when the record should be brought forth, and that I must be up and doing, that I must set myself about the things which God has commanded me to do. But, Father, give yourself no uneasiness as to this reprimand, for I know what course I am to pursue, and all will be well.”

It was also made known to him, at this interview, that he should make another effort to obtain the plates, on the twenty-second of the following September, but this he did not mention to us at that time.


Chapter 22

Joseph Knight and Josiah Stowell arrive at the Smith home on September 20, 1827. Joseph and Emma go to the Hill Cumorah. Joseph receives the plates from the angel Moroni. Description of the Urim and Thummim. Money diggers gather and by evil means conjure to find the gold plates. Joseph hides the plates in an old birch log. Joseph brings the plates home and is accosted by three men. Admonition of  Moroni  to Joseph.


September 1827

On the twentieth of September Mr. Knight came with his friend Mr. Stowell to see how we were managing matters with Mr. Stoddard and company. They remained with us until the twenty-second. On the night of the twenty-first, I sat up very late, as my business pressed upon my hands, and I did not retire until past twelve. About twelve o’clock, Joseph came to me and asked me if I had a chest with a lock and key. I knew in a moment what he wanted it for and was alarmed, fearing that this might be a matter of great importance to him at that time. But Joseph replied, “Never mind, I can do very well just now without it. Be calm. All is right.” But I found it very difficult to do so, for I had not forgotten the first failure.

Shortly after this, Joseph’s wife passed through the room with her bonnet and riding dress; and in a few minutes they left together, taking Mr. Knight’s horse and wagon. I spent the night in prayer and supplication to God, for the anxiety of my mind would not permit me to sleep. At a reasonable time for rising, I went to preparing breakfast, my heart fluttering at every footfall, for I now expected Joseph and Emma every moment and was in dread of a second disappointment in his obtaining the plates.

When the male part of the family sat down to breakfast, Mr. Smith inquired for Joseph (as no one knew where he had gone but myself). I told him that I thought I would not call Joseph, for I would like to have him take breakfast with his wife that morning.

“No, no,” said my husband. “I must have Joseph come and eat with me.”

“Well, now, Mr. Smith,” said I, “do let him eat with his wife this morning. He almost always takes breakfast with you. Just indulge him a little this time.”

His father finally consented to eat without him, and I thought that there would be no danger of any further inquiry as to the cause of Joseph’s absence, but in a few minutes Mr. Knight came in quite disturbed.

“Why, Mr. Smith,” said he, “my horse is gone. I can’t find him on the premises and I want to start home in half an hour.”

“Never mind the horse,” said I. “Mr. Knight does not know all the nooks and corners in the pasture. I will call William; he will soon bring the horse.”

This satisfied him for a little while, but he soon made another discovery. His wagon also was gone, and now he concluded that some rogue had stolen them both.

“Well, now,” said I, “do be quiet. I would be ashamed to have you go about gearing your own horse and waiting upon yourself. Just go out and talk with Mr. Smith till William comes. If you really must go home, you shall be attended upon like a gentleman.” He went, and while he was absent, Joseph returned.

I trembled so much with fear lest all might be lost again by some small failure in keeping the commandments, that I was under the necessity of leaving the room to conceal my feelings. Joseph saw this and followed me. “Mother,” said he. “Do not be uneasy. All is right. See here,” said he, “I have got the key.”

I knew not what he meant, but took the article in my hands and, examining it with no covering but a silk handkerchief, found that it consisted of two smooth three-cornered diamonds set in glass, and the glasses were set in silver bows connected with each other in much the same way that old-fashioned spectacles are made. He took them again and left me, but did not tell me anything of the record.

Soon after he came again and asked my advice what was best to do about getting a chest made. I told him to go to a cabinetmaker who had been making some furniture for my oldest daughter, and tell the man we would pay him for making a chest as we did for the other things he had made for us, namely one-half in cash and one-half in produce.

Joseph said that he would, but that he did not know where the money would come from, for there was not a shilling in the house.

The next day Mr. Warner came to him from Macedon and requested Joseph to go with him to a widow’s house in Macedon. The widow, by the name of Wells, wanted a wall of a well taken up, and she would pay Joseph money for the labor. As this afforded us an opportunity to pay the cabinetmaker for the chest, Joseph accompanied Mr. Warner to Macedon according to Mrs. Wells’s request. Since this woman had never seen one of the family before, but had sent purposely for Joseph, we considered it a provision of Providence to enable us to pay the money we were owing the cabinetmaker.

Joseph had been absent but a little while when one of the neighbors began to ask Mr. Smith many questions about the plates. Here let me mention that no one knew anything of them from us except one of my husband’s confidential friends to whom he had spoken of them some two or three years before. It now seemed that Satan had stirred up the hearts of those who had in any way gotten a hint of the matter, to search into it and make every possible move towards preventing the work.

Mr. Smith was soon informed that ten or twelve men were clubbed together, with one Willard Chase, a Methodist class leader, at their head, and what was more ridiculous, they had sent some sixty miles for a conjuror to come to divine by magic art the place where the record was deposited.

We supposed that Joseph had taken the plates and secreted them somewhere, and we were somewhat uneasy lest they might be discovered by our enemies. Accordingly, the morning after we heard of their plans, Mr. Smith went over a hill which lay east of us to see what he could discover among the neighbors. At the first house he came to, he found the conjuror and Willard Chase, together with the company. This was the house of one Mr. Lawrence. Making an errand, he went in and sat down near the door, leaving it ajar, for the men were so near that he could overhear their conversation. They stood in the yard near the door and were devising many plans and schemes to find “Joe Smith’s gold bible,” as they termed it. The conjuror was really animated, although he had traveled sixty miles during the latter part of the day and the night before.

Presently, the woman of the house became uneasy at the exposures they were making. She stepped through a back door into the yard and called to her husband in a suppressed voice (but so loud that Mr. Smith heard every word distinctly). “Sam, Sam,” said she. “You are cutting your own throat.” At this, the conjuror bawled out at the top of his voice, “I am not afraid of anybody. We will have the plates in spite of Joe Smith or all the devils in hell.”

When the woman came in again, Mr. Smith laid aside a paper which he had been holding in his hand with the pretense of reading, and coolly remarked that he believed he could not then finish the article which he was reading. He then left the house, and returned home.

Mr. Smith, on returning home, asked Emma if she knew anything of the record-whether Joseph had taken them out of their place of deposit or where they were. She said she did not know. My husband then related what he had both seen and heard.

Upon this, Emma said that she did not know what to do, but she thought if Joseph was to have the record, he would get it, and that they would not be able to prevent him.

“Yes,” said Mr. Smith, “he will, if he is watchful and obedient; but remember that for a small thing Esau lost his birthright and blessing. It may be so with Joseph.”

“Well,” said Emma, “if I had a horse I would go and see him.”

Mr. Smith said she should have one in fifteen minutes, for although his team was gone, there had been a stray horse on the premises for two days. So he sent William immediately for the horse.

In a few minutes William brought the horse with a large hickory withe around his neck (as it was according to law to put a withe round the neck of a stray horse before turning him into an enclosure), and Emma was soon on her way to her husband.

Joseph kept the Urim and Thummim constantly about his person, by the use of which he could in a moment tell whether the plates were in any danger. Having just looked into them before Emma got there, he perceived her coming, came up out of the well, and met her. When she informed him of what had occurred, he told her that the record was perfectly safe, for the present; nevertheless, he concluded to return with his wife, as something might take place that would render it necessary for him to be at home where he could take care of it.

He went immediately to Mrs. Wells and told her that he must return home to attend to some important business. She was not willing for him to leave, but upon his promising to come back when he was at liberty again, she consented. She sent a boy to bring him a horse, which he mounted in his linen frock, with his wife by his side on her horse, decorated as before with a green hickory withe on his neck. And thus they rode through the village of Palmyra.

When he came, he met his father about a mile from the house pacing back and forth in great anxiety of mind. “Father,” said Joseph, “there is no danger. All is perfectly safe. There is no cause of alarm.”

When he had refreshed himself a little, he sent Carlos, my youngest son, to his brother Hyrum’s to ask him to come up immediately, as he wished to see him. When Hyrum came, Joseph requested him to get a chest that had a good lock and key and, “Have it here,” said Joseph, “so that it may be ready by the time I get home.”

The plates were secreted about three miles from home in the following manner: Finding an old birch log much decayed, excepting the bark, which was in a measure sound, he took his pocketknife and cut the bark with some care, then turned it back and made a hole of sufficient size to receive the plates, and laying them in the cavity thus formed, he replaced the bark; after which he laid across the log in several places some old stuff that happened to lie near, in order to conceal, as much as possible, the place in which they were deposited.

Joseph took the plates from their place and, wrapping them in his linen frock, put them under his arm and started for the house. After walking a short distance in the road, he thought it would be safer to go across through the woods. Traveling some distance after he left the road, he came to a large windfall, and as he was jumping over a log, a man sprang up from behind and gave him a heavy blow with a gun. Joseph turned around and knocked him to the ground, and then ran at the top of his speed. About half a mile further, he was attacked again in precisely the same way. He soon brought this one down also and ran on again, but before he got home, he was accosted the third time with a severe stroke with a gun. When he struck the last one, he dislocated his thumb, which, however, he did not notice till he came in sight of the house. He threw himself down in the corner of the fence to recover his breath. As soon as he was able, he rose and finished his race for the house, where he arrived altogether speechless from fright and exhaustion.

After a moment’s rest, he said, “Mother, send Carlos for Father and Mr. Knight and his friend Stowell, and tell them to go and see if they can find some men who have been pursuing me. Then let Carlos go tell Hyrum to bring his chest.”

When Carlos went into Hyrum’s house, he found him at tea with two of his wife’s sisters. Carlos touched his brother’s shoulder just as he was raising his cup to his mouth. Without waiting to hear a word of the child’s errand, Hyrum dropped his cup, sprang from the table, fetched up the chest, turned it upside down, and, leaving the contents on the floor, left the house in an instant with the chest on his shoulder.

The young ladies were much surprised at his singular behavior and protested to his wife (who was bedfast, her oldest daughter, Lovina, being but four days) that her husband was positively crazy. She laughed heartily, “Oh, not in the least. He has just thought of something that he has neglected, and it’s just like him to fly off on a tangent when he thinks of anything that way.”

When the chest came, Joseph locked up the record and threw himself on the bed. After resting himself a little so that he could converse, he went out and related his adventure to his father, Mr. Knight, Mr. Stowell, and others, who had come back from their scouting expedition without seeing anyone. He showed them his thumb, saying, “I must stop talking, Father, and get you to put my thumb in place, for it is very painful.”

When this was done, he related to our guests the whole history of the record, which interested them very much. They listened and believed all that was told them.

When Joseph first took the plates into his hands, the angel of the Lord stood by and said:

“Now you have got the record into your own hands, and you are but a man, therefore you will have to be watchful and faithful to your trust, or you will be overpowered by wicked men, for they will lay every plan and scheme that is possible to get them away from you. And if you do not take heed continually, they will succeed. While they were in my hands I could keep them, and no man had power to take them away, but now I give them up to you. Beware, and look well to your ways, and you shall have power to retain them until the time for them to be translated.”

That of which I spoke, which Joseph termed a key, was indeed nothing more nor less than a Urim and Thummim by which the angel manifested those things to him that were shown him in vision; by which also he could at any time ascertain the approach of danger, either to himself or the record, and for this cause he kept these things constantly about his person.


Chapter 23

Detailed description of the breastplate. Mob action. Hiding the plates under the hearthstone in the house and then in the cooper’s shop. Martin Harris involves himself in the work. Dealing with Lucy Harris. Lucy Harris’s remarkable dream. Joseph and Emma move to Harmony, Pennsylvania. Martin and Lucy Harris visit soon thereafter. Lucy Harris actively tries to destroy Joseph’s reputation.


End of September 1827 to March 1828

After bringing home the plates, Joseph now commenced work with his father on the farm in order to be as near as possible the treasure that was committed to his care.

Soon after this, he came in from work one afternoon, and after remaining a short time, he put on his greatcoat and left the house. I was engaged at the time in an upper room in preparing some oilcloths for painting. When he returned, he requested me to come downstairs. I told him that I could not leave my work just then, yet upon his urgent request, I finally concluded to go down and see what he wanted, upon which he handed me the breastplate spoken of in his history.

It was wrapped in a thin muslin handkerchief, so thin that I could see the glistening metal and ascertain its proportions without any difficulty.

It was concave on one side and convex on the other, and extended from the neck downwards as far as the center of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material for the purpose of fastening it to the breast, two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips. They were just the width of two of my fingers (for I measured them), and they had holes in the end of them to be convenient in fastening.

The whole plate was worth at least five hundred dollars. After I had examined it, Joseph placed it in the chest with the Urim and Thummim.

Shortly after this circumstance, Joseph came to the house in great haste and inquired if there had been a company of men there. I told him no one had come to the house since he left. He then said that a mob would be there that night, if not before, to search for the record, and that it must be removed immediately.

Soon after, one Mr. Braman came from the neighboring village of Livonia, a German man in whom we reposed much confidence and who was well worthy of the same. Joseph told him his apprehensions of a mob being there that night and that they must prepare themselves to drive them away; but the first thing to be attended to was to secrete the record and breastplate.

It was resolved that a portion of the hearth should be taken up and the plates and breastplate should be buried under the same, and then the hearth relaid to prevent suspicion.

This was carefully and speedily done, but the hearth was scarcely relaid when a large company of armed men came rushing up to the house. Joseph threw the door open and, taking a hint from the stratagem of his Grandfather Mack, hallooed as if he had a legion at hand, giving the word of command with great importance. At the same time, the males that belonged to the house, from the father down to little Carlos, ran out with such vehemence upon the mob that it struck them with terror and dismay, and they fled before our little Spartan band away into the woods, where they dispersed themselves to their several homes.

We had but a few days rest, however, before Joseph received another intimation of the approach of a mob and the necessity of removing the record and breastplate again from their hiding place. Consequently, Joseph took them out of the box in which they had been placed, wrapped them in clothes, carried them across the road to a cooper’s shop, and laid them in a quantity of flax which was stowed in the shop loft. He then nailed up the box as before and tore up the floor and put the box under it.

As soon as it was dark, the mob came and ransacked the place, but did not come into the house. After making a satisfactory search, they went away.

The next morning we found the floor of the cooper’s shop taken up and the wooden box which was put under it split to pieces.

In a few days we learned the cause of this last move and why their curiosity had led them in the direction of the cooper’s shop. A young woman, who was a sister to Willard Chase, had found a green glass through which she could see many wonderful things, and among the rest of her discoveries, she said she had found out the exact place where “Joe Smith kept his gold bible.” And so in pursuance to her directions, they gathered their forces and laid siege to the cooper shop, but went away disappointed.

This did not shake their confidence in Miss Chase, for they still went from place to place by her suggestion, determined to get possession of the object of their research.

Not long after the circumstance of the mob’s going into the cooper’s shop, Joseph began to take some measures to accomplish the translation of the record into English. The first step that he was instructed to take in regard to this work was to make a facsimile of the characters composing the alphabet, which were called reformed Egyptian, and send them to all the most learned men of this generation and ask them for the translation of the same.

Joseph was very solicitous about the work, but as yet no means had come into his hands of accomplishing it.

The reader will notice that on a preceding page of this book, I spoke of a confidential friend to whom Mr. Smith mentioned the existence of the record two or three years before it came forth. This was no other than Martin Harris, one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon after it was translated.

To him Joseph desired me to go one afternoon, as he wished to see him. But this was an errand that I somewhat disliked, for his wife was a peculiar sort of a woman, one that was habitually of a very jealous temperament, and being hard of hearing, she was always suspicious that it was some secret which was designedly kept from her. So I told Joseph that I would rather not go, unless I could approach her upon the subject before I spoke to him about it. Joseph consented to this, and I went according to his request.

When I arrived there, I carefully detailed the particulars of Joseph’s finding the record, as far as wisdom dictated and necessity demanded, in order to satisfy Mrs. Harris’s mind, but she did not wait for me to get through with my story till she commenced urging me to receive a considerable amount of money, which she had at her own command, a kind of private purse which her husband permitted her to keep to satisfy her peculiar disposition. She also had a sister living in the house who was extremely anxious to help to the amount of seventy-five dollars to get the record translated.

I told her I came on no such business, that I did not want her money, and that Joseph would attend to his own affairs; but I would like to speak with Mr. Harris for a moment and then I would return home, as my family would soon be expecting me back. Notwithstanding all this, she said that she was determined to assist in the business, for she knew that he would want money and she could spare two hundred as well as not.

After detaining me a few minutes, finally she went with me to her husband and told him I wanted to speak to him. He said he wasn’t going to stop his work, for, he said, “I am now just laying the last brick of this hearth.”

“You see,” said he, “this is the last work that I have to do for one year on the house or about the house or on the farm, and when this is done, I am going to hire a hand to work a year for me, as I shall travel twelve months before I settle myself at home again.”

He soon left, and after being gone a short time, he came and told me that he was now a free man, his hands were altogether untied to go and come and do as he pleased.

I told him, in short, the errand on which I had come. He said that he would see Joseph in a few days. At this his wife exclaimed, “Yes, and I am coming to see him, too, and I will be there Tuesday afternoon and will stop overnight.”

Accordingly, when Tuesday afternoon arrived, Mrs. Harris made her appearance. As soon as she came in and was well seated, she began to importune my son as to the truth of what he said concerning the record, declaring that if he really had any gold plates, she would see them and she was resolved to help him in publishing them.

He told her that she was mistaken-that she could not see them, as he was not permitted to exhibit them to anyone except those whom the Lord should appoint to testify of them. “And as to assistance,” said Joseph, “I always prefer dealing with men, rather than their wives.”

This highly displeased Mrs. Harris, for she was a woman who considered herself altogether superior to her husband. “Well, now, Joseph,” said she, “are you not telling me a lie? Can you look full in my eye and say before God that you have, in reality, found that record as you pretend?”

He said indifferently, “Why, yes, Mrs. Harris. I would as soon look into your face and say so as not, if you would be at all gratified by it.”

“Now, Joseph,” said she, “I will tell what I will do. If I can get a witness that you do speak the truth, I will believe it, and I shall want to do something about the translation-and I mean to help you anyway.”

This closed the evening’s conversation. She went to bed, and in the morning told us a very remarkable dream. She said that a personage had appeared to her the night before and said to her that inasmuch as she had disputed the servant of the Lord, said that his word was not to be believed, and asked him many improper questions, she had done that which was not right in the sight of God. Then he said, “Behold, here are the plates, look upon them and believe.”

She then described the record minutely and again said that she had made up her mind as to what she would do; namely, that she had in her possession twenty-eight dollars that her mother had given her just before she died, when she was on her deathbed. Joseph should take that, and if he would he might give his note, but he would certainly accept of it on some terms.

This last proposition he acceded to in order to get rid of her importunities.

Shortly after this, Alva Hale, Joseph’s brother-in-law, came to our house from Pennsylvania for the purpose of moving my son and his wife to Joseph’s father-in-law’s house, as word had been sent to them that it was their wish to go there as soon as Joseph could settle up his business in New York. During the short interval of Alva’s stay with us, Alva and Joseph were one day in Palmyra at a public house doing some business with the landlord, when Mr. Harris entered the room. Many strangers were present. When he came in, he walked up to my son, gave him his hand, and said, “How do you do, Mr. Smith?” Then, taking a bag of silver from his pocket, he said, “Here, Mr. Smith, is fifty dollars. I give it to you to do the Lord’s work with. No,” said he, “I give it to the Lord for his own work.”

“No,” said Joseph. “We will give you a note, and Mr. Hale, I presume, will sign it with me.”

“Yes,” replied Alva. “I will.”

But Mr. Harris persisted that he would give the money to the Lord and called upon all present to witness to the fact that he gave it freely and did not demand any compensation or return for the same, that it was for the purpose of helping Mr. Smith do the Lord’s work.

It was soon arranged so that Joseph was ready to set out for Pennsylvania with the breastplate and record. These were securely nailed up in a box and the box put into a strong cask made for the purpose. The cask was then filled with beans and headed up again.

When it became generally known that Joseph was about moving to Pennsylvania, a mob of fifty men collected and went to Dr. McIntyre and requested him to take the command of the company, stating that their object was to “follow Joe Smith and take his gold bible away from him.” Dr. McIntyre’s ideas and feelings did not altogether harmonize with theirs, and he told them they must be a pack of devilish fools and bid them go home and mind their own business; that if Smith had anything of that sort to attend to, he was capable of doing it, and they would do better to busy themselves about that which concerned them more.

A quarrel then arose as to who should be captain and ran so high that it broke up the expedition.

Joseph started in December for Pennsylvania. It was agreed upon that Martin Harris should follow him as soon as Joseph should have sufficient time to transcribe some of the Egyptian characters. Then Mr. Harris was to take the characters to the East and through the country in every direction, and on his way he was to call on all who were professed linguists to give them an opportunity of showing their talents in giving a translation of the characters.

When Mrs. Harris heard this, she declared her intention of accompanying her husband; but he concluded that it would be better to go without her, and without giving her any intimation of his intention, he left quite suddenly with Hyrum.

Mrs. Harris soon missed her husband and came to me to find out if I knew where he was. I told her what he had said to me about leaving, suppressing, however, his remarks pertaining to herself.

She was highly enraged and accused me of framing the whole affair. I told her I had nothing to do with the plan, nor the execution of it, but that the business of the house, which was the natural cares of a woman, was all that I attempted to dictate or interfere with, unless by my husband’s or son’s requests.

Mrs. Harris then said that she had property, and she knew how to take care of it, and she would show me that.

“Now, stop,” I replied. “Do you not know that we never asked you for money or property? Had we been disposed to take advantage of your liberality, might we not have gotten possession of at least two hundred and seventy dollars of your money?” She answered in the affirmative, but went home in anger, determined to have satisfaction in some way for the slight which she had received.

When a short space of time had elapsed, Mr. Harris returned, and his wife’s anger kindled afresh at her husband’s presence, so much so that she prepared a bed and room for him alone, which she refused to enter.

A young man by the name of Dikes had been paying his addresses to Miss Lucy Harris, Martin’s oldest daughter. Of this young gentleman the father of the girl was very fond, and the young lady was not at all averse to him. Of course, Mrs. Harris was decidedly upon the negative, but just at this juncture, a scheme entered her brain that changed her deportment to Mr. Dikes very materially. She told Mr. Dikes that if he would contrive to get the Egyptian characters out of Martin’s possession, hire a room in Palmyra, transcribe them accurately, and bring her the transcript, she would give him her daughter, Lucy, to wife.

Mr. Dikes readily agreed to this, and suffice it to say, he succeeded to the woman’s satisfaction and received the promised reward.

When Mr. Harris began to make preparations to start for Pennsylvania a second time, with the view of writing for Joseph, his wife told him that she fully decreed in her heart to go also. Mr. Harris, having no particular objections, informed her that she might go with him and stay a week or two on a visit, and then he would take her home and go again to do the work of writing the book. She acceded to this very cheerfully, but her husband did not suspect what he was about to encounter. The first time he exhibited the Egyptian characters, she took out of her pocket an exact copy of them and informed those present that “Joe Smith” was not the only one that was in possession of this great curiosity, that she herself had the same characters and they were quite as genuine as those displayed to them by Mr. Harris. This course she continued to pursue wherever she went, until she reached my son’s house.

As soon as she arrived there, she said she had come to see the plates and would never leave until she had accomplished it. Without delay she began ransacking every nook and corner of the house-chest, cupboard, trunk, etc.; consequently, Joseph was compelled to take both the breastplate and the record out of the house and secrete them elsewhere. Not finding them in the house, she concluded that Joseph had buried them, and the next day she went out and hunted the ground over, adjacent to the house. She kept up the search till two o’clock in the afternoon, when she came in very ill-natured and, after warming herself a little, enquired of Emma if they had snakes there in the wintertime. “I was walking around in the woods,” said she, “to look at the situation of your place, and as I turned round to come home, a tremendous, great black snake stuck up its head before me and commenced hissing at me.”

The woman was so disappointed and perplexed in everything she undertook that she left the house and took lodgings at the house of a near neighbor. Here she stated to the hostels that she was in search of the plates, that when she came to a place where she thought they must be buried, upon stooping down to scrape away the snow and leaves in order to examine the spot, she encountered a horrible black snake which frightened her so badly that she ran to the house as fast as possible.

While this woman remained in the neighborhood, she did all that her ingenuity could contrive to injure Joseph in the estimation of his neighbors. She told them that he was a grand imposter, that he had deceived her husband with his specious pretensions and was exerting all his deceptive powers in order to induce Mr. Harris to give his property into Joseph’s hands, that he might, by robbing her husband, make himself rich. When she returned home, which was about two weeks from the time she arrived in Harmony, she endeavored to dissuade Mr. Harris from having anything further to do with the writing or translating of the record. But Mr. Harris paid but little attention to her, and as he had agreed to go back and write for a season at least, he did so.

After Mr. Harris left again for Pennsylvania, his wife went from place to place and from house to house, telling her grievances to everyone she met, but particularly bewailing that the deception which Joe Smith was practicing upon the people was about to strip her of all that she possessed. “But,” said the woman, “I know how to take care of my property, and I’ll let them see that pretty shortly.” So she carried away her furniture, linen and bedding, and other movable articles, till she well-nigh divested the premises of everything which could conduce to comfort or convenience. These things she deposited with her friends in whom she reposed sufficient confidence to assure her of the safety of her property.


Chapter 24

Martin Harris pleads with Joseph to take the sacred manuscript to show to his family. The Lord finally consents to let Martin take the 116 pages, with a solemn covenant to show them only to five of his family members. Emma gives birth to a son who soon after dies. Emma’s precarious health condition. Joseph leaves for Palmyra to find Martin. A stranger assures Joseph’s safe passage home. The “Book of Lehi” manuscript is lost.


Chapter 25

Events in the life of Martin Harris leading to the loss of the 116 manuscript pages. He first shows the manuscript to those he is allowed to, but then forgets his sacred covenant and begins showing it to others. The manuscript is stolen. His crops are blighted and destroyed by a thick fog.

June 17, 1828 to mid-July 1828

I will now give a sketch of the proceedings of Martin Harris, during the time he was absent from Joseph. These brought about the circumstances that seared our bright hopes in the tender bud, ere we were granted the privilege of beholding even the opening leaf.

When he arrived at home, he was not slow to exhibit the manuscript to his wife and family. Thus far he was under no condemnation. His wife seemed highly pleased with what she heard, and entered into the spirit of it so much, that she gave her husband the privilege of locking the manuscript up in a set of drawers which she had never before permitted him to look into. After he had shown the transcript to those who were privileged to see it, according to his oath, he laid it aside and went with Mrs. Harris to visit a relative of hers who lived three miles distant.

After remaining with them a short time, he returned home, but his wife declined accompanying him back. Shortly after he got there, a very particular friend made him a visit to whom he related all he knew concerning the record. The man’s curiosity was much excited, and he earnestly desired to see the transcript. Martin was anxious to gratify his friend, although it was contrary to his obligation. But when he went to the drawer to get the manuscript, the key was gone. He sought for it some time, but could not find it. Resolved, however, to carry his design into execution, he picked the lock, and in so doing, he injured his lady’s bureau considerably. He then took out the manuscript, and after showing it to his friend, he removed it to his own set of drawers. Here he had it at his command, and passing by his oath, he showed it to any good friend that happened to call on him.

When Mrs. Harris returned and beheld the marred and injured state of her bureau, her irascible temper knew no bounds, and an intolerable storm ensued throughout the house which descended with greatest force upon the head of her devoted husband.

Having once made a sacrifice of his conscience, Mr. Harris no longer regarded its scruples, so he continued to exhibit the writings, until a short time before Joseph arrived, to anyone whom he regarded as prudent enough to keep the secret, except our family, but we were not allowed to set our eyes upon them.

For a short time previous to Joseph’s arrival, Mr. Harris had been otherwise engaged and thought but little about the manuscript. When Joseph sent for him, he went immediately to his drawer, but the manuscript was gone! He asked his wife where it was. She solemnly averred that she did not know anything about it whatever. Not regarding what she said, he went through the house and made a faithful search. But it was more vain than Esau’s seeking his blessing.

The manuscript has never been found; and there is no doubt but Mrs. Harris took it from the drawer, with the view of retaining it until another translation should be given, then to alter the original translation for the purpose of showing a discrepancy between them, and thus make the whole appear to be a deception.

Martin Harris had not only lost his spiritual blessing, but a great temporal blessing also. The same day on which the foregoing circumstance took place, a heavy fog swept over Mr. Harris’s fields and blighted all his wheat, so that he lost about two-thirds of his crop, while the fields on the opposite side of the road remained untouched.

I well remember that day of darkness, both within and without. To us, at least, the heavens seemed clothed with blackness, and the earth shrouded with gloom. I have often said within myself that if a continual punishment, as severe as that which we experienced on that occasion, were to be inflicted upon the most wicked characters who ever stood upon the footstool of the Almighty-if even their punishment were no greater than that, I should feel to pity their condition.


Chapter 26

Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy go to see Joseph Jr. and Emma in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Joseph relates details of what happened after the manuscript was stolen. Joseph goes through time of repentance and finally obtains forgiveness. Parts of  Doctrine and Covenants 3 and 10 are quoted. Joseph Sr. and Lucy meet Emma’s parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Hale.


July 1828 to fall 1828

We never heard from our unfortunate son until two months after, when, being uneasy as to the consequences of his distress of mind, Mr. Smith and myself went down to Harmony to make him a visit. When we came within three-quarters of a mile of the house, Joseph started off to meet us, telling his wife that Father and Mother were coming, although he could not see us. He met us with a countenance blazing with delight, and it was very evident that his joy did not arise wholly from seeing us. When I entered, the first thing which attracted my attention was a red morocco trunk lying on Emma’s bureau, which Joseph shortly informed me contained the Urim and Thummim and the plates. He said very little concerning the subject of his earlier trouble until evening. He then related what had taken place since he was in New York with minute precision as follows:

“Immediately after I left you, I returned home. After I arrived here, I commenced humbling myself in mighty prayer before the Lord, and as I poured out my soul in supplication to him, that if possible I might obtain mercy at his hands and be forgiven of all that I had done which was contrary to his will, an angel stood before me and answered me, saying, that I had sinned in delivering the manuscript into the hands of a wicked man, and as I had ventured to become responsible for this man’s faithfulness, I would of necessity suffer the consequences of his indiscretion, and I must now give back the Urim and Thummim into his (the angel’s) hands.

“This I did as I was directed, and as I handed them to him he remarked, ‘If you are very humble and penitent, it may be you will receive them again; if so, it will be on the twenty-second of next September.’”

Joseph then related a revelation which he received soon after the angel visited him, a part of which is as follows:

Behold, you have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your commandments; and remember also the promises which were made to you, if you did not transgress them.

And behold, how oft you have transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, and have gone on in the persuasions of men.

For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words-

Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.

Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.

But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;

Except thou do this, thou shalt be delivered up and become as other men, and have no more gift.

And when thou deliveredst up that which God had given thee sight and power to translate, thou deliveredst up that which was sacred into the hands of a wicked man,

Who has set at naught the counsels of God, and has broken the most sacred promises which were made before God, and has depended upon his own judgment, and boasted in his own wisdom.

And this is the reason that thou hast lost thy privileges for a season-

For thou hast suffered the counsel of thy director to be trampled upon from the beginning.

Nevertheless, my work shall go forth, for inasmuch as the knowledge of a Savior has come unto the world, through the testimony of the Jews, even so shall the knowledge of a Savior come unto my people-

And to the Nephites, and the Jacobites, and the Josephites, and the Zoramites, through the testimony of their fathers-

And this testimony shall come to the knowledge of the Lamanites and the Lemuelites, and the Ishmaelites, who dwindled in unbelief because of the iniquity of their fathers, whom the Lord has suffered to destroy their brethren the Nephites, because of their iniquities and their abominations.

And for this very purpose are these plates preserved, which contain these records-that the promises of the Lord might be fulfilled, which he made to his people;

And that the Lamanites might come to the knowledge of their fathers, and that they might know the promises of the Lord, and that they may believe the gospel and rely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and be glorified through faith in his name, and that through their repentance they might be saved. Amen.

I will now return to Joseph’s recital.

“After the angel left me,” said he, “I continued my supplications to God, without cessation, and on the twenty-second of September, I had the joy and satisfaction of again receiving the Urim and Thummim, with which I have again commenced translating, and Emma writes for me, but the angel said that the Lord would send me a scribe, and I trust that it will be so. The angel was rejoiced when he gave me back the Urim and Thummim, and he told me that the Lord was pleased with my faithfulness and humility, and loved me for my penitence and diligence in prayer, in the which I had performed my duty so well as to receive the Urim and Thummim and was able to enter upon the work of translation again.”

A few months after Joseph received them, he inquired of the Lord, and obtained the following revelation:

Now, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate by the means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them.

And you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened.

Nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again; therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun.

Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.

Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.

Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted has sought to destroy you.

And for this cause I said that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift.

And because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold, wicked men have taken them from you.

Therefore, you have delivered them up, yea, that which was sacred, unto wickedness.

And, behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands.

And behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written;

And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work;

For he hath put into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.

While on this visit, we became acquainted with Emma’s father, whose name was Isaac Hale; also his family, which consisted of his wife, Elizabeth; his sons, Jesse, David, Alva, Isaac Ward, and Reuben; and his daughters, Phebe and Elizabeth.

They were a lovely, intelligent, and highly respectable family. They were pleasantly situated, living in fine circumstances in the town of Harmony, on the Susquehannah River, lying a short distance from the foot of a splendid range of mountains. They lived in a large, neatly finished frame home, with every convenient appendage necessary on an extensive and well-cultivated farm. It was a most delightful situation and did honor to the good taste of the intelligent proprietor.

We spent our time very agreeably and returned home relieved of a burden which had seemed too heavy to be borne. The joy we had over the present prosperity of our son with regard to his spiritual concerns far outweighed anything of the kind which we had before experienced. We now had learned to appreciate the sweet from having drunk deeply of the bitter for a season.


Chapter 27

Sickness in the Smith household. Oliver Cowdery is hired to teach school in Manchester. Oliver becomes acquainted with the history of Joseph Smith Jr. and desires to become a scribe for him. Smiths are forced to move to their old cabin. Oliver and  Samuel  Smith go to Harmony, Pennsylvania, to see Joseph. Oliver  acts  as scribe for Joseph in the translation of the Book of Mormon. Joseph and Oliver receive the Aaronic Priesthood and the ordinance of baptism.


January 1829 to May 15, 1829

As had always been the case, our season of rejoicing was soon mingled with anxiety and distress. When we arrived at home, we found Sophronia and  Samuel  lying at the point of death. Hyrum had shut up his own house and quitted business in order to take care of the children during our absence. Sophronia lay very sick for two months, in which time she was dreadfully salivated by the doctor who attended her.

Soon after we returned, there came a man into our neighborhood by the name of Lyman Cowdery. He went to Hyrum (as he was one of the principal trustees) and applied for the school. A meeting of the trustees was called, and it was settled that Mr. Cowdery should be employed. But the next day, this Mr. Cowdery brought his brother Oliver to the trustees and requested them to receive him in his place, as business had arisen that would oblige him to disappoint them. But he would warrant the prosperity of the school in Oliver’s hands, if the trustees would accept of his services. All parties were satisfied, and Oliver requested my husband to take him as a boarder, at least for a little while until he should become acquainted with his patrons in the school.

He had not been in the place long until he began to hear about the plates from all quarters and immediately commenced importuning Mr. Smith upon the subject. He did not succeed in eliciting any information from him for a long time. At length, however, he gained my husband’s confidence so far as to get a sketch of the facts which related to the plates.

One day, Oliver came home from school in quite a lively manner. As soon as he had an opportunity of conversing with Mr. Smith, he told him that he (Oliver) had been in a deep study all day, and it had been put into his heart that he would have the privilege of writing for Joseph. And when the term of school which he was then teaching was closed, he would go and pay Joseph a visit.

The next day was so very stormy as to render it almost impossible to travel the road between the schoolhouse and our place. The rain fell in torrents all the evening, so I supposed that Oliver would certainly stop with some neighbor who lived nearer the schoolhouse than we did. But he was not to be deterred from coming by any common difficulty, for his mind was now fully set upon a subject which he could not converse upon anywhere else.

When he came in, he said, “I have now resolved what I will do-for the thing which I told you about yesterday seems working in my very bones, insomuch that I cannot for a moment get rid of it. My plan is this: My term of school will be out in March, and I want Hyrum, as he is one of the trustees, to manage to have my school money ready for me as soon as the school closes, that I may be able to set off for Pennsylvania immediately upon making the necessary preparations. Samuel, I understand, is going to stay with Joseph through the spring. I will endeavor to be ready to go by the time he recovers his health again. I have made it a subject of prayer, and I firmly believe that if it is the will of the Lord that I should go, and that there is a work for me to do in this thing, I am determined to attend to it.”

We told him that we thought it was his privilege to know whether this was the case and advised him to seek for a testimony for himself. He did so and received the witness spoken of in the book of Doctrine and Covenants,  D&C 8.

From this time Oliver was so entirely absorbed in the subject of the record, that it seemed impossible for him to think or converse about anything else.

As the time for which we had agreed for our place was now drawing to a close, we began to make preparations to remove our family and effects to the log house which was now occupied by Hyrum. When we gave to the new landlord full and entire possession of the last vestige of real estate which we could call our own, we began to feel more seriously than ever before the effects of our lot. Before this, we had the use of our property, although it was not nominally ours. Now the time had come for us to feel the stroke most sensibly.

I thought that it would be impossible in the crowded situation in which we would now have to live for us to make Mr. Cowdery comfortable and mentioned to him the necessity of seeking another boarding place. I also thought this would be a good occasion to bring to his mind the cause of all our present privations, as well as the misfortune that he himself was liable to if he turned his back upon the world and set out in the service of God.

“Now, Oliver,” said I, “just look upon this thing. See what a comfortable home we have had here and what pains each child that we have has taken to provide for us everything necessary to make our old age comfortable, and long life desirable. Here I have to look upon the handiwork of that dear son whom death has removed from our sight. Everything which meets my eyes reminds me of my beloved Alvin. Even upon his deathbed, in his last moments, his dying injunction to his brothers was that they should not, by any means, neglect to finish his work of preparing a place of earthly rest for us-that if possible, through the exertions of our children, our last days might be our best days. There is scarcely anything that I see that has not passed through the hands of that faithful boy and, afterwards, been carefully arranged precisely according to his plan by his brothers who survived him. This shows me in every particular their faithful and affectionate remembrance both of their parents and the brother whom they loved.

“All these tender recollections render our present trial doubly severe, for these relics must now pass into the hands of wicked men who fear not God, neither do they regard man. And upon what righteous principle has all this been brought about? They have never raised a hand to earn any part of that of which they are now to reap the benefit. In consequence of these things, Oliver, we cannot make you comfortable any longer and you will be under the necessity of taking boarding somewhere else, for we shall have to crowd ourselves together in a log house where we shall have none of the convenience that we have here.”

“Mother,” exclaimed the young man with much feeling, “only let me stay with you, and I can live in any log hut where you and Father live, but I cannot go away from you, so say no more about convenience.”

“Well,” I continued, “now look around me upon all these things that have been gathered together for my happiness, which has cost the toil of years. You mark. I now give this up for the sake of Christ and salvation, and I pray God to help me do so without a murmur or a tear. In the strength of God I give these up from this time, and I will not cast one longing look upon anything which I leave behind me.”

In April, all Mr. Cowdery’s affairs being arranged according to his mind, he and  Samuel  set out for Pennsylvania. The weather, for some time previous, had been very wet and disagreeable-raining, freezing, and thawing alternately, which had made the roads almost impassable, particularly during the middle of the day. But Mr. Cowdery was determined not to be detained by wind or weather and persevered until they arrived at Joseph’s house, although Oliver froze one of his toes and he and  Samuel  suffered much on the road from fatigue.

When they arrived there, Joseph was not at home. He had been so hurried with business and writing, etc., that he could not proceed with the work as fast as it was necessary for him to do. There was also another disadvantage under which he had to labor. Emma had so much of her time taken up with the care of her house that she could write but little for him. Accordingly, two or three days before the arrival of Oliver and Samuel, Joseph called upon his Heavenly Father to send him a scribe as the angel had promised, and he was informed that the same should be forthcoming in a few days.

When Oliver was introduced to Joseph, he said, “Mr. Smith, I have come for the purpose of writing for you.” This was not at all unexpected to Joseph, for although he had never seen Mr. Cowdery before, he knew that the Lord was able to perform, and that he had been faithful to fulfill, all his promises.

They then sat down and conversed together until late, and Joseph told Oliver his entire history as far as it was necessary for his information in those things which concerned him. The next morning they commenced the work of translation and were soon deeply engaged. Now the work of writing and translation progressed rapidly.

One morning, however, they sat down to their usual work, when the first thing that presented itself to Joseph was a commandment from God that he and Oliver should repair to the water and each of them be baptized. They immediately went down to the Susquehanna River and obeyed the mandate given them through the Urim and Thummim. As they were on their return to the house, they overheard Samuel, in a secluded spot, engaged in secret prayer. They had now received the authority to baptize, and Joseph said that he considered it a sufficient testimony of Samuel’s honesty of heart and zeal for religion that they had found him privately bowing before the Lord in prayer, and that he thought it was an evidence of readiness for baptism. Oliver was of the same opinion, and they spoke to Samuel, who went with them straightway to the water and was baptized. After this, they again went on with the translation as before.


Chapter 28

Lucy Harris raises a vexatious lawsuit against Joseph Smith Jr. Mrs. Harris gathers witnesses. Mother Smith prays fervently for her son’s protection and receives a direct answer. Conflicting witnesses are confounded. Martin Harris boldly testifies as to Joseph Smith’s integrity and the work of the Lord.

Summer 1829

Samuel  remained with his brother until July or August, and then came back to the state of New York, bringing us news of Joseph’s success and prosperity. This roused in Martin Harris a great desire to go down to Pennsylvania to see how they were prospering for himself, as he was more than commonly interested in the matter. His wife soon came to the knowledge of his intention and fixed in her mind a determination to prevent him from going. She also resolved to bring Joseph into a difficulty which would be the means of hindering him, perhaps entirely, from accomplishing the work which he was about.

To this end she undertook to prove that Joseph never had the record which he professed to have, and that he pretended to have in his possession certain gold plates for the express purpose of obtaining money. Accordingly, she mounted her horse, flew from house to house through the neighborhood, like a dark spirit, making diligent inquiry where she had the least hope of gleaning anything that would subserve her purpose-which was to prove that Joseph did not have the record which he pretended to have, that he pretended to be in possession of certain gold plates for the express purpose of obtaining money from those who might be so credulous as to believe him. After she had ascertained the strength of her adherents, she entered a complaint before a magistrate at Lyons. She then sent word to Lyman Cowdery, requesting him to come to Lyons, prepared with a good horse to travel posthaste to Pennsylvania (should the case go against Joseph Smith), that he might go with the officers to assist them in securing him and confining him in prison.

Lyman Cowdery was very obedient to her suggestion, and all things seemed to be going on prosperously with Mrs. Harris. She made affidavit to many things herself, and directed the officers whom to subpoena. Among the rest, her husband was a principal witness in the case.

When the day of trial came, the neighbors who felt friendly to us informed us that the witnesses were gone to Lyons and were determined to obtain a verdict against Joseph if it could be done by swearing. This very naturally gave me great anxiety for my son. Hyrum came in and I asked him what could be done.

“Why, Mother,” said he, “we can do nothing, but look to the Lord, for in him is all help and strength, and he can deliver from every trouble.”

I had never neglected this all-important duty, but seeing this confidence in my son strengthened me in this hour of trial. This was the first time that a suit was ever brought before any court which affected any of my family, and not being accustomed to such things (as I would become afterwards), I trembled for the issue. But I retired to a secluded place and bowed myself before God and poured out my whole soul in impassioned entreaties for the safety of my son. I continued my supplication for some time. At length a spirit fell upon me so powerfully that every feeling of foreboding or distress was entirely removed from my mind, and a voice spoke to me, saying, “Not one hair of his head shall be harmed.” I was satisfied, and arose and went into the house. I never felt as happy in my life as I did then. I sat down and began to read, but my feelings were too intense to permit me to do so. My daughter-in-law Jerusha came into the room soon after, and when she turned her eyes upon me, she stopped short, saying, “Why, Mother, what is the matter? I never saw you look so strange in my life.”

I told her I never had been so happy before. I said, “My heart is so light and my mind so completely at rest, that it does not seem to me as though I should ever have any more trouble while I lived. I have got a witness from the Lord that Joseph’s enemies will have no power over him. I have received a promise that he shall be protected.” Overpowered by the strength of my feelings I burst into tears and sobbed aloud.

I will now relate the proceedings of the court. After the setting of the same, the witnesses were sworn. The first witness testified that Joseph Smith had told him that the box which he had contained nothing but sand, and he only said it was gold plates to deceive the people.

The second witness swore that Joseph Smith had told him on a certain occasion that it was nothing but a box of lead, and he was determined to use it as he saw fit.

The third witness declared, under oath, that he inquired of Joseph Smith what he had in that box and Joseph told him that there was nothing in the box, saying, “I have made fools of the whole of you, and all I want is to get Martin Harris’s money away from him.” This witness also stated that Joseph had already got two or three hundred dollars from Martin by his persuasion.

Next came Mrs. Harris’s affidavit, in which she stated that Joseph Smith had but one principal object in view, and that was to defraud her husband in such a way as to induce him to give up all his property into Smith’s hands. She said that she did not believe that Joseph Smith had ever been in possession of the gold plates which he talked so much about, and that his pretensions were altogether unreal.

The magistrate then forbade the introduction of any more witnesses until he heard Mr. Harris’s testimony. Mr. Harris, being duly sworn, testified with boldness, decision, and energy to a few simple facts. When he rose he raised his hand to heaven and said, “I can swear that Joseph Smith never got one dollar from me since God made me. I did once voluntarily, of my own free will and accord, put fifty dollars into his hands before many witnesses, for the purpose of doing the work of the Lord. This I can pointedly prove, and I can tell you, furthermore, that Joseph has certainly never shown any disposition to get any man’s money without giving him a reasonable compensation for the same in return. And as to the plates which he professes to have, gentlemen, if you do not believe it but continue to resist the truth, it will one day be the means of damning your souls.”

The judge then told them they need not call any more of their witnesses, but ordered them to bring him what had been written of the testimony already given. This he tore in pieces before their eyes and told them to go home about their business and trouble him no more with such ridiculous folly. They returned home, abashed and confounded, hanging down their heads with shame and confusion.


Chapter 29

Joseph is commanded to write David Whitmer and ask him to move them to Fayette, New York. David Whitmer wants a witness of the work. Three strangers arrive and in an extraordinary fashion finish all remaining farmwork. David makes the trip to Harmony and gets Joseph and Oliver. The translation process continues in the home of  Peter  Whitmer Sr.

End of May to mid-June 1829

In the meantime, Joseph was one hundred and fifty miles distant in Pennsylvania and knew not of the matter, except through an intimation that was given through the Urim and Thummim. One morning as he applied it to his eyes to look upon the record, instead of the words of the book being given to him, he was commanded to write a letter to one David Whitmer, who lived in Waterloo. This man Joseph had never seen, but he was instructed to say to him that he must come with his team immediately, in order to convey Joseph and Oliver back to his house, that they might remain with him there until the translation should be completed, as an evil-designing people were seeking to take away Joseph’s life in order to prevent the work of God from going forth among the world. The letter was written and delivered, and Mr. Whitmer showed it to his father, mother, sisters, and brothers, asking their advice as to what it would be best for him to do.

His father said, “Why, David, you know you have sowed as much wheat as you can harrow in tomorrow and the next day, and then you have a quantity of plaster of paris to spread that is much needed on your land. You cannot go unless you get an evidence from God that it is very necessary.”

This suggestion pleased David, and he asked the Lord for a testimony that it was his will that he should go. He was told by the voice of the Spirit to harrow in his wheat, and then go straightway to Pennsylvania. The next morning David went to the field and found that he had two heavy days’ work before him. He then asked the Lord to enable him to do this work sooner than the same work had ever been done on the farm before-and he would receive it as an evidence that it was God’s will that he should do all in his power to assist Joseph Smith in the work in which he was engaged. He then fastened his horses to the harrow, and instead of dividing the field into what is, by farmers, usually termed bands, he drove round the whole of it, continuing thus till noon, when, on stopping for dinner, he looked around, and discovered to his surprise that he had harrowed in full half the wheat. After dinner he again went on as before, and by evening he finished the whole two days’ work.

When he informed his father of the fact, his father could not believe it till he examined for himself and ascertained that it was actually true. “Well,” said his father, “there must be some overruling power in this thing, and I think you had better go as soon as you get your plaster of paris sown and bring up the man with his scribe.”

To this also David agreed. The next morning, as soon as breakfast was over, he took the half-bushel measure under his arm and went out to the place where he supposed the plaster to be, as he knew exactly where he had left it twenty-four hours earlier. But when he came to look for it, behold, it had entirely disappeared! Every vestige of it was gone from the spot where he left it. He ran to his sister’s house a few yards distant and inquired if she knew what had become of it.

“Why?” she said, in surprise. “Was it not all spread yesterday?”

“Not to my knowledge,” answered David.

“I am astonished at that,” replied his sister, “for the children came to me in the forenoon and begged of me to go out and see the men sow plaster in the field, saying that they never saw anybody sow plaster so fast in their lives. I accordingly went and saw three men at work in the field, as the children said, but, supposing that you had hired some help on account of your hurry, I went immediately into the house and gave the subject no further attention.”

David made considerable inquiry in regard to the matter, both among his relatives and neighbors, but was not able to learn who had done it. However, the family were convinced that there was an exertion of supernatural power connected with this strange occurrence.

David immediately set out for Pennsylvania and arrived there in two days, without injuring his horses in the least, though the distance was one hundred and thirty-five miles. When he arrived, he was under the necessity of introducing himself to Joseph, as this was the first time that they had ever met.

I will observe that the only acquaintance that existed between the Smith and Whitmer families was that formed by Mr. Smith and myself, when, on our way from Manchester to Pennsylvania to visit Joseph, we stopped with David overnight and gave him a brief history of the record.

When Joseph commenced making preparations for his journey, he inquired of the Lord to know how the plates should be conveyed to their point of destination. His answer was that he should give himself no trouble about that but commit them into the hands of an angel for safety, and after arriving at Mr. Whitmer’s house, if he would repair immediately to the garden, the angel would deliver them up again into his hands.

Leaving Emma behind to take charge of affairs, Joseph, Oliver, and David Whitmer started for Waterloo, where they arrived after a short, pleasant journey in health and fine spirits for commencing anew on their labors. On arriving at Waterloo, Joseph received the record according to promise. The next day, he and Oliver resumed the work of translation, which they continued without further interruption until the whole work was accomplished.


Chapter 30

Translation of the Book of  Mormon is completed. Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris receive divine witness of the work. Testimony of the Three Witnesses. Testimony of the Eight Witnesses. Contract negotiations completed for publication of the Book of  Mormon  with E. B. Grandin of Palmyra. Mob gathers to stop Joseph and is confounded. Copyright secured. Careful instructions are given concerning protection of the sacred manuscript.


June 1829 to end of August 1829

As soon as the Book of Mormon was translated, Joseph dispatched a messenger to Mr. Smith, bearing intelligence of the completion of the work and a request that Mr. Smith and myself should come immediately to Waterloo.

That same evening we communicated this intelligence to Martin Harris, for we loved the man although his weakness had cost us much unnecessary trouble. He seemed to have a heart that designed no evil, and we felt a commiseration for the disappointment which his misguided zeal had brought upon him in an evil hour. When he heard that the translation was finally completed, he seemed as greatly rejoiced as if he knew that it affected his salvation, and determined to go straightway to Waterloo as soon as he could get away. The next morning, we accordingly set off together, and before sunset we met Joseph and Oliver at Waterloo.

The evening was spent in reading the manuscript, and it would be superfluous for me to say to anyone who has read these pages that we were greatly rejoiced. It then appeared to us, who did not realize the magnitude of the work, as though the greatest difficulty was then surmounted. But with Joseph it was not so, for he knew that a dispensation of the gospel had been committed to him, of which the starting bud had scarcely yet made its appearance.

The next morning after breakfast, we repaired to the sitting room, and after attending the morning service, namely reading, singing, and praying, Joseph arose from his knees and approached Martin with a solemnity which thrills through my veins to this day, whenever it comes to my recollection. “Martin Harris,” he said, “you have got to humble yourself before your God this day and obtain, if possible, a forgiveness of your sins. If you will do this, it is God’s will that you and Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer should look upon the plates.”

Soon after this, these four left and went into a grove a short distance from the house, where they continued in earnest supplication to God, until he permitted an angel from his presence to bear to them a message, declaring to them that all which Joseph had testified of concerning the plates was true, and showing them the same.

When they returned to the house, it was between three and four o’clock. Mrs. Whitmer, Mr. Smith, and myself were sitting in a bedroom, myself on a bedside. When Joseph came in, he threw himself down beside me and exclaimed, “Father! Mother! You do not know how happy I am. The Lord has caused the plates to be shown to three more besides me. They have also seen an angel and will have to testify to the truth of what I have said, for they know for themselves that I do not go about to deceive the people. I do feel as though I was relieved of a dreadful burden which was almost too much for me to endure. But they will now have to bear a part, and it does rejoice my soul that I am not any longer to be entirely alone in the world.”

Martin Harris then came in. He seemed almost overcome with an excess of joy. He then testified to what he had seen and heard, as did also the others, Oliver and David, who added that no tongue could express the joy of their hearts and the greatness of the things which they had both seen and heard. Their testimony was the same in substance as that in the Book of Mormon:

The Testimony of Three Witnesses

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

Oliver Cowdery

David Whitmer

Martin Harris

Martin Harris seemed particularly willing to give out his feelings in words. He said, “I have now seen an angel from heaven who has of a surety testified of the truth of all that I have heard concerning the record. I have also looked upon the plates and handled them with my hands and can testify of the same to the whole world. I have received for myself a witness that words cannot express, and no tongue can describe, and I bless God in the sincerity of my soul that he has condescended to make me, even me, a witness of the greatness of his work and designs in behalf of the children of men.” Oliver and David also joined with him in solemn praises to God for his goodness and mercy.

We returned home the next day, a cheerful, happy little company. In a few days, we were followed by Joseph, Oliver, and the Whitmers, who came to make us a visit and make some arrangements about getting the book printed. Soon after they came, all the male part of the company, with my husband, Samuel, and Hyrum, retired to a grove where the family were in the habit of offering up their secret devotions to God. They went to this place, because it had been revealed to Joseph that the plates would be carried thither by one of the ancient Nephites. Here it was that those eight witnesses, whose names are recorded in the Book of Mormon, looked upon them and handled them, of which they bear record in the following words:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.”

Christian Whitmer

Jacob  Whitmer

Peter  Whitmer, Jun.

John  Whitmer

Hiram Page

Joseph Smith, Sen.

Hyrum Smith

Samuel H. Smith

After the witnesses returned to the house, the angel again made his appearance to Joseph and received the plates from his hands. That evening we held a meeting in which all the witnesses bore testimony to the facts, as stated above; and all of our family, even to Don Carlos, who was but fourteen years of age, testified of the truth of the latter-day dispensation-that it was ushered in.

In a few days the whole company from Waterloo went to Palmyra for the purpose of contracting with Mr. E. B. Grandin for the printing of the book. They succeeded in making a contract, but did not draw the writings at that time. The next day, the company from Waterloo returned home, excepting Joseph and  Peter  Whitmer, Joseph remaining to draw writings in regard to the printing of the manuscript, which was to be done on the day following.

When Joseph was about starting for Palmyra, where the writings were to be executed, Dr. McIntyre came in and informed us that forty men were collected in the capacity of a mob, with the view of waylaying Joseph on his way thither; that they requested him (Dr. McIntyre), as they had done once before, to take command of the company; and that upon his refusing to do so, one Mr. Huzzy, a hatter of Palmyra, proffered his services and was chosen as their leader.

On hearing this I besought Joseph not to go; but he smiled at my fears, saying, “Never mind, Mother; just put your trust in God, and nothing will hurt me today.” In a short time he set out for Palmyra. On his way thither lay a heavy strip of timber, about half a mile in width, and beyond it, on the right side of the road, lay a field belonging to David Jacaway. When he came to this field, he found the mob seated on the string fence running along the road. Coming to Mr. Huzzy first, he took off his hat and good-naturedly saying, “Good morning, Mr. Huzzy,” passed on to the next, whom he saluted in like manner, and the next, and so on till he came to the last.

This struck them with confusion, and while they were pondering in amazement, he passed on, leaving them perched upon the fence like so many roosting chickens, and arrived at Palmyra without being molested. Here he met Mr. Grandin, and writings were drawn up between them to this effect: that half of the price for printing was to be paid by Martin Harris, and the residue by my two sons Joseph and Hyrum. These writings were afterwards signed by all the parties concerned.

When Joseph returned from Palmyra, he said, “Well, Mother, the Lord has been on my side today; the devil has not overpowered me in any of my proceedings. Did I not tell you that I should be delivered from the hands of my enemies? They thought they were going to perform great feats; they have done wonders to prevent me from getting the book printed; they mustered themselves together, and got upon the fence, made me a low bow, and went home, and I’ll warrant you they wish they had stayed there in the first place. Mother, there is a God in heaven, and I know it.”

Soon after this, Joseph secured the copyright; and before he returned to Pennsylvania, where he had left his wife, he received a commandment, which was in substance as follows:

Joseph was told to see that Oliver transcribed the whole work a second time and that he never take both transcripts to the office, but leave one and carry the other, so that in case one was destroyed, the other would be left. Furthermore,  Peter  Whitmer was commanded to remain at our house to assist in guarding the writings, and also to accompany Oliver to the office and back, when no other person could be spared from the place, to go and come with him. It was necessary that Oliver should be accompanied by someone to protect him against those who would try to waylay him in order to get the manuscript, and also to protect the house against infestation by those intrusive persons who were willing to sacrifice their character for the sake of putting a stop to the printing, because they were exceedingly mad against the truth and went about to establish their own kind of righteousness.

This astonished us very much, but we did not gainsay the counsel of the Most High; wherefore we did all things according to the pattern that was given; and accordingly, they guarded Oliver on his way to work in the morning, went after him at night, and kept a guard over the house all night long, although we saw no enemy, and knew not that anyone designed evil against us.

After giving these instructions, Joseph returned to Pennsylvania.


Chapter 31

A group of religionists meets and plan to thwart the work of publishing the Book of Mormon. Mother Smith spends the night with the manuscript in a trunk under her bed. She contemplates many scenes she has passed through. Three men visit the Smiths with intentions of distracting Lucy, seizing the manuscript, and immediately burning it. Their scheme fails.

Early fall 1829

Oliver Cowdery commenced the work immediately after Joseph left, and the printing went on very well for a season, but the clouds of persecution again began to gather. The rabble, and a party of restless religionists, began to counsel together as to the most efficient means of putting a stop to our proceedings.

About the first council of this kind was held in a room adjoining that in which Oliver and young Mr. Robinson, son of our friend, Dr. Robinson, were printing. They suspected that something was agitated among these men that was not right, and Oliver proposed to Mr. Robinson that he should put his ear to a hole in the partition wall, and by this means he overheard the following remarks and resolutions: One said, “Now, gentlemen, this golden bible which the Smiths have got is destined to break down everything before it, if a stop is not put to it. This very thing is going to be a serious injury to all religious denominations, and in a little while, many of our excellent minister goodmen, who have no means of obtaining a respectable livelihood except by their ministerial labor, will be deprived of their salaries, which is their living. Shall we endure this, gentlemen?”

Cries of “No! No!”

“Well, how shall we put a stop to the printing of this thing?”

It was then moved, seconded, and carried without a dissenting voice to appoint three of their company to come to our house on the following Tuesday or Wednesday, when the men were not about the house, and request me to read the manuscript to them; and that after I had done reading it, two of the company should attract my attention toward something else than the manuscript, and while they were doing this, the third should seize the writing from the drawer and throw the same into the fire and burn it up.

“Again,” said the speaker, “suppose that we fail in this-or any other plan-and the book is published in defiance of all that we can do. What is then to be done? Shall we buy their books and suffer our families to read them?” They all responded, “No!” They then entered into a solemn covenant, binding themselves by tremendous oaths, that they would never own a single volume, nor would they permit one member of their families to do so, and thus they would nip the dreadful calamity while it was in the bud.

Oliver came home that evening and related the whole affair with solemnity, for he was greatly troubled by it. “Mother, what shall I do with the manuscript? Where shall I put it to keep it away from them?”

“Oliver,” said I, “do not think the matter so serious after all, for there is a watch kept constantly about the house, and I need not take out the manuscript to read it to them unless I choose, and for its present safety I can have it deposited in a chest, under the head of my bed, in such a way that it never will be disturbed.” I then placed it in a chest, raised up the head of my bedstead, and shoved the chest under it, letting the bedstead fall, so that the chest was securely closed, although it had neither lock nor key.

At night we all went to rest at the usual hour except  Peter  Whitmer, who spent the night on guard. As for myself, soon after I lay down upon my bed, I fell into a train of reflections which occupied my mind until the day appeared. I called up to my recollection the past history of my life, and scene after scene seemed to rise in succession before me. The principles of early piety which were taught me when my mother called me, with my brothers and sisters, around her knee and instructed us to feel our constant dependence upon God, our accountability to him, our liability to transgression, the necessity of prayer, and of a death and judgment to come.

Then again, I seemed to hear the voice of my brother Jason declaring to the people that the true religion and faith of the Church of Jesus Christ, which He established on the earth, was not among the Christian denominations of the day, and beseeching them, by the love of God, to seek to obtain that faith which was once delivered to the Saints.

Again, I seemed to stand at the bedside of my sister Lovisa, and saw her exemplify the power of God in answer to the prayer of faith by an almost entire resuscitation, while her livid lips moved but to express one sentiment-which was the power of God over disease and death.

The next moment I was conveyed to the closing scene of my sister Lovina’s life, and heard her last admonition to her mates and myself reiterated in my ear. Then my soul thrilled to the plaintive notes of the favorite hymn which she repeated in the last moments of her existence on earth. Oh, how often I had listened to the beautiful music of the voices of these two sisters and drunk in their tones as if I might ne’er hear them again.

After that, I seemed to live again the season of gloominess, of prayers and tears, that preceded my sister’s death, when my heart was burdened with anxiety, distress, and fear lest I, by any means, should fail in that preparation which is needful in order to meet my sisters in that world for which they had taken their departure.

It was then I began to feel the want of a living instructor in matters of salvation. How intensely I felt this deficiency when, a few years afterwards, I found myself upon the very verge of the eternal world; and although I had an intense desire for salvation, yet I was totally devoid of any satisfactory knowledge or understanding of the laws or requirements of that Being before whom I expected shortly to appear. But I labored faithfully in prayer to God, struggling to be freed from the power of death.

When I recovered, I sought unceasingly for someone who could impart to my mind some definite idea of the requirements of heaven with regard to mankind. But like Esau seeking his blessing, I found them not, though I sought the same with tears. For days and months and years I continued asking God continually to reveal to me the hidden treasures of his will. Although I was always strengthened, I did not receive answer to my prayers for many years.

I had always believed confidently that God would raise up someone who would effect a reconciliation among those who desired to do his will at the expense of all other things. But what was my joy and astonishment to hear my own son, though a boy of fourteen years of age, declare that he had been visited by an angel from heaven!

My mind rested upon the hours which I had spent listening to the instructions which Joseph had received, and which he faithfully committed to us. We received these with infinite delight, but none were more engaged than the one from whom we were doomed to part, for Alvin was never so happy as when he was contemplating the final success of his brother in obtaining the record.

And now I fancied I could hear him with his parting breath conjuring his brother to continue faithful that he might obtain the prize that the Lord had promised him. But when I cast my mind upon the disappointment and trouble which we had suffered while the work was in progress, my heart beat quickly and my pulse rose high, and in my best efforts to the contrary, my mind was agitated. I felt every nervous sensation which I experienced at the time the circumstances took place.

At last, as if led by an invisible spirit, I came to the time when the messenger from Waterloo informed me that the translation was actually completed. My soul swelled with a joy that could scarcely be heightened, except by the reflection that the record which had cost so much labor, suffering, and anxiety was now, in reality, lying beneath my own head-that this identical work had not only been the object which we as a family had pursued so eagerly, but that prophets of ancient days, angels, and even the great God had had his eye upon it. “And,” said I to myself, “shall I fear what man can do? Will not the angels watch over the precious relic of the worthy dead and the hope of the living? And am I indeed the mother of a prophet of the God of heaven, the honored instrument in performing so great a work?” I felt that I was in the purview of angels, and my heart bounded at the thought of the great condescension of the Almighty.

Thus I spent the night surrounded by enemies and yet in an ecstasy of happiness. Truly I can say that my soul did magnify and my spirit rejoiced in God, my Savior.

On the fourth day after they had met, the three men delegated by the council came to perform the work assigned them. They began, “Mrs. Smith, we hear you have a gold bible, and we came to see if you would be so kind as to show it to us?”

“No, gentlemen,” said I, “we have no gold bible, but we have a translation of some gold plates, which have been brought forth to bring to the world the plainness of the gospel and to give to the children of men a history of the people that used to inhabit this continent.” I then proceeded to give them the substance of what is contained in the Book of Mormon, particularly the principles of religion which it contains. I endeavored to show them the similarity between these principles and the simplicity of the gospel taught by Jesus Christ in the New Testament. “But,” added I, “the different denominations are very much opposed to us. The Universalists come here wonderfully afraid that their religion will suffer loss. The Presbyterians are frightened lest their salary will come down. The Methodists come and they rage, for they worship a God without body or parts, and the doctrine we advocate comes in contact with their views.”

“Well,” said the foremost gentleman with whom I was acquainted, “can we see the manuscript?”

“No, sir, you cannot see it. We have done exhibiting the manuscript altogether. I have told you what is in it, and that must suffice.”

He did not reply to this, but said, “Mrs. Smith, you, Hyrum, Sophronia, and  Samuel  have belonged to our church for some time, and we respect you very highly. You say a great deal about the book which your son has found and believe much of what he tells you, but we cannot bear the thoughts of losing you, and they do wish-I wish-that if you do believe those things, you never would proclaim anything about them. I do wish you would not.”

“Deacon Beckwith,” said I, “even if you should stick my body full of faggots and burn me at the stake, I would declare, as long as God should give me breath, that Joseph has that record, and that I know it to be true.”

He then turned to his companions and said, “You see, it is no use to say anything more to her, for we cannot change her mind.” Then, addressing me, he said, “Mrs. Smith, I see that it is not possible to persuade you out of your belief, and I do not know that it is worthwhile to say any more about the matter.”

“No, sir,” said I, “it is of no use. You cannot affect anything by all that you can say.”

He then bid me farewell and went out to see Hyrum, when the following conversation took place between them:

Deacon Beckwith: “Mr. Smith, do you not think that you may be deceived about that record which your brother pretends to have found?”

Hyrum: “No, sir, I do not.”

Deacon Beckwith: “Well, now, Mr. Smith, if you find that you are deceived, and that he has not got the record, will you confess the fact to me?”

Hyrum: “Will you, Deacon Beckwith, take one of the books, when they are printed, and read it, asking God to give you an evidence that you may know whether it is true?”

Deacon Beckwith: “I think it beneath me to take so much trouble; however, if you will promise that you will confess to me that Joseph never had the plates, I will ask for a witness whether the book is true.”

Hyrum: “I will tell you what I will do, Mr. Beckwith, if you do get a testimony from God that the book is not true, I will confess to you that it is not true.”

Upon this they parted, and the deacon next went to Samuel, who quoted to him  Isa. 56:9-11:

“All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.”

Here  Samuel  ended the quotation, and the three gentlemen left without ceremony.


Chapter 32

Work of printing the Book of  Mormon continues. Hyrum Smith is led by the Spirit to go to the press on the Sabbath. He and Oliver Cowdery discover Abner Cole pilfering the Book of Mormon, publishing it in a series in his small newspaper. They ask him to cease and desist. Joseph is brought in from Pennsylvania, warns Cole he will use the law, and convinces Cole to stop his illegal activities. Citizens of Palmyra combine and agree to never purchase the “gold bible.”  The Book of  Mormon  is published.

Fall 1829 to March 26, 1830

The work of printing still continued with little or no interruption. The bargain which they had made with E. B. Grandin entitled them to use the press every day except Sunday. Then one Sunday afternoon, Hyrum became very uneasy. He told Oliver that his peculiar feelings led him to believe that something was going wrong at the printing office. Oliver asked if he thought there would be any harm in going to the office because it was Sunday. They debated some time about this, until at last Hyrum said, “I shall not stop to consider the matter any longer, for I am going. You may suit yourself about the matter, but I will not suffer such uneasiness any longer without knowing the cause.”

In a few minutes they were on their way to the printing establishment. When they arrived there, they found an individual by the name of Cole very busy at work printing a paper which seemed to be a weekly periodical. Hyrum said, “Why, Mr. Cole, you seem to be busy at work. How is it that you work on Sunday?”

Mr. Cole answered, “I cannot have the press during the week, and I am obliged to print nights and Sundays.”

Hyrum took up one of the papers and discovered that the man was printing the Book of  Mormon  by piecemeal. In the prospectus, Mr. Cole agreed to publish one form of “Joe Smith’s gold bible” each week, and thereby furnish his subscribers with the principal portion of the book for a comparatively small sum. His paper was entitled Dogberry Paper on Winter Hill, and here he had thrown together the most disgusting and insignificant stuff that could be conceived of in juxtaposition with the portion of the Book of  Mormon  which he had pilfered. He was thus classing the beautiful, unaffected simplicity of this inspired writing with the lowest and most contemptible doggerel that ever was imposed upon any community. Hyrum was shocked at this perversion of common sense and moral feeling, as well as indignant at the unfair and dishonest course Mr. Cole had taken to get possession of the work.

“Mr. Cole,” said he, “what right have you to print the Book of  Mormon  in this way? Do you not know that we have secured a copyright?”

“It is none of your business, sir,” said Mr. Cole. “I have hired the press and I will print what I please, so help yourself.”

“Mr. Cole,” replied Hyrum, “I forbid you printing any more of that sacred book in your paper. You must stop it.”

“Smith,” exclaimed Cole, “I don’t care a d–n for you. That d–d gold bible is going into my paper, in spite of all you can do.”

Hyrum and Oliver both contended with him a long time to dissuade him from his purpose, but finding they could do nothing with him, they returned home, and Mr. Cole issued his paper as he had done several other times. We discovered that he had already issued some six or eight numbers, and had managed to keep them out of our sight.

Hyrum and Oliver returned immediately home, and after connecting with Mr. Smith, it was considered necessary to send for Joseph. Accordingly my husband set out as soon as possible for Pennsylvania and returned with Joseph the ensuing Sunday. The day on which they were expected home was one of the most blustery, cold, and disagreeable that I ever experienced. But they breasted the storm all day long, and when they arrived there, they were nearly stiffened with the cold. However, Joseph made himself comfortable, and, as soon as he could, he went the same night to the printing office.

As it was Sunday, the day in which Mr. Cole published his Dogberry Paper, Joseph saluted him very good-naturedly with, “How do you do, Mr. Cole? You seem hard at work.”

“How do you do, Mr. Smith?” said Cole dryly.

Joseph then examined his paper and said, “Mr. Cole, that book and the right of publishing it belongs to me, and I forbid you meddling with it in the least degree.”

Mr. Cole threw off his coat and, rolling up his sleeves, came towards my son in a great rage, smacking his fists together with vengeance and roaring out, “Do you want to fight, sir? Do you want to fight? I will publish just what I’ve a mind to, and now if you want to fight, just come on.”

Joseph could not help smiling at his grotesque appearance, for his behavior was too ridiculous to excite indignation. “Well, now, Mr. Cole,” said he, “you had better keep on your coat, for it’s cold, and I am not going to fight you nor do anything of the sort. Nevertheless, you have got to stop printing my book, sir, I assure you, for I know my rights and shall maintain them.”

“Sir,” bawled out Cole, “if you think you are the best man, just take off your coat and try it.”

“Mr. Cole,” said Joseph, in a low, significant tone, “there is law, and you will find that out, if you did not know it before; but I shall not fight you, for that will do no good. There is another way of disposing of the affair that will answer my purpose better than fighting.”

At this, the ex-justice began to cool off a little, and finally concluded to submit to an arbitration, which decided that he should stop his proceedings forthwith, so that he made us no further trouble.

Joseph, after disposing of this affair, returned to Pennsylvania, but it was not long till another difficulty arose. The inhabitants of the surrounding country, perceiving that the work still went on, were becoming uneasy again and called a large meeting. They gathered their forces together, far and near, and organizing themselves into a committee of the whole, they passed a resolution that they would not purchase the book or suffer their families to do so, as they had done in a former meeting. Not content with this, they sent a deputation to E. B. Grandin who informed him of the resolution passed by the meeting, and also told him the evil consequences which would result to him therefrom.

The men who were appointed to this errand fulfilled their mission to the letter and urged upon Mr. Grandin the necessity of his putting a stop to the printing, as the Smiths had lost all their property and consequently would be unable to pay him for his work, except by the sale of books. And this they would never be able to do, for the people would not purchase them. This information caused Mr. Grandin to stop printing, and we were again compelled to send for Joseph. These trips back and forth from New York to Pennsylvania cost everything that we could raise, but they seemed unavoidable.

When Joseph came, he went immediately with Martin Harris to Grandin and succeeded in removing his fears, so that he went on with the work until the books were printed, which was in the spring of 1830.


Chapter 33

Legal organization of the Church at the home of  Peter  Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York. Joseph’s parents are baptized.  Samuel  Harrison Smith called on a mission to surrounding area. An account of his challenges. He meets with  John P. Greene.


April 1830 to July 1830

During the fall and winter we held no meetings, because of the plotting schemes of the people against us, but in the spring, about the first of April of the same year in which the Book of Mormon was published, Joseph came from Pennsylvania and preached to us several times. My husband and Martin Harris were baptized. Joseph stood on the shore when his father came out of the water, and as he took him by the hand he cried out, “Praise to my God! I have lived to see my own father baptized into the true Church of Jesus Christ,” and covered his face in his father’s bosom and wept aloud for joy as did Joseph of old when he beheld his father coming up into the land of Egypt. This took place on the sixth of April, 1830, the day on which the Church was organized.

Shortly after this, my sons were all ordained to the ministry, even Don Carlos, who was but fourteen years of age.  Samuel  was directed to take a number of the Books of  Mormon  and go on a mission to Livonia, to preach and make sale of the books, if possible. Whilst he was making preparations to go on this mission, Miss Almira Mack arrived in Manchester from Pontiac. This young woman was a daughter of my brother Stephen Mack, whose history I have already given. She received the gospel as soon as she heard it, and was baptized immediately, and has ever since remained a faithful member of the Church.

On the thirtieth of June,  Samuel  started on the mission to which he had been set apart by Joseph, and in traveling twenty-five miles, which was his first day’s journey, he stopped at a number of places in order to sell his books, but was turned out of doors as soon as he declared his principles. When evening came on, he was faint and almost discouraged, but coming to an inn, which was surrounded with every appearance of plenty, he called to see if the landlord would buy one of his books. On going in,  Samuel  inquired of him, if he did not wish to purchase a history of the origin of the Indians.

“I do not know,” replied the host; “how did you get hold of it?”

“It was translated,” rejoined Samuel, “by my brother, from some gold plates that he found buried in the earth.”

“You liar!” cried the landlord. “Get out of my house-you shan’t stay one minute with your books.”

Samuel  was sick at heart, for this was the fifth time he had been turned out of doors that day. He left the house and traveled a short distance and washed his feet in a small brook, as a testimony against the man. He then proceeded five miles further on his journey, and seeing an apple tree a short distance from the road, he concluded to pass the night under it; and here he lay all night upon the cold, damp ground. In the morning, he arose from his comfortless bed, and observing a small cottage at no great distance, he drew near, hoping to get a little refreshment. The only inmate was a widow, who seemed very poor. He asked her for food, relating the story of his former treatment. She prepared him victuals, and, after eating, he explained to her the history of the Book of Mormon. She listened attentively and believed all that he told her, but, in consequence of her poverty, she was unable to purchase one of the books. He presented her with one and proceeded to Bloomington, which was eight miles further.

Here he stopped at the house of  John P. Greene, who was a Methodist preacher and was at that time about starting on a preaching mission. He, like the others, did not wish to make a purchase of what he considered at that time to be a nonsensical fable; however, he said that he would take a subscription paper, and if he found anyone on his route who was disposed to purchase, he would take his name, and in two weeks  Samuel  might call again and he would let him know what the prospect was of selling. After making this arrangement,  Samuel  left one of his books with him, and returned home. At the time appointed,  Samuel  started again for the Reverend  John P. Greene’s, in order to learn the success which this gentleman had met with in finding sale for the Book of Mormon. This time, Mr. Smith and myself accompanied him, and it was our intention to have passed near the tavern where  Samuel  was so abusively treated a fortnight previous, but just before we came to the house, a sign of smallpox intercepted us. We turned aside, and meeting a citizen of the place, we inquired of him, to what extent this disease prevailed. He answered that the tavern keeper and two of his family had died with it not long since, but he did not know that anyone else had caught the disease, and that it was brought into the neighborhood by a traveler who stopped at the tavern overnight.

This is a specimen of the peculiar disposition of some individuals, who would sacrifice their soul’s salvation rather than give a Saint of God a meal of victuals. According to the word of God, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, in the Day of Judgment, than for such persons.

We arrived at Esquire Beaman’s, in Livonia, that night. The next morning  Samuel  took the road to Mr. Greene’s, and, finding that he had made no sale of the books, we returned home the following day.


Chapter 34

Joseph Smith Sr. and Don Carlos set out on a mission to bring the gospel to the extended Smith family. They are well treated by all the family, save Jesse. Extract from brother  John  Smith’s journal. Meeting with Parley P. Pratt. Trouble in Colesville, New York. Joseph is arrested and tried before false witnesses.  John  Reed is led by the Spirit to defend Joseph.


Summer 1830 to fall 1830

In the summer after the Church was organized, my husband set out, with Don Carlos, to visit his father, Asael Smith. After a tedious journey, they arrived at the house of  John  Smith, my husband’s brother.  His wife, Clarissa, had never before seen my husband, but as soon as he entered, she exclaimed, “There, Mr. Smith, is your brother Joseph.”

John, turning suddenly, cried out, “Joseph, is this you?”

“It is I,” said Joseph. “Is my father still alive? I have come to see him once more before he dies.”

For a particular account of this visit, I shall give my readers an extract from brother  John  Smith’s journal. He writes as follows:

“The next morning after brother Joseph arrived, we set out together for Stockholm to see our father, who was living at that place with our brother Silas. We arrived about dark at the house of my brother Jesse, who was absent with his wife. The children informed us that their parents were with our father, who was supposed to be dying. We hastened without delay to the house of brother Silas, and upon arriving there, were told that Father was just recovering from a severe fit, and, as it was not considered advisable to let him or Mother know that Joseph was there, we went to spend the night with brother Jesse.

“As soon as we were settled, brothers Jesse and Joseph entered into conversation respecting their families. Joseph briefly related the history of his family, the death of Alvin, etc. He then began to speak of the discovery and translation of the Book of Mormon. At this Jesse grew very angry, and exclaimed, ‘If you say another word about that Book of Mormon, you shall not stay a minute longer in my house, and if I can’t get you out any other way, I will hew you down with my broadaxe.’

“We had always been accustomed to being treated with much harshness by our brother, but he had never carried it to so great an extent before. However, we spent the night with him, and the next morning visited our aged parents. They were overjoyed to see Joseph, for he had been absent from them so long that they had been fearful of never beholding his face again in the flesh.

“After the usual salutations, enquiries, and explanations, the subject of the Book of  Mormon  was introduced. Father received with gladness that which Joseph communicated; and remarked, that he had always expected that something would appear to make known the true gospel.

“In a few moments brother Jesse came in, and on hearing that the subject of our conversation was the Book of Mormon, his wrath rose as high as it did the night before. ‘My father’s mind,’ said Jesse, ‘is weak; and I will not have it corrupted with such blasphemous stuff, so just shut up your head.’

“Brother Joseph reasoned mildly with him, but to no purpose. Brother Silas then said, ‘Jesse, our brother has come to make us a visit, and I am glad to see him and am willing he should talk as he pleases in my house.’ Jesse replied in so insulting a manner and continued to talk so abusively, that Silas was under the necessity of requesting him to leave the house.

“After this, brother Joseph proceeded in conversation, and Father seemed to be pleased with every word which he said. But I must confess that I was too pious, at that time, to believe one word of it.

“I returned home the next day, leaving Joseph with my father. Soon after which Jesse came to my house and informed me that all my brothers were coming to make me a visit, ‘and as true as you live,’ said he, ‘they all believe that cursed  Mormon  book, every word of it, and they are setting a trap for you to make you believe it.’

“I thanked him for taking so much trouble upon himself to inform me that my brothers were coming to see me, but told him that I considered myself amply able to judge for myself in matters of religion. ‘I know,’ he replied, ‘that you are a pretty good judge of such things, but I tell you that they are as wary as the devil. And I want you to go with me and see our sister Susan and sister-in-law Fanny, and we will bar their minds against Joseph’s influence.’

“We accordingly visited them, and conversed upon the subject as we thought proper, and requested them to be at my house the next day.

“My brothers arrived according to previous arrangement, and Jesse, who came also, was very careful to hear every word which passed among us, and would not allow one word to be said about the Book of  Mormon  in his presence. They agreed that night to visit our sisters the following day, and as we were about leaving, brother Asael took me aside and said, ‘Now, John, I want you to have some conversation with Joseph, but if you do, you must cheat it out of Jesse. And if you wish, I can work the card for you.’

“I told him that I would be glad to have a talk with Joseph alone, if I could get an opportunity.

“‘Well,’ replied Asael, ‘I will take a certain number in my carriage, and Silas will take the rest, and you may bring out a horse for Joseph to ride, but when we are out of sight, take the horse back to the stable again, and keep Joseph overnight.’

“I did as Asael advised, and that evening Joseph explained to me the principles of ‘Mormonism,’ the truth of which I have never since denied.

“The next morning, we (Joseph and myself) went to our sisters, where we met our brothers. Jesse censured me very sharply for keeping Joseph overnight.

“In the evening, when we were about to separate, I agreed to take Joseph in my wagon twenty miles on his journey the next day. Jesse rode home with me that evening, leaving Joseph with our sisters. As Joseph did not expect to see Jesse again, when we were about starting, Joseph gave Jesse his hand in a pleasant, affectionate manner, and said, ‘Farewell, brother Jesse.’

“‘Farewell, Jo, forever,’ replied Jesse, in a surly tone.

“‘I am afraid,’ returned Joseph, in a kind, but solemn manner, ‘it will be forever, unless you repent.’

“This was too much for even Jesse’s obdurate heart. He melted into tears; however, he made no reply, nor ever mentioned the circumstance afterwards.

“I took my brother twenty miles on his journey the next day, as I had agreed. Before he left me, he requested me to promise him that I would read a Book of Mormon, which he had given me, and even should I not believe it, that I would not condemn it; ‘for,’ said he, ‘if you do not condemn it, you shall have a testimony of its truth.’ I fulfilled my promise, and thus proved his testimony to be true.”

Just before my husband’s return, as Joseph was about commencing a discourse on Sunday morning, Parley P. Pratt came in, very much fatigued. He had heard of us at considerable distance and had traveled very fast in order to get there by meeting time, as he wished to hear what we had to say, that he might be prepared to show us our error. But when Joseph had finished his discourse, Mr. Pratt arose and expressed his hearty concurrence in every sentiment advanced. The following day he was baptized and ordained. In a few days he set off for Canaan, New York, where his brother Orson resided, whom he baptized on the nineteenth of September, 1830.

About this time Joseph’s trouble commenced at Colesville with the mob, who served a writ upon him and dragged him from the desk as he was about taking his text to preach. But as a relation of this affair is given in his history, I shall mention only one circumstance pertaining to it, for which I am dependent upon Esquire Reed, Joseph’s counsel in the case, and I shall relate it as near in his own words as my memory will admit:

“I was so busy at that time, when Mr. Smith sent for me, that it was almost impossible for me to attend the case, and never having seen Mr. Smith, I determined to decline going. But soon after coming to this conclusion, I thought I heard someone say to me, ‘You must go, and deliver the Lord’s Anointed!’ Supposing it was the man who came after me, I replied, ‘The Lord’s Anointed? What do you mean by the Lord’s Anointed?’ He was surprised at being accosted in this manner, and replied, ‘What do you mean, sir? I said nothing about the Lord’s Anointed.’ I was convinced that he told the truth, for these few words filled my mind with peculiar feelings, such as I had never before experienced; and I immediately hastened to the place of trial. Whilst I was engaged in the case, these emotions increased, and when I came to speak upon it, I was inspired with an eloquence which was altogether new to me, and which was overpowering and irresistible. I succeeded, as I expected, in obtaining the prisoner’s discharge. This the more enraged the adverse party, and I soon discovered that Mr. Smith was liable to abuse from them, should he not make his escape. The most of them being fond of liquor, I invited them into another room to drink, and thus succeeded in attracting their attention until Mr. Smith was beyond their reach. I knew not where he went, but I was satisfied that he was out of their hands.”

Since this circumstance occurred, until this day, Mr. Reed has been a faithful friend to Joseph, although he has never attached himself to the Church.

After escaping the hands of the mob, Joseph traveled till daybreak the next morning, before he ventured to ask for victuals, although he had taken nothing, save a small crust of bread, for two days. About daybreak he arrived at the house of one of his wife’s sisters, where he found Emma, who had suffered great anxiety about him since his first arrest. They returned home together, and immediately afterwards Joseph received a commandment by  revelation  to move his family to Waterloo.

Joseph had at this time just completed a house, which he had built on a small farm that he had purchased of his father-in-law; however, he locked up his house with his furniture in it, and repaired with Emma immediately to Manchester. About the time of his arrival at our house, Hyrum had settled up his business, for the purpose of being at liberty to do whatever the Lord required of him, and he requested Joseph to ask the Lord for a revelation concerning the matter. The answer given was that he should take a bed, his family, and what clothing he needed for them, and go straightway to Colesville, for his enemies were combining in secret chambers to take away his life. At the same time, Mr. Smith received a commandment to go forthwith to Waterloo and prepare a place for his family, as our enemies also sought his destruction in the neighborhood in which we then resided, but in Waterloo he should find favor in the eyes of the people. The next day, by ten o’clock, Hyrum was on his journey. Joseph and Emma left for Macedon, and William went away from home in another direction, on business.  Samuel  was absent on a third mission to Livonia, for which he had set out on the first of October, soon after the arrival of my husband and Don Carlos from their visit to father Smith. Catharine and Don Carlos were also away from home. Calvin Stoddard and his wife, Sophronia, had moved several miles distant some time previous. This left no one but Mr. Smith, myself, and our little girl, Lucy, at home.


Chapter 35

A Quaker calls upon Joseph Smith Sr. to pay a debt for fourteen dollars. Joseph cannot pay but is given the option to burn the Book of  Mormon and be forgiven the debt. Joseph refuses and goes to jail. A large mob gathers to pilfer the Smith home when only Lucy and little Lucy are present. Mother Smith prays that her family will be safe. Son William Smith arrives and immediately breaks up the mob.  Samuel  goes to help his father in jail. Joseph Sr. works for thirty days in the jail yard to pay his debt, preaches the gospel, and baptizes two people.


Fall 1830

On the same day that Hyrum left for Colesville, which was Wednesday, the neighbors began to call, one after another, and inquire very particularly for Hyrum.

This gave me great anxiety, for I knew that they had no business with him. The same night my husband was taken rather ill, and, continuing unwell the next day, he was unable to take breakfast with me. About ten o’clock I commenced preparing him some milk porridge, but before it was ready for him, a Quaker gentleman called to see him, and the following is the substance of their conversation:

Quaker: “Friend Smith, I have a note against thee for fourteen dollars, which I have lately bought, and I have come to see if thou hast the money for me.”

Mr. Smith: “Why, sir, did you purchase that note? You certainly were in no want of the money?”

Quaker: “That is business of my own; I want the money, and must have it.”

Mr. Smith: “I can pay you six dollars now-the rest you will have to wait for, as I cannot get it for you.”

Quaker: “No, I will not wait one hour; and if thou dost not pay me immediately, thou shalt go forthwith to the jail, unless”-running to the fireplace and making violent gestures with his hands towards the fire “thou wilt burn up those Books of Mormon; but if thou wilt burn them up, then I will forgive thee the whole debt.”

Mr. Smith (decidedly): “That I shall not do.”

Quaker: “Then, thou shalt go to jail.”

“Sir,” I interrupted (taking my gold beads from my neck and holding them towards him), “these beads are the full value of the remainder of the debt. I beseech you to take them and be satisfied to give up the note.”

Quaker: “No, I will not. Thou must pay the money, or thy husband shall go straightway to jail.”

“Now, here, sir,” I replied, “just look at yourself as you are. Because God has raised up my son to bring forth a book, which was written for the salvation of the souls of men, for the salvation of your soul as well as mine, you have come here to distress my family and me by taking my husband to jail; and you think, by this, that you will compel us to deny the work of God and destroy a book which was translated by the gift and power of God. But, sir, we shall not burn the Book of Mormon, nor deny the inspiration of the Almighty.”

The Quaker then stepped to the door and called a constable, who was waiting there for the signal. The constable came forward and, laying his hand on Mr. Smith’s shoulder, said, “You are my prisoner.”

I entreated the officer to allow me time to get someone to become my husband’s security, but he refused. I then requested that he might be permitted to eat the porridge which I had been preparing, as he had taken no nourishment since the night before. This was also denied, and the Quaker ordered my husband to get immediately into a wagon which stood waiting to convey him to prison.

After they had taken him to the wagon, the Quaker stood over him as guard and the officer came back and ate up the food which I had prepared for my husband, who sat in the burning sun, faint and sick.

Wives, who love your husbands and would sacrifice your lives for theirs, how do you think I felt at that moment? I will leave you to imagine. Suffice it for the present to say that after devouring the last mouthful of provisions which we had in the house, they drove away with my husband, and I was left alone again with Lucy, my youngest child.

The next morning I went on foot several miles to see a friend by the name of Abner Lackey, who, I hoped, would assist me. I was not disappointed. He went without delay to the magistrate’s office and had my papers prepared, so that I could get my husband out of the prison cell, although he would still be confined in the jail yard.

Shortly after I returned home, a pesty young gentleman came in and asked if Mr. Hyrum Smith was at home. I told him, as I had others, that he was in Colesville. The young man said that Hyrum was owing a small debt to Dr. McIntyre (who was then absent), and the doctor wished him to call at my house to see if it would be convenient for him to settle the debt. I told the young man that all my son’s business was left in order, and that the agreement with Dr. McIntyre was that the debt was to be paid in corn and beans, which I would send to him the next day.

I then hired a man to take the produce the following day to the doctor’s house, which was accordingly done, and, when the man returned, he informed me that the clerk agreed to erase the account. It was now too late in the day to set out for Canandaigua, where my husband was confined in prison, and I concluded to defer going till the next morning, in hopes that some of my sons would return during the interval.

The night came on, but neither of my sons made their appearance. When the night closed in, the darkness was hideous; scarcely any object was discernible. I sat down and began to contemplate the situation of myself and family. My husband, an affectionate companion and as tender a father as ever blessed the confidence of a family, was an imprisoned debtor, torn from his family and immured in a dungeon, where he had already lain two dismal nights, and now another must be added to the number before I could reach him to render him any assistance. And where were his children? Alvin was murdered by a quack physician; but still he lay at peace. Hyrum was flying from his home and why I knew not; the secret combinations of his enemies were not yet fully developed. Joseph had but recently escaped from his persecutors, who sought to accomplish his destruction.  Samuel  was gone, without purse or scrip, to preach the gospel, for which he was as much despised and hated as were the ancient disciples. William was also gone, and I had not, unlike Naomi, even my daughters-in-law to comfort my heart in this the hour of my affliction.

While I was thus meditating, a heavy rap at the door brought me suddenly to my feet. I bade the stranger enter. He asked me, in a hurried manner, where Hyrum was. I answered the question as usual. Just then a second person came in, and the first observed to a second, “Mrs. Smith says her son is not at home.” The person addressed looked suspiciously around and remarked, “He is at home, for your neighbors have seen him here today.”

“Then, sir,” I replied, “they have seen what I have not.”

“We have a search warrant,” rejoined he, “and if you do not give him up, we shall be under the necessity of taking whatever we find that belongs to him.” Finding some corn stored in the chamber above the room where Hyrum had lived, they declared their intention of taking it, but I forbade their meddling with it.

At this instant a third stranger entered, and then a fourth. The last observed, “I do not know, but you will think strange of so many of us coming in, but my candle was out, and I came in to relight it by your fire.”

I told him I did not know what to think. I had but little reason to consider myself safe either day or night, and that I would like to know what their business was, and for what cause they were seizing upon our property. The foremost replied that it was wanted to settle a debt which Hyrum was owing to Dr. McIntyre. I told him that it was paid. He disputed my word, and ordered his men to take the corn.

As they were going upstairs, I looked out of the window, and one glance almost turned my head giddy. As far as I could see by the light of two candles and a pair of carriage lamps, the heads of men appeared in every direction, some on foot, some on horseback, and the rest in wagons. I saw that there was no way but for me to sit quietly down, and see my house pillaged by a banditti of blacklegs, religious bigots, and cut-throats, who were united in one purpose, namely, that of destroying us from the face of the earth.

However, there was one resource, and to that I applied. I went aside, and kneeled before the Lord and begged that he would not let my children fall into their hands, and that they might be satisfied with plunder without taking life.

Just at this instant, William bounded into the house. “Mother,” he cried, “in the name of God, what is this host of men doing here? Are they robbing or stealing? What are they about?”

I told him, in short, that they had taken his father to prison, and had now come after Hyrum, but, not finding him, they were plundering the house. Hereupon, William seized a large handspike, sprang up the stairs, and, in one instant, cleared the scoundrels out of the chamber. They scampered downstairs; he flew after them, and, bounding into the very midst of the crowd, he brandished his handspike in every direction, exclaiming, “Away from here, you cut-throats, instantly, or I will be the death of every one of you.”

The lights were immediately extinguished, yet he continued to harangue them boisterously, until he discovered that his audience had left him. They seemed to believe what he said, and fled in every direction, leaving us again to ourselves.

Between twelve and one o’clock, Calvin Stoddard and his wife, Sophronia, arrived at our house. Calvin said he had been troubled about us all afternoon, and, finally, about the setting of the sun, he told Sophronia that he would even then start for her father’s, if she felt inclined to go with him.

Within an hour after their arrival,  Samuel  came. He was much fatigued, for he had traveled twenty-one miles after sunset. I told him our situation, and that I wished him to go early the next morning to Canandaigua and procure his father’s release from the dungeon. “Well, Mother,” said he, “I am sick; fix me a bed, that I may lie down and rest myself, or I shall not be able to go, for I have taken a heavy cold, and my bones ache dreadfully.”

However, by a little nursing and some rest, he was able to set off by sunrise, and arrived at Canandaigua at ten o’clock. After informing the jailor of his business, he requested that his father might be immediately liberated from the cell. The jailor refused, because it was Sunday, but permitted  Samuel  to go into the cell, where he found my husband confined in the same dungeon with a man committed for murder. Upon  Samuel  inquiring what his treatment had been, Mr. Smith replied as follows:

“Immediately after I left your mother, the men by whom I was taken commenced using every possible argument to induce me to renounce the Book of Mormon, saying, ‘how much better it would be for you to deny that silly thing, than to be disgraced and imprisoned, when you might not only escape this, but also have the note back, as well as the money which you have paid on it.’ To this I made no reply. They still went on in the same manner till we arrived at the jail, when they hurried me into this dismal dungeon. I shuddered when I first heard these heavy doors creaking upon their hinges; but then I thought to myself, I was not the first man who had been imprisoned for the truth’s sake; and when I should meet Paul in the paradise of God, I could tell him that I, too, had been in bonds for the gospel which he had preached. And this has been my only consolation.

“From the time I entered until now, and this is the fourth day, I have had nothing to eat, save a pint basin full of very weak broth; and there [pointing to the opposite side of the cell] lies the basin yet.”

Samuel  was very much wounded by this, and, having obtained permission of the jailor, he immediately went out and brought his father some comfortable food. After which he remained with him until the next morning, when the business was attended to, and Mr. Smith went out into the jail yard to a cooper’s shop, where he obtained employment at coopering, and followed the same until he was released, which was thirty days. He preached during his confinement there every Sunday, and when he was released, he baptized two persons whom he had thus converted.


Chapter 36

Samuel’s account of his third mission to Livonia, New York.  John  and Rhoda Greene, Phineas Young,Brigham Young, and others join the Church through Samuel’s efforts. The Smiths move from the farm at Manchester to Waterloo, New York, and are treated with great kindness and enjoy a season of peace.

Fall 1830

Samuel  returned from Canandaigua the same day that my husband was liberated from the cell. After relating to us the success he had met with at Canandaigua, he gave us an account of his third mission to Livonia:

“When I arrived at Mr. Greene’s,” said he, “Mrs. Greene informed me that her husband was absent from home, that there was no prospect of selling my books, and even the one which I had left with them, she expected I would have to take away, as Mr. Greene had no disposition to purchase it, although she had read it herself, and was much pleased with it. I then talked with her a short time and, binding my knapsack upon my shoulders, rose to depart; but, as I bade her farewell, it was impressed upon my mind to leave the book with her. I made her a present of it, and told her that the Spirit forbade me taking it away. She burst into tears, and requested me to pray with her. I did so, and afterwards explained to her the most profitable manner of reading the book which I had left with her; which was, to ask God, when she read it, for a testimony of the truth of what she had read, and she would receive the Spirit of God, which would enable her to discern the things of God. I then left her, and returned home.”

I shall now turn aside from my narrative, and give a history of the above book. When Mr. Greene returned home, his wife requested him to read it, informing him very particularly with regard to what  Samuel  had said to her, relative to obtaining a testimony of the truth of it. This, he, for a while, refused to do, but finally yielded to her persuasions and took the book and commenced perusing the same, calling upon God for the testimony of his Spirit. The result of which was that he and Mrs. Greene were in a short time baptized. They gave the book to Phineas Young, Mrs. Greene’s brother, who read it, and commenced preaching it forthwith. It was next handed to Brigham Young, and from him to Mrs. Murray, his sister, who is also the mother of Heber C. Kimball’s wife. They all received the work without hesitancy, and rejoiced in the truth thereof. Joseph Young was at this time in Canada, preaching the Methodist doctrine; but, as soon as Brigham became convinced of the truth of the gospel, as contained in the Book of Mormon, he went straightway to his brother Joseph and persuaded him to cease preaching Methodism and embrace the truth, as set forth in the Book of Mormon, which he carried with him.

Thus was this book the means of convincing this whole family and bringing them into the Church, where they have continued faithful members from the commencement of their career until now. And, through their faithfulness and zeal, some of them have become as great and honorable men as ever stood upon the earth.

I shall now resume my subject. The first business which  Samuel  set himself about after he returned home was preparing to move the family to Waterloo, according to the  revelation  given to Joseph. And after much fatigue and perplexities of various kinds, he succeeded in getting us there. We moved into a house belonging to an individual by the name of Kellog. Shortly after arriving there, we were made to realize that the hearts of the people were in the hands of the Lord; for we had scarcely unpacked our goods, when one of our new neighbors, a Mr. Osgood, came in and invited us to drive our stock and teams to his barnyard, and feed them from his barn, free of cost, until we could make further arrangements. Many of our neighbors came in and welcomed us to Waterloo, among whom was Mr. Hooper, a tavern keeper, whose wife came with him, and brought us a present of some delicate eatables. Such manifestations of kindness as these were shown us from day to day, during our continuance in the place. And they were duly appreciated, for we had experienced the opposite so severely, that the least show of good feeling gave rise to the liveliest sensations of gratitude.

Having settled ourselves in this place, we established the practice of spending the evenings in singing and praying. The neighbors soon became aware of this, and it caused our house to become a place of evening resort for some dozen or twenty persons. One evening, soon after we commenced singing, a couple of little boys came in, and one of them, stepping softly up to Samuel, whispered, “Mr. Smith, won’t you pray pretty soon? Our mother said we must be home by eight o’clock, and we would like to hear you pray before we go.”

Samuel  told them that prayer should be attended to immediately. Accordingly, when we had finished the hymn, which we were then singing, we closed the evening services with prayer, in order that the little boys might be gratified. After this, they were never absent during our evening devotions while we remained in the neighborhood.


Chapter 37

Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson,  Peter  Whitmer Jr., and Oliver Cowdery are called on a mission to the Lamanites. Lucy’s description of the indomitable Emma. The four missionaries stop in Ohio to preach the gospel, and hundreds respond to the message of the Restoration, including Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge. Sidney and Edward come to Waterloo to meet the Prophet. The Lord commands the Church to gather in Ohio. Joseph and Emma move to Kirtland, Ohio.


October 1830 to February 1831

I mentioned in a foregoing chapter that when Joseph and Emma left Manchester they went to Macedon. Here he commenced his ministerial labors and continued, for some time, to preach successively in this place, Colesville, Waterloo, Palmyra, and Manchester, till finally he sent to Pennsylvania for his goods and settled himself in Waterloo. Soon after which, a revelation was given commanding Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson,  Peter  Whitmer, and Oliver Cowdery to take a mission to Missouri, preaching by the way.  As soon as this  revelation  was received, Emma Smith and several other sisters began to make arrangements to furnish those who were set apart for this mission with the necessary clothing, which was no easy task, as the most of it had to be manufactured out of the raw material.

Emma’s health at this time was quite delicate, yet she did not favor herself on this account, but whatever her hands found to do she did with her might, until so far beyond her strength that she brought upon herself a heavy fit of sickness, which lasted four weeks. And, although her strength was exhausted, still her spirits were the same, which, in fact, was always the case with her, even under the most trying circumstances. I have never seen a woman in my life who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship from month to month and from year to year with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience which she has ever done; for I know that which she has had to endure-she has been tossed upon the ocean of uncertainty-she has breasted the storms of persecution, and buffeted the rage of men and devils, which would have borne down almost any other woman. It may be that many may yet have to encounter the same-I pray God that this may not be the case; but, should it be, may they have grace given them according to their day, even as has been the case with her.

As soon as those men designated in the  revelation  were prepared to leave home, they started on their mission, preaching and baptizing on their way wherever an opportunity afforded. On their route they passed through Kirtland, where they preached a short time and raised up a branch of twenty or thirty members. Before leaving this place, they addressed a letter to Joseph, desiring him to send an elder to preside over the branch which they had raised up. Accordingly, Joseph dispatched  John  Whitmer to take the presidency of the Church at Kirtland; and when he arrived there, those appointed to go to Missouri proceeded on their mission, preaching and baptizing as before.

In December of the same year, Joseph appointed a meeting at our house. While he was preaching, Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came in and seated themselves in the congregation. When Joseph had finished his discourse, he gave all who had any remarks to make the privilege of speaking. Upon this, Mr. Partridge arose, and stated that he had been to Manchester with the view of obtaining further information respecting the doctrine which we preached; but, not finding us, he had made some inquiry of our neighbors concerning our characters, which they stated had been unimpeachable, until Joseph deceived them relative to the Book of Mormon. He also said that he had walked over our farm, and observed the good order and industry which it exhibited; and, having seen what we had sacrificed for the sake of our faith, and having heard that our veracity was not questioned upon any other point than that of our religion, he believed our testimony and was ready to be baptized, “if,” said he, “Brother Joseph will baptize me.”

“You are now,” replied Joseph, “much fatigued, Brother Partridge, and you had better rest today and be baptized tomorrow.”

“Just as Brother Joseph thinks best,” replied Mr. Partridge, “I am ready at any time.”

He was accordingly baptized the next day. Before he left, my husband returned home from prison, bringing along with him considerable clothing, which he had earned at coopering in the jail yard.

The latter part of the same month, Joseph received a letter from  John  Whitmer, desiring his immediate assistance at Kirtland in regulating the affairs of the Church there. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received a commandment to go straightway to Kirtland with his family and effects; also to send a message to Hyrum to have him take the branch of the Church over which he presided and start immediately for the same place. And my husband was commanded, in the same revelation, to meet Hyrum at the most convenient point and accompany him to Kirtland.  Samuel  was sent on a mission into the same region of country, while I and my two sons William and Carlos were to be left till the ensuing spring, when we were to take the remainder of the branch at Waterloo and move also to Kirtland.

It was but a short time till Joseph and Emma were on their way, accompanied by Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge,  Ezra  Thayre, and Newel Knight. When they were about starting, they preached at our house on the Seneca River; and on their way they preached at the house of Calvin Stoddard, and likewise at the house of Preserved Harris.  At each of these places, they baptized several individuals into the Church.

On Joseph’s arrival at Kirtland, he found a church consisting of nearly one hundred members, who were, in general, good brethren, though a few of them had imbibed some very erroneous ideas, being greatly deceived by a singular power which manifested itself among them in strange contortions of the visage, and sudden, unnatural exertions of the body. This they supposed to be a display of the power of God. Shortly after Joseph arrived, he called the Church together in order to show them the difference between the Spirit of God and the spirit of the devil. He said, if a man arose in meeting to speak, and was seized with a kind of paroxysm that drew his face and limbs in a violent and unnatural manner which made him appear to be in pain; and if he gave utterance to strange sounds which were incomprehensible to his audience, they might rely upon it, that he had the spirit of the devil. But, on the contrary, when a man speaks by the Spirit of God, he speaks from the abundance of his heart-his mind is filled with intelligence, and even should he be excited, it does not cause him to do anything ridiculous or unseemly. He then called upon one of the brethren to speak, who arose and made the attempt, but was immediately seized with a kind of spasm which drew his face, arms, and fingers in a most astonishing manner.

Hyrum, by Joseph’s request, laid his hands on the man, whereupon he sank back in a state of complete exhaustion. Joseph then called upon another man to speak who stood leaning in an open window. This man also attempted to speak, but was thrown forward into the house, prostrate, unable to utter a syllable. He was administered to, and the same effect followed as in the first instance.

These, together with a few other examples of the same kind, convinced the brethren of the mistake under which they had been laboring; and they all rejoiced in the goodness of God in once more condescending to lead the children of men by  revelation  and the gift of the Holy Ghost.


Lucy Mack Smith leads a group of families from Fayette (Waterloo), New York, to Kirtland, Ohio, the gathering place for the Saints. They sing hymns and preach sermons along the Erie Canal. They arrive at Buffalo and the harbor is closed because of ice. The Saints murmur because of their ill comfort, hunger, and thirst, but Lucy continues to encourage and strengthen them. She calls upon them to exercise their faith and the way will be opened for them. The twenty-foot-thick ice bursts apart like the roar of thunder and they make their passage out of the harbor, then upon Lake Erie to Fairport, Ohio. Joyous meeting with the Prophet Joseph. Safe arrival in Kirtland.


Late April 1831 to mid-May 1831

Soon after my husband and Joseph left for Kirtland, William, being one of the teachers, assisted the Church by calling on every family (as is our custom). He prayed with them and did not leave the house until every member of the family over eight years old had prayed vocally.

When the brethren considered the spring sufficiently open for traveling on the water, a time was set when the Church members were to meet at my house and set off for Kirtland in the same boat. When we were thus collected, we numbered eighty, including the children.

We went on board a boat which was owned by a Methodist preacher. His wife generally went on the boat with him and did his work, but when she found that he was going to take a company of Mormons, she refused to go and sent a hired girl in her stead. When we were ready to start, the people from all the surrounding country came in droves to bid us farewell, which they did, universally invoking the blessing of heaven upon our heads. Just before we shoved off from shore, an old brother by the name of Humphrey came from Potsdam. He had been brought into the Church by Don Carlos’s preaching at the time that he visited his grandfather in company with my husband. At this time, Brother Humphrey was the oldest elder in the Church and Don Carlos the youngest.

On account of Brother Humphrey’s age, I wished him to take charge of the company, but he refused to do so, saying that everything should be done just as Mother Smith said, and that I, with my sons William and Carlos, should have the entire dictation. “Yes,” the whole company responded together, “we will do just as Mother Smith says.” Just then Esquire Chamberlain came on board and inquired if I had what money I needed to make my family comfortable. I told him that I had an abundance of everything for myself and my children, but it was possible that he might find some who had been unable to provide sufficient means to take them through. “Well,” he said, “here is a little cash,” and handed me seventeen dollars. “You may spend it as you like.” I again told him I did not need it. “You can deal it out to such as do,” he said. I took the money and soon had reason to rejoice that I did.

After bedding him with our own acquaintances and giving our affectionate farewells, the boat was shoved off from shore and we were soon under fine headway. I then began to think how I was to set about the task which was laid upon me. I called the brethren and sisters together and reminded them, “Now, brothers and sisters, we have set out just as father Lehi did to travel, by the commandment of the Lord, to a land that he will show us if we are faithful. I want you all to be solemn and lift your hearts to God in prayer continually, that we may be prospered. And for the present, let the sisters take seats on one side of the boat and the brethren on the other, and we will sing a hymn.” They did as I desired, and when we struck into the second hymn, the captain cried out to his mate, “Do, for God’s sake, come here and take the helm and let me go, for I must hear that singing.” When we finished the hymn, he expressed his surprise and pleasure in the warmest terms and mentioned that his wife had left the boat because he had taken a Mormon company on board, which he regretted, for he thought she would have enjoyed our society very much.

At evening Brother Humphrey and Brother Page asked me if I thought it was best to have prayers twice a day. This pleased me, for it was what I intended before. We seated ourselves and sang a hymn, and the solemn music rose in such sweet melancholy on the clear air and died away so beautifully upon the water, that it melted every heart that heard it. And when we bowed down before the Lord in prayer, our souls burned within us with love, and we felt most sensibly that God indeed bestowed his Spirit upon men, even in these last days as in former days.

When the evening service was ended, I went round among the brethren to ascertain how many of them had prepared themselves with food for the journey, and to my surprise I discerned that there was no less than twenty who had no more than two meals’ victuals on hand. This was unaccountable to me at first, but I afterwards learned that they had converted their substance into clothing. These all, as well as thirty children, I supported entirely by feeding them from meal to meal clear to the end of the journey. They would have been obliged to have turned back or else suffer for the want of proper sustenance, for those who had provided for themselves had done no more, although some of them might have supplied others and themselves. But they did not seem to consider that the  revelation  that they should help each other was binding upon them.

I soon discovered among the mothers in our company a carelessness with regard to their children, even when their lives were in danger, which gave me great anxiety. For instance, if children were on deck when the boat passed under a bridge, they could be thrown overboard or bruised in such a manner as was terrible to think of. I called the sisters together and tried to make them realize their children’s danger and their own responsibility. “Sisters,” said I, “God has given you children to be a blessing to you, and it is your duty to take care of them, to keep them out of every possible danger, and especially in such a place as this, to have them always by your side. I warn you now to attend better to your duty in this respect, or your children will by some unforeseen accident be taken from you.”

After this we received news by another boat of the death of a small child that had occurred the day before on the same river. It was killed by being on deck when the boat was passing under a bridge. I thought that this accident and what I had said, taken together, would rouse the sisters to greater attention, but in this I was mistaken, for they took no thought of either, and their excuse for their neglecting their children was that they could not make them mind. I told them that I could make them mind me easily enough, and since they wouldn’t control them, I should.

I then got the children together around me and said, “Now,  mark  what I say to you. When I come up the stairs and raise my hand, you must every one of you run to me as fast as you can and you must not stop a minute. Will you do so?” They all answered heartily, “Yes, ma’am, we will.” And to their credit I would say that they kept their faith better than some very great folks do in these days-for they never failed to do just as I told, not only in that but everything else, while I was with them.

When we got halfway to Buffalo, the canal broke and we were stopped from traveling. This circumstance gave rise to many evil forebodings and much murmuring and discontentment. “Well, here we are,” said they, “the canal is broke and we can go no further, and what’s next? We have left our good homes, and now we have no means of getting a living, and here we must starve.”

“No,” said I, “you will not starve, brethren, nor any such thing. Only do stop murmuring and be patient, for I have no doubt that the hand of the Lord is over us for good. Perhaps it is best for us to be here a short time. After all, it is quite likely that the steamboats cannot leave Buffalo Harbor because it is blockaded with ice, and the town is crowded with families who are waiting for it to break away so that the boats can start. Are we not more comfortable here in a habitation which is paid for, and we have not the expense of renting a house?”

“Well,” said the sisters, “I suppose you know best, but it does seem that we would have done better to have remained at home, for there we might sit in our rocking chairs and take as much comfort as we were a mind to, and here we are tired out and have no place to rest ourselves.” I could not help reflecting upon the contrast between their care, fatigue, and cause for complaint and my own.

While I was talking, a citizen of the place where we had landed came into the boat and inquired what profession we were. I told him that we were Mormons, or Latter-day Saints. “Ah!” said he, “that is a denomination which I never heard of before. Do they ever preach?”

“They do,” I replied.

“Have you any preachers on board,” he said, “that would preach for us while you are stopping here?”

I told him that there were some elders in our company and I would speak to them about the matter. I went immediately to Brothers Humphrey and Page to ask them if they would preach that day. They were glad of an opportunity of addressing the people, and gave an appointment for meeting at one o’clock that afternoon. At the appointed hour, a congregation of one hundred persons collected on a beautiful green bordering the canal. We had a very pleasant meeting, and our fainthearted brethren and sisters were much strengthened. The people were anxious to have the elders preach again, but the canal was repaired by eleven o’clock the next morning, and we proceeded on our journey and arrived at Buffalo on Friday, about an hour and a half before sunset. It was the fifth day after we had set out from Waterloo.

Here we met the brethren from Colesville, who had been detained a week in this place to wait for navigation to open. Since Mr. Smith and Hyrum were directed to be in Kirtland by the first of April, they had gone the remainder of the journey by land. I inquired of the Colesville brethren if they had told the people that they were Mormons. They seemed surprised at the question and replied, “No, by no means-and don’t you do it for the world, for if you do, you will not get a boat nor a house, and here you must stay or go back.”

I told them I would let the people know exactly who I was and what I professed. “If you,” said I, “are ashamed of Christ, you will not be prospered as much as I shall, and we will get to Kirtland before you.”

While we were yet talking with the Colesville brethren, another boat came up which had on board about thirty  Mormon  brethren, and Brother Thomas Marsh was one of the company. He came to me and, perceiving the drift of our conversation, said, “Now, Mother Smith, if you do sing and have prayers and acknowledge that you are Mormons here in this place, as you have done all along, you will be mobbed before morning.”

“Well, mob it is, then,” said I, “for we shall sing and attend to prayers before sunset, mob or no mob.”

“Then,” said Marsh, considerably irritated, “I shall go into my own boat.”

I then called William and told him to tell Elder Humphrey and Elder Page that I would like to see them. When they came, we counseled together, and concluding that it was best to make what diligence we could to get onto our journey’s end, I requested them to go round among the boats and inquire for Captain Blake, and if they found him to bargain with him to take us to Fairport, for he was the captain of a boat that formerly belonged to General Mack, my brother of Detroit. They soon found the person in question, and he agreed to take us all on board the next morning. He said, however, that he would not be able to furnish us with fresh water, and also he was uncertain about starting, as the ice might not be out in a fortnight from that time. The morning after, we commenced moving our goods on board Captain Blake’s boat and were finished two hours before sunset. The captain of the boat that brought us to Buffalo went with us and said he would stay with us as long as we were there for the sake of religious instruction.

When we were fairly settled, it commenced raining. This rendered our situation very uncomfortable, for we were under the necessity of taking a deck passage, and some of the sisters complained bitterly because we had not hired a house till the boat was ready to start. In fact, their case was rather a trying one, for some of them had sick children.

I told them that I did not believe it would be an easy matter to get a house, for the other brethren had informed me that it was almost impossible, but they could not content themselves. In consequence, I asked Brother Hiram Page to try to get a room for them, but after a tiresome search, he returned and informed them that there was no vacant house to be found in the whole place. At this the women grumbled again and declared that they would have a house, let the consequences be what they might. “Well, well,” I said, “I will go myself and see what I can do for you, and a room you shall have if there is a possibility of getting one, on any terms whatsoever.”

The rain was still falling in torrents, but William went with me and held an umbrella over my head. I went to the nearest tavern and asked the landlord if he could let me have a room for some women to bring their beds into and sleep, that their children were unwell, and they were so much exposed that I was fearful for their health. “Yes,” said he. “I can easily make room for them.” At this, a woman who was ironing in the room turned upon him very sharply and said, “I have put up here myself and I am not going to be encumbered with anybody’s things in my way. I warrant the children have got the whooping cough or measles or some other catchin’ disease, and if they come, I’ll go somewhere else to board.”

“Why madam,” said the landlord, “that is not necessary. You can still have one large room.”

“Well, I don’t care,” said she. “I want them both, and if I can’t have them, I won’t stay.”

“Never mind,” said I, “it’s no matter. I will go somewhere else. I presume I can get some other room just as well.”

“No, you can’t though,” answered the lady, “for we hunted all over the town and couldn’t find one single room until we came here.” This instance of human nature carries its own moral, therefore it needs no remarks.

I left immediately and soon came to a long row of rooms, and as one of them seemed to be almost at liberty, I ventured to call and inquire if I could not rent it a few days. I found the proprietor to be a fine, cheerful old lady, probably near seventy years of age. When I asked her if she had a room which she could spare me at any price, stating the circumstances as I had done to the landlord before, she said, “Well, I don’t know. Where are you going?”

“To Kirtland,” I said.

“What be you?” said she. “Be you Baptists?”

“No,” said I. “We are Mormons.”

“Mormons!” said she in a quick but low and good-natured tone. “Why, I never heard of them before. What be they?”

I told her that we did not acknowledge the name, but the world called us so, and I said so that she might know who we were, but our proper name was Latter-day Saints.

“Latter-day Saints,” said she. “I never heard of them before.”

“I am,” said I, “the mother of the prophet who brought forth the work and translated the Book of Mormon.”

“What!” said she with increased surprise. “A prophet in these days! Why, I never heard the like in my life. Will you come, if I let you have a room?” I told her that I wanted the room for the sisters who were with me, but that I would come with them and stay that day with her.

“You will come in and sit with me and tell me all about it. I don’t know why ’twas, but just as soon as I saw you, I felt as though I wanted you to stay with me and I could not bear to have you go away.”

I returned to the boat, told the sisters what the prospects were, and they made haste to the room, having their beds taken also. The old lady was very prompt in removing the furniture from the room, and as soon as this was done, she came to me and said, “Now come and sit down with me and tell me all about what you was talking about.”

I went in and sat down, and we commenced conversation. I explained to her how the Lord was performing a work which was designed for the salvation of the people, and in order that they might be saved, it is necessary for them to repent of all their sins and be baptized for the remission of their sins, and have hands laid on them that they may receive the Holy Ghost.

“Receive the Holy Ghost,” said she. “What do you mean by that?” I gave her an explanation in full of this and many other matters, and she was so inquisitive and anxious to hear, that she kept me up until two o’clock in the morning. The next day my sisters and I were up betimes, and the old lady was not at all behind us. She offered every assistance possible about our cooking and arrangements, and when breakfast was over and I was about starting back to the boat, she urged me to stay, saying, “I felt as soon as I saw you that there was something more than common, and I would have not let my room go to any person in the world but you.”

When we removed to the boat again, Captain Blake requested the passengers to remain on board, as he wished from that time to be ready to start at a moment’s warning; at the same time he sent out a man to measure the depth of the ice, who, when he returned, reported that it was piled up to the height of twenty feet, and that it was his opinion that we would remain in the harbor at least two weeks longer.

At this, Porter Rockwell started on shore to see his uncle. His mother endeavored to prevent him, but he paid no attention to her, and she then appealed to me, saying, “Mother Smith, do get Porter back, for he won’t mind anybody but you.” I told him that, if he went, we should leave him on the shore, but he could do as he liked. He left the boat, and several others were about following him; but when I spoke to them, they replied, “We will do just as you say, Mother Smith,” and returned immediately.

Just then, William whispered in my ear, “Mother, do see the confusion yonder; won’t you go and put a stop to it!”

I went to that part of the boat where the principal portion of our company were. There I found several of the brethren and sisters engaged in a warm debate, others murmuring and grumbling, and a number of young ladies were flirting, giggling, and laughing with gentlemen passengers who were entire strangers to them, whilst hundreds of people on shore and on other boats were witnessing this scene of clamor and vanity among our brethren with great interest. I stepped into their midst, “Brethren and sisters,” said I, “we call ourselves Saints and profess to have come out from the world for the purpose of serving God at the expense of all earthly things; and will you, at the very onset, subject the cause of Christ to ridicule by your own unwise and improper conduct? You profess to put your trust in God, then how can you feel to murmur and complain as you do? You are even more unreasonable than the children of Israel were; for here are my sisters pining for their rocking chairs, and brethren from whom I expected firmness and energy declare that they positively believe they shall starve to death before they get to the end of their journey. And why is it so? Have any of you lacked? Have I not set food before you every day, and made you who had not provided for yourselves as welcome as my own children? And even if this were not the case, where is your faith? Where is your confidence in God? Do you not know that all things are in his hands, that he made all things and overrules them? If every Saint here would just lift their desires to him in prayer, that the way might be opened before us, how easy it would be for God to cause the ice to break away, and in a moment’s time we could be off on our journey. But how can you expect the Lord to prosper you when you are continually murmuring against him?”

Just then a man cried out from the shore, “Is the Book of  Mormon  true?”

“That book,” said I, “was brought forth by the power of God and translated by the same power, and if I could make my voice sound as loud as the trumpet of Michael, the archangel, I would declare the truth from land to land and from sea to sea, and echo it from isle to isle, until everyone of the whole family of man was left without excuse-for all should hear the truth of the gospel of the Son of God. I would sound in every ear that he has again revealed himself to man in these last days, and set his hand to gather his people together upon a goodly land. If they will fear him and walk uprightly before him, it shall be unto them for an inheritance; but if they rebel against his law, his hand will be against them to scatter them abroad and cut them off from the face of the earth.

“God is now going to do a work upon the earth for the salvation of all who will believe it unto the uttermost, even all who call on him, and man cannot hinder it. It will prove unto everyone who stands here this day a savior of life unto life or of death unto death-a savior of life unto life if ye will receive it, but of death unto death if ye reject the counsel of God unto your own condemnation. For every man shall have the desires of his heart. If he desires the truth, the way is open, and he may hear and live. Whereas if he treat the truth with contempt, and trample upon the simplicity of the word of God, he will shut the gate of heaven against himself.”

Then, turning to our own company, I said, “Now, brethren and sisters, if you will all of you raise your desires to heaven that the ice may be broken before us, and we be set at liberty to go on our way, as sure as the Lord lives, it shall be done.” At that moment a noise was heard like bursting thunder. The captain cried out, “Every man to his post,” and the ice parted, leaving barely a pathway for the boat that was so narrow that, as the boat passed through, the buckets were torn with a crash from the waterwheel. This, with the noise of the ice, the confusion of the spectators, the word of command from the captain, and the hoarse answering of the sailors, was truly dreadful. We had barely passed through the avenue, when the ice closed together again, and the Colesville brethren were left in Buffalo, unable to follow us.

As we were leaving the harbor, I heard one man on shore say, “There goes the  Mormon  company! That boat is sunk in the water nine inches deeper than it was before, and  mark  it, she will sink-there is nothing surer.” Our boat and one other had just time enough to get through, and the ice closed again and remained three weeks longer. The Colesville brethren were left in Buffalo, unable to follow us. The bystanders were so sure we would sink that they went straight to the office and had it published that we were sunk, so that when we arrived at Fairport, we read in the papers the news of our own death.

After our miraculous escape from the wharf and passage into the lake, I spoke to Brother Humphrey and requested him to call the brethren and sisters together, that we had seen a great manifestation of the power of God in our behalf, and it was near time for prayers. I thought it would be well to sing a little, and then have a kind of prayer meeting, so that all could pray that felt disposed so to do. We sang and prayed, but we had not got halfway through, when I received a message from the captain requesting me to have the Saints stop praying, for, he said, “We shall all go to hell together. We cannot keep one single hand to his post, even if we should go to the devil, for they are so taken up with the praying of your children.” (He said “my children” because they all called me “Mother.”)

We soon, however, had a formidable difficulty to encounter. We began to feel the effects of the motion of the boat, which brought many of our number down upon their backs with seasickness. There was a cry for water, but the captain had told the cook not to furnish the passengers with water, except where arrangements had been made. Yet, the Saints, especially those who were sick, were in great anxiety. I went to the cook and handed him twenty-five cents, and asked him if he could not let me have some hot water occasionally for the sick folks. He complied very readily with my request, and I was furnished with the means to make them comfortable for a season.

We had not been on board long until the captain found me to be the sister of General Mack. He seemed highly pleased to find in me a relative of his old friend. From that time until I left his boat, I never lacked for anything, and I never was treated with greater respect than on this boat.

A short time before we arrived at Fairport, Brother Humphrey and myself went on shore, and I bought a quantity of bread and some molasses for the little children, for there were thirty on board that I supplied myself. After we went back, Brother Humphrey called me to one side and said, “Mother Smith, you must stop this slavish work or you will kill yourself, and from now on let those women wait upon their own children and do the work for themselves and their husbands. As for myself, I shall not stay on board much longer.” I told him I thought there was no danger of my injuring myself but, thanking him for his kindness, went on as before. They told me afterwards that he left us at the next landing, but I did not observe it at the time.

When we were approaching the landing at Fairport, the passengers, sailors, and even the cooks came round and took me by the hand and wept as they bade me farewell. After landing, with our things put on shore, the company were more disheartened than ever. Several of the men came round me, asking what was to be done. “Here we are,” they said. “We and our goods are without any shelter, and we have no hopes of houses here and no means of conveying ourselves to Kirtland. Even if we could get there, it is not at all probable that we should have a shelter. Now, won’t you set our wives to work and have them sew up some blankets into tents, and we will camp out here by our goods and watch them.”

I looked round at the sisters and found them sitting about, some crying, others pointing, others attending to their business, but the last was the fewest number. I told them I should not set their wives to work; they might do as they liked. “But yonder,” said I, raising my eyes, “sits a man, and I shall inquire of him for information and see what can be done by the way of settling ourselves.”

I came to the man and asked him how far it was to Kirtland. He started up and exclaimed, “Is this Mother Smith?”

“Yes, sir,” I said. “We would like to know whether there is any chance of procuring teams to take our goods to Kirtland.”

“And is it possible that this is Mother Smith?” said he. “I have sat here three days and nights looking for you. Do not give yourself any uneasiness. Brother Joseph is expected here every hour, and in less than twenty-four hours there will be twenty teams on hand to take the goods from here to houses that are waiting to receive them.”

When he mentioned Joseph’s name I started, for I just began to realize that I was so soon to see my husband and three oldest sons. As I turned from the stranger, the first thing that met my eyes was  Samuel  coming towards me. We met in tears of joy, but before I could speak to him, Joseph came up and caught hold of my other hand. “Mother,” said Samuel. “I was warned of God in a dream to come immediately to this place to meet the company from Waterloo, and I was afraid that some dreadful thing had befallen you. Indeed, I feared that you were dead and that I should only meet your corpse.”

Joseph also seemed overjoyed to find me in so good health and said, “I was myself in great fear for your life, for Brother Humphrey came to Kirtland three days since and told me he thought there was great danger of your wearing yourself out before you got here. He said you had been a perfect servant to the company all the way along, but Mother, I shall now take you away from them and you shall have no more to do with it.”

As soon as this was spoken, the women gathered round me. “Oh, Mother Smith, what shall we do? You must not leave us. Can’t we go with you?” Joseph told them that they could go as far as Painesville and said, “Your husbands and the other brethren will remain until the teams come for the goods, but tomorrow I shall take her away from the whole of you, for she has done enough.”

The other women and I got into the wagons, and we were taken to Brother Partridge’s. When we arrived there we found an excellent dinner prepared for us. After this, Brother Kingsbury came and took me in his carriage so that I could have a good night’s rest, the which I had not taken since I left Waterloo. From here, I set out with my sons for Kirtland in Brother Kingsbury’s handsome and comfortable carriage, which Joseph had provided for the purpose before my arrival. Joseph and the brethren had also engaged houses in Kirtland and Painesville for the rest of the company, so that in a little while they were well situated and ready to commence business for the future support of their families.

The first house that I entered was Brother Morley’s. Here I met with my beloved husband, and great was my joy. Many of my readers know my present situation. These can imagine, perhaps, with what feelings I rehearse these recitals. But no, how can you? No woman lives upon the earth that could tell an experience like mine, and when I retrace my life in scenes like this, I seem again to press the warm hand that I then held within my own, and rest my weary head upon that affectionate breast that supports it now no more. But oh, my God, give me strength and be thou my God and help in every time of need, and support me yet a little longer, until my work is done, and then may the angels waft me to my home in heaven. But enough, I must not indulge my heart, for my tale of woe is to be told hereafter.

The evening after we arrived at Kirtland, we visited Emma. She was very much pleased to see us. She said she had heard of our situation and was afraid that we would be drowned on the lake. This evening she had a pair of twins brought in that was given to her a few days before. These children were taken to supply the place of a pair of twins which she had lost.


Chapter 39

The Smiths settle on a farm in Kirtland. Joseph, Samuel, and Hyrum leave on missions for Missouri. Lucy Mack Smith inserts a number of  revelations  given at this time concerning the building up of Zion, the keeping of the commandments, and the preaching of the gospel among the congregations of the wicked, including, in part or whole,  D&C 52,   58,   59,   60, and 61 of the Doctrine and Covenants.


Mid-May 1831 to August 12, 1831

Mr. Morley gave us the use of a room which we occupied but two weeks, when we moved onto a farm which was purchased by Joseph for the Church. On this farm my family were all established with this arrangement, that we were to cultivate the farm, and from the fruits of our labors we were to support our several families and sustain strangers who were traveling, either members of the Church or others in search of the truth or on a visit to the place.

Immediately after we moved onto the farm, Joseph received a request from the brethren who were in Missouri to send some elders to assist them. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received the following  revelation  :

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders whom he hath called and chosen in these last days, by the voice of his Spirit-

Saying: I, the Lord, will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land, which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob, and those who are heirs according to the covenant.

Wherefore, verily I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon take their journey as soon as preparations can be made to leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri.

And inasmuch as they are faithful unto me, it shall be made known unto them what they shall do;

And it shall also, inasmuch as they are faithful, be made known unto them the land of your inheritance. . . .

And also [let] my servant  John  Murdock, and my servant Hyrum Smith, take their journey unto the same place by the way of Detroit.

And let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith.

Let them go two by two, and thus let them preach by the way in every congregation, baptizing by water, and the laying on of the hands by the water’s side. . . .

Let my servants Reynolds Cahoon and  Samuel H. Smith also take their journey. . . .

And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.

But, behold, I, the Lord, will hasten the city in its time, and will crown the faithful with joy and with rejoicing.

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and I will lift them up at the last day. Even so. Amen.

It will be observed in this  revelation  that  Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed to go in company together.

On their way to Missouri, they called at a town, and going into a large store, they inquired of the clerk, who was William E. McLellin, if they had any preaching evenings in the place. “Yes,” answered Mr. McLellin, “we do, when any preacher comes along. What denomination do you belong to?”

“We are Latter-day Saints,” said Samuel.

“Can you preach?” said Mr. McLellin. “I would like to hear you, for that is a denomination that I have never heard of, and if you will preach, I will get a house and light it up and call the people together in good season.”

Samuel  replied that he would be glad of the opportunity. Mr. McLellin went out, and in a short time he had a large congregation seated in a convenient room, well lit up at his expense. After the meeting was dismissed, Mr. McLellin urged them to stay in the place and preach again, but they refused, as their directions were to go forward without any further delay than to warn the people as they passed.

Soon after they left, which was the next morning, Mr. McLellin grew uneasy, and he afterwards told me the following story:

“When night came I was unable to sleep, for I thought that I ought to have gone with them, as I had an excellent horse, and I could have assisted them much on their journey. This worked upon my mind, so that I determined to set out after them the next morning, cost what it might. I accordingly told my employer what I had concluded to do, and obtaining his consent, I set out in pursuit of my new acquaintances. I did not overtake them, but I pursued my route in the same direction, until I came to Jackson County, Missouri, where I was baptized.”

On their route,  Samuel  and Brother Cahoon suffered great privations, such as want of rest and food. On this journey, they passed through Quincy. There were only thirty-two houses then in the place, and they preached the first sermon that ever was delivered in that town.

At the time that they started for Missouri, near fifty others also set out for the same place, all taking different routes. When they arrived in Jackson, the elders had mostly got there before them.

Soon after their arrival Joseph received a revelation, of which the following is an extract:

Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to my word, and learn of me what I will concerning you, and also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.

For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.

For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.

Remember this, which I tell you before, that you may lay it to heart, and receive that which is to follow.

Behold, verily I say unto you, for this cause I have sent you-that you might be obedient, and that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come;

And also that you might be honored in laying the foundation, and in bearing record of the land upon which the Zion of God shall stand. . . .

Wherefore, be subject to the powers that be, until he reigns whose right it is to reign, and subdues all enemies under his feet. . . .

And now, verily, I say concerning the residue of the elders of my church, the time has not yet come, for many years, for them to receive their inheritance in this land, except they desire it through the prayer of faith, only as it shall be appointed unto them of the Lord. . . .

For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth-the gospel must be preached unto every creature, with signs following them that believe.

And behold the Son of Man cometh. Amen.

After the elders had collected in Jackson, they dedicated the spot for the temple, and four days later Joseph received the following revelation:

Behold, blessed, saith the Lord, are they who have come up unto this land with an eye single to my glory, according to my commandments.

For those that live shall inherit the earth, and those that die shall rest from all their labors, and their works shall follow them; and they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father, which I have prepared for them.

Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength.

And they shall also be crowned with blessings from above, yea, and with commandments not a few, and with  revelations  in their time-they that are faithful and diligent before me.

Wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, saying thus: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.

Following the Missouri conference the elders who had been appointed to return to the East desired to know how they should proceed, and by what route and manner they should travel. In response, on Monday, August 8, 1831, Joseph received the following revelation:

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders of his church, who are to return speedily to the land from whence they came: Behold, it pleaseth me, that you have come up hither;

But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them.

And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have.

For I, the Lord, rule in the heavens above, and among the armies of the earth; and in the day when I shall make up my jewels, all men shall know what it is that bespeaketh the power of God.

But, verily, I will speak unto you concerning your journey unto the land from whence you came. Let there be a craft made, or bought, as seemeth you good, it mattereth not unto me, and take your journey speedily for the place which is called St. Louis.

And from thence let my servants, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, take their journey for Cincinnati;

And in this place let them lift up their voice and declare my word with loud voices, without wrath or doubting, lifting up holy hands upon them. For I am able to make you holy, and your sins are forgiven you.

And let the residue take their journey from St. Louis, two by two, and preach the word, not in haste, among the congregations of the wicked, until they return to the churches from whence they came.

And all this for the good of the churches; for this intent have I sent them.

And let my servant Edward Partridge impart of the money which I have given him, a portion unto mine elders who are commanded to return;

And he that is able, let him return it by the way of the agent; and he that is not, of him it is not required.

And now I speak of the residue who are to come unto this land.

Behold, they have been sent to preach my gospel among the congregations of the wicked; wherefore, I give unto them a commandment, thus: Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known.

And after thou hast come up unto the land of Zion, and hast proclaimed my word, thou shalt speedily return, proclaiming my word among the congregations of the wicked, not in haste, neither in wrath nor with strife.

And shake off the dust of thy feet against those who receive thee not, not in their presence, lest thou provoke them, but in secret; and wash thy feet, as a testimony against them in the day of judgment.

Behold, this is sufficient for you, and the will of him who hath sent you.

And by the mouth of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., it shall be made known concerning Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery. The residue hereafter. Even so. Amen.

On August 9, 1831, in company with ten elders, Joseph left Independence landing (on the Missouri River) for Kirtland. Nothing very important occurred till the third day, when many of the dangers so common upon the western waters manifested themselves; and after they had encamped upon the bank of the river, Brother William W. Phelps, in open vision by daylight, saw the destroyer in his most horrible power ride upon the face of the waters; others heard the noise, but saw not the vision. The next morning after prayer, Joseph received a revelation, an extract of which follows:

Behold, verily thus saith the Lord unto you, O ye elders of my church, who are assembled upon this spot, whose sins are now forgiven you, for I, the Lord, forgive sins, and am merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts;

But verily I say unto you, that it is not needful for this whole company of mine elders to be moving swiftly upon the waters, whilst the inhabitants on either side are perishing in unbelief.

Nevertheless, I suffered it that ye might bear record; behold, there are many dangers upon the waters, and more especially hereafter. . . .

And now, concerning the residue, let them journey and declare the word among the congregations of the wicked, inasmuch as it is given. . . .

And let them journey together, or two by two, as seemeth them good, only let my servant Reynolds Cahoon, and my servant  Samuel H. Smith, with whom I am well pleased, be not separated until they return to their homes, and this for a wise purpose in me.

Here let me say that  Samuel  was never censured by  revelation  to my knowledge, for he always performed his missions faithfully and his work was well approved.


Chapter 40

Lucy recounts her mission with niece Almira Mack, son Hyrum, and others to Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan. Teaching the Book of  Mormon aboard ship. Meeting with various relatives (all from the Stephen Mack family). Confrontation with the Reverend Mr. Ruggles of Pontiac. Lucy gives a prophecy to the reverend concerning the missionary work and his congregation. It is all fulfilled.  Samuel  serves a mission with William McLellin, then an eleven-month mission with newly baptized Orson Hyde.

June 14, 1831 to December 22, 1832

I will now return to the time when the elders set out for Missouri. The reader will recollect that Hyrum Smith, my eldest son, was directed to go by the way of Detroit. I thought it would be a good opportunity to visit the family of my brother Stephen Mack, who had been dead some four or five years, this being 1831, and my brother died in 1826. Hyrum was very anxious to have me accompany him, and as my niece Almira Mack was about returning home, this was another inducement for me to undertake the journey. I accordingly set off in the month of June with Hyrum, Almira, Brother Murdock, Lyman Wight, and Brother Corrill.

When we went on board the boat, we held a consultation to determine whether it was best to say much concerning the gospel. At first, it was concluded that we should be entirely still as to religion, but finally Hyrum said that Mother might say what she was disposed to, and if a difficulty arose, the elders should assist her out of it. We had not been long on board when, as I was sitting one day at the door of the cabin very much engaged reading the Book of Mormon, a lady accosted me thus, “What book have you, madam? You seem very much engaged.”

“The Book of Mormon,” I replied.

“The Book of Mormon,” said she. “What work is that?” I then gave her a brief history of the discovery and translation of the work. This delighted her, and when I mentioned that it was a record of the origin of the Indians of America, she exclaimed, “Is it possible? Why, my husband is a missionary out now among the Indians, and I am going too. How I do wish that I could get a book to carry to him!”

Just then another lady, who was a doctor’s wife, came up very near us with the appearance of wishing to hear our conversation. She paced to and fro before us for some time, carrying herself daintily, I assure you. She was sumptuously dressed, and in seeming absence of mind, she allowed her rich scarf to fall down from one shoulder and thus displayed a neck and bosom so splendidly decorated with jewels as almost to dazzle the eyes. After a while she turned sharply upon me, saying, “Now, I don’t want to hear any more about that stuff or anything more about Joe Smith either. They say he is a Mormon prophet, but it is nothing but deception and lies. There was one Mr. Murdock who believed in Joe Smith’s doctrine; and the Mormons all think that they can cure the sick and can raise the dead. So when Mr. Murdock’s wife was sick, he refused to send for a doctor, although the poor woman wanted him to do so, and so by his neglect, his wife died.”

I told her I thought she must be a little mistaken in regard to that matter, for my son had taken the twins which she left, and I had an idea that I knew something near the truth of the affair.

“I know all about it,” said the lady.

“Well, now, perhaps not,” said I. “Just stop a moment and I will explain a little.”

“No, that I won’t,” she said.

“Then I will introduce you to Mr. Murdock himself and let him tell the story,” I said, turning to Elder Murdock, who stood near. Just before this, however, the chambermaid, who was very friendly, went downstairs and complained to the lady’s husband of his wife’s unbecoming behavior. And before she had heard a dozen words from our brother, her husband came bustling upstairs and said, “Here, they tell me you are abusing this old lady,” and, taking her hand, drew it within his arm and marched her off at an unusually quick pace. But by this time, a large number of the passengers had gathered round, and the subject being introduced, the elders continued it, and they preached most of the time, except while they were sleeping, until we arrived in Detroit. The impression upon the minds of the passengers was very favorable, and we could have disposed of a quantity of books but we had none with us.

When we landed in Detroit, it was dark, and my niece thought it would be advisable for us to put up at a tavern, as her sister, Mrs. Cooper, the only one of my brother’s family who lived in Detroit, was in very ill health with a nervous affection, which she had been under the influence of for several years. The next morning Almira Mack and myself went to her sister’s house. Mrs. Cooper was in her room when we arrived, lying on the bed. Almira went to her, but I remained in the sitting room, as her housekeeper thought that our both going in at once would agitate Mrs. Cooper so much that it might be an injury to her. When the usual salutations had passed between the sisters, Almira told Mrs. Cooper that I had come to Detroit and was waiting to see her. She requested the privilege of inviting me into her room.

“Stop, sister,” said the elder of the two. “I am so nervous I cannot see her, but I am glad she is here, and I will be happy to have her come in as soon as my nerves are settled again.”

“Well, Mrs. Cooper,” said Almira, “there is another thing I want to mention to you. Aunt Lucy has some three or four elders with her, who are yet at the tavern, and she wishes to have them invited here also.”

“Oh dear, no. I am so nervous that I never could endure it in the world. It would kill me. Do not think of it.”

Almira saw that it was in vain to urge the matter, and when Mrs. Cooper’s husband thought that she was composed enough to meet me, she directed Almira to call me to her room, but Almira’s heart was full to overflowing. She knew that Lovisa-that is, Mrs. Cooper-had received as much of my attention when she was a child as either of my own had received, and that my feelings for all my brother’s children were unusually tender. On this account, she felt disagreeable to be the bearer of her sister’s refusal to meet her cousin and my son. But after giving vent to her feelings in a flood of tears, she came to me and gave me to understand the situation.

I went into Lovisa’s room, and she seemed very much pleased to see me. After some light remarks on both sides, I said, “Lovisa, I have four of my brethren with me. One of them is your cousin Hyrum, and I want to have them invited here if I stay.”

“Oh! no, no, no!” she exclaimed. “I never can consent to it! Why, I am so nervous that I am not in a proper situation to see anyone. Company does so agitate me.”

“Now, Lovisa,” I said. “Do you know what it is that ails you? I can tell you exactly. There is a good spirit and an evil one operating upon you, and the bad spirit has almost got possession of you, and when the good spirit is the least agitated, the evil one strives for the entire mastery and sets the good spirit to faltering, just ready to leave you, because it has so slight a foothold. You have been sick a long time, and you may yet live many years. These men who are with me are clothed with the authority of the priesthood, and through their administration, you might receive a blessing; and even should you not be healed, do you not wish to know something about your Savior before you are called to meet him? Furthermore, if you refuse to receive my brethren into your house, I shall leave it and go myself to the tavern.”

She finally concluded to have a sumptuous dinner prepared and have the brethren all invited to dine with her. The necessary directions being given, I told her that I would like to have her calm her mind as much as possible, and when the elders came have them lay hands on her and pray for her. To this she consented, and it was done after dinner. She went to her room again, being a little fatigued. I asked her if she wished them to pray for her again. She answered very readily that she did, for she had been better since they had administered to her. They complied with her request and, bidding her farewell, left the house.

After they were gone, and she found that they were not to be coming again, she seemed very much distressed that she had not urged them to stay and preach. The next morning I set out in the stage for Pontiac, whither the brethren had gone the day before, and where my brother Stephen’s wife and her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Whitermore, lived. As soon as I had settled myself at Mr. Whitermore’s, I broached the subject which lay nearest my heart and began to explain to them why the elders visited them and the nature of their mission. Mr. Whitermore paid great attention to what I advanced, as did also my brother’s widow, Sister Mack, until near tea time. Then Sister Mack arose and said, “Sister Lucy, you must excuse me, for I find my nerves are so discomposed that I cannot bear conversation any longer. As the subject is an entirely new one, it confuses my mind.”

“Stop a moment,” I said, and she sat down. I then repeated to her the same, in substance, which I had told her daughter two days before, “but,” I added, “if a company of fashionable people were to come in now and begin to talk about parties, balls, and the latest style of making drapes, do you think that would agitate you?”

She smiled, saying, “I do not know as it would, Sister Lucy. You know, those are very common things.” I told her that I would excuse her freely now to walk where she liked, but requested her to think of what I had said to her. I then concluded to say no more upon the subject of religion, unless she desired me to do so. Finding that she and I were to occupy the same bed, I even determined to desist from my usual habit of praying at my bedside but retired to another place and besought God to soften her heart to the influence of the truth. A short time after we lay down to rest, my sister said, “Everything is still now and I would be glad to hear you talk, if you are not too much fatigued.”

“I should have no objections if you do not think that the subject of religion would make you nervous,” said I.

“Oh, not in the least,” she replied. “There is no other noise now to confuse my mind.” Accordingly we commenced a conversation which lasted till daylight in which she heard and believed the gospel and never after lost her faith.

In a few days Mr. Whitermore accompanied me to the house of another niece, named  Ruth  Stanly, sister to Mrs. Whitermore. Soon after we arrived, Mr. Whitermore introduced me to the Reverend Mr. Ruggles, the pastor of the Presbyterian church to which he belonged. “And you,” said Mr. Ruggles, upon shaking hands with me, “are the mother of that poor, silly, foolish boy, Joe Smith, who pretended to translate the Book of Mormon.”

I looked him steadily in the face and replied, “I am, sir, the mother of Joseph Smith, but why may I ask do you call him a foolish, silly boy?”

“Because,” said his reverence, “that he should imagine he was going to break down all the churches with that simple  Mormon  book.”

“Did you ever read that book?” I inquired.

“No,” said he, “it is too far beneath me to be worthy of my notice.”

“Then I think, sir,” I said, “you do not abide by that scripture which saith ’search these things’; and now, sir, let me tell you boldly that the Book of  Mormon  contains the everlasting gospel, and it was written for the salvation of your soul by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost.”

“Pooh,” said the minister, “nonsense, but I have no fears of any members of my church being led away by such dogmatism, for they have too much intelligence.”

“Now, Mr. Ruggles,” said I, and I spoke earnestly, for the Spirit of God was upon me, “mark my words: as sure as God lives, before three years we will have more than one-third of your church, and sir, whether you believe it or not, we will take the very deacon too.”

This produced a hearty laugh from the company at the expense of the reverend minister.

Not to be tedious, I will say that I remained in this  section  of the country about three weeks after our brethren left me, making my whole stay four weeks, during which time I labored incessantly for the truth’s sake and gained the hearts of many believers, among whom was David Dort and his wife. These were anxious to have me use my influence to have an elder sent into that region of the country, and they pledged that the man who came should not lack for anything. Just as I embarked for home, Mr. Cooper, my nephew of Detroit, said if we would dress our elders in broadcloth instead of homespun, it would add greatly to their influence. I promised him that the next one who came to preach to them should be more genteel.

I arrived home in a few days in perfect health and safety, finding my family well, and at the first opportunity mentioned the state of things where I had been to Joseph. He seemed pleased that I had succeeded in preparing the way for a minister of the gospel, and sent Brother Jared Carter to labor in that country, but not until we had him fitted out, as I promised Mr. Cooper, with a suit of superfine broadcloth. He went into the midst of Mr. Ruggles’s church and converted seventy of his best members, and as I said he took the very deacon too. For although I did not know anything about the situation of his church, he had a very intelligent deacon by the name of  Samuel  Bent, who is now a high councilor in Nauvoo, and he told me the last time I saw him, which was not a week since, that he had never forgotten my prophecy upon his head.

In less than a month after my arrival,  Samuel  returned home from Missouri and remained until the next October, when a revelation was given commanding him and William McLellin to go to the town of Hiram, which was about thirty miles distant, and warn the people in the name of the Lord. He began to make preparations to set out on this mission, but before he was ready to start, he heard a voice in the night which called to him, saying, “Samuel, arise immediately and go forth on the mission which thou wast commanded to take to Hiram.” He arose and took what clothing he had in readiness and set out without eating.

He traveled fifteen miles that day, warning the people by the way, and the next day he arrived at Hiram, where he met William McLellin according to previous appointment, for they had not gone the same route. They held a meeting at noon as they could make arrangements to do so, and being tolerably well received, they continued to preach in Hiram and the surrounding country. They had not been in this place long until they were sent for by a woman who had been sick many months and had prayed much that the Lord would send some of the Mormons into that country, that she might have hands laid on her for the recovery of her health.  Samuel  went immediately to her and administered to her by the laying on of hands in the name of the Lord, and she was healed and was also baptized.

After finishing this mission, he returned home on December twenty-seventh. However,  Samuel  was not long permitted to remain at home in quiet; on the first of January he was sent with newly baptized Orson Hyde on a mission into the eastern country. They set out on this mission without delay, calling at public houses as much as possible and warning the people to flee from the wrath to come, until they got to Boston. They preached from city to city, continuing their labors until they were called home by a revelation in which the Lord declared that they should receive the ordinance of the washing of feet, for their skirts were clean of the blood of this generation.


Chapter 41

Joseph, Emma, and family move thirty miles south to  John  Johnson farm in Hiram, Ohio. Joseph and Sidney Rigdon are mobbed, beaten, tarred, and feathered. Little Joseph M. Smith dies five days later. Joseph the Prophet goes to Missouri. An account of a stagecoach accident, poisoning, and safe return to Kirtland. Report of terrible mob action in Missouri. Joseph gathers an army to redeem Zion.


September 12, 1831 to May 5, 1834

I shall now return to the month of September, 1831. Joseph, at this time, was engaged in translating the Bible, and Sidney Rigdon was writing for him. About the first of this month, Joseph came to the conclusion to remove himself and clerk, as well as their families, to Hiram, in order to expedite the work. They moved to the house of Father  John  Johnson  and lived with him in peace until the following March, when a circumstance occurred which I shall relate in his own words:

“On the twenty-fourth of March [1832], the twins before mentioned, which had been sick of the measles for some time, caused us to be broken of our rest in taking care of them, especially my wife. In the evening I told her she had better retire to rest with one of the children, and I would watch with the sicker child. In the night she told me I had better lie down on the trundle bed, and I did so, and was soon after awakened by her screaming murder! when I found myself going out of the door in the hands of about a dozen men; some of whose hands were in my hair, and some had hold of my shirt, drawers, and limbs. The foot of the trundle bed was towards the door, leaving only room enough for the door to swing.

“My wife heard a gentle tapping on the windows, which she then took no particular notice of (but which was unquestionably designed for ascertaining whether we were all asleep), and, soon after, the mob burst open the door and surrounded the bed in an instant, and, as I said, the first I knew I was going out of the door in the hands of an infuriated mob. I made a desperate struggle, as I was forced out, to extricate myself, but only cleared one leg with which I made a pass at one man and he fell on the door steps. I was immediately confined again, and they swore by G–, they would kill me if I did not be still, which quieted me. As they passed around the house with me, the fellow that I kicked came to me and thrust his hand into my face all covered with blood (for I hit him on the nose), and with an exultant horse laugh, muttered, ‘Gee, gee, G– d– ye, I’ll fix ye.’

“They then seized me by the throat and held on till I lost my breath. After I came to, as they passed along with me, about thirty rods from the house, I saw Elder Rigdon stretched out on the ground, whither they had dragged him by the heels. I supposed he was dead.

“I began to plead with them, saying, ‘you will have mercy and spare my life, I hope.’ To which they replied, ‘G– d– ye, call on yer God for help, we’ll show ye no mercy’; and the people began to show themselves in every direction; one coming from the orchard had a plank and I expected they would kill me and carry me off on a plank. They then turned to the right and went on about thirty rods farther-about sixty rods from the house and about thirty from where I saw Elder Rigdon-into the meadow, where they stopped, and one said, ‘Simonds, Simonds,’ (meaning, I supposed, Simonds Rider), ‘pull up his drawers, pull up his drawers, he will take cold.’

“Another replied, ‘Ain’t ye going to kill ‘im? Ain’t ye going to kill ‘im?’ when a group of mobbers collected a little way off and said, ‘Simonds, Simonds, come here’; and Simonds charged those who had hold of me to keep me from touching the ground (as they had done all the time), lest I should get a spring upon them. They went and held a council, and as I could occasionally overhear a word, I supposed it was to know whether it was best to kill me.

“They returned, after a while, when I learned that they had concluded not to kill me, but pound and scratch me well, tear off my shirt and drawers, and leave me naked. One cried, ‘Simonds, Simonds, where is the tar bucket?’

“‘I don’t know,’ answered one, ‘where ’tis, Eli’s left it.’ They ran back and fetched the bucket of tar, when one exclaimed, with an oath, ‘Let us tar up his mouth’; and they tried to force the tar paddle into my mouth; I twisted my head around so that they could not, and they cried out, ‘G– d– ye, hold up yer head and let us giv ye some tar.’ They then tried to force a vial into my mouth and broke it in my teeth. All my clothes were torn off me, except my shirt collar; and one man fell on me and scratched my body with his nails like a mad cat, and then muttered out, ‘G– d– ye, that’s the way the Holy Ghost falls on folks.’

“They then left me, and I attempted to rise, but fell again; I pulled the tar away from my lips, etc., so that I could breathe more freely, and after a while I began to recover and raised myself up, when I saw two lights. I made my way towards one of them and found it was Father Johnson’s. When I had come to the door I was naked, and the tar made me look as though I was covered with blood; and when my wife saw me, she thought I was all mashed to pieces and fainted. During the affray abroad, the sisters of the neighborhood had collected at my room. I called for a blanket, they threw me one and shut the door; I wrapped it around me, and went in.

“In the meantime, Brother  John  Poorman heard an outcry across the cornfield, and running that way met Father Johnson, who had been fastened in his house at the commencement of the assault, by having his door barred by the mob, but on calling to his wife to bring his gun, saying he would blow a hole through the door, the mob fled, and Father Johnson, seizing a club, ran after the party that had Elder Rigdon, and knocked one man, and raised his club to level another, exclaiming: “What are you doing here?” when they left Elder Rigdon and turned upon Father Johnson, who, turning to run towards his own house, met Brother Poorman coming out of the cornfield; each supposing the other to be a mobber, an encounter ensued, and Poorman gave Johnson a severe blow on the left shoulder with a stick or stone, which brought him to the ground. Poorman ran immediately towards Father Johnson’s, and arriving while I was waiting for the blanket, exclaimed: ‘I’m afraid I’ve killed him.’ ‘Killed who?’ asked one; when Poorman hastily related the circumstances of the encounter near the cornfield, and went into the shed and hid himself. Father Johnson soon recovered so as to come to the house, when the whole mystery was quickly solved concerning the difficulty between him and Poorman, who, on learning the facts, joyfully came from his hiding place.

“My friends spent the night in scraping and removing the tar, and washing and cleansing my body, so that by morning I was ready to be clothed again. This being Sabbath morning, the people assembled for meeting at the usual hour of worship, and among them came also the mobbers, viz., Simonds Rider, a Campbellite preacher and leader of the mob; one McClentic, who had his hands in my hair; one Streeter, son of a Campbellite minister; and Felatiah Allen, Esq., who gave the mob a barrel of whisky to raise their spirits; and many others. With my flesh all scarified and defaced, I preached to the congregation as usual, and in the afternoon of the same day baptized three individuals.

“The next morning I went to see Elder Rigdon and found him crazy, and his head highly inflamed, for they had dragged him by his heels, and those, too, so high from the ground that he could not raise his head from the rough, frozen surface, which lacerated it exceedingly; and when he saw me he called to his wife to bring him his razor. She asked him what he wanted of it; and he replied, to kill me. Sister Rigdon left the room, and he asked me to bring his razor. I asked him what he wanted of it, and he replied he wanted to kill his wife; and he continued delirious some days. The feathers which were used with the tar on this occasion, the mob took out of Elder Rigdon’s house. After they had seized him, and dragged him out, one of the banditti returned to get some pillows; when the women shut him in and kept him a prisoner some time.

“During the mobbing, one of the twins contracted a severe cold, and continued to grow worse till Friday and died. The mobbers were composed of various religious parties, but mostly Campbellites, Methodists and Baptists, who continued to molest and menace Father Johnson’s house for a long time.”

Sidney Rigdon went immediately to Kirtland, but Joseph remained at Father Johnson’s to finish his preparations for a journey which he contemplated making to Missouri. Immediately after Sidney’s arrival at Kirtland, we met for the purpose of holding a prayer meeting, and, as Sidney had not been with us for some time, the brethren were very anxious to hear a sermon from him. After we waited some time for him, he came in appearing much agitated. He did not go to the stand, but began to pace back and forth through an aisle that was left between the seats. My husband said, “Brother Sidney, we would like to hear a discourse from you today.”

Brother Rigdon replied, in a tone of excitement, “The keys of the kingdom are rent from the Church, and there shall not be a prayer put up in this house this day.”

“Oh! no,” said my husband, “I hope not.”

“They are,” said Sidney. “I tell you the keys are rent from this people and no man or woman shall put up a prayer here this day.”

This produced a great excitement in the minds of many of the sisters and some brethren. The brethren stared and turned pale, and the sisters cried, and for a few minutes we were at a stand as to what course to take. Sister Howe, in particular, was much terrified. “Oh dear me!” said she, “what shall we do? what shall we do? The keys of the kingdom are taken from us, and what shall we do?”

“I tell you again,” said Sidney, with much feeling, “the keys of the kingdom are taken from you, and you never will have them again until you build me a new house.”

Hyrum was vexed at this frivolous maneuvering, and, taking his hat, he went out of the house, saying, “I’ll put a stop to this fuss, pretty quick; I’m going for Joseph.”

“Oh, don’t,” said Sister Howe, “for pity’s sake, don’t go for him. Brother Sidney says the keys of the kingdom are taken from us, and where is the use of bringing Joseph here?”

Hyrum paid no attention to her but went for a horse and set out that evening, which was Saturday, to Father Johnson’s for Joseph. He arrived there in the afterpart of the night. Joseph was in bed. “Come,” said Hyrum. “Joseph, get up. You must go back with me to Kirtland and attend to things there. We are in great trouble. Sidney is telling the people that we have lost the keys of the kingdom, and they are having a terrible time.”

Joseph did not know what he meant, but when Hyrum told him what a freak had got into Sidney’s head, Joseph said that he would start as soon as he could get his breakfast. Father Johnson offered him a horse, for he was a kind old man and would do anything in his power for Joseph or any of our family.

They were soon on their journey and arrived in Kirtland just after the afternoon meeting began. Joseph got up and told the brethren to be eased of all their fears, for they were under a great mistake, and that they were under no transgression. He said, “I myself hold the keys of this last dispensation, and I forever will hold them in time and in eternity. So set your hearts at rest, for all is well.”

After Joseph preached a comforting discourse, he appointed a council to sit the next day, by which Brother Sidney was tried for having lied in the name of the Lord. Joseph told him that he must suffer for what he had done, and Joseph said, “You shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, and the devil will handle you as one man handleth another, and the less priesthood you have the better it will be for you. Therefore, I advise you to give up your license.”

Sidney did as he was counseled, yet he had to suffer for his folly, for he afterwards stated that he had the most astonishing encounters with the devil on the following night that ever a man had. He said that he was dragged out of bed three times successively on the same night. Whether this be true or not, one thing is certain, his contrition of soul was apparently as great as a man could well live through.

After he had sufficiently humbled himself, he received another license; but the old one was retained and is now in the hands of Bishop Whitney.

On the second of April, 1832, Joseph set off for Missouri, accompanied by Newel K. Whitney,  Peter  Whitmer, and Jesse Gause. They were taken by brother Pitkin to the town of Warren, where they were joined by Brother Rigdon, and they all pursued their journey together.

While Joseph was gone, Emma, by her husband’s request, was moved to Kirtland. Bishop Whitney wanted her to live at his house and tarry with his wife, until he and Joseph should return home. But when Emma came to Sister Whitney’s house and made known Bishop Whitney’s request, an elderly maiden aunt named Sarah Smith, who lived there, was highly offended and declared that if Emma stayed, she would go away. Upon this, Sister Whitney invited Emma to leave. This, however, I was never aware of until lately, and although she lived with us and very near us, she said nothing of the mortifying circumstance lest it should injure feelings. She was then young, and being naturally ambitious, her whole heart was occupied in the work of the Lord, and she felt no interest except for the Church and the cause of truth. Whatever her hands found to do, she did with her might, and she did not ask the selfish question, “Shall I be benefitted any more than anyone else?”

If elders were sent away to preach, she was the first to volunteer her services to assist in clothing them for their journey. Whatever her own privations, she scorned to complain. While Joseph was gone, she lived with Brother Reynolds Cahoon and Brother Williams, occasionally spending a short time with us. She labored faithfully for the interest of those with whom she stayed, cheering them by her lively and spirited conversation.

On the twenty-fourth of April, Joseph arrived at Independence. He made haste to attend to the business that lay before him, and wrote this about his return journey:

“On the 6th of May I gave the parting hand to the brethren in Independence, and in company with Brothers Rigdon and Whitney, commenced a return to Kirtland, by stage to St. Louis, from thence to Vincennes, Indiana; and from thence to New Albany, near the falls of the Ohio River. Before we arrived at the latter place, the horses became frightened, and while going at full speed, Bishop Whitney attempted to jump out of the coach, but having his coat fast, caught his foot in the wheel and had his leg and foot broken in several places; at the same time I jumped out unhurt, and we put up at Mr. Porter’s public house in Greenville for four weeks, while Elder Rigdon went directly forward to Kirtland.

“During all this time, Brother Whitney lost not a meal of victuals or a night’s sleep, and Doctor Porter, our landlord’s brother, who attended him, said it was ‘a d– pity we had not got some  Mormon there, they can set broken bones or do anything else.’

“I tarried with Brother Whitney and administered to him till he was able to be moved. While at this place I frequently walked out in the woods, where I saw several fresh graves; and one day when I rose from the dinner table, I walked directly to the door and commenced vomiting most profusely. I raised large quantities of blood and poisonous matter, and so great were the muscular contortions of my system, that my jaw was dislocated in a few moments. This I succeeded in replacing with my own hands, and made my way to Brother Whitney (who was on the bed) as speedily as possible. He laid his hands on me and administered in the name of the Lord, and I was healed in an instant, although the effect of the poison had been so powerful as to cause much of the hair to become loosened from my head. Thanks be to my Heavenly Father for his interference in my behalf at this critical moment, in the name of Jesus Christ; Amen.

“Brother Whitney had not had his foot moved from the bed for near four weeks, when I went into his room, after a walk in the grove, and told him if he would agree to start for home in the morning, we would take a wagon to the river, about four miles, and there would be a ferry boat in waiting which would take us quickly across, where we would find a hack which would take us directly to the landing, where we should find a boat in waiting, and we will be going up the river before ten o’clock and have a prosperous journey home. He took courage and told me he would go.

“We started next morning and found everything as I had told him, for we were passing rapidly up the river before ten o’clock and, landing at Wellsville, took stagecoach to Chardon, from thence in a wagon to Kirtland, where we arrived sometime in June.”

After Joseph returned, a comfortable home was provided for Emma and her adopted daughter, in a house that belonged to Brothers Whitney and Gilbert, being previously occupied for a store. Soon after Emma moved into this house, Joseph went on a mission to the East, leaving her in the care of Hyrum, who watched over her with the most faithful care and attention. Shortly after Joseph left, Joseph Smith the third was born.

After Joseph returned from his mission to the East, he established a school for the elders, and called them all home from the different parts of the country where they had been laboring. This was called the School of the Prophets (which is spoken of in the Book of Covenants ) and was held in an upper room of the house that Joseph occupied.

When my sons returned from their missions and had rested themselves, Joseph took all the male portion of the family into the room where the School of the Prophets was kept and, girding himself, administered to them the ordinance of washing of feet according to the directions of the Savior, who said, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” When the ceremony was over, the Spirit of the Lord fell upon them and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied as on the day of Pentecost. The brethren gathered together to witness the manifestation of the power of God.

At that time, I was on the farm a short distance from the place where the meeting was held, but those of my children who could not bear that Mother should miss anything dispatched a messenger in great haste for me. I was putting some loaves of bread into the oven, but the brother who ran for me would not wait till I had set my bread to baking. I went and shared with the rest one of the most glorious outpourings of the Spirit of God that had ever been witnessed in the Church at that time. This produced great joy and satisfaction among the brethren and sisters, and we felt as though we had about gained the victory over the adversary. Truly, it was as the poet says:

We could not believe

That we ever should grieve,

Or ever should sorrow again.

But alas! How our joy was measurably turned to grief, for it was not two months before a messenger arrived from Missouri just as my sons were all at work preparing a piece of ground for sowing wheat the ensuing fall. Joseph was standing on the porch near the door washing his face and hands when the dispatch arrived who stated that the brethren were driven, and Brothers Partridge and Allen had been tarred and feathered and put into prison; that some were killed, and Brother Dibble, among others, had been shot.

When Joseph heard this, he was overwhelmed with grief. He burst into tears and sobbed aloud, “Oh, my brethren, my brethren. Oh, that I had been with you to have shared with you your trouble. My God, my God, what shall we do in such a case of trial?”

After his first burst of grief was over, Joseph called a council, and it was resolved that the brethren should be called from the surrounding country to Kirtland, and when sufficient time was had to prepare those in Kirtland, and whoever should be called from abroad, that they would set off for Missouri for the purpose of forming a treaty with the mob and also to take clothing and money to relieve them in their distress.

Just before this, Jesse Smith, my husband’s nephew, and  Amos  Fuller arrived in Kirtland from Potsdam, and Jesse determined to go with the camp to Missouri. He was the son of Jesse Smith, my husband’s oldest brother, of whose peculiar disposition I have spoken before. Knowing that his father would censure us, I endeavored to dissuade him from going; but to no purpose, for he was determined upon being one of the company.

As soon as they could make the necessary collections and preparations, they started for Missouri with nearly two hundred in their number, thoroughly equipped.


Chapter 42

Lucy recounts her involvement and management of building a new schoolhouse in Kirtland. Joseph and Hyrum return from Zion’s Camp. They relate details to their mother about the journey, including the terrible outbreak of cholera, Hyrum’s vision of Mother Smith praying for them while they were attacked by the disease, and their healing.


April 1834 to August 1834

Previous to their leaving for Missouri, the brethren had commenced a small building which was designed for a meetinghouse and a school. Brother Reynolds Cahoon was left to finish this house, in order that it might be in readiness to hold meetings in the ensuing winter. When the brethren were gone, we that were left at home held meetings in the schoolhouse, although it merely served as a shelter from the sun. But it seemed as if the prince of the power of the air was permitted greatly to prevail against us, for several successive Sabbaths before meeting was closed, we were overtaken by dreadful storms. This troubled us greatly, as we were unusually anxious to meet together, in order to unite our faith in behalf of our brethren who were either settled in Missouri or were journeying thither at the peril of their lives.

With winter coming, we accordingly began to rather urge upon Brother Cahoon the necessity of hurrying the building, but he said he could do nothing about it, for he had neither means nor time. This made me feel very sorrowful, for we much needed a house of worship where we could hold meetings without being interrupted, as we must be in a dwelling where a family resided. I studied some time upon it, and at last I told my husband that I thought that I could collect the means for finishing the house myself, and if he would consent to it, I would try and see what I could do. My husband told me he should not hinder me in anything of that kind, and he would be glad if I could raise anything toward helping the work along.

I then wrote a subscription paper in which I agreed to refund all the money that should be given, in case it could not be appropriated to the purpose for which it should be subscribed. When I had written this subscription paper, I took it to each one of my daughters and my boarders, two of whom were Mary (who was afterwards married to Hyrum, my oldest son) and Agnes (who was married to my youngest son, Carlos). They all gave me what pocket money they had by them. I then went to Brother Bosley’s and received something from each of his family.

As I was leaving Brother Bosley’s house, I met Brother Cahoon and informed him of what I was about. He told me to go on and prosper. And it was even so, I did prosper, for in about two weeks I had everything in fine order for commencing the work. I employed a man to case and make the doors at a reduced price and engaged the sash and casing for the windows of one Mr. Bar, who agreed to make the sash for four cents a light. This man went immediately to the house and began to take the measurement of the windows, but in consequence of some misunderstanding, Brother Cahoon forbade his doing the work. Accordingly, Mr. Bar came to my husband to get some explanation of the affair. A council was called, and after a three-hour sitting, it was voted that Mother Smith should go ahead and finish the house as she thought proper. I then proceeded to collect means, employ hands, and get together the necessary materials, until I had the house entirely completed, and there was but six dollars left unpaid. This debt Mr. Smith paid by selling produce, and the house was thoroughly finished, for there was not a door fastening which was wanting.

Late in the fall, Joseph and Hyrum returned. Their joy at meeting us again in health was exceeding great, above measure, because of the perils which they had passed through during their absence. They sat down one on each side of me, Joseph holding one of my hands and Hyrum the other, and related the following sketch of their journey:

“When we got started on our journey, we made arrangements so that the company should be made as comfortable as possible, but the sufferings which are incident to such an excursion soon made some of the brethren discontented, and they began to murmur against us, saying that the Lord never required them to take such a tiresome journey, and that it was folly for them to suffer the fatigue and inconvenience which they underwent just to gratify a foolish fancy. We warned them in the name of the Lord to stop their murmuring or the displeasure of the Almighty would visit them in judgment, but many of them persisted in complaining, until one morning, when they came to harness their horses, they found them so lame as to be unable to travel. This gave them great uneasiness, and said Joseph, ‘I called them together and told them if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the curse would be removed, but if they did not, a greater curse would come upon them.’ This had a good effect with all save one, who was more turbulent than the rest. When he brought up his horse, he found that it would not be possible for him to travel, and after a little delay, the animal died. Soon the spirit of dissension arose again and was not quelled, so that we had any degree of good feeling, until we arrived in Missouri.

“Soon after arriving at the point of destination, the cholera broke out among us, and the brethren were so violently attacked that it seemed impossible to render them any assistance. They immediately sent for us to lay hands on them, but we soon discovered that this also was the judgment of the Almighty, for when we laid our hands upon them in the name of the Lord in order that they might be healed, the disease instantly fastened itself upon us. And in a few minutes we were in awful distress. We made mute signals to each other and left the house for the purpose of going into some secluded place to join in prayer that God would deliver us from this awful influence; but before we could get a sufficient distance to be secure from interruption, we were scarcely able to stand upon our feet and we were greatly alarmed, fearing that we should die in this western wilderness so far from our families, without even the privilege of blessing our children or giving them one word of parting counsel. Hyrum cried out, ‘Joseph, what shall we do? Must we be cut off from the face of the earth by this horrid curse?’

“‘Let us,’ said Joseph, ‘get down upon our knees and pray to God to remove the cramp and other distress and restore us to health, that we may return to our families.’ We did so but without receiving any benefit, but still grew worse. We concluded, however, to make a second effort, and when we kneeled again, the cramp seized the calves of Joseph’s legs, gathering the cords into bunches, and then the operation extended in like manner all over his system. He cried heartily unto God, but the heavens seemed sealed against us and every power that could render us any assistance shut within its gates. The universe was still. ‘When we arose again,’ said Joseph, ‘I found Hyrum was in the same situation with myself.’

“We soon came to the resolution of appealing again to God for mercy, and not to rise from our knees until one or the other got a testimony that we should be healed, and he who received the first intimation from the Spirit should inform the other of the same. We prayed some time, first one and then the other, and soon perceived that the cramp began to loose its hold. In a short time Hyrum sprang to his feet and exclaimed, ‘Joseph, we shall return, for I have seen an open vision in which I saw Mother on her knees under an apple tree praying for us, and she is even now asking God, in tears, to spare our lives, that she may behold us again in the flesh. The Spirit testifies to me that her prayers and ours shall be heard’-and from that moment we were healed and went on our way rejoicing.”

“Oh, my mother,” said Joseph, “how often have your prayers been a means of assisting us when the shadows of death encompassed us!”

“William had the same symptoms, but was not so severely affected as we had been and a sister took him home with her. She was extremely kind and attentive to him, insomuch that in a short time he was well again.

“But our poor cousin Jesse was taken so severely, that we could not render him any assistance, and he died in a short time. Brother Thayre was also taken and called upon us at first to lay hands upon him, but he afterwards said, ‘No, you need not do so. I will go into the river.’ And he commenced dipping himself in the water until he was better. His example was followed by others, and those who did this recovered.”

After hearing this recital, I related to Joseph and Hyrum the circumstances of building the schoolhouse. They highly approved of my zeal and blessed me for what I had done. We all had a time of great rejoicing.


Chapter 43

A council is called to discuss the matter of building the house of the Lord. Joseph gives the plan of the Lord. Account of the struggles to build the temple in poverty and guarding it against the mob. Sophronia taken very sick and healed by the power of the priesthood. Letter from Joseph the Prophet to his uncle Silas Smith outlining the reasons for modern-day revelation. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith move into Joseph and Emma’s home. Lucy falls down the stairs, receives a severe injury, later catches a cold and loses her eyesight. She is healed by the blessing of the priesthood and never uses glasses again.


Summer 1833 to spring 1835

The ensuing summer after Joseph’s return from Missouri, the brethren called a council to discuss the subject of building another meetinghouse, as the first was now rather small to afford room for the increased congregation.

In this council Joseph requested each of the brethren to rise and give his views, and when they were through, he would give his opinion concerning the matter. They all spoke. Some thought that it would be better to build a frame house. Others said that a frame house was too costly, and the majority concluded upon putting up a log house and made their calculations about what they could do towards building it. Joseph rose and reminded them that they were not making a house for themselves or any other man, but a house for God. “And shall we, brethren, build a house for our God of logs? No, I have a better plan than that. I have the plan of the house of the Lord, given by himself. You will see by this the difference between our calculations and his idea of things.”

He then gave them the full plan of the house of the Lord at Kirtland, with which the brethren were highly delighted, particularly Hyrum, who was twice as much animated as if it were designed for himself, and declared that he would strike the first blow towards building the house.

Before the meeting closed, they resolved upon laying the cornerstone one week from the succeeding Wednesday. “Now, brethren,” said Joseph, “let us go select a place for the building.” They all went out, and when they came to a certain field of wheat, which my sons had sown the fall before, they chose a spot in the northwest corner. Hyrum ran to the house and caught the scythe and was about returning to the place without giving any explanation, but I stopped him and asked him where he was going with the scythe. He said, “We are preparing to build a house for the Lord, and I am determined to be the first at the work.”

In a few minutes, the fence was removed, the young wheat cut, and the ground in order for the foundation of the wall, and Hyrum commenced digging away the earth where the stones were to be laid. This was Saturday night. Early Monday morning, the brethren were out with their teams, laboring with great ambition at digging a trench for the wall, quarrying stone and hauling it to the place where they were to be used. Although there were but thirty families in Kirtland at that time (as many of the brethren had gone to Jackson County), the work never stopped nor stood still for the want of means or laborers. But they suffered much pain, fatigue, and uneasiness, for as soon as the work was commenced, our enemies began to swear that we should not finish it. Still, the brethren were faithful to their charge, and they took turns keeping guard upon the walls every night. My sons also took their turns, standing upon the walls as often as three nights in the week. How many of those affectionate brethren spent days and nights watching for the enemy, lest they should steal into the town unawares and murder the Prophet and his council and tear down the foundation! But they clung fast by the walls and “gave no quiet sleep to their eyes, nor peaceful slumber to their eyelids, until they found a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.”

Many of those who once stood guard lie full low, and their bodies are moldering to dust, but their spirits have returned to God, and their works have followed them, for they did not turn therefrom, but continued faithful to the end; while others, alas, are buried in far more gross and dreadful darkness, for they have forsaken the truth and taken to themselves the god of this world and given heed to vanity and lies, things wherein there is no profit. The Savior said, “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”

Mary Bailey and Agnes Coolbrith were then boarding with me. They devoted their whole time to making and mending clothes for the brethren who worked on the house. There was but one mainspring to all our thoughts, and that was building the Lord’s house.

I often wonder to hear brethren and sisters murmur at the trifling inconveniences which they have to encounter in living in a little less stylish establishment than they have been accustomed to, and I think to myself, salvation is worth as much now as it was in the beginning of the work. But I find that “all like the purchase, few the price will pay.” And although they all speak frequently of being of that people whom the Lord will try in all things, yet when they find by experience that they have been preaching a doctrine which is literally true, they feel as though those who carried them the message of eternal life had injured them, and reflect on those who brought them into the Church as though they had acted the part of an enemy. I often find that even those who have been with us from almost the outset are, some of them, still clinging to their property as if life depended upon close economy.

How often I have, with my daughters and daughters-in-law, parted every bed in the house for the accommodation of the brethren, and then laid a single blanket on the floor for my husband and myself, while Joseph slept upon the same hard floor, with nothing but a cloak for both bed and bedding, Emma placing herself by his side to share his comfort-and this was our rest for two weeks together, while we labored hard every day.

But those who were accommodated by our privations did not know how we fared, for neither Emma nor I suffered them to know that we took unwearied pains for them, and when the Lord’s house was being built, how our brethren at Kirtland watched and toiled.

A short time after the work on the temple was commenced, my husband’s brother  John  Smith, who had been lying very low with the consumption, determined to be baptized, notwithstanding he was unable to walk into the water. He was baptized and soon healed. Shortly after, he came to Kirtland with his family in order to assist in the work to which they had been called. Not long after Brother  John  arrived, my daughter Sophronia Stoddard was taken very sick, and her symptoms soon became so alarming that her husband started for a physician, who, after attending upon her some time, pronounced her beyond the reach of medicine and discontinued his visits, because he said that he could be of no service to her. In a short time, she became so weak that she could not speak nor turn herself in bed for several days, and many thought that she was dying. About this time Jared Carter returned from a preaching mission. He was a man of great faith, and I thought that if I could get him to administer to her with my husband and our sons, by their united faith she might be healed. I mentioned this to Mr. Smith and he called our sons and Brother Carter together, and they laid hands on her, and in one-half an hour she spoke to me and said, “Mother, I shall get well-not suddenly, but the Lord will heal me gradually.” The same day she sat up for an hour, and in three days she walked across the street.

After Brother  John  moved to Kirtland, Joseph wrote a letter to his Uncle Silas which I think would be interesting to my readers, and shall therefore give it insertion in this place:

Kirtland Mills, Ohio, September 26, 1833.

Respected Uncle Silas:-It is with feelings of deep interest for the welfare of mankind, which fill my mind on the reflection that all were formed by the hand of Him who will call the same to give an impartial account of all their works on that great day to which you and myself, in common with them, are bound, that I take up my pen and seat myself in an attitude to address a few, though imperfect, lines to you for your perusal.

I have no doubt but that you will agree with me, that men will be held accountable for the things they have done, and not for the things they have not done. Or that all the light and intelligence communicated to them from their beneficent Creator, whether it is much or little, by the same they, in justice, will be judged. And that they are required to yield obedience, and improve upon that, and that only, which is given, for man is not to live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

Seeing that the Lord has never given the world to understand, by anything heretofore revealed, that he had ceased forever to speak to his creatures, when sought unto in a proper manner, why should it be thought a thing incredible that he should be pleased to speak again in these last days for their salvation? Perhaps you may be surprised at this assertion, that I should say for the salvation of his creatures in these last days, since we have already in our possession a vast volume of his word, which he has previously given. But you will admit that the word spoken to Noah was not sufficient for Abraham, or it was not required of  Abraham  to leave the land of his nativity, and seek an inheritance in a strange country upon the word spoken to Noah, but for himself he obtained promises at the hand of the Lord, and walked in that perfection, that he was called the friend of God. Isaac, the promised seed, was not required to rest his hope alone upon the promises made to his father Abraham, but was privileged with the assurance of his approbation, in the sight of Heaven, by the direct voice of the Lord to him. If one man can live upon the  revelations  given to another, might I not with propriety ask, why the necessity, then, of the Lord’s speaking to Isaac as he did, as is recorded in the twenty-sixth chapter of Genesis? For the Lord there repeats, or rather, promises again to perform the oath which he had previously sworn to Abraham; and why this repetition to Isaac? Why was not the first promise as sure for Isaac as it was for Abraham? Was not Isaac Abraham’s son? and could he not place implicit confidence in the veracity of his father as being a man of God? Perhaps you may say that he was a very peculiar man, and different from men in these last days, consequently, the Lord favored him with blessings, peculiar and different, as he was different from men of this age. I admit that he was a peculiar man, and was not only peculiarly blessed, but greatly blessed. But all the peculiarity that I can discover in the man, or all the difference between him and men in this age, is, that he was more holy and more perfect before God, and came to him with a purer heart, and more faith than men in this day.

This same might be said on the subject of Jacob’s history. Why was it that the Lord spake to him concerning the same promise, after he had made it once to Abraham, and renewed it to Isaac? Why could not  Jacob  rest contented upon the word spoken to his fathers? When the time of the promise drew nigh for the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, why was it necessary that the Lord should begin to speak to them? The promise or word to Abraham, was, that his seed should serve in bondage, and be afflicted, four hundred years, and after that they should come out with great substance. Why did they not rely upon this promise, and when they had remained in Egypt, in bondage, four hundred years, come out, without waiting for further revelations, but act entirely upon the promise given to Abraham, that they should come out?

Paul said to his Hebrew brethren, that God being more abundantly willing to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, he confirmed it by an oath. He also exhorts them, who, through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Notwithstanding, we (said Paul) have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us, which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast and which entereth into that within the veil, yet he was careful to press upon them the necessity of continuing on until they, as well as those who then inherited the promises, might have the assurance of their salvation confirmed to them by an oath from the mouth of him who could not lie; for that seemed to be the example anciently, and Paul holds it out to his Hebrew brethren as an object attainable in his day. And why not? I admit that by reading the Scriptures of truth, the saints, in the days of Paul, could learn, beyond the power of contradiction, that Abraham, Isaac, and  Jacob  had the promise of eternal life confirmed to them by an oath of the Lord, but that promise or oath was no assurance to them of their salvation; but they could, by walking in the footsteps, continuing in the faith of their fathers, obtain, for themselves, an oath for confirmation that they were meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light.

If the saints, in the days of the apostles, were privileged to take the saints for example, and lay hold of the same promises, and attain to the same exalted privileges of knowing that their names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and that they were sealed there as a perpetual memorial before the face of the Most High, will not the same faithfulness, the same purity of heart, and the faith, bring the same assurance of eternal life, and that in the same manner to the children of men now, in this age of the world? I have no doubt, but that the holy prophets, and apostles, and saints in ancient days were saved in the kingdom of God; neither do I doubt but that they held converse and communion with him while they were in the flesh, as Paul said to his Corinthian brethren, that the Lord Jesus showed himself to above five hundred saints at one time after his resurrection.  Job  said that he knew that his Redeemer lived, and that he should see him in the flesh in the latter days. I may believe that Enoch walked with God, and by faith was translated. I may believe that Noah was a perfect man in his generation, and also walked with God. I may believe that  Abraham  communed with God, and conversed with angels. I may believe that Isaac obtained a renewal of the covenant made to  Abraham  by the direct voice of the Lord. I may believe that  Jacob  conversed with holy angels, and heard the word of his Maker, that he wrestled with the angel until he prevailed, and obtained a blessing. I may believe that Elijah was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire with fiery horses. I may believe that the saints saw the Lord, and conversed with him face to face after his resurrection. I may believe that the Hebrew church came to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. I may believe that they looked into eternity, and saw the Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant. But will all this purchase an assurance for me, and waft me to the regions of eternal day, with my garments spotless, pure and white? Or, must I not rather obtain for myself, by my own faith and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord, an assurance of salvation for myself? And have I not an equal privilege with the ancient saints? And will not the Lord hear my prayers, and listen to my cries as soon as he ever did theirs, if I come to him in the manner they did? Or, is he a respecter of persons?

I must now close this subject for the want of time; and, I may say, with propriety, at the beginning. We would be pleased to see you in Kirtland; and more pleased to have you embrace the New Covenant.

I remain, yours affectionately,

Joseph Smith, Jun.

In 1835 we were still living on the farm and working with our might to make comfortable the droves of company which were constantly coming in from the country, both those who were in and out of the Church. But when Joseph saw how crowded we were, and that we were breaking ourselves down with hard work, he told us that it would not answer for us to carry on a public house at free cost any longer, and by his request, we moved into an upper room of his house, where we lived very comfortably for a season.

I thought as my time had been so taken up with business, I now devoted the principal part of it to reading, and I studied the Bible and Book of  Mormon and the recent  revelations  constantly until a circumstance occurred which deprived me of the privilege. One day upon going downstairs to my dinner, I incautiously set my foot upon a round stick which lay near the top of the stairs. This, rolling under my foot, pitched me forward down the steps, and I bruised my head sadly, for my right arm was lame at the time and I could not use it to any advantage. I was much hurt, but thinking I should be better soon, I said nothing about it at that time.

Brother Cahoon came in the afternoon and requested Mr. Smith to go to his house and give a patriarchal blessing to some of his friends who had just arrived from the East. My husband invited me to accompany him, but I told him that I was afraid that I should take a cold that would affect me seriously on account of my fall. But, as he refused to go without me, after much persuasion on the part of Brother Cahoon, I went. In spite of all the care which I could take, I took cold, and an inflammation settled in my eyes which increased until I was not able to open them. The distress which I suffered for a length of time surpasses all description.

Everything that was supposed to help in the least degree was faithfully tried by my daughters and daughters-in-law, but in vain. I called upon my husband, sons, and other elders to administer to me by prayer and the laying on of hands. I desired that I might receive my sight, even that I might be able to read without ever putting on spectacles again. They did pray for this with fervent spirit, and when they took their hands off of my head, I opened my eyes and read two lines in the Book of Mormon. I am now sixty-nine and I have not worn glasses since. This was done by the special power of God, and I felt to adore his name for the same.


Chapter 44

The completion of the Kirtland Temple. Joseph takes a journey to the East. A vision is given to Joseph as he passes through Palmyra which he finds difficult to look upon. Joseph returns to Kirtland, meets with the Saints, and prophesies about the apostasy of one-third of those present. His words are fulfilled and many turn violently against the Prophet. A woman of Kirtland begins receiving  revelations  through a black stone. Many are deceived, including David Whitmer and Frederick G. Williams. Lucy describes Sidney Rigdon.


End of March 1836 to late fall 1837

The house of the Lord progressed steadily forward notwithstanding all the threats of the mob. When it was completed, there was much rejoicing in the Church, and great blessings were poured out upon the elders; but as I was not present at the endowment, I shall say but little about it.

Soon after the house was finished, Joseph and Martin Harris took a short tour into the eastern country. As they were returning and were in Palmyra, Joseph had a vision which lasted until he besought the Lord to take it from him, for it showed him things which were very painful for him to contemplate. But it returned immediately and remained before his eyes until the middle of the forenoon.

The Church manifested great joy at his return. The news of his arrival was soon circulated among the brethren, and there was nothing to be heard but, “Brother Joseph has come back,” and “We shall hear Brother Joseph preach tomorrow.”

When we met the brethren the next day, he appeared unusually solemn, which caused them to wonder much, but he preached as he was accustomed to do. He told the congregation that had assembled that he was rejoiced to see them, and they no doubt were glad to meet him again. “We are now,” said he, “nearly as happy as we can be on earth, for we have accomplished more than we had any reason to anticipate when we began. Our lovely and beautiful house is finished, and the Lord has acknowledged it by pouring out his Spirit upon us here and revealing to us much concerning his purposes in regard to the work which he is about to perform. Furthermore, we have plenty of everything necessary to our comfort and convenience, and judging from appearances, one would not suppose that anything could occur that would break up our friendship for each other or distress us in the least. But, brethren, beware, for I tell you in the name of the Lord that there is an evil in this very congregation, which, if it is not repented of, will result in making one-third of you who are here this day so much my enemies that you will have a desire to take my life; and you even would do so, if God permitted the deed. But, brethren, I call upon you now to repent, while there is room for repentance, and cease all your hardness and turn from these principles of dishonesty and death which you are harboring in your bosoms, before it is eternally too late, for there is yet room for repentance.”

He continued to labor in this way with them, appealing to them in the most feeling and solemn manner, until the exertion of his mind and the fatigue of speaking quite exhausted him, and he sat down, leaving almost everyone in the house in tears.

The following week was much given to surmises and speculations as to who would be the traitors and why they should be, etc., etc.

In a short time, a difficulty broke out about the bank which the brethren had established in Kirtland. It seemed that a quantity of money had been taken away by fraud. When Joseph discovered this, he demanded a search warrant of Esquire Frederick G. Williams. This was flatly refused by said Williams, to which Joseph said, “If you will give me a warrant, I can get the money, but if you do not, I will break you of your office.”

“Well, break it is, then,” said Williams, “and we will strike hands upon it.”

“Very well,” said Joseph, “from henceforth I drop you from my quorum in the name of the Lord,” and Williams in wrath replied, “Amen.”

Joseph entered a complaint against him for neglect of duty as an officer of justice, on which account his ministry was taken from him and given to Oliver Cowdery.

Joseph then went to Cleveland in order to transact some business pertaining to the bank; and as he was absent the ensuing Sunday, my husband preached to the people. In speaking of the bank affair, he reflected somewhat sharply upon Brother Warren Parrish. Although the reflection was just, this incensed Mr. Parrish, and he made an attempt to go onto the stand. Mr. Smith told him that he would not be interrupted, and seeing that Parrish intended to force his way, my husband called upon Oliver Cowdery, who was justice of the peace, to have him brought to order. But Oliver paid no attention, and Parrish made a move to pull Mr. Smith out of the stand. At this, William, who was the oldest one of my sons who was present, sprang from his seat, caught Parrish in his arm, and carried him halfway across the house. He would have put him out of the room entirely had not  John  Boynton  stepped forward and, drawing the sword from his cane, presented it to William’s breast and said, “If you advance one step further, I will run you through.” Before William had time to turn, several gathered around him, threatening to handle him severely if he laid hands upon Parrish again. At this juncture I left the house, sick and grieved of heart, and more distressed as I found that, although a great number did not take active part against the Church, yet many were undecided.  This plainly showed me that the seeds of the apostasy were already sown in the breasts of a greater number than I imagined before, just as Joseph had prophesied.

The same week, a young woman who lived with David Whitmer and pretended to be able to discover hidden things and to prophesy by looking through a certain black stone which she had found, revealed to Brother Whitmer and others some facts which gave them a new idea of things altogether. David Whitmer requested her to look through this stone and tell him what Joseph meant by saying one-third of the Church would turn against him. Her answer was that he would fall from his office because of transgression, and either David Whitmer or Martin Harris would be appointed in his place, and the one who did not succeed Joseph in his office would be a counselor to the one who did.

Those persons who were disaffected towards Joseph began collecting together around this girl. Soon, as this news came to his ears, Dr. Williams, the ex-justice of the peace, also became one of the dissenters, and he wrote down the  revelations  that were given to this girl. Jared Carter, who had always been before a good and faithful brother, lived in the same house with David Whitmer and soon invited the same spirit.

Not long after Brother Carter became one of their party, I was made acquainted with the fact, and having a great regard for him, I improved the first opportunity of talking with him to dissuade him from continuing to associate with persons who would be the means of his destruction. As I had been informed that he had declared in one of their meetings that he possessed power to raise “Joe Smith” to the highest heaven or cast him down to the lowest hell, I questioned him about the matter in the presence of my husband. Mr. Smith, not knowing what I was talking of, began to reason with Brother Carter upon the impurity of his course and warned him to speedily repent and to confess his sins to the Church, or the judgments of God would overtake him. He remained with us until midnight, acknowledged his fault, and said he would confess to the Brethren.

The next morning he was taken with a violent pain in his eyes, and continued in great distress for two days. On the evening of the second day, he rose from his bed, and kneeling down, he besought the Lord to heal him, covenanting that if he were healed, he would make a full confession to the Church the next Sabbath.

The next Sunday when the Brethren were about to open the meeting, he arose and, saying that he had done wrong, asked the forgiveness of the Church, begging to be received again into their confidence. He did not, however, state what he had done that was wrong, but his confession was received and he was forgiven.

The rest of his party were still in opposition, and they continued to meet secretly at Mr. Whitmer’s. When the young woman, who was their instructress, was through giving  revelations  in an evening, she would jump and hop over the floor and dance with all her might, boasting of her great power until she was perfectly exhausted. Her proselytes would also, in the most vehement manner, proclaim how pure and holy they were, and how mighty, great, and powerful they were going to be.

When we held our next prayer meeting, they took no part with us, but after meeting was dismissed, they arose and made a standing appointment for meetings to be held every Thursday by the “pure church,” which title they claimed. They circulated a paper to ascertain how many would follow them, and it was ascertained that a great proportion of those whom we considered good members were decidedly in favor of the new party. In this spirit they went to Missouri and contaminated the minds of some of the brethren there against Joseph, in order to destroy his influence with them. This schism in the Church, and the rage of the mob, whom we had contended with from the first, made it necessary to keep a more strict guard than ever at the houses of those who were their chief objects of vengeance.

The brethren would take their stations as a watch and stand night after night through all weather on guard to protect the lives of the Presidency, one of whom was Sidney Rigdon. He was always as fainthearted as any woman, and far more so than his own wife-for had his faith, patience, and courage been as genuine as Sister Rigdon’s, he would not have been where he is now. The Twelve, many of whom were then cheerful to take the brunt of danger and hardship that he recoiled from, are now shining as much brighter in comparison to him as the light of the sun is brighter than the stroke of a tar bill.


Chapter 45 Mary Duty Smith, grandmother of the Prophet Joseph, arrives in Kirtland and dies ten days later. Joseph Smith Sr. and  John  Smith perform a mission to the East, visiting many of their extended family and trying to further convince them of the Restoration. Hyrum’s wife, Jerusha, passes away in Kirtland.


May 10, 1836 to October 13, 1837

In the year 1836, my husband and his brother  John  were sent on a short mission to New Portage. While there they administered patriarchal blessings and baptized sixteen persons.

Soon after they left for New Portage, their aged mother arrived in Kirtland from New York, after traveling the distance of five hundred miles. We sent immediately for my husband and his brother, who returned as speedily as possible and found the old lady in good health and excellent spirits. She rejoiced to meet so many of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, whom she expected never to see.

In two days after her sons  John  and Joseph arrived, she was taken sick and survived but one week, at the end of which she died, firm in the faith of the gospel, although she had never yielded obedience to any of its ordinances. Her age was ninety-three years.

In a short time after her death, my husband and his brother  John  took a journey to visit branches of the Church in the East, and the following is a sketch from the journal of  John  Smith of this tour:

“We traveled through New Hampshire, and on our way we visited  Daniel  Mack, who was Joseph’s brother-in-law. He treated us very kindly but was unwilling to hear the gospel. We traveled thence up the Connecticut River to Grafton. Here we found our sister Mary, whom we had not seen for twenty years. The prejudice of her husband had become so strong against Mormonism, that she was unwilling to treat us even decently. From this place we went to Vermont, through Windsor and Orange Counties, and found many of our relatives, who treated us kindly, but would not receive the gospel. We next crossed the Green Mountains to Middlebury. Here we found our oldest sister, Priscilla, who was very much pleased to see us and received our testimony. We stayed with her overnight, and the next day set out for St. Lawrence County, New York, where we had one brother and a sister. Having arrived at his brother’s (who was Jesse Smith), we spent one day with him. He treated us very ill. Leaving him, we went to see our sister Susan. I had business about ten miles on one side, and during my absence, Jesse pursued Joseph to Potsdam, with a warrant, on a pretended debt of twelve dollars, and took him back to Stockholm. Not satisfied with this, he abused him most shamefully, in the presence of strangers; and he exacted fifty dollars of him, which Joseph borrowed of brother Silas, who happened to be there just at that time from Kirtland, and paid Jesse this sum, in order to save further trouble.

“The meekness manifested by brother Joseph upon this occasion won the feelings of many, who said that Jesse had disgraced himself so much that he would never be able to redeem his character.

“From Potsdam we went to Ogdensburg, when to our joy we found Heber C. Kimball, who had raised up a small branch in that place. These were the first Latter-day Saints we had seen in traveling three hundred miles. On the tenth of October, we returned home.”

About one year after my husband returned from this mission, a calamity happened to our family that wrung our hearts with more than common grief. Jerusha, Hyrum’s wife, was taken sick and, after an illness of perhaps two weeks, died while her husband was absent on a mission to Missouri. She was a woman whom everybody loved who was acquainted with her, for she was in every way worthy. The family were so warmly attached to her that had she been our own sister they could not have been more afflicted by her death.


Missouri Persecutions Chapter 46 Mob action increases in Kirtland; apostasy is rampant. Mob threatens to burn the Egyptian mummies. Joseph prophesies of the Lord’s promise of protection on his life. Joseph flees Kirtland to Missouri. Constable  Luke  Johnson arrests Joseph Smith Sr., then allows him to escape with son Hyrum. Most of the Smiths move temporarily to New Portage, Ohio, to await removal to Missouri.


Summer 1837 to spring 1838

I will now return to the mob, for we have said little of their proceedings for some time, principally because they were not of sufficient importance to demand attention. They had become discouraged and ceased their operations, when they found that despite their best endeavors, we had built the house of the Lord, and that we had seen prosperity in everything to which we had set our hands. But suddenly, seeing that there was a division in our midst, they began to renew their diligence to effect the desire of their hearts, which was our overthrow.

Their first movement was to sue my son Joseph for debt and, with this pretense, seize upon every piece of property which they could have the least pretext to lay hold upon. They considered it quite sufficient if the article in question belonged to any member of the family. Joseph then had in his possession four Egyptian mummies, with some ancient records that accompanied them. These, the mob swore, they would fetch from the  Mormon meetinghouse and burn. They devised every invention to get these things into their possession, hoping to destroy the only then existing evidence in writing of the Book of  Mormon which was accessible to the world. Accordingly they levied an execution upon them, claiming that they belonged to Joseph, and that he owed them a debt of fifty dollars. This was an unjust demand, for we did not owe any man out of the Church anything, but by various stratagems, we were able to keep them out of the hands of the rabble, who were joined by the apostates.

The persecution became so hot, that Joseph regarded it as unsafe to remain any longer in Kirtland and began making arrangements to move to Missouri. He was preparing for his journey when the first effort was made to get the mummies and their attendant records.

One evening he was at our house, speaking with the brethren of various things he wished to have them do in case he left. When it was quite late, he rose to go home, but as he was about leaving, he turned to the company and said, “Well, brethren, one thing more. I do not want you to be concerned about me, for I shall see you again, let what will happen, for I have a lease of my life for five years anyway, and they will not kill me till after that time is expired.”

That night he was warned by the Spirit of immediate danger and to make his escape as speedily as possible. Therefore, he set out in the night with his family, beds and bedding, and sufficient clothing to make them comfortable. When we came to hear from his house the next morning, he had gone on his journey. Emma’s oldest son was then only five years old.

Soon after Joseph left, the constable,  Luke  Johnson (who had formerly been a member of the Church), came to our house and served a summons on Mr. Smith which requested him to go to the magistrate’s office. Johnson said that no mischief was intended, and that it was of a peaceable nature.

Mr. Smith was then sick, and I begged Johnson not to take him away among our enemies, for I knew by experience that their design was generally false imprisonment, and that their civil writs too often proved to be very uncivil. Johnson paid no attention to what I said. Indeed, nothing else would satisfy those very “civil” men but his going into a crowd of apostates and mobocrats and running the risk of what treatment he might receive at their hands.

After Mr. Smith arrived at the office, he was soon informed of the cause of his being arrested, and what would be necessary to escape from imprisonment. He was taken before Esquire Cowdery for marrying a couple. As the apostates and the mob did not consider him a minister of the gospel, they contested his right to perform such a ceremony, and he was fined the sum of three thousand dollars, and in case he should default of paying this, he was sentenced to the penitentiary.  Luke  Johnson bustled about and seemed to be very much engaged, preparing to draw writings for the money and making other arrangements such as were required of him by the party to which he belonged. But at the first opportunity, he went to Hyrum (who had not yet set out for Missouri) and told him to take his father into a room which he pointed out to him.  Luke  said, “I will manage to get the window out, and he will be at liberty to jump out and go when or where he pleases.”

Hyrum and Mr. Smith left the company, and  Luke  told the mob that they had gone to consult together about raising the money. By deceiving them in this way, he kept them still until Mr. Smith crept out of the window, with the help of Hyrum and  John  Boynton (who said he was our friend at this time).

He traveled about four miles and stopped with Brother Snow, who is the father of Miss Eliza Snow, the poetess. The old man said he would secrete him and forbade his family from saying to anyone that Father Smith was there.

When  Luke  supposed that my husband was out of their reach, he started up and ran into the room where he had left him, saying that he must see after the prisoner. Upon finding that the prisoner had fled, he made a great parade, calling out that he was gone and hunting in every direction for the fugitive. He came to me and inquired if Mr. Smith was at home. This frightened me very much and I exclaimed, “Luke, you have taken my husband away and given him into the hands of the mob and they have killed him.” This he denied but gave me no explanation. In a short time, however, I found out where my husband was and sent him money and clothes to travel with. He started in a few days for New Portage with Carlos, my youngest son, and Brother Wilber. By this time handbills were stuck up on every public or private road, giving a description of his person, and no means which ingenuity could invent was left untried to prevent his escape. Runners were sent through the country to watch for him with authority to bring him back in case they found him. But despite their utmost exertions, he eluded them and succeeded in getting to New Portage, where he remained with Brother Taylor. Don Carlos, having accompanied his father to the above-named place, returned home again to his family; but immediately discovering that the mob contemplated taking him for the same offense, he moved with his family to New Portage, and was there with his father, until the rest of the family were ready to remove to Missouri. Hyrum had already moved there with his family.

Shortly after they left, a man by the name of Edward Woolley came to Kirtland to see Mr. Smith, and not finding him there, he went to New Portage and persuaded my husband to accompany him home.

After Mr. Smith had remained with Mr. Woolley about two weeks, we became very uneasy about him, not having received any intelligence of him since he left us. Accordingly, William resolved to go in pursuit of him to see how he was situated; whether he had met with friends and was comfortably provided for, or had fallen into the hands of his enemies and been murdered by them, for we had as much cause to fear the latter as to hope for the former.

When William arrived at New Portage, now called Norton, it was some time before he could learn exactly where his father had gone. But as soon as he obtained the necessary intelligence, he went immediately to him and had the pleasure of finding him in good health, although in great anxiety about the family, for he did not know how we were situated, nor where we were, since we had designed moving to Missouri soon after he left us.

As soon as it was known that William was in the place, a part of the inhabitants were very anxious that he should preach, and he agreed to do so. But there were a few that declared that if he did preach, they would tar and feather him. One of these was Mr. Bear, a man of extraordinary size and strength. Besides him were three others, no less than he. As these men came in, William was just taking his text, which was, “The Poor Deluded Mormons.” The singularity of this text excited their curiosity so much that they stopped in the door, saying, “Wait, let’s see what he will do with his text,” and they waited so long that they either forgot what they came for, or they changed their minds, for they made no further move towards making use of tar or feathers, and when he got through preaching, Mr. Bear frankly confessed his conviction of the truth and was baptized soon afterwards.

William told his father that we should set out for Missouri soon, and we wished him to be ready to go with us. William then returned home and his father went again to New Portage. Here he remained with Don Carlos until we were ready to go to Missouri.


Chapter 47

Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith with twenty-two family members are driven from Ohio and take the nearly one-thousand-mile journey to Far West, Missouri. An account of their terrible suffering and trials along the way. Lucy catches a cold that persists and threatens her life. Catharine Smith Salisbury gives birth to a son on the journey. Mother Smith hobbles into the woods at Huntsville, Missouri, prays for three hours, and is completely healed. Lucy recounts the mob action at the election in Gallatin, Missouri. Eight mobsters enter the Smith home in Far West to murder Joseph the Prophet. Lucy withstands them and Joseph softens their hearts. The Missouri militia surround the city of Far West to lay it to ashes.


May 1838 to October 1838

When we were ready to set out for Missouri, I went to New Portage with a conveyance to bring my husband to the rest of his family, and we were shortly on our way together, right glad to meet again, alive and in good health, after so many perilous adventures.

Almost as soon as we were well on our way, my sons began to have calls to preach, and they soon found that if they would yield to every solicitation, our journey would have been a preaching mission of very great length, which was quite inconsistent with the number and situation of our family. They were obliged to notify the people where we stopped that they could not preach to them at all, as if they did, we would not have means sufficient to take us through. They, however, sowed the seeds of the gospel in many places and were the means in the hands of God of doing much good.

We traveled on through many trials and difficulties. Sometimes we lay in our tents through a driving storm. At other times we traveled on foot through marshes and quagmires, exposing ourselves to wet and cold. Once we lay all night in the rain, which descended in torrents, and I, being more exposed than the other females, suffered much with the cold, and upon getting up in the morning, I found that a quilted skirt which I had worn the day before was wringing wet, but I could not mend the matter by changing that for another, for the rain was still falling. I wore it in this situation for three days. In consequence of this, I took a severe cold and was very sick, so that when we arrived at the Mississippi I was unable to sit up at any length and could not walk without assistance. After we crossed this river, we stopped at a Negro hut, a most unlovely place, but we could go no farther. Here my daughter Catharine gave birth to a fine son named Alvin.

The next morning we set out to find a more comfortable situation for her and succeeded in getting a place about four miles ahead, and my poor child was carried from the loathsome hut to this house in a double wagon. The same day it was agreed that my oldest daughter, Sophronia, and her husband, McLeary, should stay with Catharine, and that Mr. Smith and the remainder of the party would take me with what speed they could to Huntsville.

I was no longer able to ride in a sitting posture, but lay on a bedstead carefully covered, as the fresh air kept me coughing continually. My husband did not much expect me to live to the end of the journey, for I could not travel sometimes more than four miles a day. But as soon as we arrived at Huntsville, he sought a place where we might stop for some time, so that all that nursing could do for me could be done.

Going as far as Huntsville was my own request, but they did not know why I urged the matter. The fact was, I had an impression that if I could get there and be able to find a place where I could be secluded and uninterrupted in calling upon the Lord, I might be healed. Accordingly, I seized upon a time when they were engaged, and by the aid of staffs I reached a fence, and then followed the fence some distance till I came to a dense hazel thicket. Here I threw myself on the ground and thought it was no matter how far I was from the house, for if the Lord would not hear me and I must die, I might as well die here as anywhere. When I was a little rested, I commenced calling upon the Lord to beseech his mercy, praying for my health and the life of my daughter Catharine. I urged every claim which the scriptures give us and was as humble as I knew how to be, and I continued praying near three hours. At last I was entirely relieved from pain, my cough left me, and I was well. Moreover, I received an assurance that I should hear from my sick daughter about the middle of the same day. I arose and went to the house in as good health as I ever enjoyed.

At one o’clock, Wilkins J. Salisbury came to Huntsville and said that Catharine was better and thought if she had a carriage to ride in, she could proceed on her journey.

The next morning Salisbury returned to his wife, who was forty miles from Huntsville. The first day she rode thirty miles, and the day after ten miles, which brought her to Huntsville. When she got there, we were holding a meeting and did not expect her, as the rain had been pouring down in torrents all the forenoon. Although they had driven with great speed through the rain, she was cold, and her bed was very wet. As soon as she was put into a dry bed, she had a dreadful ague fit, and we called the elders to lay hands upon her. This helped her, but she continued weak and inclined to chills and fever for a long time.

The day after she came, I washed a very large quantity of clothes with as much ease as though I had not been out of health at all. When the company was all gathered together, we started on our journey again and arrived at Far West without any further difficulty. Here we met Joseph and Hyrum in good health. They had heard by William and Carlos, who went into Far West before us, of my sickness and were surprised to see me in such good health as well.

We moved into a small log house, having but one room, a very inconvenient place for so large a family. When Joseph saw how we were situated, he proposed that we should take a large tavern house, which he had recently purchased from Brother Gilbert, and we did so. Samuel, previous to this, had moved to a place called Marrowbone, Daviess County. William had moved thirty miles in another direction. We were all now quite comfortable.

Nothing of importance occurred from this time until the first of August when an election took place at Gallatin, the county seat of Daviess County. At this election the  Mormon brethren went to the polls as usual for the purpose of voting, but a party of men were collected there who were determined to prevent them from exercising their franchise and forbid them from putting in a vote. Without paying any attention to them, one of the brethren, named  John  Butler,  stepped up to the polls and voted, whereupon a man belonging to the adverse party struck him a severe blow.  John  Butler was a very high-spirited man and could not brook such treatment; consequently, the blow was returned with a force that brought his antagonist to the ground. Four others of the same party came to the assistance of the fallen man and shared his fate, for Mr. Butler was a man of extraordinary strength and, when excited, was not easily overcome. When the mob party saw the discomfiture of their champions, they were much enraged, and that night procured the assistance of the judge of the election, who wrote a number of letters in their behalf. These letters, which were sent in every direction to all the adjoining counties, stated that Joseph Smith had killed seven men at that place, and that the inhabitants had every reason to expect that he would collect his people together and exterminate all who did not belong to his church. They therefore begged the assistance of their neighbors against the Mormons.

These letters were extensively circulated and as widely believed.

We, who were living at Far West, heard nothing of this until a few days after when Joseph was at our house writing a letter. I was standing at the door of the room where he was sitting, and upon casting my eyes toward the prairie, I saw a large company of armed men advancing toward the city, but, supposing it to be a training day, I said nothing about it to anyone.

I soon observed that the main body of men came to a halt. The officers dismounted and eight of them came up to the house. Thinking that they wanted refreshment or something of that sort, I set chairs. But instead, they entered and placed themselves in a menacing line like a rank of soldiers across the room. When I requested them to sit down they replied, “We do not choose to sit. We have come here to kill Joe Smith and all the Mormons.”

“Oh,” said I, “what has Joseph Smith done that you should want to kill him?”

“He has killed seven men in Daviess County,” replied the foremost, “and we have come to kill him, and all his church.”

“He has not been in Daviess County,” I answered, “consequently the report must be false. Furthermore, if you should see him, you would not want to kill him.”

“There is no doubt that the report is perfectly correct,” rejoined the officer; “it came straight to us, and I believe it; and we were sent to kill the Prophet and all who believe him, and I’ll be d–d if I don’t execute my orders.”

“Then you are going to kill me with the rest, I suppose,” said I.

“Yes, we will,” he replied.

“Very well,” I answered, “but I want you to act like a gentleman about it and do the  job  quick. Just shoot me down at once, for then it will be but a moment till I shall be perfectly happy. But I would hate to be murdered by any slow process, and I do not see the need of it either, for you can just as well dispatch the work at once as for it to be ever so long a time.”

“There it is again,” said he. “That is always their plea. You tell a Mormon that you’ll shoot him, and all the good it does is to hear them answer, ‘Well, that’s nothing. If you kill me, we shall be happy.’ D–, seems that’s all the satisfaction you can get from them anyway.”

Joseph had continued writing till now, but having finished his letter, he asked me for a wafer to seal it. Seeing that he was at liberty, I said, “Gentlemen, suffer me to make you acquainted with Joseph Smith the Prophet.” He looked upon them with a very pleasant smile and, stepping up to them, gave each of them his hand in a manner which convinced them that he was neither a guilty criminal nor yet a cowering hypocrite. They stopped and stared as though a spectre had crossed their path.

Joseph sat down and entered into conversation with them and explained the views and feelings of the people called “Mormons,” what their course had been, and the treatment which they had received from their enemies since the first. He told them that malice and detraction had pursued them ever since they entered Missouri, but they were a people who had never broken the laws to his knowledge. They stood ready to be tried by the law-and if anything contrary to the law had been done by any of the brethren at Daviess, it would certainly be just to call them to an account, before molesting or murdering others that knew nothing of these transactions at Gallatin.

After this he rose and said, “Mother, I believe I will go home. Emma will be expecting me.” At this, two of the men sprang to their feet, saying, “You shall not go alone, for it is not safe. We will go with you and guard you.” Joseph thanked them and they left with him.

While they were absent, the remainder of the officers stood by the door, and I overheard the following conversation between them:

First Officer: “Did you not feel something strange when Smith took you by the hand? I never felt so in my life.”

Second Officer: “I felt as though I could not move. I would not harm one hair of that man’s head for the whole world.”

Third Officer: “This is the last time you will ever catch me coming to kill Joe Smith or the Mormons either.”

First Officer: “I guess this is my last expedition against this place. I never saw a more harmless, innocent-appearing man than the  Mormon  Prophet.”

Second Officer: “That story about his killing them men is all a d–d lie. There is no doubt of that, and we have had all this trouble for nothing. It’s the last time I’ll be fooled in this way.”

Those men who went home with my son promised to disband the militia under them and go home. They said that if Joseph had any use for them, they would come back and follow him anywhere. Thus, we considered that hostilities were no longer to be feared from the citizens. Joseph and Hyrum thought it proper, however, to go to Daviess County and ascertain the cause of the difficulty. They did so, and after receiving the strongest assurance of the future good attentions of the civil officers to administer equal rights and privileges among all the citizens, Mormons and anti-Mormons alike, they returned, hoping all would be well.

Soon after this we heard that William and his wife, Caroline, who lived twenty miles distant, were very sick.  Samuel  was at Far West at the time and set out immediately for William’s house with a carriage in order to bring them to our house. In a few days they arrived, feeling very low, and seemed more likely to die of the disease than to recover from it when they got there. But with close attention and great care, they soon began to show signs of recovery.

During the time when I was taking care of my son William and his wife, many things transpired that would probably be of interest to my readers, which I know nothing about, as I was so engaged with the care of my house and the sickness of my family, that I did not know, nor yet inquire or hear, what was going on.

In a little while after  Samuel  brought William and Caroline to our house, there was born unto  Samuel  a son, whom he called by his own name. When he was but three days old, his father was compelled to leave home. Samuel’s family was, at this time, living in a desolate, lonely place about thirty miles from Far West then called Marrowbone, afterwards named Shady Grove.  Samuel  had not been gone long when a number of the men who lived near him went to his wife and told her that the mob was coming there to drive all the Mormons from the country into Far West and perhaps they would kill them. They accordingly advised her to go immediately to Far West at all hazards and proffered to find her a wagon and boy to drive the horses. She consented, and they brought an open lumber wagon and put her into it on a bed with a very little clothing for herself and her children. In this way, she started for Far West with no one but a small boy to take care of her, the children and the team, and nothing to eat by the way. When they had traveled for some miles they stopped for the night, and in the latter part of the night it began to rain. The water fell upon her in torrents, for she had no shelter for herself or her infant. The bedding was soon completely saturated as the rain continued falling for some time with great violence.

The next day  Samuel  started from Far West to go to his own house, but met his wife along the way in this situation. He returned with her to Far West, where she arrived about thirty-six hours after she had left Marrowbone without having taken any nourishment. Every garment upon her body, as well as her bed and bedding, was so wet with the rain that the water might have been wrung from them. She was speechless and almost stiff with the cold and effects of her exposure. We laid her on a bed, and my husband and my sons administered to her by the laying on of hands. We then changed her clothing, put her into a bed covered with warm blankets, and after pouring a little rice water into her mouth, she was administered to again. This time she raised her eyes and seemed to revive a little. I continued to employ every means that lay in my power for her benefit and that of my other sick children. In this I was much assisted by Emma and my daughters.

We soon reaped the reward of our labor, for in a short time they began to mend, and I now congratulated myself on the pleasure I should feel in seeing my children all well and enjoying each other’s society again.

After William began to sit up a little, he told me that he had a vision during his sickness, in which he saw a tremendous army of men coming into Far West, and that it was his impression that the time would not be long before he should see it fulfilled. I was soon convinced by the circumstances which afterwards transpired that he was not mistaken in his opinion.

I felt concerned about this, for I feared that some evil was hanging over us, but I knew nothing of the operations of the mob party, until one day Joseph rode up and told me to be not at all frightened, but the mob was coming, and we must all keep perfectly quiet. He wished the sisters to stay indoors and not suffer themselves to be seen in the streets. He could not stay with us, for he wanted to see the brethren and have them keep their families quiet and at home. He rode off, but I soon learned who the mob were. This was the state mob that was sent by the governor, a company of ten thousand men  that stationed themselves on Salt Creek.

My son-in-law Mr. McLeary went out with some others to meet the mob and ascertain what their business was. They gave the messengers to understand that they would soon commence an indiscriminate butchery of men, women, and children, that their orders were to convert Far West into a human slaughter pen and never quit it while there was a lisping babe or a decrepit old woman breathing within its bounds. There were, however, three persons that they wished brought forth before they began their operations. They desired to preserve their lives, as some of them were related to one of the mob officers. These were Adam Lightner,  John  Cleminson and his wife, but after a short interview,  John  Cleminson, who was not a member of the Church, replied that they had lived with the Mormons and knew them to be an innocent people, “and if,” said he, “you are determined to destroy them, and lay the city in ashes, you must destroy me also, for I will die with them.”


Chapter 48 Hyrum Smith gives sworn statement of the trials, tribulations, abuses, and privations of the Saints in Missouri. Mob action at Far West, Diahman, DeWitt, and Haun’s Mill. Missouri militia marches on Far West to lay siege to the city. Joseph, Hyrum, and others are taken prisoner and marched to Independence, Richmond, and Liberty. Sufferings and privations of these leaders and the Saints in general are enumerated. Joseph and others spend six months under guard and in prison. Sufferings of the brethren in Liberty Jail. More than twelve thousand Saints are driven from Missouri. Brethren are aided in escaping.


March 1838 to April 1839

Here I shall introduce a brief history of our troubles in Missouri, given by my son Hyrum when Joseph was before the municipal court at Nauvoo, June 30, 1843, on a writ of habeas corpus:

Hyrum Smith, sworn, said that the defendant now in court is his brother, and that his name is not Joseph Smith Jr., but his name is Joseph Smith Sr.  and has been for more than two years past.

“I have been acquainted with him ever since he was born, which was thirty-seven years in December last, and I have not been absent from him at any one time, not even the space of six months, since his birth, to my recollection, and have been intimately acquainted with all his sayings, doings, business transactions, and movements, as much as any one man could be acquainted with any other man’s business, up to the present time, and do know that he has not committed treason against any state in the Union, by any overt act, or by levying war, or by aiding and abetting, or assisting an enemy, in any state of the Union. And that the said Joseph Smith has not committed treason in the state of Missouri, nor violated any law or rule of said state, I being personally acquainted with the transactions and doings of said Smith, whilst he resided in said state, which was for about six months in the year 1838; I being also a resident in said state, during the same period of time. And I do know that said Joseph Smith never was subject to military duty in any state, neither was he in the state of Missouri, he being exempt by the amputation or extraction of a bone from his leg, and by his having a license to preach the gospel, or being in other words, a minister of the gospel. And I do know that said Smith never bore arms as a military man, in any capacity whatever, whilst in the state of Missouri, or previous to that time; neither has he given any orders, or assumed any command in any capacity whatever.

“But I do know that whilst he was in the state of Missouri, that the people commonly called ‘Mormons,’ were threatened with violence and extermination; and on or about the first Monday in August, 1838, at the election at Gallatin, the county seat in Daviess County, the citizens who were commonly called ‘Mormons’ were forbidden to exercise the rights of franchise, and from that unhallowed circumstance an affray commenced, and a fight ensued among the citizens of that place, and from that time a mob commenced gathering in that county, threatening the extermination of the ‘Mormons.’ The said Smith, and myself, upon hearing that mobs were collecting together, and that they had also murdered two of the citizens of the same place, and would not suffer them to be buried, the said Smith and myself went over to Daviess County to learn the particulars of the affray; but upon our arrival at Diahman, we learned that none were killed, but several were wounded.

“We tarried all night at Colonel Lyman Wight’s. The next morning, the weather being very warm, and having been very dry for some time previous, the springs and wells in that region were dried up. On mounting our horses to return, we rode up to Mr. Black’s, who was then an acting justice of the peace, to obtain some water for ourselves and horses. Some few of the citizens accompanied us there, and after obtaining the refreshment of water, Mr. Black was asked by said Joseph Smith if he would use his influence to see that the laws were faithfully executed and to put down mob violence, and he gave us a paper written by his own hand, stating that he would do so. He [Joseph Smith] also requested him to call together the most influential men of the county the next day, that we might have an interview with them. To this he acquiesced, and accordingly, the next day they assembled at the house of Colonel Wight and entered into a mutual covenant of peace to put down mob violence and to protect each other in the enjoyment of their rights. After this, we all parted with the best of feelings, and each man returned to his own home.

“This mutual agreement of peace, however, did not last long; for, a few days afterwards, the mob began to collect again, until several hundreds rendezvoused at Millport, a few miles distant from Diahman. They immediately commenced making aggressions upon the citizens called ‘Mormons,’ taking away their hogs and cattle, and threatening them with extermination, or utter extinction, saying that they had a cannon, and there should be no compromise only at its mouth. They frequently took men, women, and children prisoners, whipping them and lacerating their bodies with hickory withes, and tying them to trees, and depriving them of food until they were compelled to gnaw the bark from the trees to which they were bound in order to sustain life, treating them in the most cruel manner they could invent or think of, and doing everything they could to excite the indignation of the ‘Mormon’ people to rescue them, in order that they might make that a pretext for an accusation for the breach of the law, and that they might the better excite the prejudice of the populace, and thereby get aid and assistance to carry out their hellish purposes of extermination.

“Immediately on the authentication of these facts, messengers were dispatched from Far West to Austin A. King, judge of the fifth judicial district of the state of Missouri, and also to Major-General Atchison, commander-in-chief of that division, and Brigadier-General Doniphan, giving them information of the existing facts and demanding immediate assistance.

“General Atchison returned with the messengers and went immediately to Diahman and from thence to Millport, and he found the facts were true as reported to him; that the citizens of that county were assembled together in a hostile attitude, to the amount of two to three hundred men, threatening the utter extermination of the ‘Mormons.’ He immediately returned to Clay County and ordered out a sufficient military force to quell the mob.

“Immediately after they were dispersed and the army returned, the mob commenced collecting again. Soon after, we again applied for military aid, when General Doniphan came out with a force of sixty armed men to Far West; but they were in such a state of insubordination, that he said he could not control them, and it was thought advisable by Colonel Hinckle, Mr. Rigdon, and others, that they should return home. General Doniphan ordered Colonel Hinckle to call out the militia of Caldwell, and defend the town against the mob, for, said he, ‘you have great reason to be alarmed,’ for, he said, Neil Gilliam, from Platte County, had come down with two hundred armed men, and had taken up their station at Hunter’s Mill, a place distant about seventeen or eighteen miles northwest of the town of Far West, and, also, that an armed force had collected again at Millport, in Daviess County, consisting of several hundred men, and that another armed force had collected at DeWitt, in Carroll County, about fifty miles southeast of Far West, where about seventy families of the ‘Mormon’ people had settled, upon the bank of the Missouri River, at a little town called DeWitt.

“Immediately, whilst he was yet talking, a messenger came in from DeWitt, stating that three or four hundred men had assembled together at that place, armed cap-a-pie, and that they threatened the utter extinction of the citizens of that place if they did not leave the place immediately; and that they also surrounded the town and cut off all supplies of food, so that many of them were suffering with hunger.

“General Doniphan seemed to be very much alarmed, and appeared to be willing to do all he could to assist and to relieve the sufferings of the ‘Mormon’ people. He advised that a petition be immediately got up and sent to the governor. A petition was accordingly prepared, and a messenger immediately dispatched to the governor,6 and another petition was sent to Judge King.

“The ‘Mormon’ people throughout the country were in a great state of alarm, and also in great distress. They saw themselves completely surrounded with armed forces on the north, and on the northwest, and on the south. Bogart, who was a Methodist preacher and who was then a captain over a militia company of fifty soldiers, but who had added to his number out of the surrounding counties about a hundred more, which made his force about one hundred and fifty strong, was stationed at Crooked Creek, sending out his scouting parties, taking men, women, and children prisoners, driving off cattle, hogs, and horses, entering into every house on Log and Long Creeks, rifling their houses of their most precious articles, such as money, bedding, and clothing, taking all their old muskets and their rifles or military implements, threatening the people with instant death if they did not deliver up all their precious things and enter into a covenant to leave the state or go into the city of Far West by the next morning, saying that they ‘calculated to drive the people into Far West, and then drive them to hell.’ Gilliam also was doing the same on the northwest side of Far West; and Sashiel Woods, a Presbyterian minister, was the leader of the mob in Daviess County; and a very noted man of the same society was the leader of the mob in Carroll County; and they were also sending out their scouting parties, robbing and pillaging houses, driving away hogs, horses, and cattle, taking men, women and children, and carrying them off, threatening their lives, and subjecting them to all manner of abuses that they could invent or think of.

“Under this state of alarm, excitement and distress, the messengers returned from the governor, and from the other authorities, bringing the fatal news that the ‘Mormons’ could have no assistance. They stated that the governor said that the ‘Mormons’ had got into a difficulty with the citizens, and they might fight it out for all what he cared. He could not render them any assistance.

“The people of DeWitt were obliged to leave their homes and go into Far West; but did not do so until many of them had starved to death for want of proper sustenance, and several died on the road there and were buried by the wayside without a coffin or a funeral ceremony. The distress, sufferings, and privations of the people cannot be expressed.

“All the scattered families of the ‘Mormon’ people, in all the counties except Daviess were driven into Far West, with but few exceptions. This only increased their distress, for many thousands who were driven there had no habitations or houses to shelter them and were huddled together, some in tents, and others under blankets, while others had no shelter from the inclemency of the weather. Nearly two months the people had been in this awful state of consternation, many of them had been killed, whilst others had been whipped until they had to swathe up their bowels to prevent them from falling out.

“About this time General Parks, who was one of the commissioned officers, came out from Richmond, Ray County, to Diahman, and I, myself, and my brother Joseph Smith went out at the same time.

“On the evening that General Parks arrived at Diahman, the wife of the late Don Carlos Smith, my brother, came into Colonel Wight’s about eleven o’clock at night, bringing her two children along with her, one about two and a half years old, the other a babe in her arms. She came in on foot, a distance of three miles, and waded Grand River, and the water was then about waist deep, and the snow about three inches deep. She stated that a party of the mob, a gang of ruffians, had turned her out of doors, had taken her household goods, and had burnt up her house, and she had escaped by the skin of her teeth. Her husband at that time was in Virginia,  and she was living alone.

“This cruel transaction excited the feelings of the people of Diahman, especially of Colonel Wight, and he asked General Parks in my hearing how long we had got to suffer such base treatment. General Parks said he did not know how long. Colonel Wight then asked him what should be done. General Parks told him he ’should take a company of men, well armed, and go and disperse the mob wherever he should find any collected together, and take away their arms.’ Colonel Wight did so precisely, according to the orders of General Parks, and my brother, Joseph Smith, made no order about it.

“And after Colonel Wight had dispersed the mob, and put a stop to their burning houses belonging to the ‘Mormon’ people and turning women and children out of doors, which they had done up to that time, to the amount of eight or ten houses, which were consumed to ashes, after being cut short in their intended designs, the mob started up a new plan. They went to work and moved their families out of the county, and set fire to their houses, and not being able to incense the ‘Mormons’ to commit crimes, they had recourse to this stratagem-to set their houses on fire and send runners into all the counties adjacent to declare to the people, that the ‘Mormons’ had burned up their houses and destroyed their fields; and if the people would not believe them, they would tell them to go and see if what they had said was not true. Many people came to see-they saw the houses burning; and being filled with prejudice, they could not be made to believe, but that the ‘Mormons’ set them on fire; which deed was most diabolical and of the blackest kind; for indeed the ‘Mormons’ did not set them on fire nor meddle with their houses or their fields.

“And the houses that were burnt, together with the pre-emption rights, and the corn in the fields, had all been previously purchased by the ‘Mormons’ of the people, and paid for in money, and with wagons and horses, and with other property about two weeks before; but they had not taken possession of the premises. This wicked transaction was for the purpose of clandestinely exciting the minds of a prejudiced populace and the executive, that they might get an order, that they could the more easily carry out their hellish purposes in expulsion or extermination or utter extinction of the ‘Mormon’ people.

“After witnessing the distressed situation of the people in Diahman, my brother, Joseph Smith, and myself, returned back to the city of Far West and immediately dispatched a messenger with written documents to General Atchison, stating the facts as they did then exist, praying for assistance if possible, and requesting the editor of the Far West to insert the same in his newspaper, but he utterly refused to do so.

“We still believed that we should get assistance from the governor and again petitioned him, praying for assistance, setting forth our distressed situation. And in the meantime, the presiding judge of the county court issued orders, upon affidavits made to him by citizens, to the sheriff of the county to order out the militia of the county to stand in constant readiness night and day to prevent the citizens from being massacred, which fearful situation they were exposed to every moment.

“Everything was very portentous and alarming. Notwithstanding all this, there was a ray of hope yet existing in the minds of the people that the governor would render us assistance. And whilst the people were waiting anxiously for deliverance-men, women, and children frightened, praying and weeping-we beheld at a distance, crossing the prairies and approaching the town, a large army in military array, brandishing their glittering swords in the sunshine; and we would not but feel joyful for a moment, thinking that probably the governor had sent an armed force to our relief, notwithstanding the awful forebodings that pervaded our breasts.

“But to our great surprise when the army arrived, they came up and formed a line in double file within one-half mile on the east of the city of Far West, and dispatched three messengers with a white flag to come to the city. They were met by Captain Morey with a few other individuals, whose names I do not now recollect. I was, myself, standing close by, and could very distinctly hear every word they said.

“Being filled with anxiety, I rushed forward to the spot, expecting to hear good news, but, alas! and heart-thrilling to every soul that heard them-they demanded three persons to be brought out of the city, before they should massacre the rest. The names of the persons they demanded were Adam Lightner,  John  Cleminson, and his wife. Immediately the three persons were brought forth to hold an interview with the officers who had made the demand, and the officers told them they had now a chance to save their lives, for they calculated to destroy the people, and lay the city in ashes. They replied to the officers, and said, ‘If the people must be destroyed, and the city burned to ashes, we will remain in the city and die with them.’ The officers immediately returned, and the army retreated and encamped about a mile and a half from the city.

“A messenger was immediately dispatched with a white flag, from the colonel of the militia of Far West requesting an interview with General Atchison and General Doniphan; but, as the messenger approached the camp, he was shot at by Bogart, the Methodist preacher. The name of the messenger was Charles C. Rich, who is now brigadier-general of the Nauvoo Legion. However, he gained permission to see General Doniphan. He also requested an interview with General Atchison. General Doniphan said, that General Atchison had been dismounted by a special order of the governor, a few miles back, and had been sent back to Liberty, Clay County. He also stated, that the reason was, that he (Atchison) was too merciful unto the ‘Mormons’ and Boggs would not let him have the command, but had given it to General Lucas, who was from Jackson County, and whose heart had become hardened by his former  acts  of rapine and bloodshed, he being one of the leaders in murdering, driving, plundering, and burning some two or three hundred houses belonging to the ‘Mormon’ people in that county, in the years 1833 and 1834.

“Mr. Rich requested General Doniphan to spare the people and not suffer them to be massacred until the next morning, it then being evening. He coolly agreed that he would not and also said, that he had not as yet received the governor’s order, but expected it every hour and should not make any further move until he had received it; but he would not make any promises so far as regards Neil Gilliam’s army, (he having arrived a few minutes previously, and joined the main body of the army, he knowing well at what hour to form a junction with the main body).

“Mr. Rich then returned to the city, giving this information. The colonel [G. M. Hinckle] immediately dispatched a second messenger with a white flag to request another interview with General Doniphan in order to touch his sympathy and compassion, and if it were possible for him to use his best endeavors to preserve the lives of the people. On the return of this messenger, we learned that several persons had been killed by some of the soldiers, who were under the command of General Lucas.

“One Mr. Carey had his brains knocked out by the breech of a gun, and he lay bleeding several hours, but his family were not permitted to approach him, nor any one else allowed to administer relief to him whilst he lay upon the ground in the agonies of death. Mr. Carey had just arrived in the country, from the state of Ohio, only a few hours previous to the arrival of the army. He had a family consisting of a wife and several small children. He was buried by Lucius N. Scovil, who is now the senior warden of the Nauvoo Legion.

“Another man, of the name of  John  Tanner, was knocked on the head at the same time, and his skull laid bare the width of a man’s hand, and he lay, to all appearance, in the agonies of death for several hours; but by the permission of General Doniphan, his friends brought him out of the camp, and with good nursing he slowly recovered, and is now living.

“There was another man, whose name is Powell, who was beaten on the head with the breech of a gun until his skull was fractured. He is now alive, and resides in this [Hancock] county, but has lost the use of his senses. Several persons of his family were also left for dead, but have since recovered.

“These  acts  of barbarity were also committed by the soldiers under the command of General Lucas, previous to having received the governor’s order of extermination.

“It was on the evening of the thirtieth of October, according to the best of my recollection, that the army arrived at Far West, the sun about half an hour high. In a few moments afterwards, Cornelius Gilliam arrived with his army and formed a junction. This Gilliam had been stationed at Hunter’s Mill for about two months previous to that time-committing depredations upon the inhabitants, capturing men, women and children, and carrying them off as prisoners, lacerating their bodies with hickory withes.

“The army of Gilliam were painted like Indians, some of them were more conspicuous than others, designated by red spots, and he also was painted in a similar manner, with red spots marked on his face, and styled himself the ‘Delaware Chief.’ They would whoop, and halloo, and yell, as nearly like Indians as they could, and continued to do so all that night.

“In the morning early the colonel of the militia [G. M. Hinckle] sent a messenger into the camp, with a white flag, to have another interview with General Doniphan. On his return, he informed us that the governor’s order had arrived. General Doniphan said that the order of the governor was to exterminate the ‘Mormons,’ but he would be d–d if he would obey that order, but General Lucas might do as he pleased.

“We immediately learned from General Doniphan, that the governor’s order that had arrived was only a copy of the original, and that the original order was in the hands of Major-General Clark, who was on his way to Far West, with an additional army of six thousand men.

“Immediately after this there came into the city a messenger from Haun’s Mill, bringing the intelligence of an awful massacre of the people who were residing in that place, and that a force of two or three hundred, detached from the main body of the army, under the superior command of Colonel Ashley, but under the immediate command of Captain  Nehemiah  Comstock, who, the day previous, had promised them peace and protection, but on receiving a copy of the governor’s order, ‘to exterminate or expel,’ from the hands of Colonel Ashley, he returned upon them the following day, and surprised and massacred the whole population of the town, and then came on to the town of Far West, and entered into conjunction with the main body of the army.

“The messenger informed us that he, himself, with a few others, fled into the thickets which preserved them from the massacre, and on the following morning they returned and collected the dead bodies of the people, and cast them into a well; and there were upwards of twenty who were dead or mortally wounded, and there are several of the wounded, who are now living in this city. One, by the name of Yocum, has lately had his leg amputated, in consequence of wounds he then received. He had a ball shot through his head, which entered near his eye and came out at the back part of his head, and another ball passed through one of his arms.

“The army during all the while they had been encamped in Far West, continued to lay waste fields of corn, making hogs, sheep and cattle common plunder, and shooting them down for sport.

“One man shot a cow and took a strip of her skin the width of his hand, from her head to her tail, and tied it around a tree to slip his halter into to tie his horse to.

“The city was surrounded with a strong guard, and no man, woman, or child was permitted to go out or come in under the penalty of death. Many of the citizens were shot, in attempting to get out to obtain sustenance for themselves and families. There was one field fenced in, consisting of twelve hundred acres, mostly covered with corn. It was entirely laid waste by the horses of the army.

“The next day after the arrival of the army, towards evening,  Col.  Hinckle came up from the camp, requesting to see my brother Joseph, Parley P. Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, and George W. Robinson, stating that the officers of the army wanted a mutual consultation with those men. Hinckle also assured them that these Generals Doniphan, Lucas, Wilson and Graham, (however, General Graham is an honorable exception; he did all he could to preserve the lives of the people, contrary to the order of the governor,) had pledged their sacred honor, that they should not be abused or insulted; but should be guarded back in safety in the morning, or so soon as the consultation was over.

“My brother Joseph replied that he did not know what good he could do in any consultation, as he was only a private individual. However, he said that he was always willing to do all the good he could and would obey every law of the land, and then leave the event with God.

“They immediately started with Colonel Hinckle to go down into the camp. As they were going down, about halfway to the camp, they met General Lucas with a phalanx of men, with a wing to the right and to the left and a four-pounder in the center. They supposed he was coming with his strong force to guard them into the camp in safety; but, to their surprise, when they came up to General Lucas, he ordered his men to surround them, and Hinckle stepped up to the general and said, ‘These are the prisoners I agreed to deliver up.’

“General Lucas drew his sword, and said, ‘Gentlemen, you are my prisoners,’ and about that time the main army were on their march to meet them.

“They came up in two divisions and opened to the right and left, and my brother and his friends were marched down through their lines with a strong guard in front and the cannon in the rear to the camp, amidst the whoopings, howlings, yellings, and shoutings of the army, which were so horrid and terrific, that they frightened the inhabitants of the city. It is impossible to describe the feelings of horror and distress of the people.

“After being thus betrayed, they were placed under a strong guard of thirty men, armed cap-a-pie, which were relieved every two hours. There they were compelled to lie on the cold ground that night and were told in plain language that they need never expect their liberties again. So far for their honors pledged! However, this was as much as could be expected from a mob under the garb of military and executive authority in the state of Missouri.

“On the next day, the soldiers were permitted to patrol the streets, to abuse and insult the people at their leisure, and enter into the houses and pillage them and ravish the women, taking away every gun and every other kind of arms or military implements. About twelve o’clock that day, Colonel Hinckle came to my house with an armed force, opened the door and called me out of doors and delivered me up as a prisoner unto that force. They surrounded me and commanded me to march into the camp. I told them that I could not go; my family were sick, and I was sick myself, and could not leave home. They said they did not care for that-I must and should go. I asked when they would permit me to return. They made me no answer, but forced me along with the point of the bayonet into the camp, and put me under the same guard with my brother Joseph; and within about half an hour afterwards, Amasa Lyman was also brought and placed under the same guard. There we were compelled to stay all that night and lie on the ground. But some time in the same night, Colonel Hinckle came to me and told me that he had been pleading my case before the court-martial, but he was afraid he would not succeed.

“He said there was a court-martial then in session, consisting of thirteen or fourteen officers; Circuit Judge Austin A. King, and Mr. Birch, district attorney; also Sashiel Woods, Presbyterian priest, and about twenty other priests of the different religious denominations in that country. He said they were determined to shoot us on the next morning in the public square in Far West. I made him no reply.

“On the next morning about sunrise, General Doniphan ordered his brigade to take up the line of march and leave the camp. He came to us where we were under guard to shake hands with us and bid us farewell. His first salutation was, ‘By G–d, you have been sentenced by the court-martial to be shot this morning; but I will be d–d if I will have any of the honor of it, or any of the disgrace of it, therefore I have ordered my brigade to take up the line of march and to leave the camp, for I consider it to be cold-blooded murder, and I bid you farewell,’ and he went away.

“This movement of General Doniphan made considerable excitement in the army, and there was considerable whisperings amongst the officers. We listened very attentively and frequently heard it mentioned by the guard that ‘the d–d Mormons would not be shot this time.’

“In a few moments the guard was relieved by a new set. One of those new guards said that ‘the d–d Mormons would not be shot this time,’ for the movement of General Doniphan had frustrated the whole plan, and that the officers had called another court-martial and had ordered us to be taken to Jackson County and there to be executed; and in a few moments two large wagons drove up, and we were ordered to get into them; and while we were getting into them, there came up four or five men armed with guns, who drew up and snapped their guns at us in order to kill us. Some flashed in the pan, and others only snapped, but none of their guns went off. They were immediately arrested by several officers, and their guns taken from them, and the drivers drove off.

“We requested General Lucas to let us go to our houses and get some clothing. In order to do this, we had to be driven up into the city. It was with much difficulty that we could get his permission to go and see our families and get some clothing; but, after considerable consultation, we were permitted to go under a strong guard of five or six men to each of us, and we were not permitted to speak to any one of our families, under the pain of death. The guard that went with me ordered my wife to get me some clothes immediately, within two minutes; and if she did not do it, I should go off without them.

“I was obliged to submit to their tyrannical orders, however painful it was, with my wife and children clinging to my arms and to the skirts of my garments, and was not permitted to utter to them a word of consolation, and in a moment was hurried away from them at the point of the bayonet.

“We were hurried back to the wagons and ordered into them, all in about the same space of time. In the meanwhile, our father, and mother, and sister had forced their way to the wagons to get permission to see us, but were forbidden to speak to us and we were immediately driven off for Jackson County. We traveled about twelve miles that evening, and encamped for the night.

“The same strong guard was kept around us and was relieved every two hours, and we were permitted to sleep on the ground. The nights were then cold with considerable snow on the ground, and for the want of covering and clothing, we suffered extremely with the cold. That night was the commencement of a fit of sickness from which I have not wholly recovered unto this day, in consequence of my exposure to the inclemency of the weather.

“Our provision was fresh beef, roasted in the fire on a stick; the army having no bread, in consequence of the want of mills to grind the grain.

“In the morning, at the dawn of day, we were forced on our journey, and were exhibited to the inhabitants along the road, the same as they exhibit a caravan of elephants or camels. We were examined from head to foot by men, women, and children, only I believe they did not make us open our mouths to look at our teeth. This treatment was continued incessantly until we arrived at Independence, in Jackson County.

“After our arrival at Independence, we were driven all through the town for inspection, and then we were ordered into an old log house and there kept under guard as usual until supper, which was served up to us as we sat upon the floor or on billets of wood, and we were compelled to stay in that house all that night and the next day.

“They continued to exhibit us to the public by letting the people come in and examine us, and then go away and give place for others alternately, all that day and the next night. But on the morning of the following day we were all permitted to go to the tavern to eat and sleep; but afterwards they made us pay our own expenses for board, lodging, and attendance, and for which they made a most exorbitant charge.

“We remained in the tavern about two days and two nights, when an officer arrived with authority from General Clark to take us back to Richmond, Ray County, where the general had arrived with his army, to await our arrival. But on the morning of our start for Richmond, we were informed by General Wilson that it was expected by the soldiers that we would be hung up by the necks on the road while on the march to that place, and that it was prevented by a demand made for us by General Clark, who had the command in consequence of authority; and that it was his prerogative to execute us himself.

“During our stay at Independence, the officers informed us that there were eight or ten horses in the place belonging to the ‘Mormon’ people, which had been stolen by the soldiers, and that we might have two of them to ride upon if we would cause them to be sent back to the owners after our arrival at Richmond. We accepted of them and they were ridden to Richmond, and the owners came there and got them.

“We started in the morning under our new officer, Colonel Price, of Keytsville, Chariton County, Missouri, with several other men to guard us. We arrived there on Friday evening, the ninth day of November, and were thrust into an old log house with a strong guard placed over us. After we had been there for the space of half an hour, there came in a man who was said to have some notoriety in the penitentiary, bringing in his hands a quantity of chains and padlocks. He said he was commanded by General Clark to put us in chains.

“Immediately the soldiers rose up, and pointing their guns at us, placed their thumb on the cock and their finger on the trigger, and the state’s prison keeper went to work putting a chain around the leg of each man and fastening it on with a padlock, until we were all chained together, seven of us.

“In a few moments General Clark came in. We requested to know of him what was the cause of all this harsh and cruel treatment. He refused to give us any information at that time, but said he would in a few days; so we were compelled to continue in that situation-camping on the floor, all chained together, without any chance or means to be made comfortable, having to eat our victuals as they were served up to us, using our fingers and teeth instead of knives and forks.

“Whilst we were in this situation, a young man of the name of Jedediah M. Grant, brother-in-law to my brother, William Smith, came to see us and put up at the tavern where General Clark made his quarters. He happened to come in time to see General Clark make choice of his men to shoot us on Monday morning, the twelfth day of November. He saw them make choice of their rifles and load them with two balls in each; and after they had prepared their guns, General Clark saluted them by saying, ‘Gentlemen, you shall have the honor of shooting the “Mormon” leaders on Monday morning at eight o’clock!’

“But in consequence of the influence of our friend, the inhuman general was intimidated so that he durst not carry his murderous design into execution, and sent a messenger immediately to Fort Leavenworth to obtain the military code of laws.

“After the messenger’s return, the general was employed nearly a whole week examining the laws, so Monday passed away without our being shot. However, it seemed like foolishness to me for so great a man as General Clark pretended to be, should have to search the military law to find out whether preachers of the gospel, who never did military duty, could be subjected to court-martial.

“However, the general seemed to learn the fact after searching the military code, and came into the old log cabin, where we were under guard and in chains, and told us he had concluded to deliver us over to the civil authorities, as persons guilty of treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing. The poor, deluded general did not know the difference between theft, larceny, and stealing.

“Accordingly, we were handed over to the pretended civil authorities, and the next morning our chains were taken off, and we were guarded to the courthouse where there was a pretended court in session; Austin A. King being the judge and Mr. Birch the district attorney, the two extremely, and very honorable gentlemen, who sat on the court-martial when we were sentenced to be shot!

“Witnesses were called up and sworn, at the point of the bayonet, and if they would not swear to the things they were told to do, they were threatened with instant death; and I do know, positively, that the evidence given in by those men, whilst under duress, was false.

“This state of things was continued twelve or fourteen days, and after that we were ordered by the judge to introduce some rebutting evidence, saying if we did not do it, we would be thrust into prison. I could hardly understand what the judge meant, for I considered we were in prison already and could not think of anything but the persecutions of the days of Nero, knowing that it was a religious persecution and the court an inquisition; however, we gave him the names of forty persons who were acquainted with all the persecutions and sufferings of the people.

“The judge made out a subpoena and inserted the names of those men and caused it to be placed in the hands of Bogart, the notorious Methodist minister; and he took fifty armed soldiers and started for Far West. I saw the subpoena given to him and his company, when they started.

“In the course of a few days, they returned with most of all those forty men, whose names were inserted in the subpoena, and thrust them into jail, and we were not permitted to bring one of them before the court; but the judge turned upon us, with an air of indignation, and said, ‘Gentlemen, you must get your witnesses, or you shall be committed to jail immediately, for we are not going to hold the court open, on expense, much longer for you, anyhow.’

“We felt very much distressed and oppressed at that time. Colonel Wight said, ‘What shall we do? Our witnesses are all thrust into prison, and probably will be, and we have no power to do anything; of course we must submit to this tyranny and oppression; we cannot help ourselves.’

“Several others made similar expressions, in the agony of their souls, but my brother Joseph did not say anything, he being sick at that time with the toothache, and pain in his face, in consequence of a severe cold brought on by being exposed to the severity of the weather. However, it was considered best by General Doniphan and Lawyer Reese that we should try to get some witnesses, before the pretended court.

“Accordingly, I myself gave the names of about twenty other persons; the judge inserted them in a subpoena, and caused it to be placed in the hands of Bogart, the Methodist priest, and he again started off with his fifty soldiers, to take those men prisoners, as he had done to the forty others.

“The judge sat and laughed at the good opportunity of getting the names, that they might the more easily capture them, and so bring them down to be thrust into prison in order to prevent us from getting the truth before the pretended court, of which himself was the chief inquisitor or conspirator. Bogart returned from his second expedition, with one witness only, whom he also thrust into prison.

“The people at Far West had learned the intrigue and had left the state, having been made acquainted with the treatment of the former witnesses. But we, on learning that we could not obtain witnesses, whilst privately consulting with each other what we should do, discovered a Mr. Allen, standing by the window on the outside of the house. We beckoned to him as though we would have him come in. He immediately came in.

“At that time Judge King retorted upon us again, saying, ‘Gentlemen, are you not going to introduce some witnesses?’-also saying it was the last day he should hold the testimony open for us, and if we did not rebut the testimony that had been given against us, he should have to commit us to jail.

“I had then got Mr. Allen into the house, and before the court (so called) I told the judge we had one witness, if he would be so good as to put him under oath. He seemed unwilling to do so, but after a few moments’ consultation, the state’s attorney arose and said, he should object to that witness being sworn, and that he should object to that witness giving his evidence at all, stating that this was not a court to try the case, but only a court of investigation on the part of the state.

“Upon this, General Doniphan arose, and said he would be G–d d–d, if the witness should not be sworn, and that it was a d–d shame, that these defendants should be treated in this manner, that they could not be permitted to get one witness before the court, whilst all their witnesses, even forty at a time, have been taken by force of arms and thrust into the ‘bull pen,’ in order to prevent them from giving their testimony.

“After Doniphan sat down, the judge permitted the witness to be sworn and enter upon his testimony. But as soon as he began to speak, a man by the name of Cook, who was a brother-in-law to priest Bogart, the Methodist, and who was a lieutenant [in the state militia], and whose place at that time was to superintend the guard, stepped in before the pretended court, and took him by the nape of his neck and jammed his head down under the pole or log of wood that was placed up around the place where the inquisition was sitting, to keep the bystanders from intruding upon the majesty of the inquisitors, and jammed him along to the door, and kicked him out of doors. He instantly turned to some soldiers, who were standing by him, and said to them, ‘Go and shoot him, d–n him, shoot him, d–n him.’

“The soldiers ran after the man to shoot him. He fled for his life, and with great difficulty made his escape. The pretended court immediately arose, and we were ordered to be carried to Liberty, Clay County, and there to be thrust into jail. We endeavored to find out for what cause, but, all that we could learn was, because we were ‘Mormons.’

“The next morning a large wagon drove up to the door, and a blacksmith came into the house with some chains and handcuffs. He said his orders from the judge were to handcuff us and chain us together. He informed us that the judge had made out a mittimus, and sentenced us to jail for treason. He also said the judge had done this, that we might not get bail. He also said the judge stated his intention to keep us in jail until all the ‘Mormons’ were driven out of the state. He also said that the judge had further stated, that if he let us out before the ‘Mormons’ had left the state, that we would not let them leave, and there would be another d–d fuss kicked up. I also heard the judge say myself, whilst he was sitting in his pretended court, that there was no law for us nor the ‘Mormons’ in the state of Missouri; that he had sworn to see them exterminated and to see the governor’s order executed to the very letter, and that he would do so. However, the blacksmith proceeded and put the irons upon us, and we were ordered into the wagon, and were driven off for Clay County. As we journeyed along on the road, we were exhibited to the inhabitants, and this course was adopted all the way, thus making a public exhibition of us until we arrived at Liberty, Clay County.

“There we were thrust into prison again and locked up and were held there in close confinement for the space of six months, and our place of lodging was the square side of a hewed white oak log, and our food was anything but good and decent. Poison was administered to us three or four times. The effect it had upon our system was that it vomited us almost to death, and then we would lay some two or three days in a torpid, stupid state, not even caring or wishing for life-the poison being administered in too large doses, or it would inevitably have proved fatal, had not the power of Jehovah interposed on our behalf to save us from their wicked purpose.

“We were also subjected to the necessity of eating human flesh for the space of five days or go without food, except a little coffee or a little corn bread. The latter I chose in preference to the former. We none of us partook of the flesh, except Lyman Wight. We also heard the guard which was placed over us making sport of us, saying they had fed us on ‘Mormon’ beef. I have described the appearance of this flesh to several experienced physicians and they have decided that it was human flesh. We learned afterwards, by one of the guard, that it was supposed that that act of savage cannibalism in feeding us with human flesh would be considered a popular deed of notoriety: but the people, on learning that it would not take, tried to keep it secret; but the fact was noised abroad before they took that precaution.

“Whilst we were incarcerated in prison, we petitioned the supreme court of the state of Missouri twice for habeas corpus but were refused both times, by Judge Reynolds, who is now the governor of that state. We also petitioned one of the county  judges  for a writ of habeas corpus, which was granted in about three weeks afterwards, but we were not permitted to have any trial. We were only taken out of jail and kept out for a few hours, and then remanded back again.

“In the course of three or four days after that time, Judge Turnham came into the jail in the evening and said he had permitted Mr. Rigdon to get bail, but said he had to do it in the night and unknown to any of the citizens or they would kill him, for they had sworn to kill him if they could find him. And as to the rest of us, he dared not let us go, for fear of his own life as well as ours. He said it was d–d hard to be confined under such circumstances; for he knew we were innocent men, and he said the people also knew it; and that it was only a persecution and treachery, and the scenes of Jackson County acted over again for fear that we would become too numerous in that upper country. He said the plan was concocted from the governor down to the lowest judge, and that that Baptist priest, Riley, was riding into town every day to watch the people, stirring up the mind of the people against us all he could, exciting them and stirring up their religious prejudices against us for fear they would let us go. Mr. Rigdon, however, got bail, and made his escape to Illinois.

“The jailer,  Samuel  Tillery, Esq., told us also that the whole plan was concocted by the governor, down to the lowest judge, in that upper country early in the previous spring, and that the plan was more fully carried out at the time that General Atchison went down to Jefferson City with Generals Wilson, Lucas, and Gilliam, the self-styled ‘Delaware Chief.’ This was sometime in the month of September, when the mob were collected at DeWitt in Carroll County. He also told us that the governor was now ashamed of the whole transaction, and would be glad to set us at liberty if he dared to do it. ‘But,’ said he, ‘you need not be concerned, for the governor has laid a plan for your release.’ He also said that Esquire Birch, the state’s attorney, was appointed to be circuit judge, on the circuit passing through Daviess County, and that he (Birch) was instructed to fix the papers, so that we would be sure to be clear of any incumbrance in a very short time.

“Sometime in April we were taken to Daviess County, as they said, to have a trial. But when we arrived at that place, instead of finding a court or jury, we found another inquisition, and Birch, who was the district attorney-the same man who was the one of the court-martial when we were sentenced to death-was now the circuit judge of that pretended court, and the grand jury that was empaneled were all at the massacre at Haun’s Mill, and lively actors in that awful, solemn, disgraceful, cool-blooded murder; and all the pretense they made of excuse was, they had done it because the governor ordered them to do it.

“The same men sat as a jury in the daytime and were placed over us as a guard in the nighttime. They tantalized us and boasted of their great achievements at Haun’s Mill and at other places, telling us how many houses they had burned, and how many sheep, cattle, and hogs they had driven off belonging to the ‘Mormons,’ and how many rapes they had committed, and what kicking and squealing there was . . . , saying that they lashed one woman upon one of the d–d ‘Mormon’ meeting benches, tying her hands and her feet fast, and sixteen of them abused her as much as they had a mind to, and then left her bound and exposed in that distressed condition. These fiends of the lower regions boasted of these  acts  of barbarity and tantalized our feelings with them for ten days. We had heard of these  acts  of cruelty previous to this time, but we were slow to believe that such  acts  had been perpetrated. The lady who was the subject of this brutality did not recover her health to be able to help herself for more than three months afterwards.

“This grand jury constantly celebrated their achievements with grog and glass in hand like the Indian warriors at their war dances, singing and telling each other of their exploits in murdering the ‘Mormons,’ in plundering their houses and carrying off their property. At the end of every song they would bring in the chorus, ‘. . .  Mormons! we have sent them to hell.’ Then they would slap their hands and shout, ‘Hosanna! Hosanna! Glory to God!’ and fall down on their backs and kick with their feet a few moments. Then they would pretend to have swooned away into a glorious trance, in order to imitate some of the transactions at camp meetings. Then they would pretend to come out of the trance, and would shout and again slap their hands and jump up, while one would take a bottle of whiskey and a tumbler and turn it out full of whisky and pour down each other’s necks, crying, ‘. . . Take it; you must take it!’ And if anyone refused to drink the whiskey, others would clinch him and hold him, whilst another poured it down his neck; and what did not go down the inside went down the outside.

“This is a part of the farce acted out by the grand jury of Daviess County, whilst they stood over us as guards for ten nights successively. And all this in the presence of the great Judge Birch, who had previously said, in our hearing, that there was no law for the ‘Mormons’ in the state of Missouri. His brother was there acting as district attorney in that circuit, and if anything, was a greater ruffian than the judge.

“After all their ten days of drunkenness, we were informed that we were indicted for ‘treason, murder, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing.’ We asked for a change of venue from the county to Marion County, but they would not grant it, but they gave us a change of venue from Daviess to Boone County, and a mittimus was made out by the pretended Judge Birch, without date, name, or place.

“They fitted us out with a two-horse wagon and horses, and four men, besides the sheriff, to be our guard. There were five of us. We started from Gallatin in the afternoon, the sun about two hours high, and went as far as Diahman that evening, and stayed till morning. There we bought two horses of the guard, and paid for one of them in our clothing which we had with us, and for the other we gave our note.

“We went down that day as far as Judge Morin’s, a distance of some four or five miles. There we stayed until the morning when we started on our journey to Boone County, and traveled on the road about twenty miles distance. There we bought a jug of whiskey, with which we treated the company, and while there the sheriff showed us the mittimus before referred to, without date or signature, and said that Judge Birch told him never to carry us to Boone County, and never to show the mittimus ‘and,’ said he, ‘I shall take a good drink of grog, and go to bed, you may do as you have a mind to.’ Three others of the guard drank pretty freely of whiskey, sweetened with honey; they also went to bed, and were soon asleep, and the other guard went along with us and helped to saddle the horses.

“Two of us mounted the horses, and the other three started on foot, and we took our change of venue for the state of Illinois, and, in the course of nine or ten days, we arrived in Quincy, Adams County, Illinois, where we found our families in a state of poverty, although in good health, they having been driven out of the state previously, by the murderous militia, under the exterminating order of the executive of Missouri. And now the people of that state, a portion of them, would be glad to make the people of this state believe that my brother Joseph has committed treason, for the purpose of keeping up their murderous and hellish persecution; and they seem to be unrelenting and thirsting for the blood of innocence, for I do know, most positively, that my brother Joseph has not committed treason, nor violated one solitary item of law or rule in the state of Missouri.

“But I do know that the ‘Mormon’ people, en masse, were driven out of that state after being robbed of all they had, and they barely escaped with their lives, as well as my brother Joseph, who barely escaped with his life. His family also were robbed of all they had, and barely escaped with the skin of their teeth, and all of this in consequence of the exterminating order of Governor Boggs, the same being confirmed by the legislature of that state.

“And I do know, so does this court, and every rational man who is acquainted with the circumstances, and every man who shall hereafter become acquainted with the particulars thereof will know, that Governor Boggs, and Generals Clark, Lucas, Wilson, and Gilliam, also Austin A. King, have committed treason upon the citizens of Missouri and did violate the Constitution of the United States and also the constitution and laws of the state of Missouri and did exile and expel, at the point of bayonet, some twelve or fourteen thousand inhabitants from the state and did murder some three or four hundreds of men, women, and children in cold blood, and in the most horrid and cruel manner possible; and the whole of it was caused by religious bigotry and persecution, because the ‘Mormons’ dared to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences, and agreeable to his divine will, as revealed in the scriptures of eternal truth, and had turned away from following the vain traditions of their fathers and would not worship according to the dogmas and commandments of those men who preach for hire and divine for money and teach for doctrine the precepts of men, expecting that the Constitution of the United States would have protected them therein.

“But notwithstanding the ‘Mormon’ people had purchased upwards of two hundred thousand dollars’ worth of land, most of which was entered and paid for at the land office of the United States in the state of Missouri; and although the President of the United States has been made acquainted with these facts and the particulars of our persecutions and oppressions by petition to him and to Congress, yet they have not even attempted to restore the ‘Mormons’ to their rights, or given any assurance that we may hereafter expect redress from them. And I do also know most positively and assuredly, that my brother Joseph Smith, has not been in the state of Missouri since the spring of the year 1839. And further this deponent saith not.”

Hyrum Smith


Nauvoo and the Martyrdom Chapter 49

Joseph, Hyrum, and others are taken prisoner in Far West. His parents think Joseph has been murdered. Lucy describes the scenes of Joseph and Hyrum being taken prisoner and their parting emotions. The Spirit whispers peace to the mind and heart of Mother Smith. Merciless conditions in Far West are beyond description. The Smiths leave for Illinois. Lucy describes the deplorable conditions of their journey east. The Saints, as destitute refugees, gather at Quincy, Illinois.


October 31, 1838 to late February 1839

At the time when Joseph went into the enemy’s camp, Mr. Smith and myself stood in the door of the house in which we were then living, and could distinctly hear their horrid yellings. Not knowing the cause, we supposed they were murdering him. Soon after the screaming commenced, five or six guns were discharged. At this Mr. Smith, folding his arms tight over his breast and grasping his sides, cried, groaning with mental agony, “Oh, my God! my God! they have murdered my son and I must die, for I cannot live without him!”

I was unable to answer him. In all our other troubles I had been able to speak a word of consolation to him, but now I could do nothing but mingle my cries and groans with his. Still, the shrieking and screaming continued. No tongue can ever express the sound that was conveyed to our ears nor the sensations that were produced in our hearts. It was like the screeching of a hundred owls mingled with the howling of an army of bloodhounds and the screaming of a thousand panthers all famishing for the prey which was being torn piecemeal among them.

My husband was immediately taken sick and never regained his health afterwards, although he lived two more years.

It will be seen by the testimony of Hyrum that he was taken by the officers the next day after he arrived at the camp, and that he was seated with Joseph on a log. The soldiers began to crowd around, raging and swearing that they would shoot them. Several guns were snapped at them before anyone interfered.

“Protect them,” Captain Martin ordered his men. “Surround the prisoners instantly with drawn swords and loaded muskets. Now, I swear by God, if one of you attempts to harm a hair of the head of one of the prisoners, I will cut his d–d head off in a minute. Do protect them, and if any man attempts to lift a gun to his face to shoot the prisoners, cut him down instantly, for they are innocent men. I know they are innocent. Just look at them. They show the fact in their very faces.”

This man was but a captain, but he stood there on guard and kept his men at their places two nights and a day. He neither slept himself, nor suffered his company to rest until Joseph and Hyrum were taken from this place.

When our sons were to be taken away, a messenger came and told us that if we ever were to see our sons alive again, we would have to go immediately to them, as they were in the wagon to be driven to Independence and would be gone in a few minutes. My husband was then too ill to be able to go, but Lucy and I started alone, for we were the only well ones of the family.

When we came within about four hundred yards of the wagon, we could go no farther because they were surrounded by men. “I am the mother of the Prophet,” I cried, “and is there not a gentleman here who will assist me through this crowd to that wagon that I may take a last look at my children and speak to them once more before they die?” One individual volunteered to make a pathway through the army, and we went on through the midst of swords, muskets, pistols, and bayonets, threatened with death at every step, until at last we arrived at the wagon. The man who accompanied me spoke to Hyrum, who was sitting in the front, and told him his mother was there and wished him to reach his hand to her. He did so, but I was not permitted to see him, for the cover of the wagon was made of very heavy cloth and tied closely down in front and nailed fast at the sides.

We merely shook hands with him and the other prisoners who sat in the forepart of the wagon, before several of the men in the mob exclaimed, “Drive over them,” calling to us to get out of the way, swearing at us and threatening us in the most dreadful manner.

Our friend then conducted us to the hinder part of the wagon where Joseph was, and said, “Mr. Smith, your mother and sister are here and wish to shake hands with you.” Joseph crowded his hand through between the wagon and cover where it was nailed down to the end board. We caught hold of his hand, but he did not speak to us. I could not bear to leave him without hearing his voice. “Oh, Joseph,” said I. “Do speak to your poor mother once more. I cannot go until I hear you speak.”

“God bless you, Mother,” he sobbed out. Then a cry was raised and the wagon dashed off, tearing my son from us just as Lucy was pressing his hand to her lips to bestow upon it a sister’s last kiss-for we knew that they were sentenced to be shot.

We succeeded in getting to the house again, although we were scarcely able to support ourselves. Before this final moment, the wagon had been driven through Far West and my sons had been allowed to see their families, but not permitted to speak to them nor to visit me.

To describe this scene is impossible. You have read something of how they were rushed from their wives and children amid their sobs and screams. Little Joseph clung to his father and exclaimed, “Oh, my Father. Why can you not stay with us?” They answered his question by pushing the child from his father with their swords, but there is a day when that question will be repeated, “Why did you tear the servant of God from his family and from his home and treat him thus cruelly?” If any of you who did this deed are living, let me warn you to prepare yourselves to answer that question before the bar of God, for I testify to you in the name of Jesus, you will have it to do. Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord.

I will now return to my family at home. For some time nothing was heard in the house but sighs and groans, as we thought we had seen Joseph and Hyrum for the last time. But in the midst of my grief, I found consolation that surpassed all earthly comfort. I was filled with the Spirit of God and received the following by the gift of prophecy: “Let your heart be comforted concerning your children, for they shall not harm a hair of their heads, and before four years, Joseph shall speak before the  judges  and great men of the land and his voice shall be heard in their councils. And in five years from this time he will have power over all his enemies.”

This relieved my mind, and I was prepared to comfort my children. “My children,” said I, “do not cry anymore. The mob will not kill them, for the Lord has signified to me that he will deliver them out of the hands of their enemies.” This was a great comfort to us all, and we were not so much distressed afterwards as to their lives being taken.

As soon as William was able to stir about a little, he besought his father to leave the place and move to Illinois, but Mr. Smith would not consent to do this, for he was in hopes that our sons would be liberated and peace be settled again. William still expostulated with him, but to no effect. At last Mr. Smith declared that he would not go away from Far West unless he was called upon to do so by revelation. “Very well, Father,” said William, “I can give you revelation, then,” and he rehearsed the vision which he had related to me. Mr. Smith answered this by saying that the family might get ready to start, and then if we were obliged to go, there would be nothing to hinder us.

Our business in Far West had been trading in corn and wheat, as well as keeping a public boardinghouse. When the state mob came in, we had some corn and wheat on hand but very little flour or meal, therefore we had sent a young man that lived with us to mill with fourteen bags of grain to be ground. But he had been obliged to leave because the mob was so near at hand that the miller declared it unsafe for the brethren to remain about his mill lest the mob militia should burn his premises. We were therefore obliged for a long time to pound our corn in a samp-mortar to make bread. It was all the breadstuff we had for a length of time, but there were many who subsisted on parched corn.

The people were all driven in from the country, and there was more than an acre of land in front of our house completely covered with beds, lying in the open sun, where men, women, and children were compelled to sleep in all weather. These were the last who had got into the city, and the houses were so full that there was no room for them. It was enough to make the heart ache to see children in the open sun and wind, sick with colds and very hungry, crying around their mothers for food and their parents destitute of the means of making them comfortable, while their houses, which lay a short distance from the city, were pillaged of everything, their fields thrown open for the horses belonging to the mob to lay waste and destroy, and their fat cattle shot down and turning to carrion before their eyes, while a strong guard, which was set over us for the purpose, prevented us from making use of a particle of the stock that was killed on every side of us.

It may be said that this evil certainly might have been provided against if Joseph Smith had the spirit of prophecy. To this I reply that he did all in his power to get the brethren to move into the city before they heard of the mob, but they did not hearken to counsel. Let this be an everlasting warning to the Saints not to reject the counsel of the authorities of the Church because they do not understand the reason of its being given. If the brethren at Haun’s Mill had observed to do what they were advised repeatedly to do, their lives would no doubt have been preserved, for they would have been at Far West with the rest of the brethren. I shall not attempt here to give a detail of facts which are already published. My mind is loathe to dwell on these days of sorrow more than is necessary.

When William began to be able to walk, he went to the stable to see after his horse, and not finding him, he inquired of one of the mob officers where his horse was. The officers replied that he had sent a messenger on him with a dispatch to another part of the county. William told him that the horse must be returned, for he would not have him used in any such way. In a little while the dispatch came up, and William took the horse by the bridle and ordered the rider to dismount, with the officer seconding the order. It was obeyed and the horse was led to the stable.

Soon after this the brethren were compelled to lay down their arms and sign away their property. It was done immediately in front of our house, and I could hear General Clark’s speech distinctly in which he declared that my sons must die, that “their die was cast, their doom was fixed, their fate was sealed,” and also that if he could invoke the spirit of the unknown God to rest upon us, he would advise us to scatter abroad. I thought of the words of Paul to the Athenians and of the scripture which saith, “Ye know not God. I speak this to your shame.” For General Clark did not know that he could not measure arms with the Almighty, or he would not have said so positively what was to befall my imprisoned children.

Soon after Hyrum left home, his youngest son was born. This was Mary’s first child. Mary’s confinement was considered rather premature, being probably brought on by her extreme anxiety about her husband. She never saw him but once afterwards before she left the state in which he was held a prisoner. Mary suffered in her sickness beyond description, but in her affliction, her sister, Mrs. Thompson,  stood by her and devoted her whole time to nursing and comforting her as they were equally alone, for one of their husbands was imprisoned and the other flying for his life. However, she gained sufficient strength to accompany Emma to the prison once before she left the state.

At this time, my husband sent to Joseph to know if it was the will of the Lord that we should leave the state. Whereupon Joseph sent him a revelation which he had received while in prison, which satisfied my husband’s mind, and he was willing to remove to Illinois as soon as possible.

After this, William made his arrangements as soon as possible to remove his family to Illinois, and in a short time had them comfortably situated in the town of Plymouth and sent back his team for his father’s family.

We loaded the wagon with our goods, but just before we were ready to start, word came that Sidney Rigdon’s family were ready to start and they must have the wagon. Thus, we were compelled to remain a season longer until William sent the team again. The wagon was again loaded and again unloaded, for another messenger came, saying that Emma, my son’s wife, was ready, and she must have the wagon. However, after a long time, we succeeded in getting one wagon in which to convey beds, clothing, and provisions for our own family and two of our sons-in-law and their families. Don Carlos, my youngest son, was in company with us. He rode with his wife and children in a one-horse buggy, and the greatest part of their baggage was also in our wagon.

In consequence of our crowded situation, we left a large stock of provisions and most of our pursuit in boxes and barrels in the house. But that was not the worst, for our horses were what is termed wind-broken, and every hill which we came to, we were obliged to get out and walk, which was both tiresome to the patience and the body.

The first day we arrived at a place called Tinney’s Grove, where we lodged in an old log house, spending a rather uncomfortable time. The day after, I traveled on foot half the day, and at night came to the house of one Mr. Thomas, who was then a member of the Church. My husband was very much out of health, as he had not recovered from the shock occasioned by the capture of Hyrum and Joseph, and he suffered much with a severe cough.

The third day in the afternoon, it commenced raining. When night arrived, we stopped at a house and asked permission to stay over. The man of the house showed us a miserable outhouse, filthy enough to sicken the stomach, even to look at, and told us if we would clean this place out and haul our own wood, we might lodge there. We cleaned out the place so as to be able to lay our beds down, and here we spent the night without a fire. The next morning the landlord charged us seventy-five cents for the use of this shed, and we went on in the pouring rain. We asked for shelter at many places but were refused admittance until near night. We traveled through the rain and mud without finding anyone who was willing to take us in. At last we came to one other place very much like where we had spent the night before. Here we stayed all night, again without a fire.

The day after, which was the fifth from the time we started, just before we got to Palmyra, Missouri, Don Carlos called to us and said, “Father, this exposure is too bad and I will not bear it any longer. And the first place I come to that looks comfortable, I shall drive up to the house and go in, and do follow me.”

We soon came to a handsome, neat-looking farmhouse which was surrounded with every appearance of comfort. The house stood a short distance from the road, but there was a large gate which opened into the field in front of it. Don Carlos opened the gate, drove into the field, and then, after he had assisted us through, he started to see the landlord, who met him before he came to the house. “Landlord,” said Don Carlos, “I do not know but that I am trespassing, but I have with me an aged father, who is sick, besides my mother and a number of women with small children. We have now traveled two days and a half in the rain, and we shall die if we are compelled to go much further. If you will allow us to stay with you overnight, we will pay you any price for our accommodations.”

“Why, what do you mean, sir?” said the gentleman. “Do you not consider us human beings? Do you think that we would turn anything that was flesh and blood away from our doors in such a time as this? Where are your parents? Drive your wagons to the door and help your wife and children out. I will attend to the others.” He then assisted Mr. Smith and myself into the room where his lady was sitting, but as she was not well and he was afraid the dampness of the room might cause her to take cold, he ordered a black servant to make her a fire in another room. He then helped each one of the family into the house and hung their cloaks and shawls up to dry, saying he never in his life saw a family so uncomfortable from the effects of rainy weather.

At this house we had everything that could conduce to our comfort as this gentleman, whose name was Esquire Mann, did all that he could do to assist us. He brought us milk for our children, hauled us water to wash with, furnished good beds to sleep in, and more. In short, he left nothing undone.

In the evening he remarked that he had been sent by the people of his county the year before to be a member of the House of Representatives, where he met one Mr. Carroll, who was sent from the county where the Mormons resided. “And,” said Esquire Mann, “if I ever felt like fighting any man it was him, for he never raised his hand nor his voice in behalf of that abused people once while the House was in session. My blood boiled to hear how they were treated, but I never was a member of the House before and had not sufficient confidence to take a stand in their behalf upon the floor as I would have done if I had been a man of a little more experience.”

After spending the night here with this good man, we set out again the next morning, although it continued raining, for we were obliged to travel in order to avoid being detained by high water. We went on through mud and rain until we arrived within six miles of the Mississippi River. Here the ground was low and swampy, so much so that a person on foot would sink in above his ankles at every step. The weather grew colder and it began snowing and hailing, but still we were compelled to go on foot as the horses were not able to draw us. As we were crossing this place, Lucy lost her shoes several times, and her father had to thrust his cane into the mud to ascertain where they were, because they were so completely covered with mud and water.

When we came to the Mississippi River, we could not cross nor yet find a place of shelter, for there were many Saints there waiting to go over into Quincy. The snow was now six inches deep and still falling, but we were very tired, and we made up our beds on the snow and went to rest with what comfort we might under such circumstances. The next morning, our beds were covered with snow, but we rose and after considerable pains succeeded in folding up our frozen bedding. We tried to light a fire, but finding it impossible, we resigned ourselves to our situation and waited patiently for some opportunity to cross the river.

Soon after,  Samuel  came over from Quincy, and he, with Seymour Brunson’s assistance, obtained permission of the ferryman to have us cross that day. About sunset we landed in Quincy, where  Samuel  had hired a house into which we moved. Our household included five other families, namely, Mr. Smith and myself with our daughter, Henry and Hyrum Hoit, also the families of  Samuel  Smith, Jenkins Salisbury, William McLeary, and Brother Graves.


Chapter 50

Lucy and Joseph Sr. gather with members of their family and share their experiences of the expulsion from Missouri.  Samuel  and party nearly starve to death, but are saved by direction from the Lord. Young Lucy becomes very ill. Mother Smith contracts cholera. Both finally receive their health. Mother Smith sees Joseph and Hyrum in vision as they make their way painfully across Missouri. She prophesies of their arrival. They are reunited in Quincy and rejoice together.


Late February 1839 to May 1839

We spent the evening after we arrived in Quincy relating our adventures in escaping from the hands of our enemies. Samuel’s story was very interesting, for he was compelled to fly for his life with a company of others and leave his family behind.

He said that they suffered very much with hunger on their route, as they were pursued by their enemies, and they considered it unsafe to be seen by the inhabitants of the country. Game being very scarce, they soon lacked for provisions and finally ran out altogether, yet they pursued their journey, until they became so faint that they were almost in despair. After counseling together a short time, they concluded to appoint  Samuel  to receive the word of the Lord, and they united in prayer that the Lord would communicate to them his will concerning what he would have them to do.

After continuing in prayer for some time, it was signified to  Samuel  that in one-half hour they might obtain some refreshment by traveling in a certain direction. He made this known to the company, and he set out with two others in quest of the promised food. After traveling several miles, they came to an Indian wigwam, and told the Indians by signs that they were hungry. Upon this, the squaw, with all possible speed, made some cakes, baked them in a pan over the fire, and gave each one of them two. They then told her that more of their friends were in the woods far off, and in a trice she made a quantity more of her wheat cakes and gave them to the brethren on a piece of birch bark. She also gave them to understand by signs that she would send more, but she had but little flour and her papooses would be hungry.

After this the brethren traveled on and succeeded in getting sufficient food to sustain them so that none of the company perished. In a short time they separated and took different routes through the country for Quincy, where  Samuel  arrived some time before we got there.

After we came, it was but a few days before  Samuel  moved his family into another house, leaving rather more room for those who remained. We soon found that we had many kind neighbors. In fact, they were all kind. One in particular I would mention who lived across the street from us by the name of Messer. This man and his wife seemed to seek every opportunity to oblige us, and while we were there they took care that we were accommodated with everything that we needed which was at their command.

We had not been in Quincy one week when Lucy, my youngest daughter, was taken very sick with a pain in her head and dreadful distress in her limbs, occasioned by her exposure in coming from Missouri. She utterly refused from the first to take any nourishment whatever. I took care of her myself several days, until I was taken in a similar manner myself. The day on which I was taken, Mr. Milliken, a young man to whom she was engaged to be married, came to see her, and he watched with her all that day, for my disease proved to be a very severe case of cholera. Although I suffered dreadfully with the cramp which usually attends that complaint, yet that was nothing in comparison to another pain which operated upon the marrow of my bones and sometimes seemed to me to be almost bursting the bones themselves asunder.

Everything that could be obtained that was known to be good for such diseases was administered in my case, but without effect. Supposing that I could not live any length of time, Lucy wanted to see me, but she was unable to stand on her feet, and  Samuel  carried her down the stairs in his arms several times before I got any better. At last a young man who was a botanic physician was brought, who gave me a kind of herb tea that relieved me immediately, so that I went to sleep very soon after. I took it and continued from that time getting better until I recovered.

During our sickness, the ladies of Quincy sent us every delicacy which could be obtained, with the hopes of pleasing our appetites, particularly Lucy’s, as she was not inclined to take any kind of food into her stomach. When I got better, I found that since she had been sick, she had taken nothing but ice water, but her fever was broken, and by careful nursing, she was soon able to walk about a little.

Previous to our sickness, Mr. Smith had sent one Brother Lamoreaux to Missouri to see if any intelligence could be obtained concerning the prisoners. This man received strict injunctions from the brethren not to return until he saw my sons or knew where they were. He had now been gone a long time, and no intelligence had come of him or the prisoners.

About the time that Lucy began to go about on her feet a little, Brother Partridge and Brother Morley came to our house from Lima to see if Lamoreaux had written or returned. Upon learning that he had not been heard of, Brother Partridge was in despair. He said that he never would consent to having another messenger sent on such business, that he would go himself, for, said he, “you cannot get anybody to do as they ought to do.”

Just then news came that Lamoreaux had come back, but had not seen Joseph or Hyrum. Upon this Brother Partridge felt worse than ever, and blamed Lamoreaux very much for non-performance of duty. I listened to him some time. At last an assurance entered my heart that my sons would be at home by the following night, and it filled my soul with such joy that I exclaimed aloud with tears, “Brother Partridge, I shall see my sons again before tomorrow night.”

“No,” said he, “Mother Smith, I am perfectly discouraged. I don’t know as we shall ever see them again in the world. At any rate do not flatter yourself that they will be here as soon as that, for I tell you, you will be disappointed. I have always believed everything you told me before, but I have no faith in what you say, for I cannot see any prospect of your prophecy being fulfilled; but if it proves to be true, I will never dispute you again while I live.” I asked him if he would stay in town long enough to see if I told him the truth, and he did so.

That night upon lying down on my bed to go to sleep, I saw my sons in vision on the prairie in Missouri. They appeared to be very tired and hungry. They had but one horse, and I saw them stop and tie him to the burnt stub of a sapling, after which they lay down on the ground to rest themselves. Oh, how pale and faint they looked! I sprang up in bed. “Oh, Father,” I said, “I see Joseph and Hyrum, and they are so weak they can scarcely stand, and now they are lying on the cold ground asleep. Oh, how I want to give them something to eat!”

Mr. Smith begged me to be quiet, saying that I was nervous, but it was impossible to rest, for they were still before my eyes and I saw them until they had lain there nearly two hours. Then one of them went away to try to get something to eat, but did not succeed, and they traveled on. This time Hyrum rode and Joseph walked by his side, holding himself up by the stirrup leather. I saw him almost reel with weakness, and yet I could not help him. My soul was grieved, and I could not sleep, so I arose from my bed and spent the night walking the floor.

The next day I commenced making preparations for their reception as confidently as though I had received word that they would be there for supper, but the day was so long and so tedious that in the afternoon near sunset, I went upstairs to consult with Lucy about my cooking. As we came down, she was before me, and when she came to the bottom of the stairs, she screamed out, “There is Elder Baldwin. Oh, my brothers,” said she, “where are they?” This was Caleb Baldwin, who had been in prison with my sons. He told us that Hyrum and Joseph were then on their way over the river and would soon be in Quincy. Lucy caught her bonnet and started for Hyrum’s house as hard as she could run, but the excitement was not sufficient to keep up her strength, and when she got to the door, she fell prostrate on the floor. After she had communicated the happy news to them, she returned to assist me.

Hyrum and Joseph landed soon after and went immediately to see their families. They, with their wives and the rest of our connections, spent the next day with us. When the news went abroad that the Smiths had been liberated and were now at home, the Quincy Grays came down to our house and saluted them in the most polite manner. Our friends swarmed around us, and we spent the day in eating and drinking and making merry. During the afternoon, I asked Joseph in the presence of the company if they were not on the prairie the night previous in the situation that I saw them in vision. They replied that they were. I then asked Brother Partridge if he now believed what I had told him the evening before. He said he would forever after that time acknowledge me a true prophet. The day passed very pleasantly, and my sons returned to their homes as happy as it was possible for them to be.

A short time after this, we were visited by a man by the name of George Miller5 from McDonough County, who showed a very friendly disposition and informed us that he had a quantity of land and also a number of log houses that were somewhat out of repair, but if the brethren were disposed to settle on his premises, they might have the use of the houses by repairing them. We were much pleased with the disposition which he manifested, and before he left, my sons Samuel, Don Carlos, and Jenkins Salisbury, my son-in-law, agreed with him for a piece of land sufficient for them to work that season.  Samuel  returned with him, and after making preparations for their families they removed them to that place.


Chapter 51

Large tracts of land are purchased at Commerce, Illinois. The Smiths move from Quincy to a log cabin in what will later be called Nauvoo. Sickness reigns in Nauvoo and the Smiths’ household. Don Carlos’s tender letter to his wife. Joseph the Prophet with Sidney Rigdon and others go to Washington, D.C., and visit with President Martin Van Buren to no avail. Mother Smith comments on her love for the Constitution and her sorrow for the nation’s departing from the Founding Fathers’ ideas. Joseph Smith Sr. gives patriarchal blessings to a number of Saints. Father Smith’s health worsens; he gathers his family around him, gives his dying blessings, and passes on. Lucy’s sorrow and reflections after forty-four years of marriage.


April 1839 to September 1840

In the spring of 1839 Joseph and Hyrum came to this place, which was then called Commerce, to look at the situation and make a purchase of land in order to gather the Saints together again. They succeeded in buying a large tract of land from Mr. White, who was one of the proprietors of Commerce, and returned for their families. After they left, we remained a short time in Quincy, as we were not ready to leave at that time. But in a few days my sons sent a team after us to bring us to Commerce, for my husband’s health was so poor that he was unable to attend to any kind of business, and they wanted to have their father near them.  Jacob  Bigler came after us, but when he saw how poor my husband’s health was, he thought it best to leave the heavy wagon he had brought and get a carriage that would be more pleasant to travel in.

The morning before we started, Mr. Messer came and said that he could not go to work, for he wanted to stay with us while we remained. “This, ” said Mr. Messer, “is the first time I ever left my work on account of a neighbor leaving the place.” He remained with us all the forenoon, and in the afternoon returned with his wife and stayed till near dark. I have always had the warmest attachment for this family, and I pray God that his choicest blessings may rest upon them.

The next morning we set out for Commerce and proceeded about twenty miles when our carriage broke down, leaving us in the middle of the prairie unable to proceed on our journey. My husband and I sat in the burning sun nearly three hours before the necessary aid could be obtained. Brother Bigler went some distance and got another wagon. We then started on and soon arrived at Bear Creek below Lima. This stream was very high and very dangerous for strangers to cross it at all, but providentially we took the right course and, with much difficulty, got across at Sister Lawrence’s house near Lima just after dark. Here we stayed overnight, and the next day came to Commerce, where we found those of our family who were there in good health.

We moved into a small log room attached to the house in which Joseph was living. Here we might have enjoyed ourselves in quiet retirement, but my husband’s health still failed, he was fast sinking into the consumption, and medicines were of but little benefit.

As the season advanced, the brethren who had settled here began to feel the effects of the hardships which they had endured, joined with the unhealthiness of the climate in which we were then situated. They came down with agues and bilious fevers to such an extent that there were some whole families in which there was not one who was able to give another a drink of cold water or even to help themselves. Hyrum’s family was mostly sick. My youngest daughter, Lucy, was also very sick, and there was, in fact, but few of the inhabitants of the place who were well.

Joseph and Emma had the sick brought to their house and took care of them there. They continued to have them brought as fast as they were taken down, until their house, which consisted of four rooms, was so crowded that they had to spread a tent in the yard for that part of the family who were still on their feet. Joseph and Emma devoted their whole time and attention to the care of the sick during this time of distress.

Silas Smith, my husband’s brother, came up from Pike County to consult my husband upon some Church business and returned with the intention of bringing his family here, but before he could accomplish it, he was taken sick and died, and we never saw him again.

About this time William came from Plymouth and informed us that he had sent to Missouri for our furniture and provisions and that nothing remained of all that we had left, as they had been destroyed by the mob. When William returned, he took Hyrum’s oldest daughter, Lovina, who had been sick, with him to Plymouth, thinking that the ride and change of atmosphere would be a benefit to her. Instead she grew much worse, and in a little while she was supposed to be on her deathbed. Her uncle sent word to us that he was afraid that she would not live until we could get there. Her father was not able to sit up when the news came, but Lucy and I started, although Lucy was quite sick and I, myself, would have been unable to go had it not been in a case of extremity. On our arrival at Plymouth, we found her very low, but some better than we expected, for she had revived a little since the messenger had left. She continued to get better from this time until she got quite well, but the ague seemed to take a fresh hold upon Lucy. The journey over the prairie in the hot sun in the dry season of the year, when it was almost impossible to get a drink of cold water to cool her fever, had been a great disadvantage to her health. She remained completely under the power of the disease until the sickness in Commerce had so abated that Joseph could leave home long enough to make a visit to Plymouth.

When he arrived, Lucy was lying on the bed upstairs in a high fever. Upon hearing her brother’s voice below, before he even had time to get up the steps, she flew down as though she had been perfectly well. She was so overjoyed to see her brother and hear that her relatives were all alive and through with the dreadful siege of sickness, that the excitement performed an entire cure so that she did not have the ague again and soon got back her strength.

During the summer, in the commencement of the sickness, Don Carlos came from McDonough County to make preparations to establish a printing press, as the press and type had been buried during the Missouri troubles to keep them out of the hands of our enemies. They had gathered so much dampness that the type was considerably injured, and it was necessary to get it into use as soon as possible. He found one room at liberty, and that was an underground room through which a spring was constantly flowing. It needed a great deal of cleaning out before it could be made to answer his purpose at all. He worked alone in this cellar some time, and together the dampness of the place and his labor caused him to take a severe cold with which he was sick for some time. But he continued his work until he had got his press started, and a few  numbers  of the paper printed. He went to McDonough to see his family, and after this, returned to Commerce, but found the distress so great that no business could be done. After his arrival in Commerce, he wrote the following letter to his wife, which shows pretty clearly the situation of the Church at the time as well as his affectionate disposition, which was always breathed in every word and stamped on every line he wrote to his family.

Commerce, July 29, 1839.

Beloved companion,

I am in tolerable health and have just risen from imploring the throne of grace in your behalf and that of our family-that God would preserve your health and give you every blessing and protect you by day and by night. When I arrived here, there had been nothing done in the office, as Brother Robinson has been sick every day since I left and is sick yet. I have done but little labor since I returned, for I have been striving against the destroyer and attending upon the sick continually. There are not well ones enough to take care of the sick. There has been but one death, however, since I returned, and that was of a child, but one week old. McLeary and Sophronia are both sick. Brother Robinson’s wife has been nigh unto death. Father is better. Last Tuesday I administered to sixteen souls and have since administered to a great many in company with George A. Smith, and some notable miracles were wrought with our hands. I never had so great power over disease as I have had this week, for this let God be glorified. The devil is determined to destroy the Saints here. There is between 50 and 100 that are sick, but they are generally on the gain and I do not know of more than two or three who are dangerously sick.

I send you five dollars so that you may not be destitute in case you should be sick or in want of money. My dear, you shall be made happy by me, the Lord being my helper. Hereafter you shall not want. Elijah’s God will bless you and I will bless you. You are entwined round my heart with ties that are stronger than death, and time cannot sever them. Yes, deprived of your society and that of my prattling babes, life would be irksome to me. Oh, that you might live till the coming of the Son of Man and I also for your sakes, that I might comfort you and you might comfort me, and we might comfort our babes and instill into their tender and noble minds principles of virtue that God may bless us all that we may be happy. I shall come home as soon as we can get through with our present hurry.

I am as ever your most true and faithful earthly friend both in time and in eternity.

Don C. Smith

We returned to Commerce, and when the weather became cold the sallow faces of the community began to assume a more fresh and ready hue, and all was bustle and business-some building, some fencing, some hauling wood, and indeed all hands were as active in gathering around them the comforts of life as though they had never been disturbed from their possessions, and had no reason to distrust the lasting friendship of those who professed to be their friends.

How often have I looked upon the innocent, cheerful countenances of our brethren and wondered at the difference between them and the dark, lowering, wicked look of the persecutors who thronged our lovely city at the time when Joseph was taken prisoner. The fact is our brethren, when they have the spirit of the gospel upon them, meditate no evil, and consequently, they fear no evil, until they are taught to fear as the sheep is taught to fear the fierce wolf or tiger. But now they have had sufficient experience to make them more wary than they once were, so that they will be likely for the future to calculate both ways and not lick the hand just raised to shed their blood.

It now became a duty for Joseph to fulfill a commandment which he received while in prison to go as soon as he could leave home to the city of Washington and petition Congress for redress. He said that if there was any virtue in the government that they might not fail to do justice for want of a correct understanding of the facts. Accordingly, Joseph set off with Sidney Rigdon, Dr. Foster, Elias Higbee, and Porter Rockwell for the seat of government.

After arriving in Washington, Joseph and Sidney waited upon his excellency Martin Van Buren for some time. They had no opportunity to lay their grievances before him, as rather than lend an ear to the complaints of a distressed people, he chose to give his attention to the frivolous chat of visitors, who had no other business but to compliment him upon his fine circumstances. At length, however, he concluded to listen to them, and heard the entire history of our oppression, and the abuse we had received from our existence as a people until the slaughter of our brethren at Haun’s Mill, and our final expulsion from our homes. They concluded with an appeal to him as the principal officer of this great, mighty republic for his assistance.

Has not everyone read our tale of woe? If you have not, I beseech you to take the trouble to do so. I’ve not told the half, but if you will peruse a pamphlet entitled “Missouri Persecutions,” you will then be able to appreciate the magnanimous reply of this mighty ruler of a mighty republic when his heart was under the fresh influence of the story of his people’s grief. “Hear it ye nations. Hear it, oh ye dead.” Martin Van Buren said, “Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you.”

You, that at the peril of your lives, your fortunes, and your sacred honor stepped forth and placed your names upon the list attached to the Declaration of Independence, and nobly stood targets for the vengeance of the oppressor, willing to sacrifice your own lives to save your countrymen-look down upon your children, spirit of our departed. Washington, but little did you expect that sacred seat which you so lately occupied, and from which you dealt out evenhanded justice to all, would be so very soon filled by one who can do nothing for your own fellow soldiers, when they are murdered upon the soil that you and they defended breast to breast.

But we are your children. We love the Constitution and the law and we will abide the same. We love those hearts from whose pure depths that Constitution emanated. We love the many that fought for us in our infant years. We have your brethren in our midst, some who battled by your side. We honor and we cherish and we love them. The scheme of our national salvation we dearly love, but oh, the hands in which it is placed! They will not take thee for an example. Therefore, we go mourning all the day long, and the chain of the oppressor lays heavy on our necks. Our feet are fettered, our hands are shackled, and behold we are cast into prison, for is this all? We are even murdered, and yet no one has raised the yoke, but still we bow down and bear our grief.

The matter was, however, laid before Congress. They too concluded that our cause was just, but that they could do nothing for us, as Missouri was a sovereign, independent state; and that the “Mormons” might appeal to her for redress, for, in their opinion, she neither wanted the power nor lacked the disposition to redress the wrongs of her own citizens.

Joseph remained with his brethren in Washington until a decision was had upon the subject. While he was absent, his father was very feeble. His cough increased, and he became so weak, that I was often under the necessity of lifting him from his bed. One night I was raising him and he said, “Mother, I don’t know but I shall die here alone with you, and perhaps in your arms while lifting me.”

“Oh, no, Father,” said I, “you will not; for when you die, you will have all your children round you.”

“Well,” said he, “if you say so in real earnest, I believe it will be so.” I told him that it was impressed upon my mind that such would be the case. He was much comforted by this, for he had been very anxious to live until Joseph returned, that he might bless him again before he died.

This was in the winter of 1840. Before spring he got some better so that he walked around the neighborhood and even attended to blessing some few of the brethren, among whom was Elder  John E. Page and his wife, Mary. On this occasion he stood upon his feet three hours, and when he got through blessing and preaching, he laid hands on Brother Page, who was terribly afflicted with the black canker, but was healed very suddenly, for there was a great manifestation of the Spirit of God at this meeting.

He gave one person a blessing whom he had never seen before that day, and who had not been in the Church a fortnight. When he blessed her, he repeated a prophecy word for word that had been pronounced upon her head by Brother Page and said that the Spirit testified that she had been told these things in her confirmation. This surprised her, for she had just arrived in Nauvoo with Brother and Sister Page, and she knew that not one word had passed between him and my husband upon the subject.

In March of 1840, Mr. Smith had a relapse and was confined again to his bed, not able to help himself out of it. I was standing by the window and saw Joseph coming, for he had just arrived from Washington. I told Mr. Smith that Joseph was coming and he cried for joy at the thought that he had been spared to see Joseph’s face again. Joseph came immediately into the room, and before he left, he laid hands on him and assisted him out of bed.

Joseph’s family were rejoiced to see him again, for they had heard many reports of danger which had threatened him, and Emma had suffered much uneasiness on the account. The Church was also much rejoiced to meet him, but had they yielded their feelings to the influence of circumstances, their joy would have been mingled with grief, for the Senate of the United States sent back our brethren with documents saying that as Missouri was the place where our difficulties occurred, she alone could exercise jurisdiction in the affair of our trouble, and that whatever might be the outrages committed upon us by the inveterate state of Missouri, we had no hopes of redress. We plainly discovered that murder was licensed and every outrage upon us permitted. However, we did not lose all hopes of resting from persecution for a season. At least the authorities of Illinois had been very forward to give us every assurance of their honor, and it is our motto ever to trust our friends until they betray our trust, and so we acted in this instance, resting perfectly secure upon the laws which were then, and for some time after, promptly executed.

After Joseph’s arrival, he had a house erected for his father, and we were soon very comfortably situated. My husband seemed to revive a little in the spring, but when the heat of the ensuing summer came on, he began to fail again. This was perhaps partially because Missouri again renewed her persecutions against us and sent officers with writs demanding sixty of our brethren, my sons with the rest considered as fugitives from justice (as they chose to call their proceedings just). The brethren concluded at this time to fly from such justice and were obliged to leave the city and absent themselves from their families for some time before the writs were returned.

About this time, General  John C. Bennett came into the city and undertook to devise a scheme that would result in the security of our persecuted brethren, that they might remain at home in peace. I do not know what he did. I only know that he seemed to be very much engaged about law as well as the gospel. My heart was then too full of anxiety about my husband to inquire much into matters which I did not understand; however, the result was, Joseph returned from Iowa.

On the evening of his return, his father was taken with vomiting blood. This was the first time that I had allowed myself to doubt but that he would sooner or later recover from his illness, but I now concluded that he was appointed unto death. I sent for Joseph and Hyrum, who, when they came, gave him something to relieve his distress, and he became more easy. This was on Saturday night.

On Sunday, Joseph came in and said, “Now, Father, I am at liberty and I can stay with you as much as you wish. Bennett is here and he will fix things so that we will not be in danger of being disturbed by the Missourians.” His father was delighted to hear it, for he knew that he could live but a short time and he wished Joseph to remain with him. After which Joseph informed his father, that it was then the privilege of the Saints to be baptized for the dead, and Mr. Smith requested that Joseph should be baptized for Alvin immediately.

We had sent for the children who did not live in the city and they had all got here save Catharine, who was detained by a sick husband and sick children. Mr. Smith, being apprised of this, sent Arthur Milliken, who, but a short time previous, was married to our youngest daughter, after Catharine and her children. Mr. Milliken made all haste to get a team and to make the necessary preparations for his journey. Before he went, however, my husband blessed him, as he feared that it might be too late when he returned. He took him by the hand and said:

“Arthur, my son, I have given you my darling, my youngest child, and will you be kind to her?”

“Yes, Father,” he replied, “I will.”

“Arthur,” he continued, “you shall be blessed, and you shall be great in the eyes of the Lord, and if you will be faithful, you shall have all the desires of your heart in righteousness. Now, I want you to go after my daughter Catharine, for I know the faithfulness of your heart, that you will not come back without her.”

Arthur then left. After he was gone, he called us all around his bed and addressed me first.

“Mother,” said he, “do you not know that you are the mother of the greatest family that ever lived upon the earth? The world loves its own, but it does not love us. It hates us because we are not of the world; therefore, all their malice is poured out upon us, and they seek to take away our lives. When I look upon my children and realize that although they were raised up to do the Lord’s work, yet they must pass through scenes of trouble and affliction as long as they live upon the earth, my heart is pained and I dread to leave you so surrounded by enemies.”

At this Hyrum bent over his father and said, “Father, if you are taken away, will you not intercede for us at the throne of grace, that our enemies may not have so much power over us to distress and harass us?” His father laid his hands upon Hyrum’s head and said:

“My son, Hyrum, I seal upon your head your patriarchal blessing which I placed on your head before, for that shall be verified. In addition, I now give you my dying blessing. You shall have a season of peace, so that you shall have sufficient rest to accomplish the work which God has given you to do. You shall be as firm as the pillars of heaven unto the end of your days. I seal upon your head the patriarchal power, and you shall bless the people. This is my dying blessing upon your head in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

To Joseph he said:

“Joseph, my son, you are called to a high and holy calling. You are called to do the work of the Lord. Now, hold out faithful and you will be blessed, and your family shall be blessed, and your children after you. You shall live to finish your work.”

At this Joseph cried out, “Oh, Father, shall I?”

“Yes,” said his father, “you shall. You shall live to lay out all the plan of all the work that God requires at your hand. Be faithful to the end. This is my dying blessing on your head in the name of Jesus. I also confirm your former blessing upon you, for it shall be fulfilled. Even so. Amen.”

To Don Carlos he said:

“Carlos, my darling son, you remember that when I blessed you, your blessing never was written, and I could not get it done, but now I want you to get my book, which contains the blessings of my family. I want you to take your pen and fill out those parts of your blessing that were not written. You shall have the Spirit of the Lord and shall be able to fill up all the vacancies which were left by Oliver when he wrote it. You shall be great in the sight of the Lord, for he sees and knows the integrity of your heart, and you shall be blessed; and all that know you shall bless you. Your wife and your children shall also be blessed, and you shall live to fulfill all the Lord has sent you to do. Even so. Amen.”

To  Samuel  he said:

“Samuel, you have been a faithful and obedient child. By your faithfulness, you have brought many into the Church. The Lord has seen your faithfulness and you are blessed in that the Lord has never chastised you, but has called you home to rest; and there is a crown laid up for you which shall grow brighter and brighter until the perfect day.

“When the Lord called you, he said, ‘Samuel, I have seen thy sufferings, have heard thy cries, seen thy faithfulness, and your skirts are clear of the blood of this generation.’ This is my dying blessing, and all the blessings which I have before pronounced upon you I now seal upon you again. Even so. Amen.”

To William he said:

“William, my son, thou hast been faithful in declaring the word, even before the Church was organized. Thou hast been sick, yet thou hast traveled to warn the people. And when thou couldst not walk, thou didst sit by the wayside and call upon the Lord, until he did provide a way for thee to be carried. Thou wast sick and afflicted, when thou wast away from thy father’s house, and no one knew it to assist thee in thy afflictions; but the Lord did see the honesty of thy heart, and thou wast blessed in thy mission. William, thou shalt be blessed, and thy voice shall be heard in distant lands, from place to place, and they shall regard thy teachings and thy voice. Thou shalt be like a roaring lion in the forest, for they shall hearken and hear thee. And thou shalt be the means of bringing many sheaves to Zion, and thou shalt be great in the eyes of many people, and they shall call thee blessed, and I will bless thee and thy children after thee. And the blessings which I sealed upon thy head before I now confirm again, and thy days shall be many and thou shall do a great work and live as long as thou desire life. Even so. Amen.”

To Sophronia he said:

“Sophronia, my oldest daughter, thou hadst sickness when thou wast young. Thy mother and thy father did cry over thee to have the Lord spare thy life. Thou didst see trouble and sorrow, but thy trouble shall be lessened, for thou hast been faithful in helping thy father and thy mother in the work of the Lord. And thou shalt be blessed, and the blessings of heaven shall rest down upon you and your last days shall be your best days. Although thou shalt see trouble and sorrow and mourning, thou shalt be comforted and the Lord will lift you up and the blessings of the Lord will rest upon you and upon your family. Thou shalt live as long as thou desirest life.  I pronounce this dying blessing with your other blessings I seal upon your head. Even so. Amen.”

After this he rested some time and then said:

“Catharine has been a sorrowful child. Trouble has she seen, and the Lord has looked down upon her and seen her patience and has heard her cries. She shall be comforted when her days of sorrow are ended. Then shall the Lord look down upon her, and she shall have the comforts of life and the good things of the world, and then shall she rise up and defend her cause. And she shall live to raise up her family and in time her suffering shall be over, for the day is coming when the patient shall receive their reward. She shall rise over her enemies, and she shall have houses and land and things around her to make her heart glad. I, in this dying blessing, confirm her patriarchal blessing upon her head, and she shall receive eternal life. Even so. Amen.”

To Lucy he said:

“Lucy, thou art my youngest child, thou art my darling. And the Lord gave you unto us to be a comfort to us in our old age, and thou must take good care of thy mother. Thou art innocent and thy heart is right before the Lord. Thou hast been through all the persecution and hast seen nothing but persecution, trouble, and sickness except when the Lord would cheer our hearts. If thou wilt continue and hold out faithful, thou shalt be blessed with a house and land, and thou shalt have food and raiment and no more be persecuted and driven as thou hast hitherto been. And continue faithful and you shall receive a reward in heaven and you shall live long and be blessed, and thou shalt receive a reward in heaven. And now I seal this dying blessing and your patriarchal blessing upon your head. Even so. Amen.”

He then called to me again. “Mother,” said he, “where are you?” I was standing at his back, but went immediately to his head. “Do you not know that you are one of the most singular women in the world?”

I said, “No, I do not.”

“Well,” said he, “I do. You have brought up my children for me by the fireside, and when I was gone from home, you comforted them. You have brought up all my children and could always comfort them when I could not. We have often wished that we might both die at the same time, but you must not desire to die when I do. You must stay to comfort the children when I am gone. So do not mourn, but try to be comforted. Your last days shall be your best days, as to being driven, for you shall have more power over your enemies than you have had. Now, be comforted.”

He paused and then said, “Why, I can see and hear as well as ever I could.” (A pause.) “And I have my senses perfectly well.” (A pause of some minutes.) “I see Alvin.” (Another pause.) “I shall live seven or eight minutes.” He then straightened himself, laid his hands together, and began to breathe shorter and shorter until at last his breath stopped without a struggle or even a sigh. He departed so calmly that we could not believe for some time but that he would breathe again.

I am convinced that no one but a widow can imagine the feelings of a widow, but my situation was not such as is common in similar cases. My beloved companion who had shared my joy and grief for forty-four years lay before me, a cold, lifeless corpse, and the cold hand which I held in mine returned the pressure of my own no longer. My fatherless children stood around me, gazing in agony upon those eyes which had, until a few minutes ago, always beamed upon them with the tenderest gaze. I then thought that there was no evil for me to fear upon the earth more than what I had experienced in the death of my beloved husband. It was all the grief which my nature was able to bear, and I thought that I could never again be called to suffer so great an affliction as this. I reflected upon the many years of happiness which I had spent with him, and that the one with whom I had spent my life was now buried beneath the cold clods, and that portion of my life which lay before seemed desolate indeed. I thought that the greatest sorrow of which it was possible for me to experience had fallen upon me.

My children were all there save Catharine, who did not arrive until the evening of the second day. We were compelled to attend his obsequies the day following his death or run the risk of seeing Hyrum and Joseph torn from their father’s corpse and carried to prison and perhaps to Missouri by our enemies, for they had obtained another writ which they were hurrying to the city in order to serve it upon my sons.

My own heart was broken, and I had but one reason to desire life, which was, as Mr. Smith said in his dying moments, that I might comfort my children. All that has transpired since that period, except the calamities which have befallen my own family, is like a shadow or a dream. From this time I shall enumerate the events of my life as rapidly as possible and shall endeavor to suppress my feelings altogether, until I have related the remainder of what I have to tell.

The evening after my husband was buried, Catharine arrived at our house, bringing her husband upon a bed, sick with the ague. She remained with me some time and comforted me what she could.


Chapter 52

City of Nauvoo established. Lucy’s severe illness. Death of a number of the Smith family, including Samuel’s wife, Mary; Don Carlos; Hyrum’s brother-in-law Robert Thompson; Joseph’s toddler son, Don Carlos; Hyrum’s son Hyrum; and Don Carlos’s daughter Sophronia. Joseph the Prophet put on trial in Monmouth, Illinois. Assassination attempt on ex-Governor Lilburn Boggs of Missouri. Joseph and Orrin Porter Rockwell are accused. To avoid false arrest, Joseph goes into hiding. Joseph is tried and acquitted in Springfield. Joseph is arrested in Dixon, Illinois. He is tried in Nauvoo, Hyrum gives sworn testimony, and Joseph is acquitted.


December 1840 to October 1843

In the month of December, 1840, we received for Nauvoo a city charter with extensive privileges; and in February of the same winter, charters were also received for the Nauvoo Legion and for the University of the City of Nauvoo. Not long after this the office of lieutenant-general was conferred upon Joseph by the vote of the people and a commission from the governor of the state.

In the early part of the same winter, I made Brother Knowlton a visit on Bear Creek. When I arrived there it was dark and I was very cold, and in getting out of the wagon, I stepped upon some round substance which, rolling under my foot, brought me round so suddenly, that in trying to save myself from falling, I injured my right knee. The cold settled in the injured part and the rheumatism set in. I suffered considerable while there, but I only remained about one week. After I returned home, my sickness increased. This, with other sickness produced by the same cause, kept me very low all winter, and for six weeks I had watchers every night. Sophronia and Lucy took care of me and faithfully did they watch over me. Never was a disconsolate widow more blessed in her children than I was in them. By their faithful care I was enabled, after a long season of helplessness, to stand upon my feet again.

The same winter, on the twenty-fifth of January, 1841, Mary Smith, Samuel’s wife, was taken suddenly away to meet my husband where parting shall be no more. She had never been well since she was driven with her infant by the Missouri mob into Far West, and that was the cause of her death.

On the fifth of June the same year, Joseph went, in company with several others, on a visit to Quincy. As he was returning, Governor Carlin sent one of the Missouri writs after him and had him arrested for murder, treason, etc., etc. Joseph, choosing to be tried at Monmouth, Warren County, returned the next day with the officers to Nauvoo and, after procuring witnesses, proceeded to Monmouth. Esquire Browning spoke in Joseph’s defense, and was moved upon by the spirit that was given him, in answer to the prayers of the Saints; and, of course, he gained the case. The opposing attorney tried his utmost to convict Joseph of the crimes mentioned in the writ, but before he had spoken many minutes, he turned sick and vomited at the feet of the judge; which, joined to the circumstance of his advocating the case of the Missourians, who are called pukes by their countrymen, obtained for him the same appellation, and was a source of much amusement to the court.

The Church was much rejoiced when Joseph returned, and many besought him never again to leave the city.

About the first of August, Don Carlos came to me and told me that for a long time he had suffered such distress in his side, that he thought the same disease had fastened upon him as his father had, and he feared it would sooner or later take him away. He was taken bedfast the same day, and on the seventh day of August, he died, and on the eighth he was buried under the honors of war.

On the first day of September, Robert B. Thompson, who was Hyrum’s brother-in-law and associate editor with Don Carlos of the Times and Seasons, died of the same disease which carried Carlos out of the world-supposed to be quick consumption.

On the fifteenth of September, Joseph’s youngest son, who was named after Don Carlos, died after a long season of sickness and distress.

On the twenty-eighth of September, Hyrum’s second son, named Hyrum, died of a fever.

The succeeding winter we were left to mourn over the ravages which death had made in our family, without interruption; but sickness ceased from among us, and the mob retired to their homes.

On the sixth of May, 1842, some assassin attempted to shoot Lilburn W. Boggs, ex-governor of Missouri, and in a trice the cry went forth that “Joe Smith” had shot Governor Boggs. But, as Joseph was on that day at an officer’s drill in Nauvoo, several hundred miles from where Boggs resided, and was seen by hundreds, and, on the day following, at a public training, where thousands of witnesses beheld him, we supposed that the crime being charged upon him was such an outrage upon common sense that when his persecutors became apprised of these facts, they would cease to accuse him. But in this we were disappointed, for when they found it impossible to sustain the charge in this shape, they preferred it in another, in order to make it more probable. They now accused my son of sending O. P. Rockwell into Missouri with orders to shoot the ex-governor, and from this time they pursued both Joseph and Porter with all diligence, till they succeeded in getting the latter into jail in Missouri.

Joseph, not choosing to fall into their hands, fled from the city and secreted himself sometimes in one place, sometimes in another. He generally kept some friends with him, in whom he had confidence, who came frequently to the city. Thus communication was kept up between Joseph, his family, and the Church. At this time Brother  John  Taylor lay very sick of the fever and was so reduced that he was not able to stand upon his feet. Joseph visited him and, after telling him that he wished to start that night on a journey of fifty miles, requested Brother Taylor to accompany him, saying if he would do so he would be able to ride the whole way. Brother Taylor believing this, they set out together and performed the journey with ease.

This time Joseph remained away two weeks, then made his family and myself a short visit, after which he again left us. In this way he lived, hiding first in one place and then in another, until the sitting of the legislature when Governor Ford wrote Joseph a letter advising him to come to Springfield, with a guard sufficient to secure himself against molestation, and suffer himself to be tried for the crimes alleged against him, namely, that of being accessory to the attempted assassination of ex-Governor Boggs. Joseph went and was tried before Judge Pope and honorably acquitted. When he returned home, there was a jubilee held throughout the city. The remainder of the winter, and the next spring, we spent in peace.

About the middle of June, 1843, Joseph went with his wife to visit Mrs. Wasson, who was his wife’s sister. While he was there, an attempt was made to kidnap him and take him into Missouri, by J. H. Reynolds of that state and Harmon Wilson of Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, who was a Missourian in principle. You have read Hyrum’s testimony and can judge of the treatment which Joseph received at their hands. Suffice to say he was shamefully abused. Wilson had authority from the governor of Illinois to take Joseph Smith Jr. and deliver him into the hands of the before-named Reynolds; but as neither of them showed any authority save a brace of pistols, Joseph took them for false imprisonment. He then obtained a writ of habeas corpus of the master in chancery of Lee County, returnable before the nearest court authorized to determine upon such writs; and the Municipal Court of Nauvoo being the nearest one invested with this power, an examination was had before said court, when it was made to appear that the writ was defective and void; furthermore, that he was innocent of the charges therein alleged against him. It was in this case that Hyrum’s testimony was given, which is rehearsed in a preceding chapter.

Not long after this I broke up housekeeping, and at Joseph’s request, I took up my residence at his house. Soon after which I was taken very sick and was brought nigh unto death. For five nights Emma never left me, but stood at my bedside all the night long, at the end of which time she was overcome with fatigue and taken sick herself. Joseph then took her place and watched with me the five succeeding nights, as faithfully as Emma had done. About this time I began to recover, and, in the course of a few weeks, I was able to walk about the house a little and sit up during the day. I have hardly been able to go on foot further than across the street since.

On the third day of October, 1843, Sophronia, second daughter of Don Carlos, died of the scarlet fever, leaving her widowed mother doubly desolate.


Chapter 53 William Law identified as an enemy of the Church. Joseph Jackson wants Hyrum’s daughter for a wife, is refused, begins to plot the murders of all the Smith family. The Nauvoo Expositor affair. Governor Thomas Ford arrives in Carthage, Illinois. Joseph and Hyrum are arrested, taken to Carthage Jail, and murdered by a mob of between one and two hundred men.  Samuel  Smith chased by the mob, receives injury, dies thirty-three days after the Martyrdom. Tremendous scene of sorrow at the family viewing of their murdered sons, husbands, and fathers. Church leadership set in order after Joseph’s death. Mother Smith ends her history with a soliloquy and a testimony of warning to her persecutors.


May 17, 1842 to July 1845

About the time that  John C. Bennett left Nauvoo, an election was held for the office of mayor, and Joseph, being one of the candidates, was elected to that office. I mention this fact in order to explain a circumstance that took place in the winter of 1843 and 1844, which was as follows. Joseph, in organizing the city police, remarked that “were it not for enemies within the city, there would be no danger from foes without,” adding, “If it were not for a Brutus, I might live as long as Caesar would have lived.”

Someone who suspected that Joseph alluded to William Law went to the latter and informed him that Joseph regarded him as a Brutus; and that it was his own opinion that he (Law) was in imminent danger. Law, on hearing this tale, went immediately to Joseph, who straightway called a council and had all that knew anything concerning the matter brought together and thus succeeded in satisfying Law that he intended no evil in what he had said.

About this time a man by the name of Joseph Jackson, who had been in the city several months, asked Hyrum for his daughter Lovina, for he wished to make a wife of her. Hyrum, not choosing to have his daughter marry a man who did not belong to the Church, refused for this and other reasons. Jackson then asked Joseph to use his influence with Hyrum to get the girl for him. As Joseph refused to do that, he next applied to Law, who was our secret enemy, for assistance in stealing Lovina from her father. Hyrum heard of this and came to me several times for advice. He said he was alarmed about her, that he felt worse than he did when he was in prison. Jackson went from one to another, wherever he could learn that anyone had any feeling against our family, till finally he succeeded in getting a number to join in a conspiracy to murder the whole Smith family. They commenced holding secret meetings, one of which was attended by a man named Eaton, who was our friend, and he exposed the plot.

This man declared that the Higbees, Laws, and Fosters were all connected with Jackson in his operations. There was also another individual, named Augustine Spencer, a dissolute character who, I believe, was concerned in this conspiracy (although his brother Orson, formerly a Baptist minister, was one of Joseph’s warmest friends). About the time of Eaton’s disclosures, this man went to the house of his brother Orson, and abused my sons and the Church at such a rate that Orson finally told him that he must either stop or leave the house. Augustine refused and they grappled. In the contest Orson was considerably injured. He went immediately to Joseph and, stating the case, asked for a warrant. Joseph advised him to go to Dr. Foster, who was a justice of the peace. Accordingly, he went and demanded a warrant of Foster, but was refused. On account of this refusal, Foster was brought before Esquire Wells, and tried for non-performance of duty. At this trial Joseph met Charles Foster, the doctor’s brother, who attempted to shoot him as soon as they met, but Joseph caught his hands and prevented him, and he was compelled to hold the man in this way above an hour in order to preserve his own life. Jackson and the apostates continued to gather strength, till, finally, they established a printing press in our midst. Through this organ they belched forth the most intolerable and the blackest lies that were ever palmed upon a community.  Being advised by men of influence and standing to have this scandalous press removed, the city council took the matter into consideration, and finding that the law would allow them to do so, they declared it a nuisance and had it treated accordingly.

At this the apostates left the city in a great rage, swearing vengeance upon Joseph, the council, and the city. They went forthwith to Carthage and got out writs for Joseph and all those who were in any wise concerned in the destruction of the press. But, having no hope of justice in that place, the brethren took out a writ of habeas corpus and were tried before Esquire Wells at Nauvoo. With this the apostates were not satisfied. They then called upon one Levi Williams, who was a bitter enemy to us, whenever he was sufficiently sober to know his own sentiments, for he was a drunken, ignorant, illiterate brute that never had a particle of character or influence until he began to call mob meetings and placed himself at the head of a rabble like unto himself, to drive the “Mormons,” at which time he was joined by certain unmentionable ones in Warsaw and Carthage; and for his zeal in promoting mobocracy he became the intimate acquaintance and confidential friend of some certain preachers, lawyers, and representatives, and, finally, of Joseph Jackson and the apostates.

He, as Colonel Levi Williams, commands the militia (alias mob) of Hancock County. On this man, I say, they called for assistance to drag Joseph and Hyrum, with the rest of the council, to Carthage. Williams swore it should be done and gathered his band together. Joseph, not wishing to fall into the hands of wolves or tigers, called upon the Legion to be in readiness to defend the city and its chartered rights. Just at this crisis, Governor Ford arrived in Carthage. The apostates then appealed from the mob to the governor. At this time he came into the midst of the mob and asked them if they would stand by him in executing and defending the law. They said they would, and so organized them into militia and then demanded the brethren for trial upon the warrant issued by Smith (as he did not choose to recognize the right of habeas corpus granted us in the city charter). At the same time he pledged the faith of the state that the brethren should be protected from mob violence. Those called for in the warrant made their appearance at Carthage, June 24, 1844. On the morning of the twenty-fifth, Joseph and Hyrum were arrested for treason, by a warrant found upon the oaths of A. O. Norton and Augustine Spencer. I will not dwell upon the awful scene which succeeded. My heart is filled with grief and indignation, and my blood curdles in my veins whenever I speak of it.

My sons were thrown into jail, where they remained three days in company with Brothers Richards, Taylor, and Markham. At the end of this time, the governor disbanded most of the men, but left a guard of eight of our bitterest enemies over the jail and sixty more of the same character about a hundred yards distant. He then came into Nauvoo with a guard of fifty or sixty men, made a short speech, and returned immediately.

During his absence from Carthage, the guard rushed Brother Markham out of the place at the point of the bayonet. Soon after this two hundred of those discharged in the morning rushed into Carthage, armed and painted black, red, and yellow, and in ten minutes fled again, leaving my sons murdered and mangled corpses!

In leaving the place, a few of them found  Samuel  coming into Carthage, alone, on horseback, and, finding that he was one of our family, they attempted to shoot him, but he escaped out of their hands, although they pursued him at the top of their speed for more than two hours. He succeeded the next day in getting to Nauvoo in season to go out and meet the procession with the bodies of Hyrum and Joseph, as the mob had the kindness to allow us the privilege of bringing them home and burying them in Nauvoo, notwithstanding the immense reward which was offered by the Missourians for Joseph’s head.

Their bodies were attended home by only two persons, save those that went from this place. These were Brother Willard Richards and a Mr. Hamilton; Brother  John  Taylor having been shot in prison, and nearly killed, he could not be moved until some time afterwards.

After the corpses were washed and dressed in their burial clothes, we were allowed to see them. I had for a long time braced every nerve, roused every energy of my soul, and called upon God to strengthen me, but when I entered the room and saw my murdered sons extended both at once before my eyes and heard the sobs and groans of my family and the cries of “Father! Husband! Brothers!” from the lips of their wives, children, brothers, and sisters, it was too much; I sank back, crying to the Lord in the agony of my soul, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken this family!” A voice replied, “I have taken them to myself, that they might have rest.” Emma was carried back to her room almost in a state of insensibility.

Her oldest son approached the corpse and dropped upon his knees and, laying his cheek against his father’s and kissing him, exclaimed, “Oh, my father! my father!” As for myself, I was swallowed up in the depths of my afflictions, and though my soul was filled with horror past imagination, yet I was dumb until I arose again to contemplate the spectacle before me. Oh! at the moment how my mind flew through every scene of sorrow and distress which we had passed, together, in which they had shown the innocence and sympathy which filled their guileless hearts. As I looked upon their peaceful, smiling countenances, I seemed almost to hear them say, “Mother, weep not for us, we have overcome the world by love; we carried to them the gospel, that their souls might be saved; they slew us for our testimony, and thus placed us beyond their power; their ascendancy is for a moment, ours is an eternal triumph.”

I then thought upon the promise which I had received in Missouri, that in five years Joseph should have power over all his enemies. The time had elapsed and the promise was fulfilled.

I left the scene and returned to my room, to ponder upon the calamities of my family. Soon after this,  Samuel  said, “Mother, I have had a dreadful distress in my side ever since I was chased by the mob, and I think I have received some injury which is going to make me sick.” And indeed he was then not able to sit up, as he had been broken of his rest, besides being dreadfully fatigued in the chase, which, joined to the shock occasioned by the death of his brothers, brought on a disease that never was removed.

On the following day the funeral rites of the murdered ones were attended to, in the midst of terror and alarm, for the mob had made their arrangements to burn the city that night, but by the diligence of the brethren, they were kept at bay until they became discouraged and returned to their homes.

In a short time Samuel, who continued unwell, was confined to his bed, and lingering until the thirtieth of July, his spirit forsook its earthly tabernacle and went to join his brothers, and the ancient martyrs, in the Paradise of God.

At this time William was absent on a mission to the eastern states. And he had taken his family with him in consequence of his wife being afflicted with the dropsy, hoping that the journey might be a benefit to her. Thus was I left desolate in my distress. I had reared six sons to manhood, and of them all, one only remained, and he was far too distant to speak one consoling word to me in this trying hour. It would have been some satisfaction to me if I had expected his immediate return, but his wife was lying at the point of death, which compelled him to remain where he was. His case was, if it were possible, worse than mine, for he had to bear all his grief alone in a land of strangers, confined to the side of his dying wife, and absent from those who felt the deepest interest in his welfare; whilst I was surrounded with friends, being in the midst of the Church; my daughters, too, were with me, and from their society I derived great comfort.

The Church at this time was in a state of gloomy suspense. Not knowing who was to take the place of Joseph, the people were greatly wrought upon with anxiety, lest an imposter should arise and deceive many. Suddenly, Sidney Rigdon made his appearance from Pittsburgh, and rather insinuated that the Church ought to make choice of him, not as President, but as guardian; for “Joseph,” said he, “is still President, and the Church must be built up unto him.” But before he could carry his measures into effect, the Twelve, who had also been absent, arrived and assuming their proper places, all was set to rights.

William, however, did not return till the spring of 1845, when, with great difficulty, he got his wife to Nauvoo. She survived but a short time after her arrival, for in about two weeks, to complete the sum of William’s afflictions, he followed her to the grave. Her disease was brought on by her exposures in Missouri, so that she was what might be termed an indirect martyr to the cause of Christ, which makes the sum of martyrs in our family no less than six in number.

Shortly after William’s return from the East, he was ordained Patriarch of the Church, in the place of Hyrum, who held the keys of that priesthood previous to his death.

I have now given a history of my life as far as I intended carrying it at this time. I leave the world at liberty to pass judgment upon what I have written as seemeth it good. But this much I will say, that all that I have written is true and will stand forever. Yes, it will stand before God at that hour when small and great shall appear to answer at his bar for the deeds done in the body, whether they be good or evil, and there will I meet the persecutors of my family who are the enemies of the Church and declare with a voice that shall penetrate the ears of every intelligence which shall be present on that momentous occasion-when the spirits of the just and the unjust, the beggars and lords, the princes and potentates, the  kings  and emperors, the angels and seraphs, the cherubims and gods be called before him who is the God of gods and Lord of lords.

Yes, in the presence of all these will I declare concerning our persecutors, that for eighteen years they hunted us like wild beasts who were thirsting for the blood of their prey; that without any just cause they drove me and my family from our home in New York; that they maliciously cast my husband into prison and despitefully used him; that they, while he was there, plundered my house and sought my son Hyrum that they might slay him; that in consequence of their abuse, we fled again before them and went to the state of Ohio. Here they dragged my son Joseph out of his bed at midnight and beat him until life for a season departed from his body, and after he recovered, they still continued to persecute him and the rest of my family so sorely that we were compelled to flee to Missouri, where they again renewed their hostilities against my household, and tore my sons from their wives, from their little ones, and from me; that they were thrown into prison, bound in chains, and sentenced to be shot, and all this when my sons were guilty of no sin and had committed no crime or offense against the law.

I will testify to our Lord that after my sons had been in the hands of their adversaries for six months, they were compelled to fly from the state of Missouri into the state of Illinois in order to save their lives, for Governor Boggs had decreed that all Saints found within his jurisdiction after a certain time should be slain by the sword; that in Illinois, we were promised protection from murders and from mobs and we bought us homes and lived with them for a short time like brothers of one family. They were kind to us and we loved them, but the spoiler came, and certain who were not of our faith, joined themselves with the rabble of Warsaw, Carthage, and Green Plains, and they lied about us and scandalized us unto our friends, which caused our friends to become lukewarm and our enemies to increase, until at last they again seized my sons and cast them into prison and slew them.

Furthermore, I will testify before him who was slain in like manner that in consequence of all these wrongs, the gray hairs of my aged companion were brought down in sorrow to the grave, and he was caused to weep over his children when he was even dying because of the wickedness of their enemies; that the cries of widows and orphans have gone up to the councils of the great men of the land and the rulers of the nation, but they laughed at our calamities; and the hands of murderers were upon us, and we were threatened, oppressed, and despoiled by our enemies. We appealed to lawyers, judges, governors, and presidents, but they heeded not our cry, their pledges were broken, the laws were trampled upon, and the statutes and ordinances of the land were tarnished to gratify murderers, thieves, and robbers.

This shall be my testimony in the day of God Almighty, and if it be true, what will Lilburn W. Boggs, Thomas Carlin, Martin Van Buren, and Governor Ford answer me when I shall appear where the prayers of the Saints and the complaints of the widow and orphan come up before a just and righteous judge, who is not only our judge but the judge of the whole earth?

Say unto those who have suffered us to be thus abused, “Ye have not bound up that which was broken, neither brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost, but with force and cruelty have ye ruled my people; therefore, because ye ruled in unrighteousness, because you have robbers to devour my people, and murderers to steal and pierce the hearts of the defenseless in prison chambers and didst suffer fierce demons to rush upon them with fire and with sword to demolish their dwellings and destroy their substance; because ye had power to preserve the innocent and did not-you cannot answer because you did not take your future destiny to heart.”

You suffered my husband and children to be robbed, imprisoned, and murdered until the cries of five widows and twenty-four orphan children were lifted to you in vain, and we are still chased before a lawless band from one kingdom to another.

Although I am now seventy years of age and a citizen of the United States, and although my father and my brothers fought hard and struggled to establish a government of liberty and equal rights upon this home of my birth, and although I violated no law, yet in common with many thousands equally innocent, we were commanded by a mob to leave a country or stay there at the peril of our lives.

Last of all and most to be deplored, those who are chosen to enforce and execute the law declare that the proceedings are outrageous but we must of necessity submit to them, for our countrymen have all become so corrupt that there are none to defend and maintain the sacredness of the law.

If this be so, well may I say with the poet: Oh, for a lodge in some vast wilderness, some boundless contiguity of shade, where rumor of oppression and deceit might never reach me more.

Let me leave the bones of my fathers and brothers, and the bones of the martyred children, and go to a land where never man dwelt.

Farewell, my country, thou that killest the prophets and hath exiled those that were sent unto thee. Once thou wert fair, once thou wert pure and lovely, when thy legislators were just men and the lawgivers sought the good of the people like unto themselves. But now thou art fallen.

The halls where wisdom and justice once dwelt, debauchery and despotism reign. Thy tables are filled with vomit and filthiness, and the hearts of the people with rottenness and deceit; but, oh, if there is left one in the midst of this sink of corruption in whose breast flows one feeling that warmed the heart of Washington, come forth, I pray you, declare yourself men, and spurn a spot which is so polluted that nothing can cleanse it but the judgments of him who is a consuming fire.

I bid farewell until I shall appear before him who is the judge of both quick and dead; to whom I solemnly appeal in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.





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