Minutes, 12 April 1838

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

The and of met according to appointment in April 12th 1838 Presiding
The Council was organized as follows;
no 1 no 2
" 3 " 4
" 5 " 6
" 7 " 8
" 9 " 10
" 11 " 12
Voted unanimously that be a President of the High Council, whose duty it shall be to receive charges and give notice to the defendant, also, to call the Council together and organize them &c
The Council opened by prayer by
After some remarks by , several charges were read by him prefered against which are as follows;
“To the and Council of the in .
I do hereby prefer the following charges against .
1st, For stiring up the enemy to persecute the brethren by urging on vexatious Lawsuits and thus distressing the inocent.
2nd, For seeking to destroying the character of President Joseph Smith jr, by falsly insinuating that he was guilty of adultry &c.
3rd For treating the Church with contempt by not attending meetings.
4th. For virtually denying the faith by declaring that he would not be governed by any ecclesiastical authority nor Revelation whatever in his temporal affairs [p. 118]
5th For selling his lands in contrary to the Revelations.
6th For writing and sending an insulting letter to President while on the High Council, attending to the duties of his office, as President of the Council and by insulting the whole Council with the contents of said letter
7th., For leaving the calling, in which God had appointed him, by Revelation, for the sake of filthy lucre, and turning to the practice of the Law.
8th, For disgracing the Church by lieing being connected in the ‘Bogus’ buisness as common report says.
9th. For dishonestly Retaining notes after they had been paid and finally for leaving or forsaking the cause of God, and betaking himself to the beggerly elements of the world and neglecting his high and Holy Calling’ contrary to his profession.
April the 7th 1838.
It was not considered a difficult case, therefore, two <​one​> spake on a side viz on the part of the Church and on the part of the defendant.
A letter was then read by from which reads as follows:
Mo April 12th 1838
Dear Sir.
I received your note of the 9th inst on the day of its date, containing a copy of nine charges prefered against <​before​> yourself and Council, against me, by Elder .
I could have wished, that those charges might have been defered untill after my interview with President Smith; but as they are not, I must waive the anticipated pleasure with which I [p. 119]
had flattered myself of an understanding on those points which are grounds of difference different opinions on some church regulations, and others which personally interest myself.
The fifth charge reads as follows: “For selling his lands in contrary to the revelations” so much of this charge, “For selling his lands in ” I acknowledge to be true, and believe a that a large majority of this Church have already spent their Judgements on that act, and pronounced it sufficient to warrant a disfellowship; and also that you have concured in its correctness— consequently, have no good reason for supposing you would give any decision contrary
Now sir the lands in our Country are allodial in the strictest construction of that term, and have not the least shadow of feudal tenours attached to them, consequently, they may be disposed of by deeds of conveyance without the consent or even approbation of a superior.
The fourth charge is in the following words, “For virtually denying the faith by declaring that he would not be governed by any ecclesiastical authority nor revelation whatever in his temporal affairs.”
With regard to this, I, think, I am warranted in saying, the Judgement is also passed as on the fifth matter of the fifth charge, consequently, I have no disposition to contend with the : this charge covers simply the doctrine of the fifth, and if I were to be controlled by other than my own judgement, in a compulsory manner, in my temporal interests. of course, could not buy or sell without the consent of some real or supposed authority. Whither that clause contains the precise words, I am not certain— I think howevere they were these “I will not be influenced, governed, or controlled, in my temporal interests by any ecclesiastical authority or pretended revelation [p. 120]
what ever, contray to my own judgement” such being still my opinion shall only remark that the three great principles of English liberty, as laid down in the books, are “the right of personal security; the right of personal liberty, and the right of private property” My venerable ancestor was among that little band, who landed on the rocks of Plymouth in 1620— with him he brought those maxims, and a body of those laws which were the result and experience of many centuries, on the basis of which now stands our great and happy Goverment: and they are so interwoven in my nature, have so long been inculcated into my mind by a liberal and intelligent ancestry, that I am wholly unwilling to exchange them for any thing less liberal, less benevolent, or less free.
The very principle of which I conceive to be couched in an attempt to set up a kind of petty government, controlled and dictated by ecclesiastical influence, in the midst of this National and State Goverment. You will, no doubt say this is not correct; but the bare notice of those charges, over which you assume a right to decide, is, in my opinion, a direct attempt to make the secular power subservient to Church dictation— to the correctness of which I cannot in conscience subscribe— I believe that principle never did fail to produce Anarchy & confusion.
This attempt to controll me in my temporal interests, I conceive to be a disposition to take from me a portion of my Constitutional privileges and inherent rights— I only, respectfully, ask leave, therefore, to withdraw from a society assuming these they <​have​> such right.
So far as relates to the other seven charges, I [p. 121]
shall lay them carefully away, and take such a course with regard to them, as I may feel bound by my honor, to answer to my rising posterity.
I beg you, sir, to take no view of the foregoing remarks, other than my belief on the outward government of this . I do not charge you, or any other person who differs with me on those points, of not being sincere; but such difference does exist, which I sincerely regret.
With considerations of the hi[gh]est respect, I am,
Your obedient servent.
.
Rev.
of the Church of Latter day Saints
testifies that some time last fall Marcellus Cowdery came to him and requested him to pay certain notes, against Joseph Smith jr but he declined, soon after a writ was served on him; he supposed that it was through the influence of that the writ was served. From circumstances, he is of the impression that has used his influence to urge on lawsuits, which have taken place of late in this place. Also, that said to him “the law is my theme.[”]
John Anderson testifies that, from circumstances, he believes that has been influential in causing lawsuits in this place, as a number more lawsuits have taken place since he came here than before
. testifies, that called to him one day evening as he was passing through the street, and said that he Smelt a Skunk (an enemy &c.) and if he knew who it was he would put the screws to him. and also informed if he [p. 122] heard any guns fired in town to put the screws (I.E. the law) to him who done it, this was after he was appointed to attend the suits of the corporation. and also went on to urge lawsuits as even to issue a writ on the Sabbath day also, that he heard him say that he intended to form a partnership with , who is a man of the world and a wicked man
, testifies that wanted to become a secret partner in the store as he would be able to collect the debts & act as an Aterny [Attorney] and thereby be able to get his fees or living which was verbally agreed to, when he traded a considerable and finally they got sick of him and got rid of him the best way they could, which they did do, but still solicited for buisness in the law line, and has frequently solicited for buisness in collecting debts, as he was an Aterny in the place, also testifies that he has seen him urge on lawsuits with others.
testifies that one evening last fall was at his house together with Joseph Smith, jr, and , when a conversation took place between Joseph Smith jr & , when he seemed to insinuate that Joseph Smith jr was guilty of adultery, but when the question was put, if he (Joseph) had ever acknowledged to him that he was guilty of such a thing; when he answered, No. Also he believes him to be instrumental in causing so many lawsuits as had taken place of late
testifies, that he went to to enquire of him if a certain story was true respecting J. Smith’s committing adultery with a certain girl, when he turned on his heel and insinuated as [p. 123] though he was guilty; he then went on and gave a history of some circumstances respecting the adultery scrape stating that no doubt it was true. Also said that Joseph told him, he had confessed to , Also that he has used his influence to urge on lawsuits.
testifies that while in last summer, asked if he Joseph Smith jr had confessed to his that he was guilty of adultery with a certain girl, when cocked up his eye very knowingly and hesitated to answer the question, saying he did not know as he was bound to answer the question yet conveyed the idea that it was true. Last fall after came to this place he heard a conversation take place between Joseph Smith and when J. Smith asked him if he had ever confessed to him that he was guilty of adultery, when after a considerable winking &c. he said no. Joseph then <​asked​> him if he ever told him that he confessed to any body, when he answered no.
Joseph Smith jr testifies that had been his bosom friend, therefore he intrusted him with many things. He then gave a history respecting the girl buisness. Also that took him one side and said, that he had come to the conclusion to get property and if he could not get it one way he would another, God or no God, Devil or no Devil, property he must must have and since that he has dealt dishonest with him [JS], that he has taken a printing press and type from for which he was to give up some notes which he had against Joseph Smith jr and which he did not do, nor has to this day.
The adjourned one hour.
The Council convened according to adjournment opened by prayer by . [p. 124]
testifies that in January 1837 offered to sell out his share in the at Ohio, which they Joseph Smith jr & bought and gave their notes, after which say in the spring following he wished to get a press & some of the type which they granted him on conditions that he should give up the notes above refered to, he <​then​> went into the office and took whatever he pleased & so completely strip[p]ed the office, as he () was informed by , that there was scarcely enough left to print the “Elders Journal,” whereas, before there was a sufficient quantity to print a weekly and monthly paper, the book of Covenants, Hymn Book, Book of Mormon &c. but the notes he did not give up
<​testifies​> that told him that there was a certain man in the who could compound metal and make dies, that he could make money so that it could not be detected and if it was the case it was no harm to take that money and pass it. The man’s name was Davis. Also three men came to him to take out a writ to take some persons who had passed some Bogus (counterfeit) money viz: , and . Also that it was reported that was engaged in the Bogus money buisness. Also he did not disapprove of the principle of Davis’ making the dies and money.
Joseph Smith jr testifies that Mr Sapham a man who did not belong to the church came to him and told him that <​a​> warrant was about to be isued against for being engaged in making a purchase of Bogus money & dies to make the counterfeit money with. after which himself and went to see him, [p. 125] () and talk with him about it, when he denied it after which they told him if he was guilty he had better leave the country; but if he was inocent to stand a trial & he should come out clear; but that night or the next he left the country.
concurs with the foregoing testimony.
testifies that has neglected attending meeting.
concurs in the same
The fourth and fifth charges were rejected by the Court. The 6th charge was withdrawn.
After some remarks by the Councellors, it was decided by the and his that the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd charges were sustained, the 7th was sustained also the 8th charge was sustained satisfactoryly by circumstancial evidence. The ninth charge was sustained. he was, therefore, considered no longer a member of the .
The decision was sanctioned by the
The Council adjourned untill tomorrow at 9 o’clock. Closed in prayer by .
Clerk [p. 126]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    The high council had last met on 24 March 1838. (Minutes, 24 Mar. 1838.)  

  2. 2

    Samuel Smith was apparently substituting for Simeon Carter. (See Minutes, 24 Mar. 1838; and Minutes, 13 Apr. 1838.)  

  3. 3

    Higbee was apparently substituting for John P. Greene. (See Minute Book 2, 7–8 Apr. 1838; and Minutes, 13 Apr. 1838.)  

  4. 4

    In a 10 March 1838 letter to his brothers, Cowdery reported having “some four or five suits to attend to” at the April term of the circuit court in Caldwell County, Missouri.a The details of these cases are largely unknown because of the lack of extant court records. One of these cases may have been a suit on behalf of George Walters to redeem an 1836 promissory note from the First Presidency. In July 1838, Partridge testified that Cowdery promised to help Walters redeem the note in exchange for removing Cowdery’s name as a debtor on the note.b Several church leaders, probably drawing on passages in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s revelations, expressed the belief that it was immoral to sue other church members in a court of law.c For example, in 1837 the Quorum of the Seventy in Kirtland voted to “withdraw fellowship from all who are in a habit of promoting litigation among their brethren and still persist in so dooing.”d It is likely that such beliefs, coupled with a general antipathy toward lawyers, motivated some of the ecclesiastical charges against Cowdery.  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Frampton, David. Justice of the Peace Docket Entry, 12 July 1838. CHL.

    Ashurst-McGee, Mark. “Zion Rising: Joseph Smith’s Early Social and Political Thought.” PhD diss., Arizona State University, 2008.

    Firmage, Edwin Brown, and Richard Collin Mangrum. Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1890. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

    Record of Seventies / First Council of the Seventy. “Book of Records,” 1837–1843. Bk. A. In First Council of the Seventy, Records, 1837–1885. CHL. CR 3 51, box 1, fd. 1.

    (aOliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, [10] Mar. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 92.bEdward Partridge, Affidavit, Caldwell Co., MO, 12 July 1838, in Frampton, Justice of the Peace Docket Entry, CHL.cSee 1 Corinthians 6:1; Ashurst-McGee, “Zion Rising,” 128–129; and Firmage and Mangrum, Zion in the Courts, 12–18; see also JS, Journal, 7 Mar. 1844.dQuorums of the Seventy, “Book of Records,” 32, 37.)
  5. 5

    For information on Cowdery’s accusations of adultery, see Historical Introduction to Letter from Thomas B. Marsh, 15 Feb. 1838.  

  6. 6

    Similar charges were made against Lyman Johnson and David Whitmer. Though Cowdery was clerk of the high council, there is no record of him attending high council meetings after 7 December 1837. In early February 1838, Cowdery wrote to his brothers that the Zion presidency refused to attend the February general assembly meetings in which presidency members were removed from office. Although Cowdery’s role was not yet in question at that date, he said he planned to only “attend one meeting, say what I think wisdom and leave them to their own damnation.” (Minutes, 13 Apr. 1838; Minute Book 2, 6–7 Dec. 1837; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 4 Feb. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 84.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  7. 7

    In February 1838, Cowdery wrote to his brothers that he told a committee of the Zion high council, “If I had property, while I live and was sane, I would not be dictated, influenced or controlled, by any man or set of men by no tribunal of ecclesiastical pretences whatever.” (Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 4 Feb. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 84.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  8. 8

    Following the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County in 1833, JS told Edward Partridge that “it is better that you should die in the ey[e]s of God, then that you should give up the Land of Zion.” In 1835 three of the church’s lots, held by Phelps and Cowdery, were seized by the county and sold at a sheriff’s auction, apparently to cover the costs of the church’s legal proceedings in that county. On 11 January 1838, Cowdery, Phelps, John Whitmer, and their wives signed a quitclaim deed to their remaining interest in those lots, for an amount Cowdery described as “a small sum.” (Letter to Edward Partridge, 5 Dec. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 10 Dec. 1833; Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, vol. D, pp. 148–152, microfilm 1,017,979; Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, vol. F, pp. 54–55, 11 Jan. 1838, microfilm 1,017,980, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 4 Feb. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 84.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  9. 9

    On 10 March 1838, David Whitmer, William W. Phelps, and John Whitmer wrote a letter to Thomas B. Marsh complaining about the way he and the high council had treated the three men. Cowdery apparently served as the scribe and added an attestation to the letter. The letter was delivered by Cowdery’s nephew, Marcellus Cowdery, to the council at the trial for Phelps and John Whitmer. According to the minutes of the trial, “The letter was considered no more, nor less, than a direct insult, or contempt, cast upon the authorities of God, and the church of Jesus Christ.” (Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. 1838.)  

  10. 10

    See 1 Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7, 11; and 1 Peter 5:2.  

  11. 11

    Cowdery had expressed interest in law since at least 1836. In 1837 he was elected as a justice of the peace in Kirtland, and by the time he moved to Far West later that year, he had commenced studying law in preparation for becoming a licensed lawyer. In March 1838, Cowdery informed his brothers that he had given legal advice on several cases and planned to apply for a license to practice law later that summer. Despite his intentions, in June 1838 Cowdery noted that he still “had little or no law practice to test my skill or talent.” (Cowdery, Diary, 18 Jan. 1836; Kirtland Township Trustees’ Minutes and Poll Book, 153–154; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery, 21 Jan. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 82–83; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, [10] Mar. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 92; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, 2 June 1838, Lyman Cowdery, Papers, CHL.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Diary, Jan.–Mar. 1836. CHL. MS 3429. Also available as Leonard J. Arrington, “Oliver Cowdery’s Kirtland, Ohio, ‘Sketch Book,’BYU Studies 12 (Summer 1972): 410–426.

    Kirtland Township Trustees’ Minutes and Poll Book, 1817–1838. Lake County Historical Society, Painesville, OH.

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Cowdery, Lyman. Papers, 1834–1858. CHL. MS 3467.

  12. 12

    Aside from these minutes, few extant documents mention the allegations regarding counterfeiting. In 1839 Reed Peck, who had left the church and had not witnessed events in Kirtland firsthand, claimed that “very many credible persons in the [Kirtland Safety] Society have asserted that while the mony fever raged in Kirtland the leaders of the church and others were, more or less, engaged in purchasing and circulating Bogus money or counterfeit coin.” Peck stated that JS and his followers traded accusations with Cowdery and other dissenters over who was responsible for the counterfeiting. (Reed Peck, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839, pp. 17–18, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.)  

    Peck, Reed. Letter, Quincy, IL, to “Dear Friends,” 18 Sept. 1839. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  13. 13

    In June 1838, a letter warning Cowdery to leave Caldwell County stated that he “brought notes with him [to Missouri] upon which he had received pay and had promised to destroy them[.] Since here he made an attempt to Sell them to Mr Arthur of Clay County.” (Letter to Oliver Cowdery et al., ca. 17 June 1838.)  

  14. 14

    Blackstone, Commentaries, 1:93–94.  

    Blackstone, William. Commentaries on the Laws of England: In Four Books; with an Analysis of the Work. By Sir William Blackstone, Knt. One of the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas. In Two Volumes, from the Eighteenth London Edition. . . . 2 vols. New York: W. E. Dean, 1840.

  15. 15

    Presumably, Cowdery was referring to Edward Fuller, a signatory of the Mayflower Compact and Cowdery’s fourth great-grandfather. However, since Cowdery’s family had several lines tracing back to some of the earliest English colonies in North America, Cowdery may have been making a reference to his general family heritage. (Fuller, Genealogy of Some Descendants of Edward Fuller, 199; Mehling, Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray Genealogy, 37.)  

    Fuller, William Hyslop, comp. Genealogy of Some Descendants of Edward Fuller of the Mayflower. Vol. 3. Palmer, MA: C. B. Fiske, 1908.

    Mehling, Mary Bryant Alverson. Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray Genealogy: William Cowdery of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1630, and His Descendants. New York: Frank Allaben Genealogical Co., 1911.

  16. 16

    Marcellus Cowdery was the son of Oliver Cowdery’s brother Warren. (Mehling, Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray Genealogy, 170.)  

    Mehling, Mary Bryant Alverson. Cowdrey-Cowdery-Cowdray Genealogy: William Cowdery of Lynn, Massachusetts, 1630, and His Descendants. New York: Frank Allaben Genealogical Co., 1911.

  17. 17

    TEXT: While it appears that “&c.” was canceled by wipe erasure, another possibility is that the ink was accidentally smudged, without the intent to cancel the text.  

  18. 18

    Possibly a reference to the Missouri statute prescribing punishment for individuals who “wilfully disturb the peace of any neighborhood or of any family, by loud and unusual noise, loud and offensive or indecent conversation, or by threatening, quarrelling, challenging or fighting.” (An Act concerning Crimes and Their Punishments [20 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 204, art. 7, sec. 15.)  

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

  19. 19

    Huntington served as the constable in Far West, making him responsible for serving writs and legal instruments. Missouri law forbade serving writs on Sunday for civil suits. (Dimick Huntington, Reminiscences and Journal, [14]; An Act respecting Constables [17 Mar. 1835], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 116, sec. 7; An Act Regulating Writs and Process [16 Dec. 1834], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 625, sec. 3.)  

    Huntington, Dimick B. Reminiscences and Journal, 1845–1847. Dimick B. Huntington, Journal, 1845–1859. CHL. MS 1419, fd. 1.

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly, During the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. Together with the Constitutions of Missouri and of the United States. 3rd ed. St. Louis: Chambers and Knapp, 1841.

  20. 20

    Doniphan, who had defended the Latter-day Saints in western Missouri, had a legal practice in Liberty, Missouri. (Launius, Alexander William Doniphan, 12–23.)  

    Launius, Roger D. Alexander William Doniphan: Portrait of a Missouri Moderate. Chicago: University of Missouri Press, 1997.

  21. 21

    It is unclear precisely what information JS entrusted to Cowdery regarding JS’s relationship with Fanny Alger. Later accounts variously claim that Cowdery performed a marriage ceremony between JS and Alger, was called upon by JS to mediate between JS and Emma Smith after the relationship with Alger was discovered, or had been taught the doctrine of plural marriage privately and took a plural wife contrary to JS’s instructions. (See Bradley, “Relationship of Joseph Smith and Fanny Alger,” 19–20, 28; and Hales, “Accusations of Adultery and Polygamy against Oliver Cowdery,” 19–21.)  

    Bradley, Don. “Mormon Polygamy before Nauvoo? The Relationship of Joseph Smith and Fanny Alger.” In Persistence of Polygamy: Joseph Smith and the Origins of Mormon Polygamy, edited by Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster, 14–58. Independence, MO: John Whitmer Books, 2010.

    Hales, Brian C. “‘Guilty of Such Folly?’: Accusations of Adultery or Polygamy against Oliver Cowdery.” In Days Never to Be Forgotten: Oliver Cowdery, edited by Alexander L. Baugh, 279–293. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009.

  22. 22

    Cowdery obtained one of two presses in the Kirtland printing office and had the press and type shipped to Far West, where he gave them to John Whitmer and Phelps for “timbered land.” (Elisha Groves, “An Account of the Life of Elisha Hurd Groves,” 3–4, Obituary Notices and Biographies, CHL; John Whitmer, Far West, MO, to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, Kirtland Mills, OH, 29 Aug. 1837, Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT.)  

    Obituary Notices and Biographies, 1854–1877. CHL. MS 4760.

    Whitmer, John. Letter, Far West, MO, to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, Kirtland Mills, OH, 29 Aug. 1837. Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven, CT.

  23. 23

    Cowdery procured the initial press for the Kirtland printing office in 1833 and was heavily involved with the office until 1837. (Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:33–34, 47–49, 51–52.)  

    Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 3 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997–2012.

  24. 24

    The Kirtland printing office published the weekly Northern Times, the monthly Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the 1835 Collection of Sacred Hymns, and the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon.  

  25. 25

    In January 1838, Williams chaired a meeting attended by Cowdery, Phelps, David Whitmer, and others who opposed the actions of the Zion high council. Two months after the April trial, Cowdery claimed that Williams was preparing to leave the state with other dissenters. Given his apparent sympathy toward Cowdery and other dissenters, it is unclear why Williams chose to testify against Cowdery on this occasion. (Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, [Kirtland, OH], 4 Feb. 1838, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 85; Oliver Cowdery, Far West, MO, to Warren Cowdery and Lyman Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, 2 June 1838, Lyman Cowdery, Papers, CHL.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Cowdery, Lyman. Papers, 1834–1858. CHL. MS 3467.

  26. 26

    Probably Marvel Davis, who had operated a gunsmith shop in Kirtland. Davis had been excommunicated in January 1838 along with Warren Parrish and several other church members for “rising up in rebellion against the church.” (Johnson, “A Life Review,” 19; William Rockafellow, Affidavit, Russell, OH, 19 Mar. 1885, in Naked Truths about Mormonism [Oakland, CA], Apr. 1888, 2; Quorums of the Seventy, “Book of Records,” 7 Jan. 1838, 39.)  

    Johnson, Benjamin Franklin. “A Life Review,” after 1893. Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Papers, 1852–1911. CHL. MS 1289 box 1, fd. 1.

    Naked Truths about Mormonism: Also a Journal for Important, Newly Apprehended Truths, and Miscellany. Oakland, CA. Jan. and Apr. 1888.

    Record of Seventies / First Council of the Seventy. “Book of Records,” 1837–1843. Bk. A. In First Council of the Seventy, Records, 1837–1885. CHL. CR 3 51, box 1, fd. 1.

  27. 27

    The three men likely approached Williams because he was a justice of the peace in Kirtland from June 1836 to September 1837. (Kirtland Township Trustees’ Minutes and Poll Book, 143, 155.)  

    Kirtland Township Trustees’ Minutes and Poll Book, 1817–1838. Lake County Historical Society, Painesville, OH.

  28. 28

    Boynton and Parrish were prominent Kirtland dissenters.a Phelps, a constable in Geauga County, Ohio, had worked closely with Cowdery during Cowdery’s term as justice of the peace.b Williams’s testimony is ambiguous regarding whether Boynton, Parrish, and Phelps made the complaint or were accused of counterfeiting, but a later editorial in the church newspaper alleged that Parrish traveled to Tinker’s Creek, Ohio, to buy a box of counterfeit coins and discovered upon his return that the box contained only sand and stones. The editorial also claimed that “Parrish stole the paper out of the institution, and went to buying bogus or counterfeit coin with it” and “was aided by his former associates.”c  

    Waldo Patriot. Belfast, ME. 1837–1838.

    Cowdery, Oliver. Docket Book, June–Sept. 1837. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    (aSee, for example, “Mormonism,” Waldo Patriot [Belfast, ME], 4 May 1838, [1].bSee, for example, Cowdery, Docket Book, 2–5.cEditorial, Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, 58; see also Letter from Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde, between 22 and 28 May 1838.)
  29. 29

    Possibly Jonathan Lapham, a lawyer and justice of the peace in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, who had taken an active role in anti-Mormon activities in the region. (See Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 252; and “Hon. Jas. A. Brigg’s Statement,” Naked Truths about Mormonism [Oakland, CA], Jan. 1888, 4.)  

    Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.

    Naked Truths about Mormonism: Also a Journal for Important, Newly Apprehended Truths, and Miscellany. Oakland, CA. Jan. and Apr. 1888.

  30. 30

    In June 1838, a letter warning Oliver Cowdery to leave Caldwell County stated that “during the full Career of Oliver Cowdry and David Whitmiers Bogus money business . . . several gentlemen were preparing to commence a prosecution against Cowdry[.] He finding it out took with him Lyman E Johnson and fled to Far West with their familys.” Aside from these allegations, little is known about Cowdery’s departure for Missouri. Cowdery left Kirtland shortly after 15 September 1837, when he gave his justice of the peace docket book to Frederick G. Williams—likely in preparation for migrating to Missouri. Cowdery arrived in Far West on 20 October 1837. Eight years after the trial, in a letter to his brother-in-law, Cowdery vigorously denied having committed “crimes of theft, forgery, &c. Those which all my former associates knew to be false.” (Letter to Oliver Cowdery et al., ca. 17 June 1838; Cowdery, Docket Book, 227; Whitmer, Daybook, 20 Oct. 1837; Oliver Cowdery, Tiffin, OH, to Phineas Young, Nauvoo, IL, 23 Mar. 1846, CHL; see also An Act Providing for the Punishment of Crimes [7 Mar. 1835], Acts of a General Nature [1834–1835], pp. 39–40, secs. 28–32.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Docket Book, June–Sept. 1837. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Whitmer, John. Daybook, 1832–1878. CHL. MS 1159.

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letter, Tiffin, OH, to Phineas Young, Nauvoo, IL, 23 Mar. 1846. CHL. MS 2646.

    Acts of a General Nature, Passed at the First Session of the Thirty-Third General Assembly of the State of Ohio, Begun and Held in the City of Columbus, December 1, 1834. In the Thirty-Third Year of Said State. Columbus: James B. Gardiner, 1835.