Inventing Mormonism
H. Michael Marquardt & Wesley P. Walters

Bibliographical Essay 1.
Smith Family Recollections

Joseph Smith

[p.219]The Manuscript History of the Church was commenced in 1838 when Joseph Smith dictated the early portion from his birth in December 1805 to about September 1827. A rough draft was evidently made before the final copy. This 1838 draft was copied in 1839 into a bound book and is known as the 1838-39 manuscript history. The volume is labeled Book A-1 and is located in LDS archives. The history is a first person narrative of events. How much of the history was actually dictated by Smith is not known. Smith had dictated and written a short history in 1832 which covered events to April 1829.

For December 1805 to January 1831 the pages are in the following handwritings: pages 1-59 (Dec. 1805-Sept. 1830), James Mulholland; pages 60-75 (Sept.-Nov. 1830), Robert B. Thompson; and pages 75-92 (Nov. 1830-Jan. 1831), William W. Phelps. The text on pages 131-33 was written by Willard Richards after publication in the Times and Seasons.

There is a note in the front of the manuscript about Smith’s oldest brother Alvin. The year of his death has been corrected to 1823. The note reads:

In Memory of Alvin Smith
Died the 19th Day of November
In the 25 year of his age year 1823
Joseph Smith Joseph
In Memory of Alvin S

[p.220]The history covering December 1805 through January 1831 appeared in the following publications: Times and Seasons 3 (15 Mar. 1842): 726 through 4 (15 Oct. 1843): 354, Nauvoo, Illinois; The Latter-Day Saints’ Millennial Star 3 (June 1842): 21 through 5 (Aug. 1844): 35, Liverpool, England. It also appeared in the Millennial Star 14 (Supplement, 1852): 1-56. Extracts covering December 1805 through May 1829 were published in the Pearl of Great Price in 1851. The Pearl of Great Price was revised and then canonized on 10 October 1880 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is known as Joseph Smith-History (JS-H). In 1902 the “History of Joseph Smith” up to January 1831 was published by the LDS church as The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1:1-145. This publication contains editing by B. H. Roberts. It first appeared in a paperback edition in 1978. For a convenient publication of the Manuscript History, see Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989), 1:267-346. An early 1839 draft covering May 1829 through September 1830 can be found on pages 231-64.

The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, headquartered in Independence, Missouri, published The History of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, written and compiled by Joseph Smith III and Heman C. Smith in 1897; republished in Independence, Missouri, by Herald House in 1967, 1:6-168.

Joseph Smith only “corrected 42 pages” (p. 42 covers part of June 1830) after its publication in the Times and Seasons. See Heber C. Kimball’s diary in On the Potter’s Wheel: The Diaries of Heber C. Kimball, edited by Stanley B. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Signature Books in association with Smith Research Associates, 1987), 100; also History of the Church 7:389.

Lucy Mack Smith

The Preliminary Manuscript to the “History of Lucy Smith” was dictated by her to Martha Jane Coray. Martha’s husband, Howard, in his autobiography written in 1883, recalled that it was in the winter of 1844-45 that his wife was asked to serve as amanuensis for Lucy Smith (see Howard C. Searle, “Early Mormon Historiography: Writ-[p.221]ing the History of the Mormons, 1830-1858,” Ph.D. diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 1979, 362). Lucy wrote to her son William: “I have by the council of the 12 undertaken a history of the family that is my father’s family and my own” (ibid., 369, letter dated 23 Jan. 1845). The original of the Preliminary Manuscript is in LDS archives. There is also a small notebook housed in Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.

Orson Pratt used another manuscript that had been compiled and revised by Martha and Howard Coray from the earlier Preliminary Manuscript and other papers. Extracts from the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons were used in this revision. The title page of the revised manuscript is as follows: “The History of Lucy Smith Mother of the Prophet.” The copyright of 18 July 1845 has: “The History of Lucy Smith … an account of the many persecutions, trials and afflictions which I and my family have endured in bringing forth the Book of Mormon, and establishing the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” (Copyright Records, Illinois, Vol. 18 [1821-48], 18 July 1845, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.).

The first publication of Lucy’s history was Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations in Liverpool, England, for Orson Pratt by Samuel W. Richards in 1853. This work is as much an autobiography of Lucy as it is a biography of Joseph Smith.

Five years later, in 1859, Brigham Young remarked that he wanted the book revised and corrected (Wilford Woodruff journal, 13 Feb. 1859, LDS archives). Later in 1865 Young had Biographical Sketches recalled because of assumed inaccuracies. The 1853 publication was revised by George A. Smith and Elias Smith. This revision was published in 1902 with an introduction by Joseph F. Smith. It did not indicate where the text had been altered nor the reason. The 1902 edition was further edited with notes and comments by Preston Nibley in 1945 and published by Bookcraft of Salt Lake City under the title History of Joseph Smith By His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith.

An edition was published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1880 and 1908 as Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and His Progenitors for Many Generations. It was republished in 1912 with notes by Heman C. Smith, and a [p.222]paperback edition was printed by Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, in 1969. A reproduction of the 1853 first edition was issued by Modern Microfilm Co., Salt Lake City, in 1965 with an introduction by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, and a printing by Arno Press and the New York Times was published in 1969.

For additional information, see Jan Shipps, Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985), 87-107.

William Smith

On 18 April 1841 William Smith was interviewed by Reverend James Murdock, who included excerpts from the interview in a letter dated 19 June 1841 written to The Congregational Observer, Hartford and New-Haven, Connecticut, 2 (3 July 1841): 1. About 1875 William wrote about his early life in New York. This is known as “Notes Written on `Chamber’s Life of Joseph Smith.’ by William Smith,” and was sent to the LDS church in 1925 by Charles Knecht of Yakima, Washington.

William Smith’s published narrative was printed in 1883 when he was seventy-two years old as William Smith on Mormonism (Lamoni, IA: Printed at Herald Steam Book and Job Office). On 8 June 1884 he preached a sermon at Deloit, Iowa, that was published in Saints’ Herald 31 (4 Oct. 1884): 643-44. In October 1893, a month before William died, he was interviewed by E. C. Briggs and J. W. Peterson. This interview was printed in the following publications: Zion’s Ensign 5 (13 Jan. 1894): 6; Deseret Evening News 27 (20 Jan. 1894): 11; Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star 61 (26 Feb. 1894): 132-34; and excerpted in Church News, 16 Mar. 1968, 11, 13.

Bibliographical Essay 2.
The 1826 Examination

Itemized Bills by Justice Albert Neely and Constable Phillip De Zeng

The itemized bills of Justice Albert Neely and Constable Philip [p.223]De Zeng, officials who participated in the arrest and examination of Joseph Smith, were discovered on 28 July 1971 by Wesley Walters and Fred Poffarl among dead-storage documents in the basement of the county jail in Norwich, New York. These two bills were bound together in a bundle with other 1826 Bainbridge bills submitted to the County Board of Supervisors for approval and payment. They were tied with pink string, which had been placed around them when the treasurer packaged them for storage after they had been marked “passed” and the total due each claimant had been carefully entered into the “Supervisor’s Journal” beside his name.

These and other bills relating to Joseph Smith’s Bainbridge court hearings were removed by Walters and Poffarl from the water-soaked box in which they were found and hand-carried to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. They were received back by Chenango County in October 1971. Photographs are on file at the library of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

Neely’s bill was first published by Jerald Tanner from a photocopy (see Salt Lake City Messenger 32 [Aug. 1971]: 2). It, along with the constable’s bill, appeared shortly thereafter in Joseph Smith’s 1826 Trial (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm Co., 1971), 6, 12-13. Both bills were also reproduced from photostats in Marvin S. Hill’s “Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial: New Evidence and New Difficulties,” Brigham Young University Studies 12 (Winter 1972): 227, 233.

The 1826 bill which Neely submitted to the county for payment carries this entry:

same [i.e. The People]
vs                                                       Misdemeanor
Joseph Smith
The Glass looker                                   To my fees in
March 20. 1826                                    examination of the above cause 2.68

The phrase “Glass looker” on Neely’s bill is Joseph Smith’s preferred term to describe his occupation at the time, and is the same word Abram W. Benton used in his 1831 account to describe the peep-stone or glass placed in a hat to locate hidden treasures. Smith’s [p.224]father-in-law, Isaac Hale, in a sworn affidavit published in their county newspaper in 1834, mentions that “Smith stated to me, that he had given up what he called `glass-looking,’ and that he expected to work hard for a living, and was willing to do so” (Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian, 9 [1 May 1834]: 1; Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 264).

The bill submitted by De Zeng gives further details concerning this court procedure by listing:

Serving Warrant on Joseph Smith & t[ravel]              1.25
Subpoening 12 Witnesses & travel                            2.50 [3.50?]
attendance with Prisoner two days & 1 nigh[t]           1.75
notifying two Justices                                              1.__
10 Miles travel with Mittimus to take him                    1.__

The dollar amounts are barely visible in the water-soaked area. It is not entirely certain if the costs for subpoenaing witnesses and travel read $2.50 or $3.50.

Neely’s itemized bill of $16.37, which included a number of other cases besides the examination of Joseph Smith, was “passed” by the Chenango County supervisors for $15.44. De Zeng’s bill of $41.15 was passed, together with another bill for $26 for a total of $67.15. The total amounts of the bills for each year were entered into the “Supervisor’s Journal” beside the name of the official in each town. This journal was housed in a separate building from that in which the bills were kept.

Bainbridge had four justices of the peace and two constables. Each justice handled cases in which one or both of the constables served warrants and subpoenas, and sometimes two or three justices were called together to form a court of special sessions to try a particular case. Therefore the costs for some of the cases appear on the bills of several different officials. For example, the 1825 cases of Luke Crandall and Lewis Porter appear on the bills of Constable De Zeng, who made the arrest, and on the bills of Justices Levi Bigelow, James Humphrey, and Zechariah Tarble, who served as a court of special sessions to try the cases (see “Arrangement of Bills of Justices of the Peace and Constables for Bainbridge, Chenango County, New [p.225] York, 1820- 30,” comp. H. Michael Marquardt, July 1988). This interrelatedness of bills substantiates the genuineness of any particular bill. In addition each bill is in the distinctive handwriting of that individual, which can be validated from bills submitted in other years.

The William D. Purple Account

William D. Purple of Greene, New York, had moved to South Bainbridge to begin a medical practice in 1825. While in South Bainbridge he became a Mason and was soon secretary of the local lodge. As Warden of Friendship Lodge, he “was representative in Grand Lodge in June, 1827” (William D. Purple, Historical Reminiscences of Eastern Light Lodge, No. 126, F. & A. M., of Greene, Chenango County, N.Y., From 5811 [1811] To 5897 [1897], with Biographical Sketches, revised and published by the Lodge, 1897 [Greene, NY: Hall’s Steam Print, 1897], 40). He also served as clerk of the village of Bainbridge when it was incorporated on 21 April 1829 (James H. Smith, History of Chenango and Madison Counties, New York [Syracuse, NY: D. Madson & Co., 1880], 167). Near the end of 1830 he removed to Coventry and then to Greene, New York, where he continued his practice. “He was Inspector of Common Schools in 1834, Postmaster eight years, and Greene’s first Historian” (Mildred English Cochrane, From Raft to Railroad: A History of the Town of Greene, Chenango County, New York 1792-1867 [Ithaca, NY: Cayuaga Press, 1967], 89, 99-101). He died on 18 May 1886.

When the examination of Joseph Smith was held early in 1826, Purple, then twenty-three years old, was invited by his friend Justice Neely to take notes. In all probability his notes provided the basis for the record of the examination in Neely’s docket book. From time to time thereafter he told acquaintances about the legal difficulties encountered by young Smith in Bainbridge. In 1877 he committed his reminiscences to writing. They appeared in The Chenango Union 30 (3 May 1877): 3, Norwich, New York, under the heading “Joseph Smith, the Originator of Mormonism, Historical Reminiscences of the town of Afton,” dated “Greene, April 28, 1877.” A copy is located in the Guernsey Memorial Library, Norwich, New York. Another copy put in a scrapbook can be found in the A. T. Schroeder Collec-[p.226]tion, under “Mormonism: Pamphlets, Vol. 2, Item 5,” State Historical Society of Wisconsin, Madison. A different printing can be found pasted in the “Dr. Purple Scrapbook,” 60-[62], Moore Memorial Library in Greene, New York. The account also became the basis of an article in The Democrat, Montrose, Pennsylvania, 19 Sept. 1877. Purple’s presence in Bainbridge in 1826 is attested to by a bill of Justice of the Peace Zechariah Tarble in issuing a search warrant on 16 and 26 May 1826, “on the application of William D. Purple,” to search for his stolen coat. It is further evidenced in a bill of “Knapp & Purple” for medical services to persons in the township from 9 to 21 February 1827.

The official record and the bills correct Purple as to the exact date of the examination, 20 March 1826. However, Purple had dated the hearing the end of February, remarkably close considering his reminiscence was written some fifty years after the event. Purple’s character and memory are praised in several obituaries in the “Dr. Purple Scrapbook,” pp. 54-56; excerpts in Fawn Brodie’s notes in the Utah State Historical Society preserved among the papers of Stanley Ivins.

The Official Record

Four years before Purple’s account was published, the actual record taken from Neely’s docket book was made public. It has been questioned whether there even was an Albert Neely, justice of the peace in Bainbridge in 1826. However, the papers commissioning him as such, dated 16 November 1825, were found in May 1971, as well as more information establishing that he was in Bainbridge at this time. The record of the examination was torn from Neely’s docket book by his niece, Emily Pearsall, and taken to Utah when she went to serve as a missionary under Episcopalian bishop Daniel S. Tuttle.

Neely held this office in 1826, 1827, and January 1828. He was evidently a merchant in Bainbridge who had arrived there before February 1825 (Smith, History of Chenango and Madison Counties, 143, 168-69). Neely’s name appears in the civil Docket Book of Zechariah Tarble as a plaintiff in cases from 26 February 1825 through 14 [p.227]January 1826. His signature is contained under a judgment entered 19 September 1825 (Original Docket Book of Zechariah Tarble, Bainbridge Town Hall, Bainbridge, New York). He was a defendant in 1825 and 1828-30 (Docket of Judgements, Justice Court, 5 May 1818-4 July 1844, Chenango County Clerk’s Office, Norwich, New York, microfilm #826053, LDS Family History Library).

Neely was a vestryman of the Protestant Episcopal church (Smith, History of Chenango and Madison Counties, 176, and Charlah Ireland Skinner, History of St. Peter’s Church: Bainbridge, New York 1825 to 1975 [Bainbridge, NY: Broadcaster Press, 1975], 1). He was elected a Commissioner of Schools on 7 March 1826 (see Neely’s 1826 bills submitted to the Chenango County Board of Supervisors, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Chenango County Office Building, Norwich, New York). The value of his personal estate for 1826 was put at $1,500 (1826 Assessment Roll, 14, Bainbridge Town Hall, Bainbridge, New York). He married Phebe Pearsall (b. 11 July 1809), and they were living in the town of Manlius, Onandaga County, when the 1830 census was taken (Clarence E. Pearsall, ed., History and Genealogy of the Pearsall Family in England and America 2 [1928]: 1,144; U.S. Census for Manlius, Onandaga County, New York, 372, microfilm #017160, LDS Family History Library.) Neely was a justice of the peace of the town of Manlius in 1838. (See Laws of the State of New York … [Albany: Printed by E. Croswell … , 1838], 17-18). He died in 1857.

On Pearsall, see Daniel Tuttle, Reminiscences of a Missionary Bishop (New York: T. Whittaker, 1906 ), 272, 397-98; and Clarence and Hettie May Pearsall and Harry L. Neal, History and Genealogy of the Pearsall Family in England and America (1928), 2:1,143-44, 1,151. Emily Pearsall was born on 25 January 1833 to Robert Pearsall and his wife Flavia. Robert was an older brother of Phebe Pearsall, wife of Albert Neely. Emily was baptized on 26 May 1844 when she was eleven years old at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Bainbridge, New York (New York County Records, 113:16, Daughters of the American Revolution Library, Washington, D.C.). She was confirmed on 14 May 1850 (St. Peter’s Parish Register, vol. 1, 1838-1907, Bainbridge, New York). Bishop Tuttle in his autobiography wrote that “Smith was up more than once, when a youth, before justices of the peace in Central New York for getting money under false pretences, by looking with his [p.228]peep stone” (Reminiscences of a Missionary Bishop, 327, emphasis in original).

Before Pearsall’s death in 1872, Charles Marshall, a British journalist visiting Salt Lake City, was shown the pages from Neely’s docket book, copied it, and upon returning to England published it as “The Original Prophet. By a Visitor to Salt Lake City,” Fraser’s Magazine 7 (Feb. 1873): 229-30; reprinted in Eclectic Magazine 17 (Apr. 1873): 483. It is clear from a comparison with the first printing of the official record that neither account borrowed from the other. See Joseph Smith and Money Digging (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm Co., 1970), 23-29, which errs in making Horace and Arad Stowell sons instead of cousins of Josiah.

Marshall described how he obtained his transcript: “During my stay in Salt Lake [City] permission was courteously accorded me to copy out a set of such judicial proceedings not hitherto published. I cannot doubt their genuineness. The original papers were lent me by a lady of well-known position, in whose family they had been preserved since the date of the transactions.”

After Pearsall’s death, Tuttle fell heir to the Neely court record, and, unaware of its previous publication by Marshall, announced he was publishing it for the first time in “Mormons,” New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia 2 (1883): 1,576. LDS scholar Hugh Nibley wrote: “Now, Bishop Tuttle, if this court record is authentic it is the most damning evidence in existence against Joseph Smith” (The Myth Makers [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1961], 142; also in Tinkling Cymbals and Sounding Brass: The Art of Telling Tales about Joseph Smith and Brigham Young [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., and Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991], 246), emphasis in original.

Tuttle omitted the court costs which appeared at the end of the record in the Fraser’s Magazine printing, apparently feeling they were unimportant for his general article on Mormons. Before the bishop left Utah in September 1886, he gave the record to Methodists there who printed it, including court costs, in their Utah Christian Advocate along with a thirty-five word summary of Horace Stowell’s testimony which was not included in Fraser’s Magazine, probably due to a copying error. See “A Document Discovered,” Utah Christian Advocate [p.229]3 (Jan. 1886): 1 [misnumbered vol. 2, no. 13], Salt Lake City (copies at Drew University and Utah State Historical Society). Tuttle after his service in Utah was appointed Bishop of Missouri on 9 August 1886 (Reminiscences of a Missionary Bishop, 303) and moved to St. Louis where he spent the remaining years of his service until his death there in 1923. The document apparently was not returned to the bishop since it is not on file at the Diocesan Office, or with his personal effects preserved by his grandson, Wallace Tuttle of St. Louis, or with his library at the St. Louis Public Library.

If the document had been returned to the Episcopal church in Salt Lake City, it would have perished in the fire that destroyed their records many years ago (Richard S. Watson, letter 10 Mar. 1970). The Methodist Rocky Mountain Conference does not have it in its holdings (Robert Runnells, letter 28 July 1970; telephone call to archivist Martin Rist, 1970). It is possible that the editor of the Utah Christian Advocate, Samuel J. Carroll, may have kept it. Since mission work in Utah had been placed under several different conferences, it is remotely possible that it may still be somewhere among their records.

Justice of the peace docket books are not required to be kept on file at the county court house, although the townships could require them to be filed with them. Most were handed down in the justice’s family or eventually discarded.

In the letter Tuttle wrote: “The Ms. was given me by Miss Emily Pearsall who, some years since, was a woman helper in our mission and lived in my family, and died here. Her father or uncle was a Justice of the Peace in Bainbridge, Chenango Co., New York, in Jo. Smith’s time, and before him Smith was tried. Miss Pearsall tore the leaves out of the record found in her father’s house and brought them to me.” Although Tuttle did not give the uncle’s name, the Pearsall Genealogy makes it clear that her uncle was the Albert Neely.

Comparison of Documents

The pages torn from Justice Neely’s docket book and the bill he submitted to the county agree on the charge, date, location, and total amount due Neely. As printed in Fraser’s Magazine, the docket listed Neely’s costs as:

[p.230]Warrant, 19c. [cents] Complaint upon oath, 25 1/2c. Seven witnesses, 87 1/2c. Recognizances, 25c. Mittimus, 19c. Recognizances of witnesses, 75c. Subpoena, 18c.—$2.68.

These billed amounts are in keeping with standard established law at the time (see A New Conductor Generalis: Being a Summary of the Law Relative to the Duty and Office of Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs, Coroners, Constables, Jurymen, Overseers of the Poor (Albany, NY: E. R. Backus, 1819), 481-82).

In addition to the correlations between the Neely docket and his 1826 bill, further verification of the authenticity of the Neely record is found in the fact that the names of all those whom he lists as participants in the examination can be verified as people who were actually living in the South Bainbridge area in 1826. For example, Arad Stowell, listed as a witness, was a relative of Josiah’s and also a school commissioner during that year, with his bill appearing among the 1826 school bills from Bainbridge. Arad Stowell was one of the first trustees of the South Bainbridge Presbyterian Church, organized in 1825 (Smith, History of Chenango and Madison Counties, 150). The following people mentioned in the court record are listed in the 1826 Assessment Roll of Bainbridge: Arad Stowell, Horace Stowell, Josiah Stowell, Jonathan Thompson, and more than one McMaster (Bainbridge Town Hall, Bainbridge, New York). For further information on the participants, see Stanley Ivins’s notes in Utah State Historical Society; Tanner, Joseph Smith and Money Digging, 36-38; and John Phillip Walker, ed., Dale Morgan on Early Mormonism: Correspondence and a New History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1986), 397-99. In Neely’s court record Josiah Stowell says it was while he was at Simpson Stowell’s home that Joseph Smith demonstrated his skill with a seer stone. A land purchase on 29 January 1827 was made by “Simpson Stowell of the town of Manchester” (see Deed Liber 45: 400-01, Ontario County Records Center and Archives, Canandaigua, New York). Simpson, sometimes spelled as Simeon, was Josiah Stowell’s oldest son. See 1820 Census of Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York, microfilm #193721, p. 158, LDS Family History Library.