Oliver  Cowdery  Chronology

Part 1: pre-Mormon period  |   Part 2: Mormon period  |   Part 3: post-Mormon period

Fig. 1. New Connecticut (entered the Union as Vermont in 1796).


Oliver Cowdery Chronology:
Part 1 (1806-1829)

Oliver Cowdery's pre-Mormon days in VT and NY

c. 1786   William Cowdery, Jr. (1765-1847) married Rebecca Fuller (1768-1809) in East Haddam, Middlesex, CT (or possibly Reading, Windsor, VT). The couple soon after settled in Poultney, Ruland, VT and then moved to Wells, Rutland, VT.
1788 Oct. 17 Warren A. Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Poultney, Rutland, VT. (Some accounts say Wells, Rutland, VT). At about the time Warren was born William & Rebecca probably moved into Wells, living near the border between Wells and Middleton townships).
1788 spring Ethan Smith graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, Grafton, NH (about 45 miles from Wells, Rutland, VT). He returned to the area in Nov. 1821 to become pastor of the Poultney Congregational church.
1789   Nathaniel Wood was excommunicated from the Congregational Church in Middleton, Rutland, VT. He, his family, and some neighbors founded a new sect who believed themselves to be modern Israelites, a chosen people for whom America was an inheritance and whom were promised salvation while their Gentile neighbors would be stricken with divine punishment. The Wood sect may have even had plans to re-establish the Israelite religion in America, complete with a Temple. William Cowdery, Jr. may have left the Congregational Church at about this same time to become an early follower of Nathaniel Wood.
c. 1789   Lucy Mack, future wife of Joseph Smith, Sr. moved to Tunbridge, Orange, VT to live with her brother Stephen Mack. About this same time Dr. Jabez Cowdery (1741-1826) also moved to Tunbridge, where he bought land in 1790. Jabez was an paternal uncle of William Cowdery, Jr. and a great uncle to Oliver Cowdery.
1791 Feb. 16 Stephen Fuller Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Wells, Rutland, VT.
1793 Oct. 4 Dyar Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Wells, Rutland, VT.
1796 Aug. 13 Erastus Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Wells, Rutland, VT.
1796 Jan. 24 Lucy Mack married Joseph Smith Sr. in Tunbridge, Orange, VT. They lived near Oliver Cowdery's great uncle, Dr. Jabez Cowdery.
1799 spring? Mr. [Justus?] Winchell, counterfeiter and fugitive from justice in [Bradford?] Orange Co., VT arrived in Wells. He purportedly lived there temporarily with "Mr. Cowdry," who later was the father of Oliver Cowdery.
1799 June 30 Sally Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Wells, Rutland, VT.
1799 fall? Winchell purportedly moved from the William Cowdery, Jr. residence in Wells, to live with Ezekiel Perry in neighboring Middleton, Rutland, VT. Winchell was said to have used a hazel rod for various divining purposes. It is probable that William Cowdery, Jr. and members of Nathaniel Wood's sect in Rutland Co. also began to use diving rods at this time. Joseph Smith, Sr. reportedly lived in Rutland Co. temporarily at this time.
1800 spring? Winchell purportedly joined forces with Nathaniel Wood and members of Wood's sect began using diving rods to receive revelations, also to locate and dig for buried treasure. Along with William Cowdery, Jr., Joseph Smith, Sr. was said to have became "one of the leading rodsmen" in the Winchell-Wood group.
1802 Jan. 14 Nathaniel Wood's sect expects an apocalyptic rendering of God's will, by which the members will come to possess that area of New England where they were residing. The Vermont militia was called out to maintain order during the frenzy in Middleton at this time. Shots were fired -- later called "the Wood Scrape."
1802 Mar. 12 Lyman Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Wells, Rutland, VT.
1802 Sep. Justus Winchell was "warned out" of Middleton by the local authorities. Other members of Nathaniel Wood's sect appear to have left the group and/or left Rutland Co. at about this same time. Nathaniel Wood's sons were moving to Jefferson Co., NY by the end of 1803.
1803   The city of Buffalo, Erie, NY was founded. It was at the end of the Genesee Road, which began in Albany. The Genesee Road was constructed in the 1790s and was largely complete by 1797. It was the major route followed by immigrants moving to western NY.
1804 spring Some of Nathaniel Wood's family members and his remaining followers moved to Jefferson Co., NY. By 1805 they were firmly settled in this new location (Woodville, Ellisburg, Jefferson, NY).
1804 Oct. James D. Bemis became a joint proprietor of the Western Repository and Genesee Advertiser published in Canandaigua, Ontario, NY. Bemis was editor of the paper until 1828. He no doubt knew William Wine Phelps and he probably knew Oliver Cowdery.
1805 June 16 Olive Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Wells, Rutland, VT. (Some accounts say June 16, 1804.)
1805 Dec. 23 Joseph Smith, Jr. born to Joseph & Lucy Smith in Sharon, Windsor, VT. At this time Oliver Cowdery's grandfather, William Cowdery, Sr. also lived in Windsor Co., VT.
1806 Oct. 3 Oliver Cowdery born to William & Rebecca Cowdery in Wells, Rutland, VT.
c. 1807   Keziah Pearce (Pierce) married Mr. Austin, probably in Rutland Co., VT. Soon after they had a son, Silas Austin. Mr. Austin died not long after this (perhaps c. 1809).
1809 Sep. 3 Rebecca Fuller Cowdery died in Wells, Rutland, VT, leaving Oliver Cowdery and his siblings without a mother.
1810 spring? William Cowdery, Jr. married the widow Keziah Pearce Austin, (probably in Wells, Rutland, VT). The marriage ocurred before May 26, 1810 when Keziah, a member of the Congregational Church in Poultney, received a letter of recommendation for her transfer to a new congregation in NY.
1810 summer? William & Keziah Cowdery moved their family to Williamson, Ontario (after 1823 Wayne) Co., NY. It is not known whether all of William's children and Keziah's son Austin accompanied them. The family was in Williamson in time to be recorded in the 1810 Federal Census (probably conducted during the summer).
1810 Dec. 10 Rebecca Marie Cowdery born to William & Keziah Cowdery in Williamson, Ontario, NY.
c. 1812   William & Keziah Cowdery moved their family back to Rutland Co., VT.
c. 1812   Warren A. Cowdery studied to become a doctor (perhaps at first only a "root doctor") in Rutland Co., VT. A year or two later he may have become a licensed physician and pharmacist.
c. 1813   Dyar Cowdery studied to become a doctor in Rutland Co., VT. He may have also been a pharmacist, like his brother Warren.
1813 c. Oct. Justus Winchell was practicing bigamy in Adams (near Watertown), Jefferson, NY, apparently in close company with some members of the Nathaniel Wood family.
1813 winter Oliver Cowdery probably started attending school in Poultney, Rutland, VT at about this time. Evidence from his later life indicates that he was likely an attentive and capable student who remained in school (or a literacy-promoting apprenticeship) until his education was well advanced.
1814 June 3 Lucy Pearce Cowdery born to William & Keziah Cowdery in Poultney, Rutland, VT. Within a year or two the family moved to Middleton, Rutland, VT.
1814 Sep. 22 Warren A. Cowdery married Patience Simmonds in Pawlet, Rutland, VT. Their first child, Marcellus F. Cowdery was born in Pawlet on Aug. 31, 1815.
1815 Nov.? Warren A. Cowdery (then nearly 28), his wife and son moved to a farm at Freedom, Cattaraugus, NY.
c. 1816   Stephen Fuller Cowdery (then 25?) married Betsey Bradshaw (probably in Rutland Co., VT). Stephen may have moved west to NY at about this time. He probably lived with relatives until after 1820. He is almost certainly the "Suthen F. Cowdery" whose name appears in the 1830 NY Census for Rochester, Monroe, NY.
1816 summer? The Joseph Smith, Sr. family moved from VT to Palmyra, Ontario (later Wayne), NY and lived in the town for two years before moving south a few miles to Manchester.
1816 Oct. 20 Solomon Spalding died (age 55) in Amity, Washington, PA. The following year his widow and adopted daughter moved to Onondaga Hollow, Onondaga, NY.
1817 Jan. 17 Phoebe Cowdery born to William & Keziah Cowdery in Middleton, Rutland, VT.
c. 1818   Dyar Cowdery (then about 25?) moved to Farmersville, Cattaraugus, NY. He probably lived with his brother Warren in Freedom, Cattaraugus, NY, until after 1820.
1818 Aug. 2 William Jr. and Keziah's three daughters (Lucy P., Rebecca M., & Phoebe L) were baptized in the Poultney Congregational church.
1818 fall Benjamin Franklin Cowdery (a second cousin of Oliver Cowdery) and Benjamin F. Smead apparently purchased the printing office of the defunct Allegany Mercury in Olean, Cattaraugus, NY and there founded and published the Hamilton Recorder until early 1820.
c. 1818   Oliver's brother, Erastus Cowdery (then about 22?) moved to Youngstown, Trumbull (later Mahoning), OH. He may have initially lived with his brother Warren in Cattaraugus Co., NY, but by 1820 he was living in Youngstown.
1819 Aug. 26 Erastus Cowdery married Rebecca Pawley (probably in Youngstown, Trumbull, OH. The couple had two daughters who lived to maturity. Some sources give Rebecca's last name as McCormick. There were several members of the Pawley/Polley family in Trumbull Co. in the early 1800s; Rebecca may have first married into that family and later married Erastus as a widow.
1820 spring Benjamin Franklin Cowdery (a second cousin of Oliver Cowdery) moved to Angelica, Allegany, NY and there edited and published the Angelica Republican (later the Allegany Republican) until about 1824, when he moved to Rochester, Monroe, NY.
1820 late Mar. Sidney Rigdon arrived in Warren, Trumbull, OH, where he lived at first with his fellow Baptist minister, Adamson Bentley.
1820 summer? William Cowdery, Jr., his wife Keziah, and his younger children were recorded by the Federal Census as still living in Poultney, Rutland, VT.
1820 summer? Erastus Cowdery was recorded as being the head of a household in NE Youngstown twp., Trumbull (later Mahoning), OH by the Federal Census. Sidney Rigdon was recorded in the same Census as living approx. 9 miles away, in Brookfield twp., Trumbull, OH.
c. 1821   Lyman Cowdery (then about 19?) moved west to NY at about this time. He may have initially lived with his brother Warren in Cattaraugus Co., but by 1825 he was living in Ontario (later Wayne) Co.
1821 Nov. Congregationalist minister Ethan Smith (1762-1849) moved to Poultney, Rutland, VT and took charge of the congregation there. Keziah Cowdery, her three daughters, and other children of William Cowdery, Jr. probably attended services conducted by Ethan Smith.
1821 Nov. William Morgan (1797-1826) married Lucinda Pendleton (prob. in Monroe, Orange, NY). Morgan would later meet Oliver Cowdery in western NY.
1822 mid-Jan. Sidney Rigdon moved from Trumbull Co., OH to Pittsburgh to become pastor of the First Baptist Church there. He assumed his official duties on Jan. 28, 1822.
1823 summer Ethan Smith finished writing his book View of the Hebrews in Poultney, Rutland, VT and had it published on the press of the Poultney Gazette, (after Dec. called the Northern Spectator. It is possible that Oliver Cowdery was employed at the Poultney Gazette as a printer's devil or assistent type-setter during 1822 and early 1823.
1823 summer? Oliver Cowdery probably left VT to take a job as a printer's assistant in western NY. He may have lived briefly in New York City and then settled for a time in Canandaigua, Ontario, NY. If so, Oliver probably worked on a publication like the "Plain Truth" which was then being published in Canandaigua. During this period he probably also visited his brothers in Arcadia, Wayne, NY, Cattaraugus Co., NY, and Youngstown, Trumbull, OH.
1823 Sep. 21 The date Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed he was first visited by a divine messenger and told of the hidden record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas -- the eve of the fall equinox.
1823 Sep. 21 The date Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed he was first visited by a divine messenger and told of the hidden record of the ancient inhabitants of the Americas -- the eve of the fall equinox.
1823 Oct. 11 Sidney Rigdon was condemned for heresy and removed from his pastorate at the Pittsburgh First Baptist Church by representatives of his congregation and of its governing Redstone Baptist Association.
1824 fall? Oliver Cowdery probably worked as a typesetter on one or more small newspapers published west of Ontario Co., NY. While thus employed he may have printed tracts and pamphlets which he sold, traveling on foot throughout western NY, Ontario, the PA panhandle and possibly eastern OH.
1824?   William Cowdery, his wife Keziah, and the children remaining with them moved to Arcadia, Wayne (previously Ontario), NY to live near Warren A. Cowdery.
1825 spring Revival meetings were held near Palmyra, Wayne, NY. It is likely that Oliver Cowdery and his cousin Joseph Smith, Jr., both attended some of these meetings. It is possible that the Rev. Sidney Rigdon journeyed from Pittsburgh to Wayne Co., NY to participate in these revival meetings. His whereabouts for the spring of 1825 remain unknown.
1825 Apr. 20 Lyman Cowdery married Eliza Alexander April 20, 1825 in Arcadia, Wayne, NY. Shortly thereafter Lyman studied law and began a legal practice a couple of years later in the same town. He was eventually elected to two terms in the NY State Legislature.
1825 summer Bricklayer William Morgan was living in Genesee, Allegany, NY when his son Thomas was born there on Jul 4, 1825. Morgan was apparently a member of the Masonic Lodge in neighboring Olean, Cattaraugus, NY. It is possible that Oliver Cowdery worked briefly for the Olean Hamilton Recorder in 1824-25. The newspaper had been previously published by Oliver's second cousin Benjamin Franklin Cowdery.
1825 Aug. 1 Jonathan Harrison Lambdin, former business partner of Robert Patterson, died in Pittsburgh at the age of 26.
1825 Oct. The Erie Canal completed, dedicated and opened for commerce between Albany and Buffalo. Palmyra, Wayne, NY was on the canal route, a day from Buffalo.
1825 fall? William Morgan moved from Genesee, Allegany, NY to LeRoy, Genesee, NY where he was accepted as a member of the local Masonic Lodge. Soon after he moved to neighboring Batavia, but was not admitted by the Masonic Lodge there. Morgan then joined with David C. Miller, the publisher of the Batavia Advocate, and others, in writing and preparing for publication a book exposing the rituals of Freemasonry (Ilustrations of Masonry Batavia, N.Y.: David Miller, 1826; reprinted 1827, Rochester, NY).
1825 Oct. Josiah Stowell, a farmer from S. Bainbridge, Chenango, NY visted the Joseph Smith, Sr. family in Manchester, Ontario, NY for the first time. Joseph Smith, Sr. and his son Joseph, Jr. agreed to accompany Stowell back to S. Bainbridge and to work for him there by locating and excavating a lost silver deposit.
1825 Oct. Sidney Rigdon and his brother-in-law Richard Brooks dissolved their tannery partnership in Pittsburgh. Rigdon was likely in Pittsburgh during the months of Oct. and Nov. He probably departed PA for the Western Reserve of OH at about the end of the year.
1825 Dec. 20 The Joseph Smith, Sr. family lose the the title to their farm in Manchester. Lemuel Durfee, Sr., the new owner allows the Smiths to remain on the property as tenant farmers.
1826 Aug. The office of the Batavia Advocate was burned and publication of William Morgan's Ilustrations of Masonry was delayed until late in 1826. It is possible that Oliver Cowdery lived temporarily with his brother Warren A. Cowdery in LeRoy, Genesee, NY at this time. Oliver may have been hired by the Batavia Advocate (or by William Morgan himself) to prepare a printer's manuscript of Morgan's book. Oliver may have introduced Morgan to Joseph Smith, Jr. at this time also.
1826 Sep. 19 William Morgan disappeared after having been arrested on Sep. 10 and abducted by Masons at Canandiagua on Sep. 12. He was taken to Fort Niagara on the Canadian border. Rumors soon circulated saying that he had been murdered.
1826 Oct. At about this time Sidney Rigdon took over the pastorate of the Baptist church in Mentor, Geauga, OH.
1826 Nov. 23 Lyman Hervey Cowdery born to Warren & Patience Cowdery in LeRoy, Genesee, NY. Although Warren lived on his farm in Freedom, Cattaraugus, NY he and his wife may have resided temporarily at LeRoy on various occasions between 1819 and 1827.
1827 Jan. 18 Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma Hale were married at S. Bainbridge, Chenango, NY. Sideny Rigdon's whereabouts between mid-Dec. and Jan. 27 were unaccounted for.
1827 Sep. 20 Josiah Stowell and Joseph Knight, Sr, arrived in Manchester and stayed with the Smiths for several days -- probably in anticipation of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s receiving the supposedly ancient record on the eve of the fall equinox.
1827 Sep. 21 This is the date Joseph Smith, Jr. claimed to have received the "golden plates" from which the text of the Book of Mormon was derived -- the eve of the fall equinox. Sidney Rigdon's whereabouts were unaccounted for between Sep. 13 (when he was in Ashtabula, OH) and Oct. 9 (when he was in Mentor, OH).
1827 c. Nov. Martin Harris began to assist the Joseph Smith, Sr. family financially. He gave Joseph, Jr. fifty dollars at about this time, so that Joseph and Emma could move back to Harmony, Susquehanna, PA.
1827 Dec. Joseph Smith, Jr. and his wife Emma moved to the Isaac Hale farm in Harmony, Susquehanna, PA, taking with them the supposedly ancient record engraved on "golden plates."
1828 Feb. Martin Harris and Hyrum Smith traveled to see Joseph Smith, Jr. in PA. Harris obtained from Joseph a copy of "characters" purportedly copied from the "golden plates."
1828 Apr. 12 Martin Harris (accompanied by his wife Lucy) arrived back in Harmony, Susquehanna, PA and began working as a scribe while Joseph Smith, Jr. was "translating" the supposedly ancient record. Harris worked at this task about three months. Coupled with the assistance of other scribes, he transcribed a page or two a day, all of which added up to about 120 pages when he halted his work.
1828 c. Apr. 26 Lucy Harris left her husband in Harmony and returned to Palmyra, convinced that Joseph Smith, Jr. was an impostor who had no golden plates.
1828 June 14 Martin Harris left Harmony for Palmyra, taking with him the first 116 pages of the supposedly ancient record -- most of the portion which he and others had written down in English from the dictation of Joseph Smith, Jr.
1828 June 15 Alvin Smith, the first child of Joseph Smith, Jr. and his wife Emma died in Harmony, Susquehannah, PA shortly after birth.
1828 early July Joseph Smith, Jr. left Harmony, Susquehannah, PA by stagecoach for Manchester, Ontario, NY and arrived at his father's house within a day or two. He may have previously received a message informing him that Martin Harris had lost the 116 pages of transcript which had been entrusted to his care. After his arrival (with the help of a mysterious stranger) Martin told Joseph of the loss.
1828 July-Aug. Between mid-June and Sep. 7 Sidney Rigdon's whereabouts were unaccounted for, except that he attended the Mahoning Baptist Association's annual meeting at Warren, Trumbull, OH from Aug. 29 to 31.
1828 mid-July Joseph Smith, Jr. (after returning to Harmony, Susquehannah, PA) claimed to receive a message from God telling him that due to his having "transgressed the commandments and the laws of God," he had lost his "privileges for a season" and would be relieved of his work in "translating" the supposedly ancient record. This was the first "revelation" Smith claimed to receive that was written down and preserved.
1828 fall The Manchester, Ontario, NY School Board of Trustees (which included Hyrum Smith) purportedly offered the Hon. Lyman Cowdery of Arcadia, Wayne, NY the position of schoolmaster in Manchester. Lyman was said to have accepted the position, but soon afterwards backed out of the job, offering his brother, Oliver, as a possible substitute for himself.
1828 fall Oliver was accepted by the Manchester School Board as the new schoolmaster in the village. His teaching work probably began soon after the Oct. harvest season was over. He moved in with the Joseph Smith, Sr. family, who lived a mile from the Manchester School. From the Smiths Oliver learned about the supposedly ancient record then being translated by Joseph Smith, Jr. in Harmony, Susquehannah, PA.
1828 fall Emma Smith, her brother Reuben Hale, and Samuel H. Smith act as occasional scribes in the transcription of the supposedly ancient record then being translated by Joseph Smith, Jr.
1828 c. Nov. David Whitmer, a farmer from Fayette twp., Seneca, NY visited the Palmyra area on a business trip and there met Oliver Cowdery. Cowdery told Whitmer about the supposedly ancient record then being translated by his second cousin, Joseph Smith, Jr. Cowdery made plans to visit Joseph and to call upon David Whitmer while on his way to Harmony, Susquehannah, PA. The 1830 Federal Census recorded a John Cowdrey, living in Waterloo, Seneca, NY., adjacent to Fayette twp. This was probably "Col. John Jr. Cowdery" (1757-1835) a second cousin of Oliver's father.
1828 Nov.-Dec. Between mid-Oct. and the end of the year Sidney Rigdon's whereabouts were unaccounted for.
1829 Feb. Joseph Smith, Jr. (at Harmony, Susquehannah, PA) claimed to receive a message from God directed to his father, Joseph Sr.
1829 early Mar.? Martin Harris traveled from Palmyra to Harmony, Susquehannah, PA in order to obtain "a greater witness" of the truthfullness of the supposedly ancient record then in Joseph Smith, Jr.'s possession.
1829 Mar. Joseph Smith, Jr. (at Harmony, Susquehannah, PA) claimed to receive a message from God directed to himself and Martin Harris. Harris was told in the text that God had caused Smith to "enter into a covenant with me that he should not show them [the golden plates] except I command him..." and that Smith should "...pretend to no other gift" than the translation of the supposedly ancient record.
1829 c. Apr. 2 Having departed the Smith residence in Manchester a day or two before, Samuel H. Smith and Oliver Cowdery reached the David Whitmer home in Fayette, Seneca, NY and no doubt spent the night there. David Whitmer requested Oliver to share with him any new information on the Oliver might gain regarding the supposedly ancient record, during Oliver's upcoming visit with Joseph Smith, Jr.
1829 c. Apr. 3 Joseph Smith, Jr. later said that he appealed to God for a scribe to help him in the translation of the supposedly ancient record at about this time -- and that God assured him that such a scribe would soon be provided.
1829 Apr. 5 According to Oliver, this was the afternoon when "my natural eyes, for the first time beheld [Joseph Smith, Jr] this brother..." at the Isaac Hale farm in Harmony, Susquehanna, PA.
1829 Apr. 7 Oliver began working with Joseph Smith, Jr. in the "translation" and recording of the supposedly ancient record. Apparently they began where the lost 116 pages had left off in the book's narrative and worked through to the end of the record before "translating" the replacement source for the lost pages. At some point Oliver also produced a second "printer's manuscript" copy, apparently working directly from the original "dictated manuscript."
1829 mid-Apr. Joseph Smith, Jr. (at Harmony, Susquehanna, PA) claimed to receive a message from God directed to Oliver Cowdery (LDS D&C Sec. 6). Cowdery was told in the text that God had given him a "gift" by which he (Oliver) would "assist in bringing to light" "those parts of the scriptures which have been hidden..." He was further told that his "gift" would allow him "to translate, even as my servant Joseph" and that he would receive no greater witness of the supposedly ancient record. It is possible that the "gift" mentioned in the "revelation" pertained in some way to Oliver's using a diving rod to locate and/or "translate" ancient scriptural records (see below).
1829 mid-Apr. Joseph Smith, Jr. (at Harmony, Susquehanna, PA) claimed to receive a message from God directed to Oliver Cowdery (LDS D&C Sec. 8). Cowdery was told in the text that God had given him "another gift, which is the gift of working with the rod ... this rod of nature ..." Oliver was also told to "ask ... that you may translate all those ancient records, which have been hid up..." Apparently Oliver expected to take up the task of "translating" some part of the "golden plates" or some supplemental record associated with them.
1829 mid-Apr. Joseph Smith, Jr. (at Harmony, Susquehanna, PA) claimed to receive a message from God directed to Oliver Cowdery (LDS D&C Sec. 9). Cowdery was told in the text that God said "... it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time." Apparently Cowdery had begun to "translate" some part of the "golden plates" or some supplemental record associated with them and had thus disregarded his primary work "to write for my servant Joseph."
1829 early May? Oliver Cowdery wrote a letter to David Whitmer, in Fayette, Seneca, NY, relating his experiences in working with Joseph Smith, Jr. Cowdery confessed to Whitmer that Joseph seemed to know "his secret thoughts, and all he had meditated upon before going to see him..." It is possible that some intimate confidant of Oliver's revealed some of his secrets to Smith during this period. Between late Apr. and early June Sidney Rigdon's whereabouts were unaccounted for, except that Lyman Wight claimed to have been baptized by Rigdon in OH some time during May.
1829 early May? Joseph Smith, Jr. (at Harmony, Susquehanna, PA) claimed to receive a message from God directed to himself (LDS D&C Sec. 10). Smith was told that the material in the lost 116 pages of the supposedly ancient record could be replaced, more or less, by his translating "the plates of Nephi" which would "throw greater views upon my gospel."
1829 May 15 Oliver Cowdery was baptized into the religion which would later give rise to the Church of Christ, founded Apr. 6, 1830.

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Oliver  Cowdery  Chronology:
Part 2 (1829-1838)
Oliver's Career as a Latter Day Saint.

This web-page is still under construction.

Fig. 2. (forthcoming)

1829 early June David Whitmer arrived at Harmony, Susquehanna, PA and offered to move Oliver Cowdery, along with Joseph Smith, Jr. to the Whitmer home in Fayette, Seneca, NY. Joseph and Oliver temporarily settled with the Whitmer family, where they finished the "translation" and transcription for their planned printing of the Book of Mormon.
1829 June 11 Joseph Smith, Jr. deposited the title page of the Book of Mormon at the office of the Northern District of New York (in Rochester?) and obtained a copyright for his not quite completed "translation." Oliver Cowdery finished transcribing the "printer's manuscript" at about the end of July.
1829 mid-June After Egbert B. Grandin, pro-Masonic publisher of the Wayne Sentinel in Palmyra refused to publish the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Jr. (no doubt asisted by Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris) attempted to persuade Thurlow Weed, publisher of the anti-Masonic Rochester Telegraph to print the book in Rochester. Weed also refused, but recommended the services of Elihu F. Marshall, another Rochester publisher. Marshall agreed to print the book.
1829 July After hearing that Elihu F. Marshall might do the printing for Joseph Smith, Jr., Egbert B. Grandin agreed to print and bind 5000 copies of the Book of Mormon at his Wayne Sentinel office for a payment of $3,000.
1829 mid-July? Oliver Cowdery and Hiram Page traveled to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to try and sell the rights for the printing of the Book of Mormon in Canada. Their route of travel may have taken them near Cattaraugus Co., NY (where Oliver's brothers Warren and Dyar then lived). They were unsuccessful in the copyright sales attempt.
1829 July 28 Oliver's brother Dyar died at Farmersville, Cattaraugus, NY (near the home of Warren A. Cowdery in Freedom). Dyar was 36, a bachelor, and a physician.
1829 Aug. 5 Martin Harris mortgaged his farm for $3,000 in order to pay Egbert B. Grandin the printing costs for the Book of Mormon.
1829 Aug. 28-30 Sidney Rigdon attended the annual meeting of Mahoning Baptist Association at Warren, Trumbull, OH. William H. Whitsitt later speculated that Rigdon planned to bring Joseph Smith, Jr. to this meeting, but that he changed his mind and attended without Smith.
1830 Apr. 6 The "Church of Christ" was organized at Manchester, Ontario, NY. Related events probably occured at Fayette, Seneca, NY at about this same time. The two sets of events have been interpreted by some to mean that the primary origanizational meeting was held in Fayette.
1830 Mar.-May Between mid-Mar. and mid-June Sidney Rigdon's whereabouts were unaccounted for. In April 1844 Rigdon gave a speech in Nauvoo in which he made reference to the events of this period as though he was in NY at the trime the Church of Christ was founded.
1830 mid-Aug. Parley P. Pratt, a disciple of Sidney Rigdon, left the Western Reserve of OH on a "mission" conducted "for his denomination" which took him to Fayette, Seneca, NY. There he was baptized a Mormon Sep. 1, 1820. Presumably Rigdon was with Pratt in OH at the time of his departure.
1830 late Aug. Oliver wrote from Fayette to Joseph Smith, Jr. in Harmony and told Joseph that he must recant a portion of a "revelation." Apparently Oliver felt that Joseph was inserting his own words into divine communications and thus creating "priestcraft" within the Church of Christ.
1830 late Aug. Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma move from Harmony to Fayette. There Joseph finds the Fayette branch of the Church in near rebellion against him. Among other problems, Hiram Page (brother-in-law of David Whitmer) was claiming to receive "revelations" with his seer stone.
1830 mid-Sep. Joseph Smith, Jr. (at Fayette, Seneca, NY) claimed to receive a message from God directed to Oliver Cowdery (LDS D&C Sec. 28). Cowdery was told that "no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church, excepting my servant Joseph..." and that he was to "go unto the Lamanites and preach my gospel unto them." Finally, Oliver was told to suppress the activities of would-be seer Hiram Page.
1830 Aug.-Oct. Between Aug. and late Oct. Sidney Rigdon's whereabouts were unaccounted for, except that he attended the last meeting of the Mahoning Baptist Association, held in Austintown, Trumbull, OH from Aug. 27 to Aug 29.
1830 Oct. 28 Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt arrived in the Mentor, Geauga, OH and went directly to the home of Sidney Rigdon and stayed at his residence for a few days. Then Cowdery and Pratt went to Kirtland where they were well received by Rigdon's communal colony at the Morely farm.
1830 Nov. 7 Oliver Cowdery baptized Sidney Rigdon into the "Church of Christ" at Kirtland, Geauga, OH.
1830 Nov. 30 Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, widow of William Morgan, married George W. Harris (an associate of her former husband) at Batavia, Genesee, NY.
1832 Dec. 18 Oliver Cowdery married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, daughter of Peter Whitmer, Sr., in , , MO.
1833 Dec. 18 Oliver's brother, Erastus Cowdery, died June 16, 1833 in Youngstown, Trumbull, OH. He was survived by his wife Rebecca and their two daughters. Rebecca Cowdery later lived in Liberty twp., Trumbull, OH. She probably died there c. 1855.
1833 mid-Oct. Oliver Cowdery went to New York City to purchase a printing press for the Church. Along the way he visited with his brother Warren in Cattaraugus Co., NY and his parents, who were still living in Arcadia, Wayne, NY.
1833 Nov. Oliver Cowdery returned from NY and set up the new printing press in the Church's printing office at Kirtland. Oliver spent the next several weeks re-printing back-issues of the Evening and Morning Star. That newspaper resumed regular publication in Kirtland with its Dec. 1833 issue and continued through Sep. 1834 with Oliver as its editor.
1834 Feb. 14 Oliver Cowdery was chosen to be one of the founding members of the Kirtland Council.
1834 May 5 Joseph Smith, Sr. departed Kirtland with a large group of armed Mormon to "redeem Zion." In Joseph's absence Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon were the primary Mormon leaders in Kirtland (from May through mid-Aug.)
1834 Oct. The Church at Kirtland began printing its new newspaper, the LDS Messenger and Advocate. At about the same time F. G. Williams started up a Jacksonian paper in Kirtland called the Northern Times. Oliver Cowdery was the editor for both publications.
1834 Dec. 5 Joseph Smith, Jr. ordained Oliver Cowdery as the first Assistant President of the Church. The position appears to have been largely a ceremonial one, with little real executive authority.
1835 Feb. 14 Oliver Cowdery, along with David Whitmer and Martin Harris, selected the first members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles. Oliver and his two associates selected Phineas Howe Young (brother of Brigham Young) to be one of the 12, but Joseph Smith, Jr. overturned their choice and substituted the name of his own brother, William Smith.
1835 May Oliver Cowdery was removed from his editorial position at the Messenger & Advocate, probably because he disagreed with Joseph Smith, Jr. on matters concerning local partisan politics.
1835 Aug. 17 Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon presented a revised set of "inspired documents" before a special Conference of the Church, which approved the collection for printing. Section 101, placed almost at the end of the book, gave instructions on purely monogamous marriage. The text stated that the "Church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy..." Joseph Smith was out of town when the Conference accepted the collection as being the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church.
1835 Aug. 21 Marie Louise Cowdery was born to Oliver and Elizabeth Cowdery in Kirtland, Geauga, OH. She was the only child the couple had to lived past infancy and reached adulthood.
1835 Oct. Oliver Cowdery wrote a letter from Kirtland, Geauga, OH to his brother Warren in Freedom, Cattaraugus, NY, asking him to send one of his younger sons to Kirtland so that Oliver could train him in the printing trade. The information provided in the letter gives the impression that Oliver was a skilled printer with many years experience in that occupation.
1835 Nov. Oliver Cowdery departed Kirtland early in the month and traveled to New York City to purchase books and book-binding equipment for the Church. Along the way he stopped in Buffalo to visit his non-Mormon brother Stephen Fuller Cowdery. Oliver had returned by Nov. 22., when he wrote a letter to his brother Warren A. Cowdery.
1836 Jan. 9 Oliver Cowdery was elected as a delegate from Geauga Co. to the Ohio State Convention of the Democratic Party. The convention was held in Columbus during the first days of Jan.
1836 Jan. 10 Oliver Cowdery visited with his step-brother, Silas Austin, who was then living near Columbus, Franklin, OH. Silas was not a Mormon.
1836 Jan. 15 Oliver Cowdery's father, William Cowdery, Jr., was chosen to preside over the Priests' Quorum in Kirtland. William was converted Mormonism and moved from Arcadia, Wayne, NY to Kirtland (probably in late 1835). His wife Keziah probably was estranged from William prior to his removal to Kirtland. She remained behind, residing in Ellery, Chautauqua Co., N.Y. until her death in 1861. The fact that William was given such a low calling in the Church (when his purported associate of previous years, Joseph Smith, Sr., was its Patriarch) perhaps indicates that he was not held in very high esteem by Joseph Smith, Jr.
1836 Feb. 10 Oliver Cowdery's half-sister, Lucy Pearce Cowdery, was by this time living in Kirtland. She probably accompanied her father William Cowdery, Jr. when he moved there from Arcadia, Wayne, NY.
1836 Feb. 25 Oliver Cowdery's older brother Warren, along with his family, arrived in Kirtland. They relocated there from Freedom, Cattaraugus, NY. Warren may have assisted his father and step-mother, William Cowdery, Sr. and Keziah, in their move from Arcadia, Wayne, NY, sending William along ahead of his own family by several days or weeks.
1836 Feb. 25 Oliver Cowdery's sister, Olive Cowdery Wilbur and her husband Winslow Shepherd Wilbur, were living in Kirtland by this time living. They probably accompanied Warren A. Cowdery when he moved there from Freedom, Cattaraugus, NY. They had earlier lived in Ellery, Chautauqua, NY. Winslow Wilbur (and perhaps Olive) was baptized into the LDS Church at about this time Winslow was a member of the Seventy in 1837 and he accompanied the Kirtland Camp to Missouri in 1838.
1836 Mar. Oliver Cowdery was called back to the editorship of the Church's Messenger & Advocate. Oliver remained the figurehead editor for about a year, but his brother Warren slowly beagn to take over many of Oliver's duities in that work.
1836 Apr. 3 Joseph Smith, Jr. later claimed that he and Oliver Cowdery were visited by Jesus Christ in the Kirtland Temple. Smith claimed that Moses, Elias, and Elijah also appeared to them and gave the two of them the "keys" to the gathering of Israel and the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham.
1836 July 25 Oliver Cowdery accompanied Joseph Smith, Jr. and others to Salem, MA to search for buried treasure. They found no treasure and arrived back in Kirtland about the end of Sep.
1836 Sep. 28 Lucy Pearce Cowdery, Oliver's half-sister, was married to Phineas Howe Young (brother of Brigham Young) in Kirtland.
1836 Nov. Oliver Cowdery traveled to Philadelphia, where he purchased printing plates for the planned Kirtland Safety Society Bank in Kirtland.
1836 Nov. 14 Elizabeth Ann Cowdery was born to Oliver and Elizabeth Cowdery in Kirtland, Lake, OH. She died May 09, 1837 in Kirtland.
1837 mid-Jan. Oliver Cowdery became Vice President of the defunct Bank of Monroe in Monroe, MI. Oliver may have traveled personally to Monroe to sign banknotes there. The went out of business at the end of Mar. The Mormon bank in Kirtland had closed its doors on Jan. 27, four weeks after first opening. Later charges made against Oliver for "counterfeiting" may have been related to his signing and issuing banknotes which had no monetary value.
1837 Feb. 1 The publishing firm of Oliver Cowdery & Co. was dissolved and its printing office was turned over to Joseph Smith, Jr. and Sidney Rigdon. Oliver's Brother Warren remained as manager of the printing office, the book-bindery and the editor of the Messenger and Advocate.
1838 July The Church's Elders' Journal said "... on account of the unfaithfulness of Oliver Cowdery ... and [his] opposition to our beloved brother Joseph Smith, jr ... [he has] been excluded from fellowship." It printed a statement from the husband of William Morgan's widow saying Cowdery discussed the "crime (adultery/polygamy) alledged against" Joseph Smith, Jr. in her house. It also said Mormons did not have more than one wife and that Joseph Smith was a money-digger.
1838 July 4 President Sidney Rigdon delivered a keynote address at Far West, Caldwell, MO saying: "Oliver Cowdery ... united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars and blacklegs of the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat and defraud the Saints." Rigdon also called for a war against the Missouri Gentiles, saying: "it shall be between us and them a war of extermination..."
1838 Aug. The final issue of the Elders' Journal (no. 4) was published at Far West, Caldwell, MO. It related Warren A. Cowdery's "incompetency all the time, and his ignorance and inability..." and said he "threw out foul informations" when he edited the Messenger & Advocate in Kirtland.

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Oliver  Cowdery  Chronology:
Part 3 (1838-1850)
Oliver Cowdery's Later Years

This web-page is still under construction.

Fig. 3. (forthcoming)

1839   Oliver served as secretary of the Western Reserve Teachers' Seminary in Kirtland, OH.
1845 Sep. James J. Strang "translated" supposedly ancient record uncovered in Walworth Co., WI. Soon afterwards he establishes a Mormon gathering place at a new settlement there which he calls "Voree."
1846 Jan. The first issue of James J. Strang's Voree Herald listed William Cowdery, Jr. of Kirtland, Lake, OH as being among his followers. The July issue of the paper listed Lucy Mack Smith and her son William among the followers.
1848 May 2 Oliver's brother, Stephen Fuller Cowdery, died in Kirtland, Lake, OH in his 58th year. He may have died in an accident; some accounts show his wife Betsey as dying on the same day.
1849 Feb. 26 Oliver's father, William Cowdery, Jr. died in Kirtland, Lake, OH in his 82nd year. William was a supporter of James J. Strang before he died but was too elderly to "gather" to Strang's headquarters in Voree, Walworth, WI. His sons, Lyman and Oliver did move to Walworth Co. after his death, however.
1849 spring James J. Strang began to "gather" his followers to a new colony on Beaver Island in MI. By late 1850 his old headquarters at Voree, Walworth, WI was largely deserted. Some apostates from his group, led by Aaron Smith, remained in Walworth Co. after Strang's departure to MI. Lyman Cowdery may have had friends among Smith's followers.
1850 Mar. 3 Oliver Cowdery died in Richmond, Ray, MO in his 44th year. He was survived by his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Maria Louise Cowdery Johnson.
1851 Feb. 23 Oliver's brother, Warren A. Cowdery, died in Kirtland, Lake, OH in his 63rd year. He was survived by his wife Patience and 8 of their 9 children.

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last revised 3-12-2001