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D. P. Hurlbut and the Mormons, 1832-1834

by Dale R. Broadhurst

---( April 2001 )---

Intro   |   Chap. 1   |   Chap. 2   |   Chap. 3   |   Chap. 4   |   Chap. 5   |   Chap. 6



(June 1833 - Dec. 1833)

June-July   |   Aug.   |   Sep.   |   Oct.   |   Nov.   |   Dec.   |   notes
addendum 1   |   addendum 2   |   Chapter 3 Timeline


Part 1: D. P. Hurlbut's Crusade
(June-July 1833)

D. P. Hurlbut: Fearless Crusader?

Benjamin Winchester provides an informative comment upon what happened after D. P.'s final excommunication form the LDS Church:

On discovering he had irretrievably ruined himself with the church, his tactics were changed, and he now determined to demolish, as far as practicable, what he had once endeavored to build up. Now his nefarious purposes were frustrated, he sought to obtain revenge in this manner. Not because he did not conscientiously believe the work of God, as proclaimed by the Latter Day Saints, but because... he could no longer hide himself under the cloak of religion, and have a name with the people of God... (49)
It must have occurred to Hurlbut at this very time that he could rescue his former status as a missionary and as a preacher by becoming the world's first widely active anti-Mormon missionary. It was his own reputation and self-promotion that D. P. next set his sights upon reestablishing, and what better way to start than to begin preaching against the Mormons? From previous experience he already knew that an exposer of Mormon "secrets" could find a ready audience and profitable support among the opponents of LDS missionary preaching almost anywhere. It quickly became Hurlbut's design be become just such an exposer -- an informed former insider who could offer tantalizing disclosures of the Saints' private lives, the misdeeds of their leaders, and the purported hoaxes they had carried out in the name of revealed religion. (50)

Hurlbut's Crusade and the Spalding Claims

In order to succeed in his intended anti-Mormon crusade D. P. Hurlbut needed to compile evidence showing that the new religion was a delusion based upon a demonstrable fraud. It was precisely this kind of testimony D. P. Hurlbut was seeking when he took his friend William R. Hine's advice "to write to Isaac Hale, Jo's father-in-law" in order to procure an informed personal statement on the Mormon prophet's early life and character. But Hurlbut had more in mind that just compiling statements from old acquaintances of Joseph Smith, Jr. He knew that the most effective weapon he could wield against Smith's church would be a crafted story telling the "true" origin of Mormonism. And to reach that goal he first needed to establish a new explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon. To formulate that new explanation he resolved to make use of a rumor he had recently heard in Erie County, Pennslvania -- that a former clergyman named Solomon Spalding had actually written much of the Latter Day Saints' scriptural book.

One question that has never been well answered is exactly when and where D. P. Hurlbut first become aware of these alternative authorship assertions for the Book of Mormon. He did not fabricate the Spalding authorship allegations himself, nor did he talk other people into contriving their various personal testimonies in this regard. The available evidence clearly shows that he first encountered these rumors while he was serving his LDS mission in Erie County, Pennsylvania between April and May of 1833. (51)

The history of how the Spalding authorship claims first came into circulation there might be prefaced with an 1877 statement by RLDS apoligist "W. W.":

... against the testimony that any part of the Book of Mormon was plagiarized from Spaulding's manuscript, is the overwhelming fact that in 1832 Orson Hyde introduced the Book of Mormon at Conneaut, Ohio, the residence of Spaulding when he wrote the manuscript, and there preached, and built up a numerous body of Mormons among Spaulding's old neighbors, many of whom were familiar with his manuscript found. They could not be deceived, and had no possible inducement to establish themselves, and their children and friends in a delusion... (52)
It appears that Orson Hyde himself was the inadvertant instigator of what came to be the Spalding authroship claims. The genesis of this irony came from his 1832 preaching in what is today the town of Conneaut, Ohio. It was here that Solomon Spalding lived in the early part of the 19th century, and it was here that his old business partner, Henry Lake was still living in 1832. In support of this oddity the testimony Daniel Tyler, a Mormon who was Hurlbut's contemporary in Pennsylvania, may be consulted:

In 1832 Elders Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith preached a few times in our neighborhood and baptized three persons, among them Erastus Rudd, in whose house much of the romance was formerly written, and from whom I received much of my information. In 1833 a large branch of the Church was raised up in our township, but no talk of the Spauldin[g] romance being connected with the Book of Mormon until about 1834 or 1835, when Henry Lake began to claim that Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith's counselor, had made the latter from the former... (53)
In order to understand the complexities of events at this point, Orson Hyde's own account may also be consulted:

I was sent on another mission, in company with Brother Samuel H. Smith... We journeyed early in the spring of 1832, eastward together, without 'purse or scrip,' going from house to house, teaching and preaching... (54)
The two missionaries reached the western outskirts of Conneaut (then called "New Salem" or simply "Salem"), Ashtabula County, Ohio on Feb. 12, 1832. On Feb. 14th they walked into town where Orson Hyde had "sold two Book of Mormons" the previous day. On the 14th they also "held a meeting in the school house.."(55)

The claims that it was Orson Hyde who first introduced the Book of Mormon into Salem, Ohio early in 1832 can be relied upon as solid historical fact. Those claims are corroborated by another contemporary account derived from the memory of a man who knew Solomon Spalding personally. His account states that: "...the first time that Mr. Hyde a mormon Preacher from Kirtland preached in the centre school house in this place the Hon Nehmiah King attended as soon as Hyde had got through King left the house and said that Hide had preached from the writings of S Spalding." (56)

Considering this evidence, it is apparent that D. P. Hurlbut could have heard of the Spalding authorship claims while serving his LDS mission in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Hurlbut very likely visited the Springfield branch in company with Orson Hyde during late April or early May 1833. If D. P. had already heard rumors of the Spalding authorship claims in Jacksonville, he would have been able to compare what he had heard in that part of the county with similar stories then circulating closer to New Salem. (57)

By July 1833, if not weeks earlier, D. P. Hurlbut knew the details of the Solomon Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. Having made this windfall discovery virtually in his own back yard, Hurlbut was poised to begin his anti-Mormon crusade in earnest.

Hurlbut Hits the Lecture Circuit: July-Aug 1833

Following his final excommunication on June 23, 1833, D. P. Hurlbut lost little time in putting together his newly-conceived anti-Mormon crusade. Benjamin Winchester supplies his version of the story:

... while in conversation with them [the Lyman Jackson family] Mr. H.[Hurlbut] learned that Mr. S.[Solomon Spalding], while alive, wrote a work called the Manuscript Found. Not that any of these persons had the most distant idea that this novel had ever been converted into the Book of Mormon; or that there was any connection between them. Indeed, Mr. Jackson, who had read both the Book of Mormon, and Spaulding's manuscript, told Mr. H. when he came to get his signature to a writing testifying to the probability that Mr. S.'s manuscript had been converted into the Book of Mormon; that there was no agreement between them... Mr. Jackson refused to lend his name to the [Spalding authorship claims] lie, and expressed his indignation and contempt at the base and wicked project [proposed by Hurlbut] to deceive the public. (58)
Winchester's recollection of Hurlbut moving back to Erie County, Pennsylvania shortly after his excommunication is a correct one. By July 1833 he was back in Springfield, Erie County Pennsylvania, holding his first public lectures against the Mormon Church. The lecture tour took him south to Jacksonville and Elk Creek and probably also into Crawford County. Along the course of this route Hurlbut began dropped hints of a fraudulent origin for the Book of Mormon. He also kept his ears open for any new information he might come across concerning the Spalding authorship claims. Winchester tells Hurlbut was doing in those days:

He accordingly repaired to Springfield, Pa.; in which place he held forth for the first time. From that place he came to the neighborhood where I resided... no sooner had he made his appearance as the champion of sectarianism, and the assailant of Mormonism, than churches, chapels, and meeting-houses were crowded to hear him.... The priests and people had been engaged, with all their powers, to suppress the [LDS missionary] work... In this condition of things, the sudden appearance of Dr. P. Hulbert among them, afforded an opportunity... and their hopes reinvigorated, and the cry was down with Mormonism. I attended the first lecture that was delivered in the neighborhood, and there beheld priest and people listening with breathless anxiety, to see and hear Mormonism forever demolished... Those who had been engaged in overthrowing the cause of God [Mormonism], were inspired to fresh effort, and renewed hope of succeeding... now Rev. Mr. Hulbert was petted and patronized by priest and people, and every accommodation afforded him. After spending two or three months in that region of the country, lecturing, it was quite manifest to him that his plan had completely failed to secure his purposes. He resolved, therefore, to try a new experiment, and that was to forge a lie, and to make it look as plausible as possible. (59)
By the beginning of August 1833, D. P. Hurlbut had exhausted the Pennsylvania farmers' interest in hearing his limited stock of anti-Mormon stories. It was near the end of this lecture tour, as Winchester says, that Hurlbut "resolved... to try a new experiment." -- making the Spalding authorship claims the centerpiece of his lectures. This was almost certainly when D. P. Hurlbut managed to obtain written statements from Mr. and Mrs. John Spalding, Solomon Spalding’s younger brother and sister-in-law, who were then living in Crawford County, Pennsylvania.. (60) Both of their testimonies alleged that the Book of Mormon contained historical narrative original to the writings of John's late brother.

At the same time that Johna and Martha Spalding were delivering their invaluable eyewitness accounts to D. P. Hurlbut the nation's newspapers were carrying reports of the recent severe Mormon setbacks in Missouri. Joseph Smith and his followers appeared to be in serious trouble and the time was right for D. P. to take his anti-Mormonism crusade to a higher level of engagement with his former coreligionists. Hurlbut decided to extend his militant lecturing to the Mormon headquarters at Kirtland. With John and Martha's affidavits in hand, D. P. knew he could establish himself among the concerned old residents of Geauga county and profitably assist them in dealing with that ever-increasing hoard of poor and fanatical Latter Day Saints. (61a)


Part 2: The Geauga Anti-Mormons
(mid-August 1833)

A Meeting of Minds on Mentor

In the middle of August 1833 D. P. Hurlbut finished up his anti-Mormonism lecturing in western Pennsylvania and made his way back to Kirtland and his previous residence with the Ezekiel Johnson family. With him he carried the personal statements he had recently obtained from John and Martha Spalding in Crawford county. Their accounts said that John's late brother, the Rev. Solomon Spalding, had unintentionally written a large part of the work later published as the Book of Mormon. To this unsettling allegation D. P. Hurlbut joined another rumor that had been floating around in the popular press for a couple of years -- that LDS First Counselor Sidney Rigdon was the secret genius behind the origin of Mormonism and its new holy book. (61b)

Up his return to Kirtland, D. P. Hurlbut secured a lecture room and went about informing "all who were opposed to the Church," that he had some great secrets to divulge. Once the audience was assembled he announced that he was gathering evidence to show that a member of the LDS First Presidency wrote the Book of Mormon, by converting a long forgotten unpublished historical romance into latter day scripture. In the climax to his speech he said that the Mormons' sacred writ was not the product of ancient Nephite engravers at all, but was actually "written some thirty years since, by a respectable clergyman, now deceased, whose name" he would reveal only in private consultation. "It was designed to be published as a romance, but the author died soon after it was written; and hence the plan failed. The pretended religious character of the work has been superadded by some more modern hand -- believed to be the notorious Rigdon." All of this news the speaker was prepared to publish, just as soon as he could get all the details written down and into the hands of a printer. (61c)

No single person was ultimately responsible for the relentless social, political and legal pressure exerted against the Mormons prior to their departure from Ohio -- or, to put it more bluntly, no one person was responsible for the "persecution" the Mormon leaders said they experienced during their years of administering the affairs of the Church in Ohio. But, if the name of one man were to be selected as the stereotypical "persecutor" of the Ohio Mormons, that man might well be Grandison Newell of Mentor. A wealthy farmer and back-country industrialist, Newell was a close neighbor of the Mormons of Kirtland and he was not happy with what he saw developing there. (62) Newell was a man with a hefty bank account who was seeking information that could be turned against his unwanted Mormon neighbors. D. P. Hurlbut was a man in need of funds who just happened to be carrying such information about in his vest pocket. It was inevitable that the two anti-Mormons would meet and dovetail their efforts to bring down Joseph Smith and the other LDS leaders.

The ensuing cooperation between D. P. Hurlbut and Grandison Newell is not so simple a story as Newell attending Hurlbut's lecture in Kirtland that summer and then offering to finance the man's anti-Mormon crusade. A number of other local people became involved in what would eventually emerge as the Geauga county anti-Mormon "Committee," and the telling of their respective stories is beyond the scope of my current presentation. Still, something must be said of this nebulous group of concerned citizens and I will attempt to explain their motives and activities in the paragraphs that follow, supplemented by an addendum at the conclusion of this chapter.

The Geauga County Anti-Mormon "Committee"

A coalition of four different groups of non-Mormons came together during the summer of 1833 and, though it died as an identifiable entity early in 1834, some elements of the informal anti-Mormon alliance continued to operate against the Saints over the course of the following five years. (62) The four groups whose membership and purpose overlapped in an ongoing effort to drive out Joseph Smith and his followers were: 1.) the Kirtland Town Council; 2.) the Campbellite congregation at Mentor; 3) the Whig partisans of northwestern Geauga county; and, 4.) the wealthy, landowners and professional men of Kirtland, Mentor, Painesville and Willoughby townships of Geauga county, typified by Grandison Newell. Not every non-Mormon citizen whose private and public affairs identified them with one of these four groups was involved in anti-Mormon efforts, of course, but representatives from all four categories of Geauga county residents united to establish this informal "Committee" dedicated to driving out the Kirtland Saints.

Such committees were typically the creatures of New England style town meetings. They had a limited membership, a specific purpose, and, once they reported back to another meeting of the townsmen, they were generally dissolved. The Geauga County Anti-Mormon "Committee," (if I can give it such a name), may have grown out of a meeting of the non-Mormon citizens of Kirtland held during the second half of 1833; but, if that was its genesis, it was soon expanded to include participants from Mentor, Painesville and Willoughby townships. With this probable rise and development in mind, I suggest that the self-styled "Committee" born in 1833 was an informal creation of the Kirtland Town Council that was quickly enlarged to include members from the other three groups listed above. (63a)

The Committee's Campbellite Kingpin

Almost certainly the kingpin who held the participants from the various groups together was Kirtland Justice of the Peace (and former Town Clerk) Josiah Jones, Esq. Jones was an educated old settler of Kirtland, a Campbellite who had not followed Sidney Rigdon into Mormonism. He was more than likely a Whig and he knew the businessmen, politicians, and land owners of the county on a "first name" basis. Another key player in the Committee was Orris Clapp, Esq., the unofficial patriarch of the Mentor Campbellites and an occasional Justice of the Peace. Orris Clapp's son, Matthew S. Clapp, was the minister of the Mentor Campbellites, and among his parishioners were several other members of the "Committee": Amos Daniels, Nathan Corning and Warren Corning. The Committee generally met in the Mentor home of the latter Corning, a house that in later years was expanded by President James A. Garfield into his "Lawnfield" estate. Benjamin Winchester claims that Grandison Newell was also a Campbellite, though he give no supporting evidence for that assertion. It appears, however, that it was the Kirtland and Mentor Campbellites who gave this "Committee" its cohesion and a good deal of its anti-Mormon zeal. (63b)

The all-Gentile Kirtland Town Council members were already worried about Joseph Smith and his followers before D. P. Hurlbut showed up in their midst to lecture and warn the citizens of Mormon falsehoods and secret plans. Over the course of the next several months the town officers would attempt to apply various forms of pressure upon their unwelcome neighbors, seeking their removal or outright expulsion. Word had arrived from Missouri about how the Mormons were being "regulated" by a self-styled citizens' committee there. While the Kirtlanders looked upon the Missouri outrages as a brand of barbarism unwelcome in the civilized Western Reserve of Ohio, they could not help but take notice of how non-Mormons had applied pressure upon the southern Saints. Joseph Smith and his church had been shown to be far from invincible and that lesson was not lost upon the minds of the town officers. (63c)

Greasing the Wheels of "Research"

History has not preserved the hushed words exchanged between D. P. Hurlbut and the Anti-Mormon "Committee." No doubt some of its members were in attendance when the loquacious lecturer gave his August presentation in Kirtland. But Hurlbut may have had friends who introduced him to Committee members and promised their support even before he gave his speech on Book of Mormon origins in the Mormon headquarters. If so, that fact might explain his presumable fortitude in making such loud noises in the very heart of Mormondom.

Hurlbut offered his services as an ex-Mormon consultant and researcher and Committee members were eager to put money into his pocket and send him on his way to collect a stack of ruinous affidavits similar to those he had obtained from John and Martha Spalding. But, from the very beginning of their cooperation with this dubious defender against the Mormon menace, the Committee leaders were primarily interested in seeing Hurlbut place in their hands the rumored original manuscript to the Book of Mormon. Even if Sidney Rigdon had obtained the final draft of this legendary work in Pittsburgh years before, there was reason to hope that an earlier version still existed in the safekeeping of Solomon Spalding's family. And it goes without saying that no matter how much cash people like Grandison Newell and Orris Clapp placed in Hurlbut's hand in August 1833, there was a great deal more waiting for him when and if he returned with the elusive prize. (63d) If the Book of Mormon could be shown to be a modern production, even the most devout of Smith's minions would come to doubt his divine calling and his power in Kirtland would be broken. If the Committee could rid Kirtland of Joseph Smith, the Church he founded would either fade away or at least leave town with him. (64)


Part 3: On the Road Again
(September 1833)

Solicitations in New Salem

Benjamin Winchester moved to Kirtland in November 1833, when the events of that summer were still fresh news on the lips of the Ohio Saints. His version of the continuing story was that Hurlbut's "auditors were much elated at the idea" of sending him out to gather forgotten Spalding manuscripts and stories harmful to Joseph Smith. Winchester says that Hurlbut's financial backers "expressed their desire for it [his investigative work] to be hastened as fast as possible. After receiving such encouragement, he ... proceeded as far as New Salem, the place where Mr. S.[Spalding] lived when he wrote his manuscript found... (65)

D. P. Hurlbut's journey eastward to the State line was apparently uneventful; no record survives of his having lingered along the roadside to give more of his now notorious anti-Mormon lectures. But, passing through Ashtabula County, Ohio in September 1833, while still on the first leg of his fact-finding journey, D. P. Hurlbut stopped a few miles short of the Pennsylvania border and called a meeting of the citizens of New Salem. Although a few Mormon congregational outposts dotted the countryside around the small lakeport, New Salem itself was a bastion of non-Mormons. It is unlikely that any Latter Day Saints attended the meeting. (66) Once enough of the curious had gathered about him, D. P. presented a funds-soliciting lecture in which he spoke at length about the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. This may have been the first time he spoke openly in public of the alleged Book of Mormon author's name, and if so, it was for the reason that he was then in the home town of several of Spalding's old associates and the writer's name was still well remembered there. D. P. no doubt invited as many of those old associaes to the lecture as he could find; for they could add much needed verbal support for his questionable pronouncements. Hurlbut also managed to collect more testimony statements and a few letters of introduction from old Solomon Spalding associates like Aaron Wright and Henry Lake. (67)

By this time D. P. Hurlbut knew for certain that Spalding's widow had moved to New York State in 1816, taking with her what little remained of her late husband's possessions. D. P.'s primary destination presumably was the residence of the widow's brother, William H. Sabine (also Sabin) of Onondaga Hollow, Onondaga county, New York. From his investigation into the matter, "Doctor" Hurlbut had reason to believe that an early copy of the Book of Mormon's alleged literary twin, Spalding's "Manuscript Found," had been carried there by the widow two decades before. Hurlbut hoped to procure that legendary document for his own purposes.

Maria Woodbury Hurlbut, D. P.'s widow, later supplies the following information about her husband during this period:

He was a Mormon but a few months. He was employed by leading citizens of Mentor and Geauga Co. to investigate the character of the Mormon Smith Family and the origin of the Book of Mormon. He went to Palmyra, N.Y. by stage and at Conneaut, O. learned about Solomon Spaulding and his "Manuscript Found." Squire Aaron Wright told him some men read to him from the Book of Mormon and he told them to close the book and he would repeat page after page, as he had heard Spaulding read it to him. The men were greatly surprised; Wright said the Historical part of the Book of Mormon was taken from Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." He (Hurlbut) learned from him (Wright) and Henry Lake, Spaulding's partner, that Spaulding had taken his "Manuscript Found" to Pittsburgh, Pa. to have it printed. (68)

Further Investigations at Conneaut

Solomon Spalding's old residence was located in the extreme northeastern corner of Ohio, where Conneaut Creek crosses into the state from Pennsylvania. Spalding old neighbors and relatives lived throughout the Conneaut area and D. P. Hurlbut probably had to do more than a little traveling about the countryside to track down those still living in September 1833. In those travels D. P. procured valuable testimony from two of Spalding's old neighbors, Henry Lake of New Salem and John N. Miller. Mr. Miller lived a couple of miles to the east of Mr. Lake, across the Pennsylvania border in the Erie County hamlet of West Springfield. Miller's daughter Rachel later recalled this visit by the anti-Mormon zealot:

I well remember D. P. Hurlbut coming to our house about fifty years ago and his telling father that he was taking evidence to expose Mormonism, and hearing him read from the "Book of Mormon"... I saw father sign a statement and give [it to] Hurlbut. He had statements from Henry Lake, Aaron Wright and Dr. Howard, of Conneaut.... (69)


Part 4: Rambling Rogues and Rovers
(October 1833)

The Forgotten Journey

By late September D. P. Hurlbut was out of Ohio and on the road to New York State. Traveling in style at the anti-Mormon committee's expense, he could afford to proceed at a leisurely pace, stopping to lodge in comfortable inns along the way. Having reached his old haunts in Erie County, Pennsylvania he had a decision before him: should he take the road south and make inquiries in Pittsburgh for any old writings Spalding may have left behind when he lived there, (70) or should he continue on the east road through Buffalo, Batavia, and Palmyra, to the last-known repository of Spalding's manuscripts, near Syracuse?

Although little evidence remains of this side-trip, there is good reason to believe that Hurlbut made just such a jaunt down to Pittsburgh at about the begining of October 1833. Benjamin Winchester guesses that the reason for this excursion was that Hurlbut knew: "Rigdon had resided in Pittsburgh for a certain length of time" and so "he endeavored to make the finding of the manuscript take place at Pittsburgh, and then infer, that S. R.[Rigdon] had copied it there. (71)

The fact that a stop in Pittsburgh was penciled into Hurlbut's itinerary before he ever left Ohio is confirmed by a statement later made by Eber D. Howe (1798-1885), who was living in the area at the time and who was knowledgeable of Hurlbut's plans and actions:

In 1833 and 34... many leading citizens of Kirtland and Geauga Co. employed and defrayed the expenses of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut who had been a Mormon preacher and sent him to Palmyra NY and Penn to obtain affidavits... John Spaulding a brother of Solomon directed him to Pittsburgh Pa where Solomon had taken his manuscript to have it printed. (72a)
Turning southward from the lakeshore road, Hurlbut's excursion would have taken him through a countryside he knew very well from his previous acrtivities in Erie County. He might have stopped over for any number of days with Huldah Barnes in Conneaut township, and then have walked a mere couple of miles eastward to visit with his acquaintances in Jacksonville and Elk Creek. If Hurlbut happened to have made such a visit during the first days of October, he could have run into an embarrassing meeting with Joseph Smith, Jr. and Sidney Rigdon, who were also in Erie County at this time. From Jacksonville Hurlbut's southern route would have taken him through Crawford County, where he might have stopped to visit John and Martha Spalding again, and while there he would have no doubt picked up additional helpful information about Solomon Spalding's activities in Pittsburgh two decades before. Traveling by stagecoach, Hurlbut could have made it from Meadville in Crawford County, to Pittsburgh in a single day. Although practically nothing is known of his excursion to Pittsburgh, it seems reasonable to place D. P. Hurlbut in that city by the second week in October of 1833.

Hurlbut's trip to Pittsburgh reportedly did not supply him with much useful information. Unattributed snippets in Howe's 1834 Mormonism Unvailed relate that Pittsburgh printer Jonathan Harrison Lambdin had died a few years before and that Pittsburgh book-seller Robert Patterson, Sr. apparently did not then recall having known Solomon Spalding after the passage of twenty years. Neither of these bits of information was of much use in establishing the facts relating to the Spalding authorship claims. If the anti-Mormon crusader discovered much more than this in Pittsburgh that October, he was not inclined to discuss the matter in public.

The most intriguing evidence passed down through the years, about Hurlbut's side-trip to Pittsburgh came from his own lawyer, James A. Briggs:

In the winter of 1833-34, a self-constituted committee of citizens of Willoughby, Mentor, and Painesville met a number of times... At one of the meetings we had before us the original manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding... it was entitled, "The [Lost Tribes?]: or, The Manuscript Found." It was obtained from Mr. Patterson, or Peterson, a publisher of Pittsburgh, Pa., with whom negotiations had once been made towards its publication. (72b)
It is difficult to otherwise account for Mr. Briggs' statement, except to say that after speaking to D. P. Hurlbut personally at the end of 1833, the lawyer came away with the belief that his client had been to Pittsburgh and had obtain a Spalding holograph there. It is possible, of course, that Mr. Briggs; memory here fails him, or that Hurlbut provided a muddled account of his activities while away on his investigative journey. One possible reconstruction of the facts is that Hurlbut did indeed travel to Pittsburgh and somewhere in that city was able to find some pages written by the Rev. Spalding. While these innocuous sheets need not have been in any way related to the Book of Mormon, Mr. Briggs may have recalled them as an important find Hurlbut had made in the Pennsylvania city.

This possibility might help explain Eber D. Howe's paraphrase, on page 289 of his 1834 book, of an attributed statement made by a certain "Mr. Patterson" of Pittsburgh Presumably the person spoken of is Robert Patterson, Sr. and not his brother and one-time business partner, Joseph Patterson, Jr. It seems that that Hurlbut did go to Pittsburgh and did encounter the sometimes brusque Robert Patterson, Sr. there in about October of 1833. Either Patterson simply was not forthcoming with much useful information, or else Hurlbut did not attempt to pry many facts out of the old bookseller.

The other possibility seems to be rather less likely: that Hurlbut obtained a Spalding manuscript in Pittsburgh, the contents of which were similar to the Book of Mormon and that he never intended to relay useful information regarding that trip to Eber D. Howe. If this is what happened, practically every trace of a most important literary discovery has vanished from the pages of history. (72c)

Fellow Travellers

By an odd coincidence, at about the same time that D. P. Hurlbut was passing through, the Pennsylvania panhandle on the road to Buffalo, the three most important men in the Mormon Church were also traveling the same road eastward. According to LDS historians, Joseph Smith, "along with Sidney Rigdon, his first counselor," was "prodded" by Freeman Nickerson at the beginning of October 1833. "to preach to Brother Nickerson's relatives and others along a 250-mile crescent stretching north and east from Kirtland, around Lake Erie, and west into Canada... the three started eastward from Kirtland on October 5. The next day at Springfield, Ohio they attended a meeting of the Saints.." (73a)

No doubt the threesome moved quickly through the villages of Ashtabula and New Salem, Ohio, crossing over Conneaut Creek and the border into Springfield county in the Pennsylvania panhandle well before nightfall. The five miles' ride from Conneaut Creek to the farm of the Mormon Rudd family in Springfield would have taken the travelers less than half an hour. In his personal diary, on October 6, 1833, Joseph Smith, Jr. recorded this entry: "arrived at Springfield   found the Brotheren [sic] in meeting Brother Sidney spoke to the people &c. and in the evening held a meeting at Brother Ruds..." (73b)

Had they kept to the main lakeshore highway, the travelers could have been in New York State in a day or two, but, for reasons never well explained, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and their companion next went to Elk Creek in Springfield county, and "tarried there over night," leaving that place on Oct. 9. Quite likely D. P. Hurlbut was at that very moment many miles to the south of them , in Pittsburgh. Still, the Mormon leaders must have felt the lingering effects of Hurlbut's anti-Mormon lecturing tour, conducted along those very Erie county roads only a few weeks before their arrival. By Oct. 12 the three travelers were at the home of Nickerson's father in Cattaraugus county, New York, where Smith claimed a divine revelation elevating Sidney Rigdon to the office of his personal "spokesman." From there they made their way north, through Buffalo, and crossed over into Canada. After a two weeks' visit in Canada, Smith, Rigdon, and Nickerson were back in Buffalo on Oct. 31 and made it home to Kirtland four days later. The diary entry for Nov. 4 is in the handwriting of Oliver Cowdery, indicating that he was in Kirtland when Smith and Rigdon returned from their trip. (73c)

Beginning a day or two earlier than Smith and Rigdon, October Oliver Cowdery too had been journeying upon the road to Buffalo in the first days of October. Cowdery had been instructed to take $800 and to procure a new printing press for the Church. His trip to New York state to make that purchase lasted 26 days, and he returned "a few days" prior to Oct. 30. Cowdery no doubt took the same lakeshore road Smith and Rigdon were traveling, and reached the New York state line in early October. Cowdery may have been in Buffalo when Smith and Rigdon passed through there in mid-October, but more than likely he was then far east of Buffalo, purchasing the required printing press. His likely destination for that business was the wholesale printing supply company of James D. Bemis in Canadaigua, Ontario county" (73d)

Near the end of October D. P. Hurlbut had finished up his investigative work in Pittsburgh and made travel arrangements north to Buffalo. He probably arrived in that city at about the end of October. What sketchy chronological evidence exists respecting Hurlbut's itinerary suggests that he missed crossing paths with in Oliver Cowdery in Buffalo that October, but that he may have been in or near the city when Rigdon and Smith passed through on their way back to Kirtland. Despite the coincidence of these peoples' paths crossing and re-crossing in the area around Buffalo in the last two weeks of October 1833, there exists no firm evidence to suggest that any of them were aware of the others' near presence.


Part 5: Quest for the Holy Grail
(November 1833)

Hurlbut's First Visit to Palmyra

After reaching Buffalo late in October D. P. Hurlbut's route stretched out before him, directly to the east lie Syracuse and the neighboring village of Onondaga Valley (earlier called Onondaga Hollow). There he hoped to locate a copy of Spalding's story about two warring factions of ancient Americans, an unpublished novel entitled "Manuscript Found." Along the way D. P. stopped off in Palmyra for a few days in order to interview people who had known the Mormon Smith family personally. (74a) By about Nov. 8, 1833 the anti-Mormon researcher was on his way out of town, headed for the William H. Sabine residence in Onondaga Valley. (74b)

Hurlbut's Visit with William H. Sabine in Onondaga

Ellen E. Dickinson, a grand-niece of Solomon Spalding, collected recellections of her relatives' interactions with D. P. In her 1885 book she says:

Immediately after Solomon Spaulding's death... Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter removed to the residence of William Sabine at Onondaga Valley... Mr. Sabine was a lawyer of distinction and wealth... Among Mrs. Spaulding's belongings... was a hair-covered trunk... filled with her deceased husband's writings... [including] a manuscript... under the title of "The Manuscript Found."... [the widow] placed her furniture, and with it the old Spaulding trunk of manuscripts, in the custody of a cousin at Hartwick, named Jerome Clark.... D.P. Hurlburt... was sent by a committee, as he at the time represented the matter, to visit Mrs. Davison at Munson, Mass., and ask permission to carry "The Manuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding, to Conneaut, in order to compare it with the "Book of Mormon"... His visit to William H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, to procure a letter of introduction to Mrs. Davison, with a request from him to let Hurlburt have the manuscript, was a subtle and clever contrivance... (75)

Meeting with William H. Sabine at Onondaga Valley, D. P. Hurlbut learned that Spalding's widow had once lived with the Sabines, but a few years previously she had moved the home of her son-in-law, Dr. Oliver A. McKinstry at Monson, Massachusetts. D. P. was also able secure from Mr. Sabine a letter of recommendation addressed to Spalding's widow. Without this personal introduction it is doubtful that the widow would have entrusted her husband's manuscripts to Hurlbut. Soon after this the anti-Mormon crusader was on his was way to Monson, Massachusetts to meet the widow herself. (76)

Matilda Spalding Davison: The Reluctant Widow: November 1833

Reaching Massachusetts about the middle of November 1833, D. P. Hurlbut finally arrived at the home of Dr. McKinstry, where he met the would-be author's widow, Matilda Spalding Davison, and with her daughter, Matilda Spalding McKinstry. (77)

If he expected Mrs. Davison to bring out Spalding's old writings for his examination, Hurlbut was soon disappointed. Except for a few odd pages from sermons and personal papers, Mrs. Davison had nothing of her husband's writings with her. All of the papers of the Rev. Solomon Spalding remained back in New York. The widow informed D. P. that her husband had indeed written a sizable historical romance on wandering Israelite Tribes, for possible publication in Pittsburgh, but that the story had never seen print. Mrs. Davison and her daughter recalled that the widow retained possession of this novel's manuscript draft copy following Spalding's death in 1816 and that the manuscript was in the safe-keeping of her cousin's husband, Mr. Jerome Clark of Hartwick, Otsego, County, New York. (78)

No account has survived detailing the number and contents of Spalding's extant writings in 1833. Nothing is known about how Jerome Clark could guarantee that Hurlbut received the one manuscript he required, and nothing more and nothing less. Some writers, have assumed that only one manuscript story of any consequence had been left in Clark's keeping, but there is little evidence to support this minimalist theory. D. P. Hurlbut did go to Hartwick; he did meet with Jerome Clark; and he did leave the Clark home with a bundle of old papers on a cold day in late November 1833. Exactly what D. P. discovered through Clark's helpful assistance may never be known for certain. (79)

Back to Palmyra: November-December 1833

As previously mentioned, there is a sizable gap in the dates affixed to the famous set of statements D. P. Hurlbut obtained in and around Palmyra, Wayne County, New York in November and December 1833. The next document date after that of November 8, 1833 was one signed on November 28. Following that there is an almost solid run of dates affixed to the statements printed in Howe's book -- down to the last one collected, which was dated December 13, 1833. The anti-Mormon crusader did most of his footwork in and around Palmyra in the two weeks which followed his arrival there from Hartwick, on or about November 27, 1833. (80)

By about the 20th of December D. P. had completed his evidence gathering in New York and was doubtless on his way back to Ohio. Before he left town he submitted a notice to the local newspaper which said that he had "succeeded in accomplishing the object of his mission” in the east” and that “the original manuscript of the Book [of Mormon] was written some thirty years since, by a respectable clergyman... " The latter fact Hurlbut claimed to have obtained "from the widow of the author of the original manuscript." (81) By the time this notice appeared in the Palmyra newspaper D. P. Hurlbut was likely seated in a sleigh-runner equipped coach, speeding through the snowdrifts to Buffalo and points west. He could have easily made it back home to Kirtland by the third week of December.

As he sped along, coming ever nearer to his appointment with destiny, D. P. must have read through his collection of recently-gathered documents with considerable satisfaction. He had a stack of fascinating Spalding writings, as well as a collection of stories concerning the Mormon Smith family and the earliest days of Mormonism. The latter were in the form of signed statements taken from the Smiths' old neighbors and they painted the reputations their departed Mormon acquaintances with a very dark brush indeed. The question has even been raised as to whether any of this compiled documentation was actually what Hurlbut represented it to be. (82)

Within a few days following his mid-December departure from Palmyra, D. P. Hurlbut was back home in Kirtland. Almost immediately upon his arrival there he passing along the juicy accusations against Joseph Smith which he had gleaned from his testifiers' written statements. These alleged disclosures were bad enough in their own right, but along with them D. P. Hurlbut was also exhibiting an old manuscript he claimed had been written by the late Rev. Solomon Spalding – a manuscript whose contents reportedly matched very closely portions of the Book of Mormon. (83)

Given the recent and continuing disclosure of new evidence supporting the Solomon Spalding authorship claims for that book of latter day scripture, the time is ripe for students of Mormon history to take a careful look at the activities and accusations of D. P. Hurlbut in Kirtland in the last days of 1833. (84) The remainder of this paper is devoted to that daunting task.

Continue Reading:
Episode 2 -- Chapter 4



go back to:
note 48

(49) Winchester, Origin..., pp. 6-7. Winchester's comments probably echo the fact that D. P. Hurlbut really did wish to remain among the Mormons, where he could "have a name with the people of God." Perhaps the former Elder briefly toyed with the idea of joining other former members who retained some of their old beliefs, but, if so, D. P. Hurlbut did not long retain any illusions of finding or founding an LDS splinter group. His feelings at about this time were recounted by one of his Gentile friends: "I was often in Hurlbut's company... after he had left the Mormons, he told me he was going to ferret out Mormonism and break it up... Later I told Hurlbut to write to Isaac Hale, Jo's father-in-law, and he did." (William R. Hine Statement, Naked Truths I:1). This small window into Hurlbut's hidden past reveals a man who had already begun to seek the company of critical non-Mormons.

  (50) A simple desire to milk the curious and the concerned of their financial donations and admiring patronage does not fully explain the great energy and planning which D. P. subsequently invested in his anti-Mormon crusade, however. The Saints' accusations that Hurlbut also sought a vindictive personal revenge over Joseph Smith and his church retain the ring of creditability.

  (51) Benjamin Winchester, who was an eyewitness to a good deal of Hurlbut's activity there states exactly this view:

During the six or eight months that Mr. H. was preaching in the State of Pennsylvania, (part of the time he belonged to the church, and part of it he was lecturing against it;) he formed a large circle of acquaintance, and mingled with all sorts and classes of people. While in a small village called the Jackson settlement, (a place that is famous for its infidels,) he became familiar with a family of the name of Jackson, and others, who were personally acquainted with the now celebrated Solomon Spaulding, who is reputed to be the legitimate author of the Book of Mormon. Here, while in conversation with them, Mr. H. learned that Mr. S., while alive, wrote a work called the Manuscript Found... (Winchester, Origin..., p. 8).
Winchester was purposely vague about when Hurlbut learned of the Spalding authorship story, but he pinpointed the location, namely the town of "Jackson settlement" (also called Jacksonville, Jacksons Corners, Jackson Crossroads, or simply Jackson) -- the modern town of Albion in Conneaut township, Erie County, Pennsylvania). In fact, Winchester narrowed down the source of the authorship testimony D. P. Hurlbut found so enticing to a particular "family of the name of Jackson" who lived in Jacksonville when Hurlbut was there. Other early testimony, such as the statement of the Rev. Mr. Abner Jackson (1795-1888), identifies these people the family of Lyman Jackson (1756-1835) a prominent pioneer settler in Conneaut township and, for all practical purposes, the founder of the "settlement" which bore his name.

Mormon Elder Benjamin F. Johnson sheds a little more light upon this subject when he speaks of Hurlbut's activities in the LDS mission field:

He labored for a time near Jacksonville, Erie County, Pennsylvania, but was soon for illicit association called back to Kirtland, where he was excommunicated... While preaching about Jacksonville he had learned of Solomon Spaulding, who once lived in that vicinity, and had written a romance called "Manuscript Found," and out of this he hoped to gain notoriety, obtain money, and work his spite upon the Mormons. So he gave notice to our enemies that he had struck a lead to destroy Mormonism, and if they would come together he would tell them where "Joe Smith" got his "Mormon Bible" (Benjamin F. Johnson, p. _).
Like Elder Winchester, Benjamin F. Johnson fails to provide the exact date when Hurlbut was initially exposed to the Spalding claims from one or more members of the Lyman Jackson family at "Jacksonville," but it is significant that Johnson narrows down this first exposure to the period when Hurlbut was "preaching about Jacksonville." Elder Johnson says nothing about Hurlbut lecturing to anti-Mormons at this point, so the term "preaching" should be taken to mean "preaching the Gospel" or "preaching Mormonism." In other words, the Spalding authorship claims were circulating in southeastern Erie County as early as April or may 1833.

  (52)W. W. "Reply to Chicago Inter-Ocean on the Spaulding Story." Saints' Herald Feb. 15, 1877 pp. 49ff.

An unidentified RLDS polemicist (W W. Blair?) repeats a claim regarding Orson Hyde, the people of Conneaut, and the Book of Mormon which he took from Hyde's own account:

In the spring of 1832 I preached in New Salem, Ohio; the place where Rev. Mr. Spaulding resided at the time he wrote his romance, though he was not residing there at the time I preached there. I raised up a branch of the church at that place, and baptized many of Mr. Spaulding's old neighbors; but they never intimated to me that there was any similarity between the Book of Mormon, and Mr. Spaulding's Romance; neither did I hear such an intimation from any quarter, until the immoral Hulbert... brought forth the idea. ("Letter from Elder O. Hyde, to George G. Adams" June 7, 1841, in George J. Adams, Plain Facts... , pp. 25-27).
There is every reason to believe that Elder Hyde was being less than candid when he wrote this statement. It is almost certainly untrue that Hyde never heard of Spalding and his writings aside from what "the immoral Hulbert" later publicized.

  (53) Tyler, Daniel. "The Spauldin Story," Deseret Evening News, Jan. 16, 1878. It is significant that Elder Tyler here speaks of Henry Lake, Spalding's old business partner, as being the first publicizer of the Spalding claims in Springfield township, but Tyler's reference to a period of "about 1834 or 1835" is a suspect remembrance. Lake's one known period of public discussion of the Spalding claims centered around September 1833. All available evidence points to the fact that Lake borrowed a copy of the Book of Mormon to satisfy his curiosity in regard to a rumor which began to circulate through Conneaut in 1832 -- a rumor saying that Conneaut's eccentric resident of two decades past had written portions of the Book of Mormon text. Tyler's recollection of Lake's activities is thus dated a year or two too late.

  (54a) Orson Hyde, "History of Orson Hyde," Millennial Star Vol. XXVI. No. 47, November 19, 1864, p. 775.

  (54b) Samuel H. Smith "Journal," LDS Church Historian's Archives; partly transcribed in Cheryl H. Bean, Rediscovering History... St. Anthony, Idaho: 1995; cf. "Journal of Orson Hyde..." Feb. 1, 1832 to Dec. 22, 1832..." typescript in the Library of the Utah Historical Society.

  (55) Wright, Aaron. Letter of Dec. 31, 1833, copy in the handwriting of D. P. Hurlbut, Original in the Manuscripts Divison, Special Collections, New York Public Library.

  (56) At some point in 1832-33 the Spalding authorship claims were spreading out from New Salem, Ohio in widening circles. The Jackson family of Jacksonville, Pennsylvania undoubtedly shared their surprising textual discoveries with their friends at New Salem during this same time. Lyman Jackson's son Abner later related the close relationship which existed between the Jacksons of Erie County, Pennsylvania and Aaron Wright, one of Spalding's old associates from New Salem, Ohio:

When it [the Book of Mormon] was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old Esq. Wright heard it, and exclaimed, "Old come to pass has come to life again." Here was the place where Spaulding wrote and read his manuscript to the neighbors for their amusement and 'Squire Wright had often heard him read from his Romance. This was in 1832, sixteen years after Spaulding's death. This 'Squire Wright lived on a farm just outside of the little village. I was acquainted with him for twenty-five years. I lived on his farm when I was a boy and attended school in the village. I am particular to notice these things to show that I had an opportunity of knowing what I am writing about. (Abner Jackson, 1880 Letter John Aiken, Director of the Washington County PA Historical Society, printed in the Washington Reporter, Washington, PA, Jan. 7, 1881).
  (57) Winchester, Origin..., pp. 8-9.

  (58) op. cit., p. 7.

  (59) Ibid. It is significant that Winchester here avoids providing any of the substance from Hurlbut's lectures. The content must have been comprised of the former missionary's own experiences among the Saints, supplemented with whatever tidbits on the Mormon leaders he had culled from the newspapers and personal acquaintances. His crusade began just as the Mormon troubles in Missouri were beginning to warm up again and perhaps part of his speeches were filled with warnings to the people not to join the Saints, donate their money and goods to the Bishop, or congregate in the dangerous vicinity of Jackson County, Missouri. No hint has survived to say that Hurlbut was exposing Mormon polygamy at Kirtland, and perhaps that practice was still so rare and ill-defined that he could not discuss tit in any depth.

  (60) Since Hurlbut had worked his way southward though the fertile LDS mission field in western Erie Co., he was probably in or near Crawford Co., when he made this decision. This picture presents the very interesting possibility that D. P. Hurlbut obtained his first written statements regarding Solomon Spalding in Crawford Co., Pennsylvania at the close of his lecture tour. Living just across the southern county line from Elk Creek township, Erie Co. was Cussewago township, Crawford Co., wherein once resided Solomon Spalding's younger brother John, Sr. and his wife Martha (Federal Census, 1820, Pennsylvania, where the name is spelled "Spaldin," practically the same spelling that Daniel Tyler applied to the surname in his 1878 Deseret News article on Solomon Spalding).

By 1830 John Sr. and Martha Spalding had moved south to Sadsbury township in the same county, living in the vicinity of Conneaut Lake. By 1840 they had moved back north a few miles and were residing in Conneaut township, while their son, John, Jr. was living in Beaver twp., immediately south of Erie County's own Conneaut and its town center of Jacksonville (Federal Census, 1830 & 1840, Pennsylvania). At practically any point where D. P. Hurlbut might have invaded Crawford Co. at the end of his lecture tour he would have run into John Spalding's friends and relatives. If, as Benjamin Winchester suggests, it was at the end of his southward progressing lecture tour in the summer of 1833 that D. P. Hurlbut decided to bring the Spalding authorship claims into his orations, he did so near the beginning of August and literally upon the doorstep of John Spalding, Sr.

John and his wife both provided D. P. Hurlbut with undated statements that were later published in Eber D. Howe's Mormonism Unvailed (pp. 278-281). Presumably the originals were signed holographs prepared by the couple at Hurlbut's request. At least the format of their printing in Howe's book gives an indication of this being the case. The other six statements printed by Howe are dated either Aug. or Sept. 1833. The fact that these two documents alone are not dated makes it likely that they were among the first certificates solicited by Hurlbut and that he was not yet being very careful about obtaining dates on the documents. If this guess is a correct one, then the documents likely were penned in Aug. (or perhaps even late July) 1833. In their statements both John and Martha claim to have read the Book of Mormon. John in particular states that he read the Mormon scriptures "recently" and what he found there came as a "great surprize" to him. Nothing is said about where the couple obtained their Book of Mormon, but it almost certainly came from a Mormon missionary seeking converts in northwestern Crawford Co. during the spring or summer of 1833.

D. P. Hurlbut was just such a Mormon missionary seeking converts in northwestern Crawford Co. during April or May of 1833. Benjamin Winchester provides this statement concerning Mormon missionary Hurlbut: "While in this region of country, he made several converts in Crawford county, Pa. He frequently called, and stayed over night at my father's..." When D. P. Hurlbut proselytized in Crawford Co. it must have been within walking distance of the Stephen Winchester farm in Elk Creek. The John Spalding residence (whether in Sadsbury twp. or Conneaut twp. in 1833) was within walking distance of the Winchester home.

In 1839, John Spalding, Sr,'s widowed sister-in-law, Matilda Spalding Davison, painted this strange picture of her relative John:

After the "Book of Mormon" came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence and the very place where the "Manuscript Found" was written. A woman preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the "Book of Mormon." The historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. S., in which they had been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted, that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot, and expressed to the meeting his deep sorrow and regret, that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great, that the inhabitants had a meeting and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number to repair to this place and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible... (Matilda Spalding Davison, as recorded by D. R. Austin and presented by Rev. John Storrs, "Mormonism" Boston Recorder April 19, 1839).
This strange story, recounted second-hand from memory by an elderly lady who was not present at the scene of the events is obviously erroneous at several points. The term "woman preacher" was later documented to have been a misprint for "Mormon preacher," so that much of the account remains believable. The seemingly coincidental presence at "New Salem" of the widow's brother-in-law, John Spalding, Sr. during a Mormon preacher's recitation from the Book of Mormon, is simply beyond belief. Had such a dramatic confrontation actually occurred at New Salem c. 1832-33, one of the "Conneaut witnesses" who supplied statements to D. P. Hurlbut would have certainly made some mention of the event. Although John may have occasionally visited the nearby port of New Salem, and kept up his contacts there among old associates of his late brother, it is safe to presume that John Spalding, Sr. was in Crawford Co., Pennsylvania when the odd LDS missionary came into tthe area and read out of the Book of Mormon. 1839).
The widow's juxtapositioning of John's name with that of D. P. Hurlbut may, however, be significant. Hurlbut was not one of the residents of New Salem, and thus was never counted as "one of their number." He did address a meeting of some of the residents in that place in Sept. 1833, but that was well after John and Martha had already provided him their two statements. Even if Hurlbut had summoned John to attend that meeting in New Salem, no speaker there was a "Mormon preacher" and John could have hardly been so surprised at that late a date as to react as the widow depicts him doing. But were there any other circumstances where John might have attended a meeting conducted by a Mormon preacher and at which D. P. Hurlbut could have been counted among the residents of the place? The answer which naturally comes to mind is that the widow misplaced the event slightly in time and space and that some portion of the account happened when D. P. Hurlbut was an LDS missionary in John's home region of Crawford Co., Pennsylvania. Hurlbut frequently lodged with the Stephen Winchester family in April and May of 1833, and so he was a temporary resident of the area where western Erie County adjoins western Crawford Co. Furthermore, Hurlbut is known to have preached the Mormon gospel in Crawford Co. and almost certainly in the very part of the county where John Spalding, Sr. then resided. 1839).
There remains the tantalizing possibility that John Spalding, Sr. attended one of D. P. Hurlbut's preaching services in northwestern Crawford Co., PA in April or May of 1833, and that is the context in which John expressed his dismay at hearing in the Book of Mormon passages then read aloud echoes of his own late brother's historical romance. If this scene is purely an imaginary one, an equally plausible event would have been for John to have attended a lecture at the tail-end of D. P. Hurlbut's speaking tour of June-July, 1833. The timing of this conjectured encounter is even more believable, for it would have placed Hurlbut in contact with John and his wife at almost exactly the time when Benjamin Winchester recalled Hurlbut's resorting to the Spalding authorship claims in order to inject new material into his fading orations against the Mormons. Although Hurlbut was not then a "Mormon preacher," he was still a preacher of sorts and had very recently been a member of the LDS Church. If the widow received a hazy retelling of this story in a letter which she had long since discarded when she gave her 1839 testimony, the mismatch of various details becomes totally understandable. Any reasonable explanation of her story calls for John to have been in Crawford Co., PA when this event occurred, not several miles away at New Salem.

  (61a) Winchester's record speaks of this decision on Hurlbut's part:

After Mr. H. had learned what I have before mentioned [details concerning Solomon Spalding and his writings], he immediately repaired to Kirtland, Ohio, and made an appointment to deliver a lecture, on what he called Anti-Mormonism; and made a special request that all who were opposed to the church of the Latter Day Saints should attend, which they did... Here Mr. H. had ample opportunity to display his talent for talking, to a people who listened with breathless attention and were greedy in devouring his words, expecting to hear some great secret divulged, Mr. H. told them that he had been traveling in the state of Pennsylvania, lecturing against Mormonism; and that he had learned that one Mr. Spaulding had written a romance, and the probability was, that it had, by some means, fallen into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, and that he had converted it into the Book of Mormon. Mr. H. stated also, that he intended to write a book called Mormonism Unvailed, which he said would divulge the whole secret. (Winchester, Origin..., p. 9).
Despite Winchester’s assertions here, there is no reason to believe that D. P. Hurlbut ever proposed writing a book entitled "Mormonism Unvailed," or that he was the true author of any substantial portion of Eber D. Howe’s 1834 volume bearing that title. Howe’s title was certainly invented by self-avowed anti-Mason himself, in imitation of the then popular expose of Freemasonry entitled Masonry Unvailed. Both Howe and Hurlbut would later make contradictory statements regarding when, how, and for what length of time they worked together on their common goal of publishing the first anti-Mormon book. It is the opinion of the current author that their cooperation was very limited and short-lived – essentially beginning and ending in late January 1834.

  (61b) xxxxx add more xxxxx Rigdon mentioned in Cleveland paper, Hudson paper, telegraph, ny paper, and by pratt xxxxx

  (61c) xxxxx add more xxxxx Apart from a few personal disclosures circulating in the Conneaut area, Hurlbut's lecturing northern Ohio during the summer of 1833 was the first public disclosure of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. Hurlbut’s intriguing stories no doubt found a ready audience among non-Mormons living in and around Kirtland.

  (62) Such groups were typically composed of clergymen and their congregations, business-people, and petty politicians who stood in some way to gain by seeing the Latter Day Saints disappear from the Western Reserve of Ohio. Campbellite church-goers who were still angry over Sidney Rigdon's recent defection to the Mormon ranks contributed their donations to the cause, as did other Christian congregations in the area. While the allegiances and motives of all the critical non-Mormons overlapped those of the clergymen, their collective secular identity as a self-styled town meeting "committee" gave this assemblage some pretense of legal secular authority, along with a mandate providing the quasi-legitimacy Hurlbut was then seeking. . In this semi-official capacity Hurlbut could more easily solicit donations for his own personal crusade against the Mormons, while also reaping the financial benefits of publishing anti-Mormon literature, lecturing for pay, and possibly even collecting rewards from congregations and families eager to regain "lost sheep" from the Mormon fold.

  (63) James A. Briggs, a young law student living at Chagrin (Willoughby) in Geauga County at the time gives this personal recollection: "In the winter of 1833-34, a self-constituted committee of citizens of Willoughby, Mentor, and Painesville met a number of times at the house of the late Mr. Warren Corning, of Mentor, to investigate the Mormon humbug." (James A. Briggs, Letter, dated March 1875, in John Codman’s "Mormonism," International Review XI - Sept. 1881, pp. 222-223). Briggs' recollections provide some of the few extant views of D. P. Hurlbut's dealings with these loosely organized anti-Mormons. Briggs himself was a member of the group which came together at the west end of the county, but there were, no doubt, other, similar groups located elsewhere in the region. D. P. Hurlbut may have acted as a kind of connector for some of these people. He gave lectures at various places in the county and thus came to be personally acquainted with many of the local anti-Mormons. Briggs speaks of the Mentor group meeting during the "winter of 1833-34," but he is here recalling their subsequent assembly to consider materials collected by D. P. Hurlbut. Hurlbut's initial interaction with the Geauga County anti-Mormons began early in August 1833. Briggs places Hurlbut right in Kirtland (no doubt primarily in Kirtland Flats) during the latter part of 1833. Perhaps this was the period when D. P. Hurlbut spent time with Ezekiel Johnson and thus began the story of his having boarded with Ezekiel's devout Mormon wife, Julia Hills Johnson.

A follow-up report by Briggs adds this information:

Judge Allen, Dr. Card, Samuel Wilson, Judge Latham, W. Corning and myself, met at Mr. Corning's house, in Mentor, now known as the Garfield Farm, to investigate Mormonism and the origin of the Mormon Bible. Dr. D. P. Hurlbut. whose name is mentioned in the article in your paper this morning, was employed to look up testimony." (James Briggs Letter, Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct. 2, 1886).
Briggs stated essentially the same thing in another report:

In the winter of 1833-34, or in the early spring of 1834, a number of gentlemen in Willoughby who felt an interest in the Mormon question appointed themselves a committee to look into the matter. They were Judge Nehemiah Allen..., Dr. George W. Card... , Samuel Wilson..., Jonathan Lapham... and myself, a very young lawyer. We met at the house of Mr. W[arren]. Corning, in Mentor... Dr. P. Hurlbut also met with us. He lived in Kirtland and during the winter and spring had given much time in looking up evidence and documents to prove that Mormonism was a delusion. He had much of the evidence that he had collected with him. (James A. Briggs Letter, Naked Truths About Mormonism I:1, Jan. 1888)
  (64) "To the Public," Painesville Telegraph, Jan. 31 & Feb. 7, 1834. The relevant portion of this notice reads:

The undersigned Committee appointed by a public meeting held in Kirtland, Geauga co., Ohio, for the purposes of ascertaining the origin of the Book of MORMON, would say to the public... [we] were of opinion that the force of truth ought without delay to be applied to the Book of Mormon, and the character of Joseph Smith, Jun. --- With this object in view, the committee employed D. P. Hurlbut to ascertain the real origin of the Book of Mormon, and to examine the validity of Joseph Smith's claims to the character of a Prophet...
  (65) Winchester, Origin..., p. 10. Winchester's story at this point is basically reliable. Hurlbut had assembled enough preliminary material on Joseph Smith, Jr. and his church to convince anti-Mormons living in Geauga Co. to finance the fact-finding journey which he proposed to them. Combining their money with his time, energy, and knowledge, he promised to procure enough evidence in the east so that a book could be written exposing the true origin of Mormonism and its unique scripture. To solicit sums as high as the $300 reportedly contributed by Geauga Co. manufacturer and entrepreneur Grandison Newell, Hurlbut must have told a particularly convincing story to the local anti-Mormons.

Eber D. Howe, who was present in the area at the time, adds these comments:

In 1833 and 34 Grandison Newel Orri[s] Clapp Nathan Corning of Mentor and many leading citizens of Kirtland and Geauga Co. employed and defrayed the expenses of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut who had been a Mormon preacher and sent him to Palmyra NY and Penn to obtain affidavits showing the bad character of the Mormon Smith Family. (Eber D. Howe Statement to Arthur B. Deming, Apr. 8th 1885, Mormon Collection, Arthur B. Deming file, Chicago Historical Society Library).
  (66) Such letters would prove useful as D. P. Hurlbut progressed in his journey eastward, where he hoped to locate friends and family of Solomon Spalding who could provide him additional evidence for his anti-Mormon crusade and for the book he intended to publish He then collected those Spalding claims statements which bore August 1833 dates and which were later published by Eber D. Howe ( i.e.the testimonies of former Spalding associates Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and Nahum Howard). Unfortunately for Hurlbut, Nehemiah King, who experienced hearing Orson Hyde preach in New Salem in 1832, died a few months thereafter and no written account of his involvement in that singular event could had. Other New Salem residents no doubt supplied Hurlbut with what they knew, but no record of other testifiers has survived. The statement from Artemas Cunningham (as printed in Howe's book on pp. 286-87), was perhaps collected by Howe himself. Howe later admitted to only publishing a portion of the certificates solicited by Hurlbut in 1833, so the anti-Mormon missionary may well have collected several more equally interesting documents during the late summer of 1833.

  (67) Benjamin Winchester was then living only a few miles away from the place where this lecture was delivered. His recollection of the event may have come from first-hand observation:

He [D. P. Hurlbut] proceeded as far as New Salem, the place where Mr. S[Spalding]. lived when he wrote his manuscript found; and called a meeting and made known his intentions. This meeting caused considerable stir in the place, and was attended by a number of the citizens. Mr. H. mentioned to them that he had learned that one Mr. Spaulding, several years since, had written a novel, while living in that place, and the probability was, that S. Rigdon had by some means obtained it, and converted it into the Book of Mormon. This idea was new to them; however, they were pleased with it, and Mr. Hulbert's project seemed to them a good one; Mr. H. therefore received their support in the shape of some money, and was advised to visit Mr. Spaulding's widow, now Mrs. Davieson, who resided in Monson, Mass.; and learn if possible all the particulars concerning the matter. (Winchester, Origin... pp. 9-10).
Writing as a Mormon apologist and defender of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s claims to divine authority, Winchester was little interested in providing details relating who in this assemblage of New Salem residents had previously heard of the Spalding claims. Perhaps he himself did not know such facts and naturally assumed that the report Hurlbut presented there was fresh news to all the residents of that place. But, as has previously been shown, the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon first arose in that very town in 1832 and at least one of Spalding's old friends who still resided there in the early 1830s (Henry Lake) helped spread these allegations across the border into the neighboring township of Springfield, Pennsylvania. "This idea" of Hurlbut's was "news" to some of his auditors but certainly not to everybody who attended his lecture. Winchester may be correct in saying that D. P. Hurlbut was then advised to visit Spalding's widow in Monson, Massachusetts, but it is uncertain whether he was at that time positive of her current place of residence.

  (68) Maria W. Hurlbut Statement to Arthur B. Deming Naked Truths... I:1, Jan. 1888).

Maria was almost certainly correct in stating that her husband intended to visit Palmyra from the very beginning of his planning this fact-finding trip. Suggestions by some that he only stopped in the old Smith homestead region to collect evidence after failing to recover any useful Spalding holographs do not fit the known facts of his investigations in Wayne and Ontario counties late in 1833. (see note 74a) Her saying that D. P. took the stagecoach in this journey provides some insight into how the anti-Mormon spent his employers' donations while on his trip. But Maria's second-hand recollection of Hurlbut's connection with the Spalding claims is exactly opposite to that expressed by Benjamin Winchester. Maria has her husband being instructed by New Salem residents on the Spalding claims -- Benjamin has the "Doctor" instructing the residents. The truth must lie somewhere between these two simplistic explanations. D. P. Hurlbut already knew something of the interesting assertions regarding Solomon Spalding and his writings before he ever reached New Salem. But he learned more there and he passed on at least the essentials of this information in his public lecturing at this time. It matters little for the purposes of historical inquiry whether or not Hurlbut was in the Conneaut area more than once before September 1833. Possibly he journeyed back and forth between Ashtabula and Geauga counties several times. It may have even been during the course of one of these trips that he lodged overnight with a family in Kingsville, Ashtabula county, Ohio who, according to some Mormon journal entries, were known to provide shelter to itinerant missionaries -- the family of Wheeler Woodbury, Hurlbut's future father-in-law.
  (69) Rachel Miller Derby Statement, Naked Truths... I:1, Jan., 1888. Rachel's recollection that D. P. Hurlbut had with him the statement of Henry Lake (dated September 1833) when he came to visit her father indicates that the evidence collector had worked his way eastward as far as Erie County, Pennsylvania by some date in September. Presumably D. P. used the Lake residence as his jumping-off point for the remainder of his lengthy journey.

  (70) Elder Daniel Tyler, who lived very near the intersection of the eastern and southern roads in those days, probably spoke from first-hand experience when he said: "Previous to the publication of E. D. Howe's book... the said Doctor... went to Pittsburg with the avowed intention of obtaining the romance to publish in Howe's (Hurlbut's) book." (Daniel Tyler, "The Spauldin Story," Deseret Evening News, Jan. 16, 1878).

Benjamin Winchester supplies the interesting report that later in his trip Hurlbut learned from Spalding's widow "that Mr. S[Spalding] removed from New Salem to Pittsburgh, Pa.... and no sooner had Mr. H. returned to New Salem, than it was thought best that he should immediately repair to Pittsburgh, and see if Mr. S.'s manuscript had ever been left there." (Winchester, pp. 10-11). Here Winchester very likely was confused in his source information or recollection. Hurlbut could have just as easily discovered this fact from Spalding's old associates in the Conneaut region. There was little that the former Mrs. Spalding might have added to that knowledge which would have sent Hurlbut off to Pittsburgh at the tail-end of his investigations and at the onset of winter, when travel became increasingly difficult. After his return from the east, Hurlbut had practically no free days in which to make a time-consuming trip to Pittsburgh. His known activities following his last appearance at Palmyra place him in Ohio, not in distant Pittsburgh. The most logical time for Hurlbut's supposed side-trip to Pittsburgh would have been in mid-October 1833, before he ventured eastward to New York and Massachusetts.

Spalding Enigma writers Cowdrey et al. attempt to solve this chronological predicament by placing Hurlbut's excursion to Pittsburgh early in 1834, when travel was even more laborious and Hurlbut was under close scrutiny by the local constable (being expected to "keep the peace" and be ready to appear in court by the first of April). Nevertheless these authors assert the following:

The court at Chardon, however, would not hear the [Hurlbut] case until its next quarter sessions in April. Meanwhile, in what may have been Hurlbut's final hope for a last hurrah, he set out for Pittsburgh to see if he could learn anything there about Patterson & Lambdin's dealings with Solomon Spalding. Although previous writers have voiced some confusion about whether he actually went to Pittsburgh at all, and if so, when, the evidence indicates that he certainly did go (in spite of his own later statement to the contrary) and the sequence of events suggests that the trip occurred during the latter half of January, 1834. (Cowdrey et al., p. 81).
The authors fail to mention the Painesville Court’s order that Hurlbut "appear before the Court of Common Pleas... and not depart without leave, or stand committed till the Judgment of the Court be complied with..." (see note 106 for this text). Although D. P. Hurlbut obviously laid low between January 15 and March 31, 1834, he was obligated to remain in Geauga County during that period of time – unless he was granted "leave" to "depart." No such appeal for leave to depart the county survives in the court records and it is unlikely that Hurlbut traveled far afield for the rest of that winter. To their credit these same writers backtrack somewhat on this notion in the footnote to their assertion, saying "The question of exactly when the trip was made, however, remains open, with a viable alternative being that Hurlbut traveled there before undertaking to visit New York and Massachusetts."

  (71) Winchester, Origin..., p. xx. A better explanation would be that Hurlbut hoped to confirm that Rigdon had frequently visited or temporarily resided in Pittsburgh during Spalding's residence in that part of the country. This possibility was exceptionally likely, as book-loving Sidney Rigdon had once lived so close to Pittsburgh that the young man could have spent a day visiting its libraries, newspaper offices, post-office, and book-shops and still have had time to make it home for supper. The writers of The Spalding Enigma document these facts rather well (Cowdrey et al., pp. 170-175). However, they do not believe that Hurlbut had linked Sidney Rigdon's name with the authorship of the Book of Mormon as early as October 1833: "... Sidney Rigdon's name did not surface in Hurlbut's research until after his visit to the widow Spalding, and that it was she rather than Hurlbut who originally alleged that Rigdon had stolen her husband's manuscript from the Pattersons' print shop in Pittsburgh." (Cowdrey et al., p. 69).

It is possible that Hurlbut and Spalding's widow, when they met at Monson, Massachusetts in November 1833, spoke of Sidney Rigdon having some kind of an association with her late husband in the Pittsburgh and Amity, Pennsylvania areas. Rigdon had relatives and probably also friends scattered throughout this region. There is no reason to believe that Hurlbut had not previously been exposed to the notion that Sidney Rigdon had a hand in producing the Book of Mormon. He could have easily found such allegations in several newspaper articles on the Mormons published in Ohio during the months prior to his journey. The rumors of Rigdon's alleged involvement in writing the Mormon scriptures were no doubt widespread by mid-1833.

  (72a) Eber D. Howe Statement to Arthur B. Deming, dated Apr. 8th 1885. Original in Arthur B. Deming file, Mormon Collection, Chicago Historical Society Library. Howe's statement indicates that Hurlbut had already spoken to Crawford County, Pennsylvania resident John Spalding, Sr. before he approached the anti-Mormon "committee" for employment. It does not make sense that he would have solicited funds from them only to travel to nearby Erie and Crawford counties in Pennsylvania. But Pittsburgh was sufficiently distant for Hurlbut to have argued that he need some financial assistance in order to make the necessary trip and investigate important leads there.

  (72b) James A. Briggs, letter to John Codman, dated March 1875, in John Codman, "Mormonism," International Review XI (Sept. 1881) pp. 222-223.

  (72c) A recollection of Kirtland Justice of the Peace, John C. Dowen, may be of some significance here. Dowen recalls seeing Hurlbut after his return to the investigative trip to the East. However, Dowen makes no mention of Hurlbut having gone to Massachusetts on that trip, or of his having encountered any of Spalding's relatives. Perhaps Hurlbut did not speak of Spalding's widow, the trunk at Hartwick, etc. immediately after his return to Ohio from that trip.

I heard Dr. P. Hurlbut, who had been a Mormon preacher, preach a good sermon, and then deliver his first lecture in the Methodist Church in Kirtland, Ohio, on the origin of the Book of Mormon. He said he had been in New York and Pennsylvania and had obtained a copy of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found." (John C. Dowen Statement to Arthur B. Deming, dated Jan. 2, 1885. Original in Arthur B. Deming file, Mormon Collection, Chicago Historical Society Library).
  (73) Joseph Smith Diary, 1832-1834 in Dean Jessee (ed.) The Papers of Joseph Smith Vol. I, 1992, p. 6). While this Mormon "Brother Rudd" might have been Cyprian or John Rudd, Jr., he was more likely their brother, 1832 Mormon convert Erastus Rudd, who lived next to Cyprian and John, Jr. Erastus seems to have taken over managing the farm owned by his mother after his father, John Rudd, Sr., died in 1830. This farm, originally owned by Solomon Spalding, was located on the Lake Erie shore about three miles east of the Ohio-Pennsylvania State line. The Rudd house was located only about five or six miles northeast of Solomon Spalding's old homestead and iron forge in eastern Conneaut township, Ashtabula county, Ohio. John Rudd, Sr. purchased the land from Spalding and his Mormon son Erastus reportedly once said that it was during Spalding's visits to their Springfield home that "much of the romance was formerly written." (see Daniel Tyler, "The Spauldin' Story."

If Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were at all curious about the troublesome public allegations D. P. Hurlbut had recently been making in that same region regarding Book of Mormon origins, they had obviously arrived at the best possible place to make profitable inquiries on the matter. The entire Rudd clan no doubt gathered to welcome the Mormon prophet to Spalding's old haunts that evening in October At the gathering in the Rudd home Smith and Rigdon would have met Rosanna Jackson Rudd, wife of John Rudd, Jr. (and, curiously enough, the daughter of Lyman Jackson of Jacksonville). If Winchester was correct in saying that the man answering Lyman Jackson's description did not supply a potentially damaging statement concerning Solomon Spalding's writings to D. P. Hurlbut, Rosanna could have assured Smith and Rigdon that her father's family at Jacksonville were not actively supporting the ex-missionary's anti-Mormon crusade.).

  (73a) forthcoming

  (73b) forthcoming

  (73c) forthcoming

  (73d) Oliver Cowdery, letter to Ambrose Palmer, dated Oct. 30, 1833. Original in Oliver Cowdery Letterbook, Huntington Library. In this letter Cowdery says: "I purchased a Press and type, all of which had arrived at Buffalo, when I, left that place..." indicating that he purchased the press at some distance from Buffalo, and probably in an easterly or southerly direction, as it would make no sense to ship a press eastward to Buffalo and there is no mention of the press having been purchased in Canada. Allowing Cowdery 13 days to his journey's end and 13 days back again, with four travel days between Kirtland and New York's western border, he was probably in western New York between about Oct. 6th and 24th. On one leg of the journey Cowdery apparently visited his brother Warren in Freedom, Cattaraugaus county, and on the other leg of the journey, his parents in Arcadia, Wayne county.

  (74a) LDS historical researcher Dale W. Adams suggests a slightly different schedule for Hurlbut's itinerary at this point: "Following information provided by John Spalding, Hurlbut likely left Ohio in September and traveled east to Onondaga Valley, New York..." (Dale W. Adams, "Judge Not," p. 11; cf. Adams, "Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, p. 80). Although it remains a possibility that Hurlbut passed directly through the Palmyra area, without stopping, on his way to Onondaga Hollow, allowing him a stop-over along the way appears to make better sense. This is especially the case if D. P. Hurlbut had been commissioned by the Geauga Co. Anti-Mormons to "examine the validity of Joseph Smith's claims to the character of a Prophet," as the Committee members state in their "To the Public" notice in the Jan. 31, 1834 number of the Painesville Telegraph. While it is true that Hurlbut's primary mission was to seek to recover a Solomon Spalding holograph greatly resembling the Book of Mormon, such a document alone would not have been enough evidence to "completely divest Joseph Smith of all claims to the character of an honest man, and place him at an immeasurable distance from the high station which he pretends to occupy." had Hurlbut brought back nothing but an alleged Spalding manuscript containing Book of Mormon language, and attempted to use that document to discredit Joseph Smith, Jr., its purpose, date of composition and true author would have been reasonably questioned by Smith and all his followers. Such a document, no matter how damning its contents might appear upon first glance, would have been much more effective for the purposes of the "Committee" if it were accompanied by equally damning affidavits written by people who knew Smith to be a dishonest man. It is reasonable to assume that Hurlbut was instructed to bring back such affidavits from the beginning, and that he would have taken advantage of his passing through Palmyra on his way eastward, to have at least stopped for a short while and put the affidavit gathering process into motion.

Hurlbut's widow states that "He was employed by leading citizens of Mentor and Geauga Co. to investigate the character of the Mormon Smith Family and the origin of the Book of Mormon." (see note 68). Eber D. Howe says that "many leading citizens of Kirtland and Geauga Co. employed and defrayed the expenses of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut... and sent him to Palmyra NY and Penn to obtain affidavits showing the bad character of the Mormon Smith Family." (Eber D. Howe Statement, 1885; cf. note 65 Of the several statements Hurlbut collected in the Palmyra area and which E. D. Howe printed, the earliest is dated Nov. 3, 1833 in Howe's book. This affidavit Hurlbut had certified by Judge Baldwin of Palmyra on Dec. 9. Since other statements collected by Hurlbut were certified with a much shorter gap of time following their initial collection, it is possible that D. P. Hurlbut was away from Palmyra some of the time between Nov. 3 and Dec. 9. And, in fact, there is a 12 day gap, between one statement dated Nov. 15 at Manchester and another dated Nov. 28 in nearby Palmyra. Since Hurlbut's activities are nowhere accounted for during this 12 day gap, and since 12 days were more than a adequate time for him to travel from Palmyra to Monson, MA and back, it is at least possible that Hurlbut did make such a trip during this gap in his statement collecting.

Adams' suggestion, that Hurlbut went directly to Onondaga Hollow and Monson in September 1833 seems to suggest that the anti-Mormon researcher spent most of September and perhaps all of October in places east of Palmyra, returning to western New York at about the beginning of November to make his first and only statement gathering stop-over there. This chronology seems to leave about a month's worth of inactivity on Hurlbut's part and Adams does not reasonably account for that gap either. Thus, the most elegant chronological solution is to allow Hurlbut October in Pennsylvania, to split his work during November between New York and Massachusetts, and to give him the first half of December to finish up his statement collecting in the Palmyra area.

  (74b) There were other Hurlbuts living in the town and D. P. may have called upon them in order to secure introductions to the people he wished to interview in the area. Mormonism Unvailed published two statements collected by Hurlbut at Manchester (just south of Palmyra) on November 3 and November 8, 1833. Following his procurement of those two documents there is a 19-20 day gap in D. P. Hurlbut's affidavit collecting, with the next published date in Howe's book being that of November 28, 1833. (Mormonism Unvailed pp. 260-262). It is not even certain that Hurlbut was still in the Palmyra-Manchester area as late as November 8th, since the statement bearing that date could have been procured by an agent or prepared for Hurlbut's collection at a later date. On his way out of Ontario County, Hurlbut apparently stopped near Lyons and interviewed Oliver Cowdery's estranged brother, Lyman (see Oliver Cowdery Letter to Lyman Cowdery, dated Jan. 13, 1834, Original in the “Oliver Cowdery Letter Book,” Huntington Library, San Marino, CA). Oliver’s brother apparently provided nothing useful to Hurlbut's anti-Mormon crusade.

  (75) Dickinson, Ellen E. New Light on Mormonism, NY, Funk & Wagnalls, 1885, pp. 19-26.) It was Dickinson's understanding that D. P. Hurlbut was employed as a secret agent for his former co-religionists, the Mormons. In this assumption she was almost certainly mistaken. She was probably also mistaken in her notion that D. P. intended, from the very start of his visit, to travel to Monson, Hampden County, Massachusetts. While Hurlbut may have heard some news that Spalding's widow was then residing in Massachusetts, it is just as likely that his leads on the location of her husband's old writings initially directed him no farther east than Onondaga County. Dickinson continues her story by saying:

In the year 1834 Dr. Hurlburt, after procuring a letter of introduction to Mrs. Davison from her brother, William H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, proceeded in his nefarious scheme for obtaining the original Spaulding "Manuscript Found." When he appeared at Munson, Mass., equipped with this letter and the request it contained, that Mrs. Davison should write an order to Jerome Clark to give him the Manuscript, both Mrs. Davison and Mrs. McKinstry distrusted his motives at once... (Dickinson, pp. 19-26).
  (76) On his way to Massachusetts Hurlbut could have made a potentially productive stop-over in Hartwick, Otsego County, New York, where a certain Jerome Clark was then living. Mrs. Clark was Matilda Spalding Davison's cousin and Matilda had visited and stayed over with the Clark family in the recent past. Dickinson offers the unverified report that "... when the Mormon fraud was inaugurated at Palmyra, the report of it naturally reached Hartwick; and some one who was acquainted with the fact that Spaulding's writings were in the hands of Jerome Clark applied to him requesting to see them, and he refused..." (Dickinson, p. 24). It is possible that one of Hurlbut's associates knew that the very manuscript writings he was seeking were then stored at the Clark house and passed that information on to him. However, since there is no record of Hurlbut's stopping in Hartwick at this time, he likely by-passed the little village and went directly to the McKinstry residence in Monson.

  (77) Matilda Spalding Davison and her daughter, Matilda Spalding McKinstry, both left behind published statements providing accounts of Hurlbut's visit to the McKinstry residence in Monson, Massachusetts. (See Matilda Spalding Davison (with forward by Rev. John Storrs), "Mormonism," Boston Recorder April 19, 1839 along various statement's by her daughter Matilda Spalding McKinstry – primarily McKinstry's. Statement, in Ellen E. Dickinson, "The Book of Mormon," Scribners Monthly, XX:4 (Aug. 1880), pp. 613-617). Prior to his arrival these ladies had already heard some vague reports (probably from old friends and family members living in Ohio or Pennsylvania) about there being a possible connection between one of Solomon Spalding's manuscript stories and the text of the Mormon scriptures. Mormonism had received very little publicity in the east up until that time, so Mrs. Davison and Mrs. McKinstry possessed little knowledge of the new sect and its unsavory reputation among many mainstream Christians in the west. No doubt Hurlbut, after introducing himself and presenting his letters to them, delivered a condensed version of his well-practiced anti-Mormonism lecture.

  (78) Not having been previously introduced to Hurlbut, and mistrusting his appearance and manner, the widow was reluctant to reveal much more than this about her late husband's private life. She did not go into detail about how many draft copies Spalding had written of various stories, where each of those manuscripts had ended up, or the names of all of the persons with whom the deceased writer had been associated in his attempts to get his work published. Assuming that Hurlbut had already made inquiries in Pittsburgh the month before, he may have attempted to refresh her memory regarding persons such as the bookselling Patterson brothers, the publisher Jonathan Harrison Lambdin, the printer Silas Engles or even the inquisitive young Sidney Rigdon. What, if any, original information Mrs. Davison volunteered at that point remains unknown. Perhaps she did say something in regard to Sidney Rigdon or perhaps she mentioned that her husband had been an early anti-Mason at the time the Bavarian Illuminati scare had hit New England four decades before. Neither Hurlbut nor either of the two ladies involved in these private conversations ever reported very much of their content. Hurlbut must have made the widow promises for the careful protection and ultimate return of so valuable a work as an old manuscript whose text matched that printed in the Mormons' new holy book. The widow later claimed that Hurlbut promised her a goodly share in the profits he expected to reap from its publication. If D. P. did make such a promise, he was cagey enough not to put the agreement into writing. What little Hurlbut later admitted regarding these deliberations is suspect in its veracity.

  (79) Presented with this gaping hole in the compilation of historical documentation, writers attempting to reconstruct these events have resorted to exercising their own imaginations. The comments offered by Dale W. Adams in this respect are more or less typical: "After obtaining a letter from Mrs. Davison, Hurlbut went directly to Hartwick. He must have been elated as he opened the musty trunk and saw the long sought after manuscript. As he lifted it from the trunk he likely thought it was in his power to drive a stake into the heart of the religion that came up short of his expectations and to also discredit Joseph Smith, whom Hurlbut felt had deceived him." (Dale W. Adams, "Judge Not," p. 11). Hurlbut's own account of these events is probably not particularly useful in reconstructing exactly what happened:

Hurlburt's Statement.
Gibsonburg, Ohio, January 10, 1881. To all whom it may concern: In the year eighteen hundred and thirty-four (1834) I went from Geauga Co., Ohio, to Munson, Hampden Co., Mass., where I found Mrs. Davison, late widow of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, late of Conneaut, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. Of her I obtained a manuscript, supposing it to be the manuscript of the romance written by the said Solomon Spaulding, called "The Manuscript Found," which was reported to he the foundation of the "Book of Mormon." I did not examine the manuscript until I got home, when, upon examination, I found it to contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. This manuscript I left with E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio, now Lake Co., Ohio, with the understanding that when he had examined it he should return it to the widow. Said Howe says the manuscript was destroyed by fire, and further the deponent saith not. D. P. Hurlburt. (Dickinson, p. 245).
In her 1885 book Ellen E. Dickinson tells how she visited Mr. Hurlbut at Gibsonburgh, Madison County, Ohio on November 13, 1880. At that time the elderly D. P. Hurlbut gave her a statement he had previously prepared for Robert Patterson, Jr. of Pittsburgh. Having not yet mailed the document to him, he entrusted it into Mrs. Dickinson's care. The Jan. 10, 1881 Hurlbut statement was probably written as a clarification of the statement Dickinson received during her 1880 visit with D. P. Hurlbut. It was first printed in Ellen E. Dickinson, "Communications," Scribners Monthly, XXII:6 (Oct. 1881), pp. 946-948. See also Dickinson’s 1885 book pp. 63, 67.

  (80) During this period of statement collecting, D. P. Hurlbut reportedly took a little time out to write Mrs. Davison in Monson and assure her that he had obtained the manuscript at Mr. Clark's which he had been seeking. Jerome Clark also apparently wrote to the widow and told her that Hurlbut had left, taking the Spalding papers he desired to borrow. The texts to these communications have long since disappeared and there is no way of being certain exactly what they said, on what dates they were written, or when they were received at Monson. The two surviving sources of information from this period (other than the NY statements printed in Howe, which provide no useful information other than their dates) are two new items printed in the local newspaper at that time.

The relevant information printed in the first article is:

The Mormonites -- Civil War and Bloodshed -- A letter from Josiah Jones, esq. of Kirtland, Ohio, (the head quarters of Mormonism in that state,) to Doct. P. Hurlbert, now at this place as a missionary in behalf of the people of Kirtland for the purpose of investigating the origin of the Mormon sect -- which it is known first appeared in this neighborhood -- mentions some recent disturbances between the citizens and Mormonites at Independence, Jackson co. Missouri..." (Wayne Sentinel, Dec. 6, 1833).
This short notice establishes the fact that D. P. Hurlbut was in Palmyra at the time, and that he had picked up whatever mail had accumulated at the post office for him during his recent absence. The letter from Josiah Jones was freshly received, as it carried with it news which was just then being printed back in the Western Reserve of Ohio. No doubt the letter also contained a set of questions from Jones asking what Hurlbut had managed to procure in the way of Solomon Spalding holographs. Josiah Jones' name appears among a list of the anti-Mormon "Committee" who on January 31, 1834 would print a statement in the Painesville Telegraph announcing the forthcoming publication of "a work which will prove the 'Book, of Mormon' to be a work of fiction and imagination, and written more than twenty years ago, in Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio, by Solomon Spalding, Esq." That same notice also stated that its subscribed names constituted a "Committee" which had "employed D. P. Hurlbut to ascertain the real origin of the Book of Mormon, and to examine the validity of Joseph Smith's claims to the character of a Prophet." The advertised book was never published, but something similar was printed in its stead by the publisher of that same newspaper -- Eber D. Howe's 1834 Mormonism Unvailed.

  (81) Wayne Sentinel, Dec. 20, 1833. This news release was probably authorized in advance by the "Committee" which financed Hurlbut's fact-finding tour. Previous to this his efforts at procuring enhanced evidence supportive of the Spalding claims were not widely publicized. By the time D. P. Hurlbut handed in this press release at the office of the Wayne Sentinel he had likely received a reply to his own letter answering Josiah Jones. The Mormon situation in Missouri had become a desperate one and the faith of the Saints in Kirtland was being sorely tried. The Geauga County anti-Mormons were eager to open a second front against the forces of Joseph Smith. But, while the Missourians were forming mobs and firing guns at the Latter Day Saints, the Ohioans opted to use instead the more civilized power of the press. It was time for D. P. Hurlbut to thank his helpers in Palmyra, catch the next stage out of town, and get back to Geauga County where he was expected to produce the goods he'd been paid to procure. Although the news release was printed in the December 20th issue of the weekly Wayne Sentinel there is no reason to suppose that D. P. Hurlbut lingered in Palmyra much beyond Dec. 13, 1833 when he collected the last of his dated statements there. The readers of the newspaper had to wait another week to read the news of December 14th -- and by that date D. P. Hurlbut was likely seated in a sleigh-runner equipped coach, speeding through the snowdrifts to Buffalo and points west. He could have easily made it back home to Kirtland before the third week of December.

  (82) Hurlbut has been accused of fabricating (or having others fabricate at his request) the various personal statements which he collected during his journey, including those he first solicited in the Conneaut region of northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania. If D. P. Hurlbut did forge a major portion of the statements and materials he compiled, he must have been so proficient a literary fabricator as to be able to produce a variety of passable documents practically out of thin air. Some were even certified by New York judges, which means Hurlbut either forged their certifications also, or he tricked those magistrates into certifying passable forgeries. The pros and cons regarding such accusations must be judged upon whatever evidence a serious examination of the documents themselves might produce.

  (83) With only two or three obscure exceptions, every writer of Mormon history who has ever attempted to explain Hurlbut's actions during winter of 1833-34 has ignored this particular evidence. Given the complexities involved in verifying the reports of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut's having actually gained possession of Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" in November 1833, every past reporter of this subject has walked away from this extraordinary testimony and left it out of sight. The two or three obscure exceptions to this prevailing tendency include writers like Arthur B. Deming. Deming's virulent anti-Mormon posture effectively nullified the impact of his reporting on the subject. In many ways the authors of The Spalding Enigma follow in Deming's ideological and informational tracks, but Cowdrey et al. fail to bring a satisfactory conclusion to this matter, since they do not relate or explain Hurlbut’s Dec. 1833 activities in and around Kirtalnd in detail.

  (84) Information gleaned from accounts written by James A. Briggs and members of the Mormon Johnson family indicate that D. P. Hurlbut maintained a residence in Kirtland at the end of 1833. This was near the school house in Kirtland Flats, a community still dominated by non-Mormons at that time. D. P. Hurlbut's constant presence would have been less welcome upon the nearby bluffs where the LDS Kirtland Temple was then being built. Ex-Mormon Hurlbut may have not been particularly welcome even in his rented room in the Ezekiel Johnson house on the Flats. But, so long as non-Mormon (probably by then anti-Mormon) Ezekiel Johnson remained the head of the household, Hurlbut apparently kept his few possessions there, dropping by to spend an occasional few nights with Ezekiel and the few still unbaptized members of his family. Another of Hurlbut's friends on the fringe of Mormonism was Joseph H. Wakefield of Chagrin, the ex-Mormon Elder who had earlier baptized George A. Smith, young cousin of Joseph Smith.

go to next note: (85)


Episode 2 -- Addendum 1:
Origin of Spalding Authorship Claims:
Important Events Sequence:

* Feb. 14, 1832: Elder Orson Hyde preaches from the Book of Mormon in the Conneaut Centre school house in the village of New Salem, Ashtabula, Co., OH and Nehemiah King, a former associate of Solomon Spalding, claims (after the service was concluded and he had left the room) that Orson Hyde "had preached from the writings of S[olomon] Spalding."

* Feb. 1832: Elders Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith baptize a few converts in Springfield twp., Erie Co., PA; they establish a congregation there, but do not organize a branch of the Church there (about five miles east of New Salem, OH).

* Feb. 1832: Nehemiah King informs other old associates of Solomon Spalding of his hearing Orson Hyde's preaching from the Book of Mormon -- Spalding's old friends begin to read through the copies of the Book of Mormon left in their town by Orson Hyde.

* Apr.-May 1832: Elders Jared Carter and Ebenezer Page visit the LDS members at Springfield and discover that "great opposition" from local non-Mormons has caused a "falling away" of several recent converts. The Springfield branch is formally organized at about this time. The opposition spoken of probably involved arguments over the divinity of the Book of Mormon.

* Apr.-May (1832?): Henry Lake and other old associates of Solomon Spalding circulate the Spalding authorship claims in and around the Conneaut area, on both sides of the OH/PA border. (The actual date may be slightly later,)

* Fall 1832: This was probably about the earliest date that rumors of the Spalding claims then circulating in and around New Salem might have reached the Lyman Jackson family in Erie Co., PA. Lyman Jackson had a daughter who was a Mormon and who was living near New Salem. She was the probable source by which the Jacksons of Jacksonville became aware of the Mormons' problems with the Spalding claims in and around New Salem.

* Apr.-May 1833: D. P. Hurlbut serves two months of a Mormon mission in Erie and Crawford Co., PA. He may have possibly heard of the Spalding claims at this time -- so also his senior missionary supervisors in the area (Hyrum Smith, Orson Hyde, etc.).

* June 23, 1833: D. P. Hurlbut is excommunicated for the second time -- he soon after initiates his anti-Mormon mission of lecturing and gathering evidence in Erie Co., PA.

* Aug. 1833: D. P. Hurlbut hears more details of the Spalding claims from the Lyman Jackson family in Erie Co. and from the John Spalding family in adjacent Crawford Co. He collects signed statements from John and his wife.

* Aug.-Sep. 1833: D. P. Hurlbut returns to Kirtland and gives a lecture on the "true origin of the Book of Mormon." He also meets with members of a newly formed anti-Mormon Committee and receives their financial backing for his investigation into the origins of Mormonism.

* Sep. 1833: Old associates of Solomon Spalding supply several written statements on their late neighbor and his writings to D. P. Hurlbut as he passes through the New Salem area on his way to the East.

* Oct. 1833: Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon visit the house in Erie Co., PA, near New Salem, where some of Spalding's writing was done. They then visit the Erie Co., PA home base of Hurlbut's , former missionary work and anti-Mormon lecturing, Elk Creek.

* Nov.-Dec. 1833: Hyrum and William Smith, along with Orson Hyde and Lyman E. Johnson, labor to curb apostasy in the LDS Springfield branch in Erie Co., PA -- two members are excommunicated

* Dec. 5, 1833: Orson Pratt excommunicates Andrews Tyler, Father of Daniel Tyler. In 1883 Daniel admits that his father then claimed that the Mormons had perpetrated a fraud -- this is apparently the first known defection among the Mormons over the Spalding claims. After Hurlbut's April 1834 conviction for threatening to kill or harm Joseph Smith, Andrews Tyler rejoins the Mormons.


Episode 2 -- Addendum 2:
The Anti-Mormon Committee of 1833-34.


Identifying The Anti-Mormon Committee" of 1833-34.

It may tempting for historical generalizers to simply pull a few names out of the pages of Kirtland era Mormon history and assign the blame (or the honors) for early anti-Mormonism to a few well-known characters like D. Philastus Hurlbut and Eber D. Howe. In fact, Howe's own newspaper helpfully provides what appears to be a list of the Kirtland region anti-Mormon "persecutors" in its edition of Friday, Jan. 31, 1834:

Information from E. D. Howe's Painesville Telegraph:

"The undersigned Committee appointed by a public meeting held in Kirtland, Geauga co., Ohio, for the purposes of ascertaining the origin of the Book of MORMON, would say to the Public, that when met as directed by said meeting, it became a subject of deliberation whether the committee without violating the spirit of that instrument which declares that "no human authority can in any case whatever control or interfere with the rights of conscience" could take measures to avert the evils which threaten the Public by the location in this vicinity, of Joseph Smith Jun. otherwise known as the Mormon Prophet -- and who is now, under pretence of Divine Authority, collecting about him an impoverished population, alienated in feeling from other portions of the community, thereby threatening us with an insupportable weight of pauperism.

The committee were of opinion that the force of truth ought without delay to be applied to the Book of Mormon, and the character of Joseph Smith, Jun. With this object in view, the Committee employed D. P. Hurlbut to ascertain the real origin of the Book of Mormon, and to examine the validity of Joseph Smith's claims to the character of a Prophet.

The result of this enquiry so far as it has proceeded has been partially laid before the public in this vicinity by Mr. Hurlbut -- and the Committee are now making arrangements for the Publication and extensive circulation of a work which will prove the "Book, of Mormon" to be a work of fiction and imagination, and written more than twenty years ago, in Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio, by Solomon Spalding, Esq., and completely divest Joseph Smith of all claims to the character of an honest man, and place him at an immeasurable distance from the high station which he pretends to occupy.

This notice's language telling of non-Mormon old settlers feeling threatened "with an insupportable weight of pauperism" by all the newly arrived Latter Day Saints may provide a window into community reactions to the Mormons in 1834; however, simply adding the above ten names to those of Hurlbut and Howe will not serve to explain process by which members of that community eventually expelled the majority of the Mormons from Ohio.

More Information from E. D. Howe:

Eber D. Howe appears to again come to the researchers' rescue in his saying: "In 1833 and 34 Grandison Newel   Orrin [sic] Clapp   Nathan Corning of Mentor and many leading citizens of Kirtland and Geauga Co. employed and defrayed the expenses of Doctor Philastus Hurlbut who had been a Mormon preacher..." to help them discredit and disestablish the LDS leadership at Kirtland. By adding these extra names to the previous list the available information on anti-Mormon responsibility may be increased, but the motives and processes those people used against Mormon leaders like Joseph Smith, Jr. still remain obscure.

There is yet another information provider whose data might be added to that coming form E. D. Howe: James A. Briggs (D. P. Hurlbut's lawyer), in an 1886 article, says: "In the winter of 1833-34, a self constituted committee, consisting of Judge [Nehemiah] Allen, Dr. [George W.] Card, Samuel Wilson, Judge Lapham, W[arren] Corning and myself, met at Mr. Corning's house, in Mentor, now known as the [President] Garfield farm, to investigate Mormonism..." Briggs' list of names overlaps somewhat with the information supplied through E. D. Howe's auspices, and the careful investigator may see some patterns beginning to come clear here. For one thing, the combined list of names contains a number of Ohioans from the early 19th century who were known followers of Alexander Campbell. Sidney Rigdon, who had himself been a Campbellite before converting to Mormonism, blames that religious group for a good deal of the "persecution" the Latter Day Saints experienced in Ohio. For example, he attributes to the Campbellites in his old congregation at Mentor, the support and financial backing that enabled D. Philastus Hurlbut to carry on his 1833-34 efforts against Joseph Smith, Jr. and his family.

So, it seems reasonable to add at this point the names of the known Mentor Campbellites from this same period. An old history book supplies a few of these:

...There was, prior to 1826, a Baptist church in Mentor of a respectable membership. Rev. Warner [sic] Goodall, its worthy pastor, died in June of that year, and Sidney Rigdon, of Mormon memory, conducted the funeral obsequies, and, being an orator of no inconsiderable ability, was eventually secured to supply the place of the deceased pastor. Rigdon is spoken of as being an enthusiast and unstable, of questionable judgment, and little permanent power with the people. In March, 1828, he became an ardent exponent of the doctrine of Alexander Campbell, and, as a consequence, nearly the entire Baptist Church at Mentor became converts to this doctrine. Thus was the Disciple church of Mentor formed, and very soon had a membership of upwards of one hundred. The following is a partial list of those members: B. Blish, E. Nye, O. Clapp, J. Roat, J. Rexford, T. Carroll, A Webster, A. Wilmot, Anson Eggleston, and Osee Matthews, Joseph Curtis, Sylvester Durand, Warren Corning, A. Daniels, S. Miller, E. B. Viall, N. Wirt, David and Daniel Wilson, A. P. Jones, with their wives, and many of their children. The present church was erected in 1858, and cost, entire, about three thousand dollars, There is now no settled pastor...." (History of Geauga and Lake Counties Ohio, pp. 250-51).
And, to this first list of Campbellites, can be added a similar tabulation compiled by Amos Hayden:

"Deacon Benj. Blish, Deacon Ebenezer Nye, Orris Clapp, Jonathan Root, Joel Rexford, Thomas Carroll, Asa Webster, Sidney Rigdon, Deacon Champney, Amos Wilmot, Osee Matthews, Eggleston Matthews, Joseph Curtis, Anson Matthews, Sylvester Durand, ------ Tuttle, Warren Corning, Amos Daniels, Samuel Miller, Ezra B. Viall, Noah Wirt, David Wilson, Danl. Wilson, Alex. P. Jones. To these are to be added, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Randall, Mrs. Waterman, Mrs. Rexford, Calista M. Lewis, Morgan Lewis (History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve, p. 193).

Yet More From the Painesville Telegraph:

With all the above-listed ant-Mormon names and associations in hand, a few of these people can be looked up in the pages of the Painesville Telegraph. The extracts which follow are merely a very preliminary attempt to do that work -- many more similar extracts could be added:
Card, Dr. George W. 1828 Jan 18 (married)

Crary, Oliver A. 1827 Sep 21 (sheriff sale)

Clapp, Orris 1823: Jan 8 (lost cow), 1824 Jan 22 (ag soc), Nov. 20 (trustee), 1825 Feb 5 (ag soc), 1826 Jan 1 (ag soc), 1827 Jan 26 (ag soc),

Corning, Warren 1823 Jul 9 (po letter) 1824 Jan 22 (ag soc), Apr 8 (ag soc), 1825 Feb 5 (ag soc), Apr 23 (canal), 1826 Jan 1 (ag soc). Sep 8 (election),

Daniels, Amos 1823 May 14 (taxes), 1826 Nov 10 (taxes), 1827 Apr 6 (po let),

Jones, Josiah 1825 Nov 5 (ag soc),1827 Jan 26 (ag soc), 1829 Apr 7 (will)

Morse, John F. 1824 Apr 8 (po letter, Mentor), Jul 24 (married, Kirtland)

Newell, Grandison 1823 Apr 1 (po letter), 1824 Jan 1 (po letter), Apr 8 (ag soc, po let), Jul 10 (po let), 1825 Jan 8 (accounts, po let), Apr 9 (po let.), Apr 16 (ag soc), [many po letters] 1827 Jan 26 (ag soc),

Paine, James H., Esq. 1823 Jan 15 (po let.), Jan 29 (militia), Mar 12 (became lawyer) 1827 Nov 16 (militia) 1828 May 16 (partner with E D Howe), [many other articles & notices]

Wilson, Samuel 1823 Jan 15 (po let. Painesville), 1824 Apr 1 (will, Chagrin), June 3 (taxes)


Clarifying an Image of The Anti-Mormon Committee" of 1833-34.

In the following tabulation, the key members of the Geauga County Anti-Mormon "Committee" of 1833-34 are listed in alphabetical order. The codes attached to their names are:

B = Anti-Mormon mentioned by James A. Briggs
A = Anti-Mormon listed in the Jan. 31, 1834 Announcement
H = Anti-Mormon mentioned by E. D. Howe
C = known Campbellite
w = resident of Willoughby (pre 1834: Chagrin, Cuyahoga)
m = resident of Mentor
k = resident of Kirtland
p = resident of Painesville
? = residence unknown

B _ _ _ w/p   Allen, Nehemiah (c. 1780 - aft. 1842)
B _ _ _ w   Briggs, James A.
B _ _ _ w   Card, Dr.George W.
_ _ H C m   Clapp, Orris (1770-1847)
_ A _ C m   Corning, Warren, Jr. (1785 - aft. 1834)
B _ H C m   Corning, Warren, Sr. (1785 - aft. 1834)
_ _ H C m   Corning, Nathan (1794 - aft 1834)
_ A _ _ ?   Cornwell, Silvester
_ A _ _ k   Crary, Oliver A. (1798-?)
_ A _ C m   Daniels, Amos
_ A _ C k   Jones, Josiah (c. 1785-aft. 1841)
B _ _ _ w   Lapham, Jonathan (c. 1805-?)
_ A _ _ k   Martindale, Timothy D. (1795-1859)
_ A _ _ k   Morse, John F.
_ _ H _ m   Newell, Grandison (1786-1874)
_ A _ _ p   Paine, James H., Esq.
_ A _ _ ?   Wakefield, Joseph H. (1792-1835)
B A _ _ w   Wilson, Samuel

With this tabulation available for consultation, the 1833-34 Geauga Co. anti-Mormons can now be spoken of in greater detail:


Notes on Nehemiah Allen, "Judge" Jonathan Latham, Dr. George W. Card, James A. Briggs, Samuel Wilson, and Silvester Cornwell:

These six gentlemen might best be called "concerned citizens" and political opponents of the Mormons. They lived in Willoughby Twp. (Chagrin Twp. of Cuyahoga Co. until 1834) and were professional men who did not have to deal with the Mormons on a daily basis. Their opposition to the sect was probably based upon moral principal rather than exasperation rising from a close and continual encounter with the new religionists.

The men in this group were probably mostly Whigs -- what the Mormons liked to call "aristocrats" and "federalists." Nehemiah Allen, Esq. supported the second attempt to secure a charter for the Kirtland bank, but his reasons for doing this remain obscure. He may have been on the fringes of anti-Mormonism, and not in its center. The same might be said for Painesville Justice of the Peace William Holbrook, Esq., who attended Hurlbut's anti-Mormon lectures but ostensibly ruled in Joseph Smith's favor when the 1834 Smith vs Hurlbut pre-trial hearing came before him.

NEHEMIAH ALLEN was an associate judge of Cuyahoga county and later a representative to the Ohio Legislature. He is listed in the 1830 Census as a head of a household in Chagrin Twp., Cuyahoga Co., OH. Judge Allen was apparently a member of the Kirtland Safety Society, for his name appears on a Feb. 10, 1837 failed amendment to a bank regulation bill as an associate of Joseph Smith, Jr., Sidney Rigdon, Benjamin Adams, Benjamin Bissel, Horace Kingsbury, Newel K. Whitney, Warren A. Cowdery, Hiram Smith, Oliver Cowdery, H. A. Sharp, and others in that "body corporate" (see Stanley Kimball "Sources of the History of the Mormons in Ohio; 1830-38," BYU Studies, 11:4, summer 1971, p. 532). in the early 1840s Nehemiah Allen joined with Grandison Newell and others to form the "Ohio Railroad" or the "Wellsville Railroad" company. Allen was its president, investors like Newell lost heavily in the project.

JAMES A. BRIGGS was a young law student in Willoughby. He was D. Philastus Hurlbut's lawyer. In later years he was a financial editor for the New York Times.

JONATHAN LAPHAM: The story of Jonathan Lapham (or Latham) remains unknown. He is listed in the 1830 Census as a head of a household in Chagrin Twp., Cuyahoga Co., OH. Possibly he was related to the Latham family of Troy township, or was from Cuyahoga county.

DR. GEORGE W. CARD is listed in the 1830 Census as a head of a household in Chagrin Twp., Cuyahoga Co., OH. He was a prominent Willoughby physician and founder of Willoughby Medical College (now Willoughby-Eastlake Technical Institute).

SILVESTER CORNWELL may possibly have been a distant relative of David Cornwell Patton's mother, Ann Cornwell. More likely he was an associate of one of the Willoughby professional men. A Silvester Cornwell lived in Chagrin Twp., Cuyahoga Co., OH in 1830; that township is adjacent to Euclid and Willoughby. This was probably the same Silvester Cornwell who was born in Connecticut in 1803, married Juliette Roberts there in 1824, and was living near Toledo in 1840/

SAMUEL WILSON: Little is known about Samuel Wilson, except that he was a businessman who lived in Willoughby Twp., Geauga Co., in the 1830s; he is listed in the 1830 Census as a head of a household in Chagrin Twp., Cuyahoga Co., OH. Samuek Wilson may have been an in-law of Grandison Newell and he may have been the same Samuel who was living in Lorain Co., OH in 1840.


Notes on James H. Paine, Esq. and Joseph H. Wakefield.

These two men have nothing particular in common except that both were anti-Mormons.

JAMES H. PAINE, Esq. was the grand-nephew of Edward Paine, one of the founder of Painesville. The Paine family were pioneer settlers in Geauga county. James was also Grandison Newell's attorney in Newell's 1837 legal battles against Joseph Smith, Jr. In 1828 Paine briefly joined Eber D. Howe on the staff of the Painesville Telegraph. Both men were Whigs and anti-Masons. Paine was Grandison Newell's attorney in his 1837 prosecutions of Smith and Rigdon.

JOSEPH H. WAKEFIELD (1792-1835) was ordained an LDS High Priest on June 3, 1831. He moved to Kirtland in 1833, but soon joined dissident Mormons and ex-Mormons like D. P. Hurlbut and was excommunicated near the end of 1833. Mormon George A. Smith says that Wakefield "headed a mob meeting, and took the lead in bringing about a persecution against the Saints in Kirtland and the regions round about." Wakefield testified at D. P. Hurlbut's Jan. 1834 pre-trial hearing in Painesville but was conspicuously absent from the witness list at Hurlbut's April trial in Chardon. Although Mormon historian Max H. Parkin pairs Wakefield's name with Hurlbut's in pointing out the most threatening anti-Mormons, he provides no information on Wakefield's activities. Joseph H. Wakefield died in 1835 at Willoughby, Ohio under suspicious circumstances.


Notes on Orris Clapp, Esq., the Cornings, Amos Daniels, and Josiah Jones.

All of these men were anti-Mormon Campbellites who lived in Mentor.

WARREN CORNING built the first distillery in Kirtland. Little is known about his sons, Warren Jr. and Nathan, except that both were Whigs and active anti-Mormons. All three men are listed in the 1830 Census as heads of households in Kirtland Twp.

AMOS DANIELS, like the Cornings, was a member of Rigdon's old congregation at Mentor. Daniels is listed in the 1830 Census as the head of a household in Kirtland Twp.; his name appears close to that of Nathan Corning in the census record.

ORRIS CLAPP, Esq. became a religious enemy of Sidney Rigdon when Rigdon converted to Mormonism. Although not an ordained minister, Clapp and his family helped hold the decimated Mentor Campbellites together, after some defected to Rigdon's Kirtland congregation. The Clapp family assisted Thomas and Alexander Campbell in their 1831 crusades against Mormonism in the Western Reserve and "Judge" Orris Clapp helped finance D. P. Hurlbut's excursions to the East during the fall of 1833 and apparently had a falling out with the man when he returned to live briefly in Mentor in 1836-37. After Rev. Rigdon's defection to the Mormons, Orris Clapp's son, Matthew S. Clapp, essentially replaced the lost minister in the Mentor church.

A man who must have known Orris Clapp was Elias Randall of Mentor. Randall was the brother-in-law of Nathan and Warren Jr. Corning, and so very likely a Campbellite himself. He listed in the 1830 Census as a heads of a households in Mentor Twp.. In the census record his name appears on the next page after the one with Orris Callp's name. Elder Benjamin Winchester tells the same :woman trap" story of Hurlbut and his wife with Randall as Sidney Rigdon tells of them with Clapp.

JOSIAH JONES appears to have been a natural born clerk and correspondent. Jones was the first clerk of Kirtland township when it was created in 1818. He was also the township's first school teacher (History of Geauga and Lake Counties Ohio, pp. 246-47). He was elected to the town clerk position again in 1830. In 1833 Jones became a Justice of the Peace in Kirtland township, the position he appears to have been holding when he subscribed his name to the Jan. 31, 1834 "To the Public" notice in the Painesville Telegraph. John C. Dowen and Alpheus C. Russell are also on record as being Justices of the Peace in Kirtland in 1833. Perhaps neither served a full term. Josiah continued on his magistrate's position in 1834 and he must have been little loved by the Kirtland Mormons. Whether or not Josiah continued as Justice of the Peace in 1835 is unclear, but if he did, he was ousted by 1836 when F. G. Williams became one of the first Mormons to serve in an important township office in Kirtland.

Following Josiah's subscribing his name to the "To the Public" notice, his next entry into public anti-Mormonism came at the end of November, 1833, when he forwarded a clipping with Orson Hyde's eyewitness account of Mormon tribulation in Missouri to D. P. Hurlbut in Palmyra, New York. Hurlbut retrieved the letter from the Palmyra Post Office and handed over the clipping to the editor of the Wayne Sentinel for reprinting in his Dec. 6, 1833 issue. In that process Jones' name was mentioned in the introduction to the reprint. As a front-lines fighter in the cold war against Mormonism, Jones was no doubt eager to hear back from Hurlbut and had contacted him at Palmyra, knowing that the anti-Mormon researcher would be in that place by the end of November. Joseph Smith prayed that God would soften Josiah Jones; heart on Feb. 28, 1834 (Joseph Smith Jourmal).

Years later, when Jones had moved to the Campbellite stronghold of Cincinnati, he gave Walter Scott an account of early Mormonism in Ohio for the June, 1841 number Scott's Evangelist of the True Gospel. The account appears to have been taken from a late 1830 entry in Josiah's personal journal. If so, the original has not survived, nor does the printed article refer to Jones' role as one of the original anti-Mormons in Kirtland.


Notes on Oliver A. Crary, Timothy D. Martindale, John F. Morse and Grandison Newell.

These four men may be grouped together as being "old settlers" in Mentor and Kirtland townships, anti-Mormons, though not Campbellites. If Josiah Jones is thought of as the point man of the anti-Mormons in Kirtland during the 1830s, these associates of his were still very much part of the front lines foot soldiers in that same cause.

OLIVER AUGUSTUS CRARY (1798-?) operated the first retail sales in Kirtland, well prior to N. K. Whitney opening his store there in 1823. The Crary family were the first settlers in Kirtland. Christopher Gore Crary, Jr. (1806-c.1895), was Oliver's brother and the author of the 1893 Pioneer and Personal Reminiscences, a book which eye-witness accounts of numerous early Geauga county residents. Oliver does not seem to have been a dedicated merchant and he established no store of his own in the township. Oliver was a charter member of the Mentor Library Company, the articles of association of which were drawn up in Jan 1819, just a few months after Kirtland was split off from its parent township of Mentor. Oliver apparently lived in the southern part of the original township, and thus ended up being a resident of Kirtland after 1818. Oliver served as town clerk in Kirtland between the spring of 1833 and the spring of 1834, and it was while holding this office that he subscribed his name to the Jan. 31, 1834 "To the Public" notice in the Painesville Telegraph. Oliver was not re-elected to office again in Kirtland during the Mormon stay there, and it is likely that was due his having been a member of the anti-Mormon "committee" during the winter of 1833-34.

JOHN F. MORSE was on old settler and a life-long associate of the Crary family. His sister married Christopher, the brother of Oliver A. Crary. The Craries and Morses were Presbyterians and lived in southeast Kirtland township. John F. Morse appears on the 1829 list of township officers as a road supervisor. During the following three years he served as one of Kirtland's three Trustees. He was also a Geauga County Commissioner during 1831. In the years of the Mormon rise to political power in Kirtland, Morse's name disappeared from the list of Kirtland town officers, but in April of 1838 he was again elected to his old position of Trustee. It is likely that Morse's subscribing his name to the Jan. 31, 1834 "To the Public" notice in the Painesville Telegraph deprived him from filling an office in Kirtland from 1834 to 1837. Still, that does not explain his absence from among the town officers in 1833.

Both John F. Morse and his father, John Morse, Sr., apparently had problems relating to the Kirtland Mormons: "Colonel John Morse, brother of Harvey, applied to me for a writ against Jo[e] Smith for an assault. Jo[e] begged me not to issue a writ against him." (Kirtland J. P. John C. Dowen's Statement)

TIMOTHY D. MARTINDALE was elected as one of Kirtland township's 18 road supervisors in April of 1832. The following year he relinquished that responsibility, but was back among the township officers again as both a road supervisor and one of the Overseers of the Poor following the 1835 election.

Timothy D. Martindale extended credit to Joseph Smith, Jr. on Oct. 11, 1836 in a Kirtland land purchase and $5,037 of the original loan remained unpaid upon its Jan. 1, 1837 due date. Martindale swore out a complaint against Smith in January of 1837 and had Smith arrested on Feb. 22, 1837, less than a week after the Mormon leader returned from Monroe, Michigan, where he had purchased the Bank of Monroe. Smith and Martingdale settled the unpaid debt out of court, presumably very shortly after Smith's arrest. It is not unlikely that Smith paid off the balance to Martindale in Bank of Monroe bank notes.

Martindale was again elected to a road supervisor position in the April 1837 election. In that year the Mormons won practically all the important elected positions in the township. In 1838 the situation was reserved, with "reformer" Mormons taking a few offices and non-Mormons regaining all but one of the other elected positions in the township. In 1838 Martindale was made the Treasurer of Kirtland. The fact that Martindale was out of office in 1836 and held only a minor position in 1837 appears to indicate that he was not supported by the LDS voters after his foreclosure upon Joseph Smith in February of 1837. Given the fact that Martindale was one of the signers of the Jan. 31, 1834 "To the Public" anti-Mormon notice in the Painesville Telegraph, it is difficult to account for his trusting Joseph Smith for a loan of several thousand dollars on Oct. 11, 1836. Perhaps Martindale extended the land sale credit as a kind of bait, by which he could lure the practically insolvent Smith into an unforeseen legal battle. If so, Martindale would have been simply continuing to apply the same kind of financial and legal pressure against Smith as his neighbor, Grandison Newell was then exerting.

In August 1838 Martindale became a trustee of Asa Lord's Western Reserve Teacher's Seminary, an early educators' academy which began in the Kirtland Temple. Oliver Cowdery was its secretary during its first year of operations.

GRANDISON NEWELL (1786-1874) The following excerpts are from the History of Geauga and Lake Counties Ohio:

"Grandison Newell was a native of Connecticut, but was residing in New York at the time of his emigration to Ohio. He settled in the township in 1819. he jointly, with Chester Hart, purchased the farm known as the "Newell farm." They were subsequently associated together in the manufacture of the "Wright patent" cast-iron plow, the first cast plow manufactured on the Reserve. Mr. Newell was a man of enterprise. On the east branch of the Chagrin river, in Kirtland, he built a chair factory and a saw-mill, which furnished employment to a large number of men. He was a determined enemy of the Mormons, and did much to bring about their removal from Kirtland; was prominently identified with many public and private enterprises. He became wealthy, but eventually lost heavily by investments in the Fairport and Wellsville Railroad." (p. 250).

"In about 1821 a "pocket-furnace" was established on the lot now owned by David Beals, in the southern portion of Mentor. Grandison Newell and Chester Hart were the founders and it cast the first plows on the Reserve. At first the building was of logs, but in the year 1926 this was torn down and a substantial frame building erected. In addition to plows, they cast an immense number of clock-bells. These were shipped to Winsted, Connecticut, and were used in the extensive clock-manufactory of Riley Whiting at that point. The "foundry" was in operation twenty-five years. [1821-1846] In the year 1829 a chair factory was put in operation near the foundry, by Grandison Newell. Subsequently, Fairchild Smith became a partner. they continued in business fifteen years, the business assuming huge proportion for that day. Other parties came in possession of it, and after some twelve years' longer continuance the enterprise ceased...." )p. 251).

"[In 1837-38] when the members of the [Mormon] church failed to harmonize, the finances at a low ebb, and demoralization imminent, Grandison Newell -- who, by the way, was ever a "thorn in the side" of the fanatics -- again appeared on the scene, and by divers legal prosecutions at least obtained a judgment against the church, and, in default of payment, the temple, the pride and hope of so many faithful hearts, was put up at auction, and sold to Newell for the inconsiderable sum of one hundred and fifty dollars. Their printing office was burned. the members went from ill to worse..." (p. 248).

The "Newell Farm" was apparently located straddling the current Kirtland-Mentor township line, about 3 miles northeast of the Kirtland Temple. Timothy Martingdale and Chester Hart were presumably Newell's nearest neighbors, with Martindale and Hart probably owning land both in Mentor and Kirtland townships. Martindale appears to have owned the land through which Chillicothe Road passes, just before entering Mentor township. Hart may have owned property on both sides of the Kirtland-Mentor boundary, where Mentor Road crosses the line. Backman places the Newell sawmill on the east branch of the Chagrin river, just west of the Chardon township line and less than a mile east of the intersection of Booth and Sperry roads. (Heavens Resound, p. 72 map). Newell's "foundry" was located in Mentor township, about two miles northeast of the sawmill.

Although Grandison Newell had extensive business dealings in Kirtland and along the Kirtland-Mentor boundary, he apparently lived all his life on the Newell Farm, just barely inside the southern Mentor line. Not being a resident of Kirtland, Newell was never an office-holder there and was unable to exert direct political pressure against the Mormons. Although he helped finance D. P. Hurlbut's 1833 excursion to New York and Massachusetts, Newell's name does not appear on the Jan 31, 1834 "To the Public" notice in the Painesville Telegraph. Probably this was by design. Newell seems to have relished fighting the Mormon expansion in Geauga county by working through surrogates like Samuel D. Rounds.

When the Kirtland bank opened in January 1837, Newell sensed that the new financial firm did not have enough gold and silver coins on hand to redeem very many of its bank notes. If he could force the unchartered Mormon bank into a situation where it refused to redeem a significant amount of its own bank notes, Newell stood a good chance of seeing Kirtland Safety Society managers punished for illegal banking. James Thompson, one of Newell's employees, explains how the Mentor businessman began his attack upon the Mormon establishment: "I worked for Grandison Newell considerable. He used to drive about the country and buy up all the Mormon money possible, and the next morning go to the bank and obtain the specie. When they stopped payment he prosecuted them and closed the bank." (Arthur B. Deming's Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol. I. No. 2 April, 1888)

Grandison Newell's assault upon the Mormon bank appears to have commenced even before the firm opened its doors in Kirtland on Monday, Jan. 9, 1837. The bank's elegantly engraved notes were first made available as currency on Friday, Jan 6. On that Friday, Wilfred Woodruff wrote in his Journal: "I visited the office of the Kirtland Safety Society & saw the first money that was issued by the Treasurer or Society it was given to Brother Bump (in exchange for other notes) who was the first to Circulate it..." But Elder Jacob Bump was not the only person with the new Kirtland money in his pockets that weekend. Daniel Burnam Hart of Mentor later recalled that "He happened to be in Kirtland the Saturday evening preceding the Monday morning on which the bank was first opened for business, and, having a debt against some of the chief Mormon worthies, was, upon requesting payment, proferred one of the new Mormon ten-dollar bank-bills." Daniel probably took the note back to Mentor and showed it to his family and friends.

The following Monday morning Daniel took the note to the bank office when it opened for business, and "finding it impossible to use it for any legitimate commercial ends, he presented it to the officers of the bank, demanding its redemption..." The "officers" (Smith and Rigdon) refused to redeem the note for gold or silver coin and Hart "threatened them with the law." Finally, some other person in the bank offered him a note of legal tender and Daniel accepted the trade. (History of Geauga and Lake Counties Ohio, p. 248). The dogged drive behind Daniel's efforts to redeem the bill as quickly as possible comes clear when it is revealed that he was Chester Hart's younger brother. Chester Hart had been Grandison Newell's key business partner since 1821. Newell had no doubt used young Daniel to test the redeemability of the Kirtland notes as soon as they became available. And he had learned that the bank was not prepared to hand out even ten dollars in specie without an argument. All Newell had to do to challenge the Mormon bank operation was to round up a few hundred dollars in the new bank notes, present them for legal currency, and then file a law suit against Rigdon and Smith when they refused the obligation. And that is exactly what he did.

After waiting through some delays and a pre-trial hearing, Grandison Newell finally obtained a jury trial against Smith and Rigdon under a seldom-cited 1816 Ohio banking statute. Had the Kirtland Safety Society's notes passed the test of legal currency, Newell may have not received the judgment he wanted in the prosecution. But the Mormon bank was unable to redeem its notes for specie on a regular basis and that fact assured Newell of a victory in the case. Smith and Rigdon were both fined $1000 for illegal banking in the court judgment and Newell was awarded half of that sum by the State as a bonus for bringing his charges to fruition. Amazingly Smith and Rigdon refused to pay the settlement. They had petitioned for a re-trial on the basis of appeal. But that did not relieve them of their current obligation to pay the $2000 in fines, pending the outcome of the appeal case. In allowing the fines to remain unpaid Smith and Rigdon opened themselves up to an expropriation of their property and a sheriff's sale to liquidate that property in order to raise the demanded $2000. That is exactly what happened on Monday, Jan. 15, 1838. The Geauga county Sheriff took legal possession of the titles to the LDS Church's Kirtland Temple and the Office Building which stood immediately west of the Temple. An auction of the properties was conducted and the Temple sold for less than $200. Enough money was apparently collected in the auction to satisfy the financial demands of the court. Whether Grandison Newell received his $1000 is unclear, but former LDS Seventy Nathaniel Milliken (1793-1874) seems to have ended up with the Office Building and the Elders' Journal print shop it housed. (Hepziba Richards letter of January 18, 1838. in Kenneth W. Godfrey, et al., Women's Voices...1982). Milliken had been excommunicated, along with Warren Parrish and others, by a special meeting of the Quorums of the Seventies on Jan. 7, 1838.

The printing office burned to the ground a few hours later and the Church regained a tenuous hold upon the Kirtland Temple for a time, but Grandison had won his victory against Smith and Rigdon, their defunct bank, and their effective leadership over the Mormons remaining in Geauga county.

As Milton V. Backman, Jr. says:

One reason that some of the pressures exerted before 1837 failed was because the enemy lacked information that could be used in a court of law to incriminate Church leaders. As apostasy increased within the Church, vexatious law suits multiplied. Apostates undoubtedly provided the old enemy with information that could be used to substantiate charges that might have led to convictions [[30. Grandison Newell, who operated a chair and cabinet factory near the banks of the East Branch of the Chagrin River, was one of the leading opponents of Mormonism in the Western Reserve. He instigated legal proceedings against Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon for issuing unauthorized bank money. A judgment of $I,000 for each of these leaders was obtained and half of the money was given to Newell. Grandison Newell, however, claimed that he spent more than a $1,000 in law suits against Mormon leaders. He further claimed that he was assisted by Mormon dissidents, the "most effective and reliable" informer being one of the early leaders of that religious movement. Henry Holcomb, Scrapbook, pp. 48-53; Henry Holcomb, "Personal and Family History," pp. 384-86. See also the Grandison Newell file, Lake County Historical Society and Elizabeth G. Hitchcock, "Grandison Newell, A Born Trader," 10 (May 1968):1-4. end30]] (Milton V. Backman, Jr., "Flight from Kirtland" in Milton V. Backman, Jr. (ed.) Regional Studies in LDS History Series: Ohio Provo: BYU 1990, p. 148). Note: Henry Holcomb was the administrator of the Joseph Smith, Jr. estate in Lake County, Ohio in the early 1870s.
See also 2 page statement by A. G. Riddle on Judge Reuben Hitchcock (who was Geauga Co. Prosecutor for most of the years between 1828 and 1837, and who prosecuted the 1837 illegal banking charges indictment against Smith and Rigdon) and the 1837 State of Ohio vs Joseph Smith trial for conspiracy to murder Grandison Newell, no date, original in Lake County Historical Society,


The Beginnings of Kirtland Anti-Mormonism.

Writers of Mormon history have long recognized that an informed explanation of anti-Mormonism in Ohio still needs to be compiled and set forth for future students of this subject. Historians like Max H. Parkin, Marvin S. Hill, and Milton V. Backman have all struggled with this problem in recent decades, but none have gone much beyond simply fine-tuning the old LDS traditions of undue "persecution" and unfair treatment at the hands of non-Mormons. In a c. 1992 unpublished paper Backman and two associates laid some of the necessary groundwork for establishing a new understanding of the Mormons' troubles in interacting with the people on the Ohio Western Reserve during the Kirtland era in latter Day Saint History. This seldom-cited paper is entitled "An Antebellum Community Transformed: The Mormons at Kirtland, Ohio, 1830-1850. Its content is heavy on the raw data side and rather light on the analytical portion; still, it is provides a starting point for the task of understanding and explaining Kirtland era anti-Mormonism.

One theme that the three authors return to several times is the disparity of socio-economic levels between the mass of Mormon concerts who flocked into Kirtland and the previous settlers of the area. For the most part the Mormon converts were much poorer and had far fewer resources at their command then did their non-Mormon neighbors. The society of the Western Reserve was largely that of an earlier period in New England, transplanted to the western frontier, It was a society of rugged individualism moderated by a tradition of strong community spirit and town meeting style local government. In short, it was a society in which the needs of individuals and families greatly impacted the entire community. And multitudes of poor Mormon converts huddled together on a few hundred acres of rural farmland were not a welcome addition to the landscape, no matter what their religious beliefs might be.

The very idealism that gave rise to the Mormon gathering provided the growing mass of converts with an immediate difference in views from those of their non-Mormon neighbors. The Mormon pre-millennialism then in full vogue called for building and making room for a great celestialized city of refuge -- a metropolis containing thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of inhabitants, all marching to a single drum beat. The Gentile neighbors of the Kirtland Mormons soon came to realize that the physical expansion of Mormonism in Kirtland township would be carried forth mostly at the expense of the old settlers. The prior residents would be expected to either join the Mormons or to sell their lands at the beginning of an upward spiraling of real estate values driven by the continual influx of new converts. Sooner or later the Mormons would occupy all the useable land in Kirtland, whether they had fully paid for it or not. And sooner or later the increase in population of same-thinking people would create a political situation in which the Mormons would be able to control the outcomes of all local elections.

Non-Mormons as a Source of Tension in Kirtland

The 1830 Federal Census of Ohio shows 162 families living in Kirtland Township, only five or six of which converted to Mormonism at the end of that same year. Several of these non-Mormons became active anti-Mormons during the early 1830s. For example, the Kirtland Mormons were so unhappy with the reaction of Gentile Justice of the Peace Ariel Hanson to their sect, that 70 of them signed a petition demanding Hanson's removal from office ("Petition of Joseph Smith Jr. to Ariel Hanson," dated Nov. 7, 1836, original in Lake County Historical Society, Mentor, Ohio).

Another example may be taken from Joseph Smith's personal journal entry for Jan. 28, 1834, in which he prayed for God's intervention against the efforts of Austin Loud, Andrew Bardsly, Elijah Smith, and Josiah Jones -- all were non-Mormon Kirtland land owners and the latter two were listed as heads of households in Kirtland in the 1830 Census. Elijah Smith acted as one of D. P. Hurlbut's surities in the bond he posted with the Chardon court in April 1834; while Josiah Jones corresponded with Hurlbut during his 1833 trip to Palmyra. The other man who joined Elijah Smith in putting up a money for Hurlbut's April 1834 Court bond was Charles A. Holmes; he served as a road supervisor in Kirtland during 1832 and 1834. Holmes apparently sold land in Kirtland to Joseph Smith in 1831, but by 1837 Smith had failed to pay a due balance of nearly $10,000. Holmes challenged Smith in court and took back his land.

Mormon "Apostates," an Additional Burden on the Township

As if all of this were not enough the raise the ire of the old settlers, Mormonism had the strange side-effect of spinning off numerous disgruntled "apostates" -- former members who had invested their all in the new social order and then decided to abandon the faith. Such offspring of the main LDS movement were a danger to the surrounding community, which could not simply absorb a continual stream of penniless cast-offs carrying major chips on their shoulders. If Backman and his research associates keep coming back to the theme of Mormon poverty at Kirtland in their paper, it is only because that was the reality of the situation in the early 1830s and a potential problem which must have been on just about every person's mind who lived in the region of the Mormon boom.

Not only were these new multitudes of converts a scanty resource for taxation, they threatened to consume the small reserves of the surrounding community in their own needs for food, shelter, sanitation, transportation, and township services. In the days prior to October 21, 1833 the elected township officers had seen enough of the Mormons and they acted in unison to meet the growing problem by attempting to force the removal of the fanatical paupers. This attempt at expulsion was carried out by the township officers empowering Kirtland's Overseer of the Poor, Roswell D. Cotterill, to serve a legal writ upon a total of 49 Mormon families, warning them that the township would no longer provide them with any special services, no matter how urgent their needs. Essentially the entire Mormon colony was warned to "get out of town." Although the Kirtland officers decided to use this method in mid-October, they were slow in expediting the order; the writ was not served upon most of the unwanted Latter Day Saints until December 20.

The township officers' delay in serving the "warning out of town" writ probably arose from several different factors. The officers had been unhurried in arriving at their decision in the first place. Unless such undesirables could simultaneously be found guilty of substantial crimes, the "warning out of town" was not enforceable by physical expulsion. In order for the writ to have its desired effect practically the entire non-Mormon community in and around Kirtland had to unite in shunning and boycotting the LDS undesirables. A similar warning issued to Sidney Rigdon, F. G. Williams and John Whitmer at the beginning of 1831 failed in its intended effect. Obviously old settler Mormon converts like F. G. Williams and N. K. Whitney retained a few friends among the local population who were not ready to apply draconian methods to guarantee their banishment from the township. In order to work the way it was intended, the warning out of town" writ had to be accompanied by a broadcasting of the Mormons' improprieties and their alleged pernicious effect upon the Kirtland community. The Kirtland township officers probably spent most of November and the first part of December just verifying the residences of the 49 targeted Mormon families. At the same time they worked to drum up support within the community for the mass exclusion and to document the Saints' purported transgressions.

Faced with a fast increasing Mormon population inhabiting but a slowly increasing patch of holy ground, the old residents sought innovative ways to publicize their contempt for the unwanted strangers in their midst. One idea that must have occurred to many of the old settlers early on, was that the Mormon gathering might be greatly impacted if the characters those who controlled the process could be discredited beyond any hope of rehabilitation. In the case of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon this idea called for showing them to be something much less than divinely inspired "prophets, seers, and revelators."

In the past anti-Mormons like the Painesville newspaper publisher Eber D. Howe had waged their private campaigns to discredit the Mormon leaders. But Howe's passing along hostile stories of the Mormon Smith family from old Palmyra newspapers had accomplished little in halting the Mormon tide in Geauga county. Howe's printing of articles like the adverse accounts penned by Ezra Booth may have had some minor effect in limiting local conversions, but they had provided no insurance against the continual inpouring of LDS converts with origins outside of the Ohio Western Reserve. Clearly the Kirtland town officers could not simply circulate those old stories and hope they would provide enough evidence against the Mormons to empower the 1833 warnings out of town. Luckily for the old residents, at that very same time ex-Mormons like D. Philastus Hurlbut and Joseph H. Wakefield were beginning to publicize some very real flaws in the claim of Joseph Smith, Jr. to be a virtuous holy man.


Reflections on the Rise of Geauga County Anti-Mormonism.

In the c. 1992 unpublished paper by Backman, et al, the following is found on page 102:

"After the "Warning-out" of October 1833 failed to discourage Mormon immigration, local leaders met, expressed their grievances, and identified that which they considered to be the negative consequences of the Mormon migration to Kirtland. Early in 1834 this committee consisting of some of the largest land owners in Kirtland concluded that the "impoverished" Mormons "alienated" the affections of other settlers, injured the town;s reputation, inhibited more permanent settlers from locating there and threatened the older settlers with an "insupportable weight of pauperism."
Backman has come to essentially the correct conclusions here, but has failed to understand the sequence of events leading up to the publication of the Jan. 31, 1834 "To the Public" notice in the Painesville Telegraph.

Ever since Sidney Rigdon's baptism into Mormonism on Nov. 8, 1830, there had been an anti-Mormon backlash evinced among the Mentor and Kirtland Campbellites who resisted following their pastor into the new religion. But, up until the latter part of 1833, this backlash appears to have been mostly a defensive action directed at salvaging the Mentor church. Except for a few resistant individuals like Josiah Jones, the Kirtland Campbellites were lost to Mormonism by January of 1831. The Kirtland town officers' ineffectual warning out of town served upon Sidney Rigdon, F. G. Williams and John Whitmer that same month shows that the local Campbellites and the Kirtland government had a common goal as early as the beginning of that year. But nothing came of that early attempt at cooperation in expelling a few Mormon individuals. However, in the fall of 1833, the Mentor Campbellites and the Kirtland town officers were ready to work together in attempting to expell the entire LDS colony. Josiah Jones, the Campbellite Justice of the Peace in Kirtland, was a key player in this new cooperative project.

Jones was almost certainly a Whig in his political sentiments. The new party was just then coming together out of an amalgam of various anti-Jacksonian partisans, so he may not have identified himself by that name as early as 1833, but he must have been numbered among their ranks. So also were other anti-Mormon Campbellites in the area, like the Corning family of Mentor, and probably also the Clapp family. Near the end of 1833 the anti-Mormon associates of Josiah Jones included also a prominent non-Campbellite and Whig, Grandison Newell of Mentor. Businessman Newell does not appear to have been a close friend of any of his Campbellite neighbors, but he found common ground with them and the Kirtland town officers in opposing the growth of Mormonism in Geauga county. Through the cooperation of men like Orris Clapp, the Cornings, and Grandison Newell, Josiah Jones was able to forge a much-needed alliance between the Kirtland town council and other anti-Mormons in the area. It is not likely that there was any one permanent leader of the ad hoc "committee" then coming together, but it must have involved an ongoing collaboration between Josiah Jones and Grandison Newell.

It is this incipient anti-Mormon alliance, in place weeks before the "Warning-out" of October 1833, which Backman has failed to account for. Perhaps the "committee" did not meet as a single body until after October 1833, but certain of its members were at work, engineering the hoped-for Mormon expulsion, as early as September of that same year.

From the Mormon point of view the Kirtland Town Council's warning them out of town at the end of 1833 could not have come at a worse time. With development of their planned "New Jerusalem" on the Missouri frontier then in great jeopardy, the Mormons decided to make Kirtland a much more permanent place of residence than they had envisioned it being only a few months before. With the commencement of the construction of the Kirtland Temple in the summer of 1833 and the installation of a new printing press later that same year, the Mormons were showing that they intended to stay and Kirtland and expand their operations there. Not only were they unwilling and unable to move out of town, they had to prepare to a possible influx of refugees returning from the failed promised land in Jackson county, Missouri.

In the Township election of 1834 the Saints, by cooperating closely with the Jacksonian voting minority, were able to place a few of their men among the town officers. The non-Jacksonian, non-Mormons took affront to this development and worked hard the following year to see that their votes were not divided, By a small majority every single Mormon who ran for office in the township was defeated. This setback was not well taken by the Mormons. In the following months they leap into partisan politics with a vengeance, both on the township and county levels. They established a Democratic newspaper, worked closely with non-Mormon Jacksonians, and begin to win political races in Geauga county. So long as Joseph Smith could count upon an ever increasing number of loyal, bloc-voting Latter Day Saints to take up residence in Kirtland, the Mormon social machine appeared to be upon an unstoppable roll. Only financial and/or religious problems might slow its progress after the Mormon political victory of 1837. And, strangely enough, that is exactly what happened. Thus the stage was set for a running battle between the Kirtland Mormons and their Gentile neighbors.

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