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CRISIS AT KIRTLAND II.
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-July | Aug. | Sep. | Oct. | Nov. | Dec. | notes
addendum 1 | addendum 2 | Chapter 3 Timeline
Part 1: D. P. Hurlbut's Crusade
Benjamin Winchester provides an informative comment upon what happened after D. P.'s final excommunication form the LDS Church:
HURLBUT'S anti-MORMON MISSION
Part 2: The Geauga Anti-Mormons
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)
HURLBUT'S anti-MORMON MISSION
Part 3: On the Road Again
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)
HURLBUT'S anti-MORMON MISSION
Part 4: Rambling Rogues and Rovers
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?
HURLBUT'S anti-MORMON MISSION
Part 5: Quest for the Holy Grail
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)
Episode 2 -- Chapter 4
Episode 2 -- Addendum 1:
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:
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.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)
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:
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.
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.
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.
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,
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 KirtlandThe 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 TownshipAs 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.
"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.