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Part 3: 1836-1840

Part 1: 1823-1830   |   Part 2: 1831-1835   |   Part 3: 1836-1840   |   Part 4: 1841-1845
1836   |   1837   |   1838   |   1839   |   1840

- 1836 -

2 Jan (Sat)
The Kirtland High Council heard the case against William Smith, heard his confession and voted to allow him back into the Church.

3 Jan (Sun)
William Smith and Marvel C. Davis were re-baptized into the LDS Church. The fact that both were re-admitted at the same time may possibly indicate some connection between their respective alienations from the Mormons.

27 Mar (Sun)
Dedication of the Kirtland Temple. Hymns were sung by a choir directed by Marvel C. Davis. Solomon W. Denton reported "having seen a great vision, during the time of the washings and anointings" associated with the ceremony.

Jun 1836
Frederick G. Williams retired as a member of the "Literary Firm. With his departure the remnant of the old firm continued under the name of Oliver Cowdery & Co. Cowdery had been away from the printing business for a period of a few months.

20 June (Mon)
Joseph Smith was acquitted in a trial before the Court of Common Pleas at Chardon, on a charge of assault and battery brought by his brother-in-law, Calvin Stoddard. [Painesville Telegraph, 1:26, June 26, 1835]

28 June (Tue)
Frederick G. Williams was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace in Kirtland township.

25 Jul (Mon)
Joseph Smith and several leading Mormons (Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, etc.) leave Kirtland to seek buried treasure in Salem, MA

30 Jul (Sat)
Joseph Smith visited New York City.

early Aug 1836
Oliver Cowdery visited a firm in New York City to discuss the acquisition of bank notes. During this visit, he may have arranged a line of credit, through a New York branch, with a firm in Philadelphia that later printed the Kirtland Bank script: Underwood, Bald, Spencer and Huffy. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 468-470.]

early Aug 1836
Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery arrived at Salem, MA. They were later joined there by Brigham Young and Lyman E. Johnson.

6 Aug (Sat)
While at Salem Joseph Smith claimed to receive a divine revelation saying that the Church's debts would be paid with treasure buried in Salem.

late Aug 1836
In Joseph Smith's absence some members call for David Whitmer to assume leadership of the Church. A similar situation happened during Smith's trip to Canada in July of 1837. Accounts of these two events are difficult to sort one from another. The earlier attempt to unseat Smith may possibly have been related to his affair with Miss Fanny Alger.

early Sep 1836
Joseph Smith returned to Kirtland from his unsuccessful treasure hunt.

early Sep 1836
Joseph Smith commanded Levi Hancock to take Fanny Alger to Missouri.

Fall 1836
Fall 1836 Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and Sidney Rigdon establish the "Brother of Gideon" society. [Book of John Whitmer]

mid Oct 1836
Joseph Smith purchased a safe -- probably intended for bank use. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 468-470.]

18 Oct (Tue)
The first installment for proposed bank stock was transacted. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pp. 468-470.] Sidney Rigdon paid $12.00 as an initial installment for 2000 shares of the proposed Kirtland Safety Society stock.[D. Paul Sampson and Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 12, No. 4, p.427.]

2 Nov (Wed)
Leading Mormons at Kirtland took the initial steps in organizing the Kirtland Safety Society banking institution. They drew up articles of agreement, in preparation to formally organizing the financial institution. Sidney Rigdon was elected president and Joseph Smith, Jr., cashier. [Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 2, p.468.]

2 Nov (Wed)
Oliver Cowdery was chosen to go to Philadelphia to procure bank notes plates for the KSS. He left Kirtland in early November.

2 Nov (Wed)
Orson Hyde was chosen to go to Columbus to work with political allies in petitioning the Ohio State Legislature for a bank charter. [Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Vol. 2, p.468.]

7 Nov (Mon)
The First Presidency, three apostles, four presidents of Seventy, and 59 others signed a petition to Kirtland's justice of the peace to "depart forthwith out of Kirtland."

early Nov 1836
Final results in the US presidential election are published. Martin Van Buren, the Democratic candidate won the election. Although Geauga county did not favor Van Buren in the election, his victory strengthened the political position of local Democrats there, including the Mormons at Kirtland.

27 Nov (Sun)
Wilford Woodruff reported that Orson Hyde was still in Kirtland on Nov. 27 1836. Hyde probably left for Columbus at the end of the month. By that time it was known that the Whigs had control of the Ohio Legislature, and that the Mormon political allies had little power to help them in Columbus.

5 Dec (Mon)
The 35th General Assembly of Ohio opened on 5 December 1836. Hyde met with key legislators but could not obtain their support in introducing a bill to obtain a charter for the KSS. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg. 472.]


- 1837 -

1 Jan (Sun)
Oliver Cowdery returned to Kirtland from Philadelphia, with bank note plates and printed bank notes for the KSS. [Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, p.433-434; and Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg.472.]

1 Jan (Sun)
Orson Hyde returned to Kirtland from Columbus, Ohio, and reported his lack of success in getting the Ohio Legislature to pass a bill granting a bank charter for the KSS. [Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, p.433-434.]

2 Jan (Mon)
Members of the Kirtland Safety Society and adopted new, revised "Articles of Agreement," and reorganized their institution as the "Kirtland Safety Society Anti-banking Company, rather than continuing to use the previous name. Sidney Rigdon continued as president and Joseph Smith as cashier. Warren Parrish became secretary and bank teller. [Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, p.433-434.] [D. Paul Sampson and Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 11, No. 4, p.432.]

2 Jan (Mon)
Joseph Smith obtained a loan from the Bank of Geauga in Painesville, for $3,018.99. This may have been to provide specie and financial backing for the new KSS. [Geauga County Court Records, 1837; as quoted by Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, p. 456.]

5 Jan (Thr)
The KSS issued its first bank notes, probably to an initial amount between $10,000 and $15,000. [Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, p. 445.]

9 Jan (Mon)
The new KSS banking office officially opened in Kirtland. Its officers were from the very beginning reluctant to redeem its notes with specie. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg.472; Parkin, 1966, p. 219]

mid Jan 1837
Grandison Newell bought up a considerable amount of KSS notes then in circulation and presented them at the bank's Kirtland office, demanding that they be redeemed with specie. The bank probably ran out of its original stock of silver and gold coins well before the end of January.

19 Jan (Thr)
The Painesville Republican advised that the KSS bank notes were not being accepted by the Bank of Geauga in Painesville. For this reason local non-Mormon businessmen woud not accept the bills.

23 Jan (Mon)
Sidney Rigdon, President of the KSS, announced that the Mormon bank would no longer redeem its notes with no specie. Henceforth the notes were backed primarily by real estate, some of which was valued at highly inflated prices. [Kennedy, Early Days of Mormonism, p. 163; Cleveland Daily Gazette, Jan. 24, 1837, cf. issue of Jan 17; Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, p.436]

26 Jan (Thr)
Michigan Territory became the 26th state of the USA; this helped establish confidence in that region's future. The coming of statehood also brought with it new banking laws and regulations, endangering the operations of faltering financial institutions in Michigan (like the Bank of Monroe).

27 Jan (Fri)
The Painesville Telegraph announced that the KSS bank would no longer redeem its bank notes with specie.

30 Jan (Tue)
A meeting was held in the Temple to discuss new attempts to obtain a bank charter for the KSS. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg. 477.] It was about this time that the LDS First Presidency decided to purchase a controlling interest in the faltering Bank of Monroe.

1 Feb (Wed)
KSS bank notes were being exchanged at 12 1/2 cents on the dollar. If about $10,000 of the notes issued in January were still in circulation at this time, their combined face value was about $1,250. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg.472; and Marvin S. Hill, C. Keith Rooker, Larry T. Wimmer, BYU Studies, Vol. 17, No. 4, p.445-449.

1 Feb (Wed)
The publication of the 2nd edition of the Book of Mormon was completed. Printing of the book had been carried out during the winter of 1836-1837.

2 Feb (Thr)
Following the publication of the 2nd edition of the Book of Mormon, Oliver Cowdery retired as editor of the LDS Messenger and Advocate and sold his share in the Church's printing business to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. As cash was very scarce in Kirtland at this time, Cowdery probably accepted a signed promissory note or nearly worthless KSS bills in this transaction. His brother, Warren Cowdery replaced him as editor of the LDS newspaper.

2 Feb (Thr)
A writ was issued for the arrest of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. upon complaint of Samuel D. Rounds, a front man for Grandison Newell. The complaint accused Smith and Rigdon of engaging in illegal banking and of issuing unauthorized bank notes. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg.472.]

3 Feb (Fri)
At about this time Joseph and Hyrum Smith (most likely in company with Oliver Cowdery) left Kirtland for Monroe, MI. In leaving town at this time, Smith no doubt managed to avoid being served with the arrest writ issued on Feb. 2, 1837, thus buying himself some time before having to appear in court to face illegal banking charges. It is possible that he thought by his purchasing a controlling interest in the chartered Bank of Monroe he could avoid conviction on the illegal banking charges -- or, at least continue the Mormons' banking operations under the auspices of the Monroe firm.

8 Feb (Wed)
The US Senate completed the 1836 presidential election process by choosing Richard M. Johnson as Martin Van Buren's vice president. Van Buren took office amid fears of a rapidly worsening national economy.

10 Feb (Fri)
The Mormons, in association with some non-Mormon allies in Geauga county) attempted for a second time to secure a bank charter for the KSS. A bill was introduced in the Legislature with an amendment granting the KSS a charter and authorizing its capital stock up to $300,000. This bill was defeated. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg.472.]

10 Feb (Fri)
A meeting of the Bank of Monroe Board of Directors was held in Monroe, MI. Joseph and Hyrum Smith attended, along with Oliver Cowdery. Following the Mormon buy-out of Monroe Mayor Harleston's controlling interest in the bank, Oliver Cowdery was made its Vice President. Bailey J. Hathaway, (a nephew of Mrs. Lemuel Durfee and Mrs. Joseph Comstock of Palmyra) was chosen to be the reorganized institution's non-Mormon cashier.

13 Feb (Mon)
At about this Joseph Smith obtained a loan from the reorganized Bank of Monroe and then began his return to Kirtland, leaving Oliver Cowdery behind in Monroe. Joseph and Hyrum Smith probably stopped over in Cleveland, attempting to redeem notes of the Bank of Monroe for specie. Joseph probably also attempted to negotiate a loan from the Bank of Lake Erie at Cleveland while on this trip to the west.

17 Feb (Fri)
At about this time Joseph and Hyrum Smith returned to Kirtland from their trip to the west. Brigham Young and William Smith met their stagecoach, (probably near Mentor) and informed Joseph of a possible plot against his life. William took Joseph's place in the coach, and all arrived in Kirtland without incident. Once back in the town, Joseph and Hyrum met Solomon W. Denton in the Kirtland Bank and confronted him with accusations saying that he had borrowed a pair of pistols with the intention of ambushing and killing Joseph Smith upon his return to Kirtland. Denton denied the accusations.

19 Feb (Sun)
Joseph Smith preached in the Kirtland Temple and informed the audience that the First Presidency had purchased the charter of the Bank of Monroe. In other words, they had purchased the controlling interest in a chartered bank.

20 Feb (Mon)
At about this time, the Feb. 2 writ (issued on Roundy's charging Smith and Rigdon with illegal banking) was probably served upon Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in Kirtland. The two probably posted bond (perhaps before a Kirtland Justice of the Peace) and agreed to appear at a pre-trial hearing scheduled for March 24. The venue of this hearing is unknown, but perhaps it was Painesville.

20 Feb (Mon)
At about this time, a special "meeting" was held to consider accusations made against Solomon W. Denton. It is likely that this was a late February session of the High Priests' Quorum, presided over by Don Carlos Smith. If so, Denton may have shown his "contempt of the quorum" by not appearing at what must have been essentially a Church court trial examining his loyalty to the LDS leadership.

early Mar 1837
At about this time, Joseph Smith reportedly spoke with Solomon W. Denton, advising him to curb his adverse testimony, if called upon as a witness in an upcoming prosecution of Smith. Denton does not appear to have been cooperative when confronted with this counsel from the First Presidency.

mid Mar 1837
At about this time Solomon W. Denton was excommunicated from the LDS Church.

17 Mar (Fri)
Former President Andrew Jackson returned home to Tennessee, and said that he left office "with barely $90 in my pocket." This marked the beginning of the Panic of 1837, an ensuing national depression, and the resultant need for the US Government to borrow money to meet its financial obligations. Practically every bank in the US stopped redeeming bank notes before the end of March.

24 Mar (Fri)
A hearing was held to consider Roundy's complaint against Smith and Rigdon for engaging in illegal banking activities. Smith and Rigdon were apparently bound over for a jury trial at the fall session of the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas. [Dale W. Adams; BYU Studies Vol. 23, No. 4, pg.472.]

6 Apr (Thr)
The semi-annual Spring Conference began at Kirtland. An important Priesthood meeting was held in the Kirtland Temple, in which new presidents were ordained to preside over the LDS Seventies. Some former Seventies were released, as Joseph Smith had decided that High Priests at that time should not serve as Seventies.

9 Apr (Sun)
Joseph Smith preached in the Temple, announcing that a severe judgment awaited those members who had turned "traitors" and were opposing the use of KSS bank notes. This disobedience, said Smith, "has given power into the hands of the enemy" (non-Mormons who opposed the KSS, etc.) Smith also warned that LDS "covenant breakers" would "feel the wrath of God." [Dean C. Jessee, "The Kirtland Diary of Wilford Woodruff," BYU Studies, Vol. 12, No. 4, p. 393]

13 Apr (Thr)
Grandison Newell filed a complaint with a Justice of the Peace (apparently with Judge Flint in Painesville) charging Joseph Smith with conspiracy to commit murder. The magistrate issued a writ for Smith's arrest. While such writs were theoretically returnable anywhere in Geauga county, they were usually to into the hands of the township constable for execution. In this case, the writ was effectively rendered returnable in Painesville.

13 Apr (Thr)
Joseph Smith heard of the writ issued for his arrest. Knowing that an armed constable would soon appear in Kirtland to apprehend him, he fled town, thus avoid arrest and buying himself time to prepare a case in his defense. The bad news came to Smith suddenly and he was unable to solemnize the marriage of Wilford Woodruff, then in progress in Smith's own house. [Dean C. Jessee, "The Kirtland Diary of Wilford Woodruff."]

13 or 14 Apr
A posse of non-Mormon arrived in Kirtland, seeking Joseph Smith's arrest. This unfriendly group probably accompanied a Painesville constable who held the writ authorizing Smith's arrest. The posse found that Smith had left town and was unable to secure his arrest.

mid Apr 1837
Oliver Cowdery was elected to the office of Justice of the Peace in Kirtland township and Frederick G. Williams was re-elected to the same. Neither man was especially loyal to Joseph Smith at this time.

10 May (Wed)
Major banks in New York City suspended the payment of specie for bank notes, initiating a period of "hard times" and "hard currency" in the USA.

mid May 1837
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were unable to continue the operation of the Church's printing business due to overwhelming personal debts. They sold the printing office, press and bindery equipment to William Marks. This effectively ended the old "Literary Firm."

23 May (Tue)
Parley Pratt wrote an angry letter to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, accusing them of wrongful dealings with certain Church members, including himself. Pratt said that the LDS leaders took advantage over members like himself, "by undue religious influence," and insinuated that the "scheme of speculation" underlying the operations of the KSS was "of the devil." [Letter printed in Richard Livesey, "An Exposure of Mormonism," (1838), p. 9; original in the Lake County Historical Society Library].

26 May (Fri)
The Painesville Telegraph published an open letter to Sidney Rigdon, written by Grandison Newell. In the letter Newell outlined his charges that Smith had conspired with two other Mormons to have him murdered.

29 May (Mon)
Apostles Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson accused Joseph Smith. Jr., before the Kirtland Stake High Council, of lying, financial fraud, and extortion. In the same Council session First Counselor Sidney Rigdon and "Assistant President" Oliver Cowdery presided over a meeting to consider charges brought against Second Counselor F. G. Williams, David Whitmer, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman E. Johnson, and Warren Parrish. It was decided the Council was not the proper body to try President Williams. Shortly thereafter Williams joined Rigdon and Cowdery in presiding. The members of the High Council were divided in their assessment of these various opposing charges and the meeting broke up without taking disciplinary action against any member of the Church. This open conflict between two factions in the Church leadership marked the beginning of a public acknowledgment of the split between Smith loyalists and reformers which began months earlier. [LDS History of the Church, Vol. II, pp. 484, 485]

29 May (Mon)
At about this time, Joseph Smith came out of hiding and allowed himself to be arrested, probably at his attorney's office in Painesville. It is likely that he was placed under bond and allowed his freedom until his hearing on the 30th.

30 May (Tue)
Joseph Smith, accompanied by his lawyers and potential witnesses, appeared before Justice of the Peace (Talcott?) Flint at Painesville. The prosecution (apparently conducted by James H. Paine, Esq.) did not have its case ready and the hearing was rescheduled for June 3rd. Probably Grandison Newell and his counsel were attempting to find Marvel C. Davis to testify in the case. Mr. Davis never was located during this period -- probably he was in Kirtland.

3 Jun (Sat)
Smith's pre-trial hearing for conspiracy to commit the murder of Grandison Newell, was conducted before Judge Flint in Painesville. LDS Apostles Orson Hyde and Luke S. Johnson testified, acknowledging that "Smith seemed much excited and declared that Newell should be put out of the way, or where the crows could not find him." They claimed Smith had said "destroying Newell would be justifiable in the sight of God, that it was the will of God, &c." Hyde and Johnson also insisted that Smith was "tender-hearted." Warren Parrish did not offer the corroborating testimony Newell expected, and his case was not a strong one after all. Nevertheless, the Judge found enough reason to bind Smith and some witnesses over to the next session of the county court.

9 Jun (Fri)
After a few days' respite, Smith appeared before the Geauga County Court of Common Pleas at Chardon, in the case of "Sate of Ohio vs Joseph Smith, Jr." for conspiracy to commit murder. Despite the offering of a considerable amount of incriminating testimony, Presiding Judge Van R. Humphrey did not feel sufficient evidence was presented to convict Smith on the charges. Joseph Smith was acquitted and returned to Kirtland a free man.

12 Jun (Tue)
Joseph Smith was stricken with a serious illness and remained bed-ridden for several days.

13 Jun (Tue)
Apostles Young, Kimball, Hyde, and others left Kirtland for the first LDS mission to England.

16 Jun (Sun)
The Painesville Telegraph, an advocate of the prosecution of Smith, made a brief mention of the Mormon leader's acquittal.

18 Jun (Sun)
Oliver Cowdery began his duties as a new Justice of the Peace in Kirtland

30 Jun (Fri)
Grandison Newell's letter commenting upon the outcome of his prosecution of Joseph Smith was published in the Painesville Telegraph. Newell argued that much incriminating evidence had been presented against Smith, but even he conceded that the hoped-for proof of his case rested only upon circumstantial evidence.

3 Jul (Mon)
Ground was broken at Far West, Mo., for the foundation of a new Temple there. The Missouri LDS Presidency was later condemned for selecting the site.

6 Jul (Thr)
The Painesville Republican, edited by a Democratic political ally of the Mormons, critiqued Grandison Newell's response to the June 9th trial outcome.

17 Jul (Mon)
Newspapers reported that Sarah Kingsley Cleveland had been jailed for passing $390 in notes of the Kirtland Safety Anti-Banking Society.

23 Jul (Sun)
Smith's only revelation for 1837 was issued at Kirtland: Concerning the Twelve Apostles, including reprimanding instructions for Quorum President Thomas B. Marsh. Smith reasserts his authority in the Church by maintaining that Jesus Christ said to him: "the keys which I have given unto him, and also to you, shall not be taken from him till I come." (LDS D&C 112)

27 Jul (Thr)
Joseph Smith was briefly detained at Fairport before embarking on a trip to Canada. After undergoing a series of quick prosecutions and judgments in Painesville and Fairport, he was able to make his departure.

Jul 1837
In Smith's absence Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer fellowshipped a seer-stone using prophetess. F. G. Williams served as her scribe and recorded down the revelations she gave, after she engaged in Shaker style ecstatic dances. [Lucy Smith. Biographical Sketches, 1853, p. 211].

John Whitmer and W. W. Phelps lay out town site and temple lot in Far West, Caldwell, Co., Missouri without consulting Joseph Smith in Kirtland or the Far West High Council.

late Aug
Joseph Smith returned to Kirtland, following the completion of his " mission" to Canada. David Whitmer had renounced Joseph Smith as a fallen prophet but reluctantly resumed supporting him upon his return from Canada. At about this same time Whitmer returned to Missouri, where he was the President of the Far West "High Council." effectively the leader of the Church in Missouri. His counselors were W. W. Phelps and his brother, John Whitmer.

late Aug 1837
At about this time Oliver Cowdery resigned his commission as a Justice of the Peace in Kirtland township.

3 Sep (Sun)
At a conference to reorganize the Church (owing to the disaffection existing among many members), held at Kirtland, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, sr., Hyrum Smith and John Smith were appointed assistant counselors to the First Presidency. Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson and John F. Boynton, three of the Twelve Apostles, were disfellowshipped. F. G. Williams was sustained in his office, but the vote was not unanimous. [45 LDS HC Vol. II, 509.]

10 Sep (Sun)
Luke S. Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson and John F. Boynton made confessions and were received back into fellowship.

17 Sep (Sun)
Geo. W. Robinson was elected General Church Recorder, in place of Oliver Cowdery, who at this time moved permanently to Missouri.

25 Sep (Mon)
F. G. Williams resigned his commission as a Justice of the Peace in Kirtland township.

27 Sep (Wed)
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon left Kirtland, to establish other places of gathering for the Mormons. At this time the traveled to Far West, Missouri, arriving there in the latter part of October.

24 Oct (Tue)
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon tried by state of Ohio for unauthorized banking and each fined $1000. An "appeals court" (????) confirms the conviction and $1,000 fine each of Smith and Rigdon for operating an illegal bank.

mid Oct 1837
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon left Kirtland and traveled to Missouri.

mid Oct 1837
The first issue of the Elders' Journal (edited by Joseph Smith) was published at Kirtland. It replaced the Messenger and Advocate, which was discontinued after its September issue. Former editor Warren Cowdery was disassociated with the Church's printing business.

early Nov 1837
Oliver Cowdery confronted Joseph Smith over the matter of Smith's having carried on sexual relations with Miss Fanny Alger in Kirtland. Smith called in witnesses and shook hands with Cowdery, their both having agreed "to drop every past thing." [Oliver Cowdery Letterbook, Jan. 21, 1838;

7 Nov (Tue)
An important conference was held at Far West, Joseph Smith presiding. Frederick G. Williams was rejected as a counselor to Pres. Joseph Smith, and Hyrum Smith was appointed in his stead. David Whitmer, John Whitmer and Wm. W. Phelps were sustained as the presidency at Far West, and a High Council was organized consisting of John Murdock, Solomon Hancock, Elias Higbee, Calvin Bebee, John M. Hinkle, Thos. Grover, Simeon Carter, Lyman Wight, Newel Knight, Geo. M. Hinkle, Levi Jackman and Elisha H. Groves.

11 Nov (Sat)
Frederick G. Williams rejected as counselor, Hyrum Smith appointed in his stead. David Whitmer is rejected as branch president in Far West -- John Whitmer appointed instead. -- continuation of Nov 7th meeting ???

mid Nov 1837
The KSS formally closed its doors in Kirtland and went out of business.

10 Dec (Sun)
Joseph Smith arrived at Kirtland from Missouri. During his absence a number of prominent Mormons, including Warren Parrish, John F. Boynton, Luke S. Johnson and Joseph Coe, had united together to reform the Church at Kirtland and restore its original name: "Church of Christ."

mid Dec
The printing office at Kirtland was destroyed by fire at about this time, and publication of the Elders' Journal ceased there.

22 Dec (Fri)
Armed dissenters seized the Kirtland Temple. Apostle Brigham Young left Kirtland on account of the LDS reformers, who reportedly threatened to kill him because publicly supported Joseph Smith as a prophet.


- 1838 -

1 Jan (Tue)
John Smith identified (in a letter to George A. Smith) 28 dissenters that had been cut off, including Martin Harris, Joseph Coe, Luke S. Johnson, John F. Boynton, and Warren Parrish.

12 Jan (Fri)
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon fled Kirtland, on horseback to escape possible arrest there. Before leaving, the prophet dictates a revelation "concerning the trying of the First Presidency" which requires three unimpeachable witnesses and ratification of the decision by a majority of the church's stakes.

21 Jan (Sun)
Oliver Cowdery confronts Smith with charge of adultery with Fanny Alger. (Perhaps by letter, as Smith had not yet arrived in Missouri)

5 Feb (Mon)
A Special Council as held at Far West (probably upon orders of Joseph Smith). This Council effectively replaces the former Far West High Council. In a general assembly of Saints, conducted under the auspices of the new Council, the 12 Apostles, with Thomas B. Marsh presiding, bring charges against David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and William W. Phelps. David Whitmer, John Whitmer and Wm. W. helps were rejected as the LDS Far West Presidency Thomas B. Marsh took over the Presidency temporarily.

5 Feb (Mon)
Smith's disaffected private secretary accuses him of trying to create "a system of hereditary tyranny." By his death Smith had made general authorities of his father, his brothers Hyrum and William, his uncle John Smith, and his first cousin George A. Smith.

10 Feb (Sat)
Thomas B. Marsh and David W. Patten were appointed presidents pro tem. of the Church in Missouri, until the arrival of Joseph Smith, or Sidney Rigdon from Kirtland.

Answers to certain questions on Scripture, principally the 11th chapter of Isaiah, were given by revelation through Joseph Smith (LDS Doc. and Cov., Sec. 113.)

6 Mar (Tue)
Zion's Watchman prints Parley P. Pratt's angry letter of May 23, 1837, causing embarrassment to Church leaders in Missouri. Warren Parrish furnished the non-Mormon newspaper with a copy of the problematic letter.

10 Mar (Sat)
William W. Phelps and John Whitmer were excommunicated from the Church by the Council at Far West, Missouri. Marcellus Cowdery was disfellowshipped. Some time afterwards W. W. Phelps was received back into the Church by baptism.

14 Mar (Wed)
Joseph Smith appeared in public at Far West, Mo., accompanied by his family, Apostle Brigham Young and others. He may have secretly arrived in the area as early as the end of January.

6 Apr (Fri)
Spring Conference began at Far West. John Corrill and Elias Higbee were appointed historians and Geo. W. Robinson General Church Recorder and clerk to the First Presidency. Thomas B. Marsh was sustained as president pro tem. in Missouri, with Brigham Young and David W. Patten as assistant presidents.

7 Apr (Sat)
On this and the following day, the Church held its first quarterly conference at Far West. John Whitmer refused to give up the records of the Church in his possession to the newly appointed Church clerk and recorder.

9 Apr (Mon)
Thomas B. Marsh informs Oliver Cowdery of the charges being made against him which will lead to excommunication.

11-13 Apr
The high council at Far West, Missouri (now LDS headquarters) excommunicates Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Lyman E. Johnson.

11 Apr (Wed)
The new Far West High Council (under Thomas B. Marsh) files official charges against Oliver Cowdery.

12 Apr (Thr)
Oliver Cowdery was excommunicated by the High Council at Far West. [LDS Church History Vol III]. He may have withdrawn on the 11th.

13 Apr (Fri)
Lyman E. Johnson was cut off from the Church and David Whitmer told he was no longer a member -- for not obeying the Word of Wisdom (but he is not formally excommunicated). [LDS Church History Vol III & Ebenezer Robinson autobiography]

13 Apr (Fri)
David Whitmer, in a letter, withdrew from the Church. [LDS Church History Vol III notes]

20 Apr (Fri)
Heber C. Kimball returned from England and meets Orson and Parley Pratt in New York. [Heber C. Kimball autobiography]

26 Apr (Thr)
Church of (Christ of) Latter Day Saints at Far West was re-named "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." The apostate "pure church" group in Kirtland retained the earlier name (or, "The Church of Christ).

27 Apr (Fri)
Joseph Smith began dictating a history of the Church to his scribe. [LDS Church History Vol III] He describes the First Vision, etc. Smith also publishes answers to frequently asked questions on the beliefs of Mormons.

11 May (Fri)
Dr. William E. McLellin and Dr. McCord withdraw from the Church.

12 May (Sat)
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon requested annual remuneration of $1,100, each. The High Council gave 80 acre lots to each and granted their salary request. George M. Hinkle opposed [Ebenezer Robinson].

Next meeting after
12 May (Sat)
Joseph Smith's and Sidney Rigdon's salaries are rescinded because of much objection [per Ebenezer Robinson].

22 May (Tue)
Heber C. Kimball returned to Kirtland, at a time when Smith loyalists were very much unwelcome there.

Spring 1838
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon moved to Far West, MO.

2 Jun (Sat)
Alexander Hale Smith (son of Joseph and Emma)was born, Far West, MO.

19 Jun (Tue)
Sidney Rigdon preached and called upon the LDS "Gideonites" to "drive out the dissenters." Joseph Smith spoke of a new Church organization plan, saying that any who criticized the heads of the Church should be driven over the prairies like deer by a pack of hounds. This Rigdon speech is often confused with his so-called "Salt Sermon" of July 4th.

19 Jun (Tue)
With Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon as instigators [plaintiffs?], George W. Robinson prosecutes David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Lyman E. Johnson, Oliver Cowdery, Frederick G. Williams, and William W. Phelps. The first five attempt to seek legal council, but the families of Cowdery and Johnson are driven from their homes [John Whitmer's History].

Jun 1838
Danites formed (also known as "Big Fan" or "The Daughter of Zion") with Dr. Samson Avard as leader. Avard claimed he had authority from Sidney Rigdon.

Jun 1838
David Whitmer says he got instruction from God to separate from the Latter-day Saints.

Jun 1838
The "Daughter of Zion" sent a letter to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, William W. Phelps and Lyman E. Johnson telling them they had 3 days to leave (signed by 83, including Hyrum Smith) [Ebenezer Robinson].

Summer 1838
The Church was still greatly in debt [John Corrill's History].

Summer? 1838
Joseph Smith compiled an account of his "first vision," saying it happened in the spring of 1820 when he was 14 or 15 and motivated by a religious revival in the area, 2 years after moving to Manchester. Said he saw the Father & Son.

4 Jul (Wed)
The cornerstones were laid for Mormon Temple at Far West. Smith said that a divine manifestation informed him that the building of the structure would be underway within a year, and that it must be completed quickly. It wasn't.

4 Jul (Wed)
Sidney Rigdon, in his infamous public speech, threatened a "war of extermination" upon the non-Mormon Missourians, saying: "...that mob that comes in us to disturb us, it shall be between us and them a war of extermination; for we will follow them til the last drop of their blood is spilled, or else they will have to exterminate us; for we will cary the seat of war to their own houses and their own families, and one party or the other shall be utterly destroyed..." After Rigdon ended this speech, Joseph Smith shouted "Hosannah!"

7 Jul (Sat)
At about this time, Rigdon's 4th of July speech was printed in a newspaper at Liberty, Clay county. It was also reprinted as a pamphlet on the Church's press at Far West.

8 Jul (Sun)
Joseph Smith claimed a "revelation" regarding tithing, a few days after his demand for a salary was rescinded by the Far West High Council.

18 July (Wed)
Joseph Smith claimed further revelation on tithing.

late July 1838
Whig candidate William P. Peniston attempted to win Mormon vote in Daviess Co., fraternizes with Mormon Whig-sympathizer Lyman Wight [John P. Greene, p. 16]

3 Aug (Fri)
Orson Pratt published his short history of the origin of Mormon Church, in a pamphlet printed in Scotland. The "first vision" had two identical personages.

5 Aug (Sun)
Frederick G. Williams was re-baptized, but never again became a leading member of the Church, He and his son-in-law, Burr Riggs, later operated a "root doctor" business in western Illinois.

early Aug 1838
Whig candidate William P. Peniston said Mormons shouldn't be allowed to vote in the Aug. 6 election at Gallatin, Daviess county, Missouri. Mormons ' had settled in that county, contrary to their earlier agreements not to.

6 Aug (Mon)
A fight broke out when Mormons tried to vote in Gallatin. Some Mormons were injured. They were finally able to vote and then left town.

8 Aug (Wed)
Danite leader Dr. Sampson Avard, Joseph Smith, and Lyman Wight arrived in Gallatin with 150 armed men. They got J. P. Adam Black to sign an affidavit promising non-molestation of the Mormons in Daviess Co. Black later filed a complaint against the Mormons at Richmond, MO [John Corrill's History]

mid Aug 1838
Parley P. Pratt wrote a letter of apology (in response to Zion's Watchman having printed his angry, private letter to Smith, some months earlier).

early Sep 1838
Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight surrendered to General David R. Atchison for trial, upon a complaint filed by William P. Peniston.

mid Sep 1838
Dr. Austin Carroll led a mob of 200-300. General Atchison ordered 500 militia to quell disturbance and intervenes between the mob and the Mormons.

14-15 Oct 1838
Joseph Smith made his "... religion by the sword" statement at Far West, MO. Rigdon said that any Mormon who refused fight the Missourians should be forced to do just that, in the front ranks of battle.

27 Oct (Sat)
Governor Boggs issued order saying Mormons must be treated as enemies and either exterminated or driven from the State. Contemporary use of the word more often meant "driving away" than utter genocide.

1-4 Sep 1838
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon began studying the law [Ebenezer Robinson].

4 Sep (Tue)
John N. Sapp, a Danite, estimated their number between 800 and 1000.

Sep 1838
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, and Sidney Rigdon met with Anson Call and others at Three Forks to warn them that there would be difficulties and to go to Far West. Later, mobbers sought to kill Phineas Young [Anson Call].

2-4 Oct 1838
New Mormon settlement in DeWitt is attacked by Gentile mob, Mormons return fire.

6 Oct (Sat)
Joseph Smith arrived at DeWitt, and sent a request to the Governor for help.

9 Oct (Tue)
Governor Boggs refused to help the Mormons settlers at DeWitt.

15 Oct (Mon)
Joseph Smith formed a military company which marched to Daviess County under command of David W. Patten. Parley P. Pratt and others.

15 Oct (Mon)
Battle of Crooked Creek between Mormons and Samuel Bogart's troop of State Militia. Three Mormons (David W. Patten, Gideon Carter, and Patrick O'Banion) were killed trying to rescue captives. One of Bogart's men was killed.

24 Oct (Wed)
Apostles Orson Hyde and Thomas B. Marsh left Far West, meet with Gentiles, and sign affidavits saying that Joseph Smith was plotting to take over the state of Missouri, and eventually the U.S. Other Mormons leaving or being forced out of the Church included: John Corrill, Reed Beck, John Clemeson, William W. Phelps, Sampson Avard and George M. Hinkle [Allen Joseph Stout].

27 Oct (Sat)
Governor Boggs issues his Extermination Order against the Mormons.

30 Oct (Tue)
Haun's Mill massacre, 17-19 Mormons killed by Jenning's men. A State Militia force of about 1500 surround Far West, do some damage to outlying farms, then encamp for the night.

31 Oct (Wed)
In the evening George Hinkle persuaded Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley P. Pratt, and George W. Robinson to talk with the Missourians. They are seized and made to surrender to General Samuel D. Lucas. [Ebenezer Robinson].

31 Oct (Wed)
That night Joseph Smith and Lyman Wight are sentenced by a court-marshall to be shot the following day by Alexander Doniphan's troops,

1 Nov (Thr)
Doniphan (who had been secretly retained as Smith's lawyer) refuses to shoot the men. They are held in custody while the militia enters Far West, disarms the Mormons, capture Hyrum Smith, and loot much of the Mormon property there. The next day the captives leave in wagons, bound for Independence, 60 miles away.

4 Nov (Sun)
Ebenezer Robinson, Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, and other Mormons arrested by General John B. Clark and are taken to Richmond. Clark requires Mormons to give up weapons, and sign over their land in Caldwell Co. to the State (to help reimburse militia salaries, etc.). Clark orders the Mormons to leave Missouri before the 1839 crop planting.

10 Nov (Sat)
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and other Mormons are charged with treason, murder, and lesser crimes.

15 Nov (Thr)
John P. Greene arrives at the home of "Judge" John Cleveland and his Mormon wife Sarah, about 4 mile east of Quincy. In May of 1839 Greene would be appointed by a Conference held near Quincy to travel east and publicize the cause of the Mormons.

28 Nov (Wed)
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and other Mormon captives are taken to Liberty Jail, in Clay Co.


- 1839 -

15 Jan (Tue)
Anson Call meets with Mormon apostates Lyman Cowdery, David Whitmer, William E. McLellin, Burr Riggs, and William W. Phelps. They ask him to withdraw claims saying that they took missing goods. Call refuses to do this.

16 Jan (Wed)
Brigham Young and Edward Partridge at odds.

5 Feb (Tue)
Sidney Rigdon escapes from Liberty Jail.

6 & 7-Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon rides to Tenny's Grove where he meets his family and George W. Robinson's family..

mid-Feb 1839
Sidney Rigdon hides in the family wagon as it moves toward Illinois. The trip from Tenny's Grove probably took about 10 days.

15 Feb (Fri)
Emma Smith crosses the frozen Mississippi River to Quincy, IL on foot, walking behind her wagon full of family possessions. She brings with her Joseph III, Alexander, Frederick, and Julia, her children. Emma finds shelter at the farm of Judge John Cleveland, 4 miles east of Quincy. John was apparently at this time a Mormon sympathizer. His wife seems to have already been baptized a Mormon. She later became Emma's counselor in the Female Relief Society in Nauvoo. The Clevelands probably exchanged their Quincy farm for a house and lot in Nauvoo c, 1841-42.

c. 15 Feb (Fri)
Sidney Rigdon arrives on the banks of the Mississippi and crosses in a canoe. His family probably crossed with a day or two by ferry.

16 Feb (Sat)
Sidney Rigdon arrives in Quincy, IL and resides with Judge John Cleveland (at the same residence as where Emma Smith and her family were then staying).

22 Feb (Fri)
Quincy Whig article announces the arrival of Sidney Rigdon.

Feb-Mar 1839
Sidney Rigdon lives in Quincy for about four weeks, then moves temporarily to Big Neck Prairie, Fulton Co., IL to live with George W. Robinson.

23 Feb (Sat)
During a meeting of the Quincy Democratic Association, a committee was appointed to seek relief for the Mormon refugees. Sidney Rigdon writes to the U.S Attorney General, Felix Grundy, saying: "...I am one of that number who has been driven by violence from my home after being held in prison for near four months and all my property destroyed. My object in writing to you is to assertain if recourse can be had to the federal and whether or no we can enter suit in the court not only against individuals inhabitants of Missouri but against the state also for the unconstitutional acts of the executive of said state..."

27 Feb (Wed)
Sidney Rigdon preaches a funeral sermon in or near Quincy. he mentions that there will be a meeting at the Adams Court House that evening. After Rigdon speaks the meeting is postponed for 24 hours.

28 Feb (Thr)
Democratic Association of Quincy joined by other Quincy Gentiles in a second meeting with the Mormons.

16 Mar (Sat)
The Democrats' "Quincy Argus" publishes pro-Mormon editorial.

18 Mar (Mon)
George A. Smith appointed to the 12, replacing Thomas B. Marsh, who had fallen; Wilford Woodruff also added to the 12. Both are ordained on April 26th. [Brigham Young].

20 Mar (Wed)
Joseph Smith letter from Liberty Jail to "The Church at Quincy Illinois," [LDS History of the Church, III:301].

25 Mar (Mon)
"The Prophet's Epistle to the Church" written in Liberty Jail. "Your humble servant, Joseph Smith, Jun.... , in company with his fellow prisoners and beloved brethren, Caleb Baldwin, Lyman Wight, Hyrum Smith, and Alexander McRae... We would tell, that we should have been liberated at the time Elder Rigdon was, on the writ of habeas corpus... We feel to inquire after Elder Rigdon; if he has not forgotten us, it has not been signified to us by his writing. Brother George W. Robinson also... [LDS History of the Church, III:289-298].

c. 8 Apr (Mon)
Smith and his fellow prisoners are moved to Daviess Co., to face a Grand Jury. Rigdon receives Smith's letter from Liberty Jail.

11 Apr (Thr)

Rigdon, in Quincy, replies to Smith's letter, saying "In the midst of a crowd of business, I haste to send a few lines... we have labored to secure the friendship of the governor of this state, with all the principal men in this place. In this we have succeeded beyond our highest anticipations. Governor Carlin assured us last evening, that he would lay our case before the legislature of this state, and have the action of that body upon it; and he would use all his influence to have an action which should be favorable to our people. He is also getting papers prepared signed by all the noted men in this part of the country, to give us a favorable reception at Washington, whither we shall repair forthwith, after having visited the Governor of Iowa, of whose friendship we have the strongest testimonies. We leave Quincy this day to visit him... Our plan of operation in this work is, to get all the governors, in their next messages, to have the subject brought before the legislatures... and we design to be at Washington to wait upon Congress, and have the action of that body on it also... Brother George W. Robinson will be engaged ... in taking affidavits, and preparing for the tug of war; while we will be going from state to state, visiting the respective governors... [LDS History of the Church, III:310-311].

11 Apr (Thr)
Sidney Rigdon and George W. Robinson probably travel to Burlington, in Iowa Territory at this time to visit Governor, Robert Lucas and solicit letters of support from him. Joseph Smith and other Mormons reached Daviess Co., c. April 9-10; there they are charged by a Grand Jury at Liberty with murder, treason, burglary, arson, larceny, theft, and stealing. However they receive a change of venue to Boone County for their upcoming trial.

15 Apr (Mon)
Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Alexander McRae, and Caleb Baldwin escape while being transported from Daviess Co. to Boone Co., MO.

20 Apr (Sat)
The last of the Mormons depart from Far West.

22 Apr (Mon)
Joseph Smith (and perhaps also Lyman Wight) arrive in Quincy, IL. Smith visits with Emma at the home of Judge John Cleveland 4 miles east of town and lodges there for the next several days.

22 Apr (Mon)
Governor Robert Lucas of Iowa Territory writes to Rigdon saying: "I herewith enclose two letters, one addressed to the President of the United States, and one to Governor Shannon, of Ohio.... I have thought it the most prudent course to refrain from an expression of an individual opinion in the matter... I sincerely hope that you may succeed in obtaining a general investigation into the cause and extent of your sufferings..." Lucas' letter to President Martin Van Buren (dated April 22) begins: "I have the honor to introduce to your acquaintance, the bearer, Doctor Sidney Rigdon, who was for many years a citizen of the State of Ohio, and a firm supporter of the administration of the General Government...." Lucas was one of those writing letters of introduction and recommendation for Rigdon who was least inclined to praise the Mormon leader for any of his personal attributes or accomplishments. About all Lucas provided for Rigdon was an endorsement of Rigdon's support for the current Democratic administration.

Apr 1839
George Miller joined the Church near Quincy, IL. He later becomes its Bishop.

25 Apr (Thr)
Joseph Smith traveled to Commerce, IL. He remained in that area about a week and on April 30th Smith, Rigdon, (and perhaps George W. Robinson and Alanson Ripley) met in Commerce and agreed to purchase two adjoining farms (the Hugh White farm and the Isaac Galland estate) for the Church for $5,000 and $9,000. Rigdon, Joseph, and Hyrum signed notes for $23,000 and Isaac Galland transferred the Commerce property over to the Mormons.

26 Apr (Fri)
At secret meeting of the Twelve at deserted Far West, one of the corner stones of the temple is rolled into place; 31 apostates are cut off from the Church [Brigham Young].

late Apr 1839
Missouri Governor Boggs issues a bench warrant for the return to Missouri of Sidney Rigdon. Illinois Governor Thomas Carlin refuses to extradite Rigdon.

3 May (Fri)
Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff visit Joseph and Hyrum Smith, at the Cleveland farm, the day before a major Church conference [Brigham Young].

4-5 May 1839
Church Conference held at an old Presbyterian camp-meeting grounds near Quincy. Rigdon is appointed to take Mormon redress petitions to the Federal Government in Washington, D. C. Woodruf writes: "May 4th A general conference commenced this morning on the Presbyterian camp ground 2 miles north of Quincy. Joseph Smith jr. was President of the Conference. It was an interesting time. Much business of consequence was accomplished during the day... May 5th Sunday I attended Conference. We had a vary interesting day. Joseph address the congregation & also Sidney & was followed by the Twelve."

6 May (Mon)
Woodruff writes: "I then met Brother Joseph in Company with the Twelve & Bishops at the house of Bishop Partridge. We again had an interesting time with Brother Joseph. This was the end of the conference." Apparently the tail-end of the Conference business was caught up by the leaders at Partridge's temporary quarters in or near Quincy.

7 May (Tue)
Joseph Smith meets with the Council of Twelve at Quincy. Wilford Woodruff is present.

8-9 May 1839
Joseph Smith begins preparations to move to Commerce. He starts out from Quincy for his new residence there on the 9th.

10 May (Fri)
Joseph Smith arrives in Commerce IL; Sidney Rigdon and George W. Robinson follow soon after, the farm at Great Neck Prairie is leased to another Mormon.

11 May (Sat)
Lyman Wight's pro-Whig letter published in Quincy Whig. -- probably written c. May 7 -- Wight had probably attended Joseph Smith's meeting with the Council of Twelve in Quincy that same day (the 7th).

12 May (Sun)
"I met in council with the twelve & the quorums of the seventies. We had an interesting meeting. Some important things or business was transacted this day... a committy of five was Chosen to labour with Elder Lyman Wight for presenting the subject of politicks through the public press in a manner that was derogatory to the Character of the church & closing up what public feeling there was manifest in our favor." [Woodruff]

14 May (Tue)
Joseph Smith returned temporarily to Quincy and transacted Church business there on Wednesday and Thursday (the 15th and 16th).

17 May (Fri)
Sidney Rigdon & Joseph Smith wrote letter on politics to the Quincy Whig. Although dated "Commerce, May 17, 1839," the letter may have been delivered by hand to the Quincy Whig editors by Smith or Rigdon on the 17th in Quincy.

18 May (Sat)
Lyman Wight's "Missouri-ism" series began in the Quincy Whig.

18 May (Sat)
Matilda Spalding Davison statement from the Boston Recorder (reprinted in the New York Observer) was published in the Quincy Whig.

18 May (Sat)
Smith finished his business at Quincy and starts back for Commerce. He probably leaves before the newspaper is printed that day. Thus he probably left town unaware of the Matilda Spalding Davison article in the Whig.

19 May (Sun)
Joseph Smith arrived back home in Commerce in the evening.

19-20 May 1839
Joseph Smith is in Commerce, laying out the city [Brigham Young].

24 May (Fri)
Smith approved the plan for sending the Council of the Twelve to England.

25 May (Sat)
Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith wrote their letter on Church and politics to be published in the Quincy Whig. While they probably had the Matilda Spalding Davison statement before them by this time, the contents of their letter does not indicate that they were responding to any element of that statement.

26 May (Sun)
By this date (at the very latest) Rigdon had the May 18 issue of the Quincy Whig, with its "Origin of Mormonism" article quoting the Matilda Spalding Davison statement.

27 May (Mon)
Sidney Rigdon writes his attack on proponents of the Spalding theory.

c. 3o May (Thr)
Smith was in Commerce until "the latter part of the week," when he went to Quincy with his "Counselors." (Hyrum Smith and Sidney Rigdon). Smith notes that he "continued to assist in making preparations to lay our grievances before the general government." As both Smith and Rigdon were in Quincy together at this time, it is possible that they hand delivered the Rigdon letter and other Mormon items for publication in the Whig. However, even a hand-delivered letter arriving near the end of the weeks might not make it into the Saturday newspaper. This may be why Rigdon's rebuttal letter was not published until the following Saturday (June 8th).

1 Jun (Sat)
Letter of Robert B. Thompson (then working as a writer for the "Argus" ) and associates, probably written about May 31, 1839: "To the Editors of the Argus Gentlemen - Observing in the last weeks Whig, a communication over the names of Messrs. Rigdon and J. and H. Smith, in relation to the letters of Mr. Lyman Wight, which have lately appeared in that paper, and believing that the sentiments therein expressed, are in unison with those entertained by the body, of which we form a part, and feeling desirous to give publicity to the same, we should esteem it a favor if you would give it a place in your columns, and by so doing, you will oblige, Yours, Respectfully,

5 Jun (Wed)
Smith returns to Commerce from Quincy.

8 Jun (Sat)
Sidney Rigdon's letter of May 27th is published in the "Quincy Whig."

11 Jun (Tue)
Smith began dictating a new autobiography and Church history to his clerk, James Mulholland. Just as when the 1834-35 History was begun in the "Messenger and Advocate" in Kirtland, the writing of this 1839 History may have been spurred in part by the appearance of the Spalding authorship claims as an alternative explanation for the origin of Mormonism.

c. Jun 1839
Theodore Turley raised the first new house built by the Mormons in Commerce.

c. late June 1839
John P. Green's "Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons..." published in Cincinnati, Ohio. The pamphlet included the printed endorsement of Governor Thomas Carlin, General Samuel Leach, chairman of the Democratic Association of Quincy; and several of the leading citizens of Adams County.

27 Jun (Thr)
Orson Hyde was readmitted to the Church in a meeting of the Council of 12 in Commerce.

30 Jun (Sun)
Smith preached at "Brother Bosier's." There, to a crowded audience, he bore his testimony concerning the truth of Mormonism and also of the truth of the Book of Mormon.

4 Jul (Thr)
George M. Hinkle's fellowship withdrawn (probably in late 1838) [Brigham Young].

4 Jul (Thr)
Parley P. Pratt escaped from confinement in Richmond and headed for Illinois.

13 Jul (Sat)
About this time, a bout of sickness fell upon many of the Mormons living at Commerce.

28 Jul (Sun)
Parley P. Pratt arrives in Commerce. On the 28th he preaches at a Mormon service on the gathering of Israel. By this time plans were firmly underway for a new gathering of the Saints at Commerce.

July 1839
Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith print first issue of the "Times and Seasons." (Copies are ruined; publication is suspended -- This issue is finally reprinted in Nov. 1839.)

4 Aug (Sun)
Joseph Smith commissions the Twelve to preach in the East and then continue on to do missionary work in England. The first Apostles to leave Commerce do so a few days later..

8 Aug (Thr)
Joseph Smith made a number of doctrinal declarations, including the announcement that angels have flesh and bones.

29 Aug (Thr)
Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, and Hiram Clark started out on the first leg of their journey to Europe, leaving Commerce by two-horse carriage. Their route took them through Illinois, Indiana, and to Detroit. From there Parley P. Pratt went to New York City. Philadelphia, and eventually back to NYC (to catch a ship to England).

14 Sep (Sat)
Brigham Young, Heber, C. Kimball, George A. Smith, and Theodore Turley started out for mission to England.

6 Oct (Sun)
General conference of the Church at Commerce, ended on Oct. 8th. William Marks was sustained as President of Commerce Stake (later Nauvoo).

12 Oct (Sat)
Brigham Young's father, John Young, Sr., died at Quincy.

29 Oct (Tue)
Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Elias Higbee, and Porter Rockwell set out from Nauvoo for Washington, D.C. in a two-horse carriage

30 Oct (Wed)
After spending the night at Elias Higbee's house in Carthage the carriage continued on to Quincy. Rigdon became ill.

31 Oct (Thr)
The group remained in Quincy, due to Rigdon's illness. Dr. Robert D. Foster joined the group to care for Rigdon.

4 Nov (Mon)
The group arrived in Springfield, capital of Illinois.

6 Nov (Wed)
About this time the group departed Springfield, headed for Indiana. Rigdon was still ill.

8 Nov (Fri)
About this time the travellers neared Columbus, Ohio and proceeded on poor roads. Rigdon's health was so bad that Smith and Higbee decided to take "the most expeditious route to Washington City, leaving Brothers Rockwell, Rigdon, and Foster, to come on at their leisure in the carriage."

c. 9 Nov (Sat)
Parley P. Pratt arrived in Detroit and then "went on to New York City by steamboats, the canal and railway."

9 Nov (Sat)
Smith writes his wife, saying he and Higbee will leave Rigdon behind. Elias Higbee and Joseph Smith then leave Rigdon, Dr. Foster and Porter Rockwell behind with the carriage and the two of them take the stagecoach to Washington.

Nov 1839
Ebenezer Robinson and Don Carlos Smith re-print first issue of the Times and Seasons. c. 18 Nov (Mon)
After following behind Smith and Higbee for three weeks, Sidney Rigdon's illness worsens and he rests at his brother's house in Washington Co., PA until about Jan. 10th, when he sets out for Philadelphia.

c. 19 Nov (Tue)
(c. Mon.) Parley P. Pratt arrives in New York City.

20 & 21-Nov 1839
A general conference was held in NYC on Tues. & Wed. Elders present: Orson Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, Samuel James, Benjamin Winchester, Elders Foster, Layne, Jenks, Brown, Benedict, and Parley P. Pratt.

20 Nov (Wed)
Smith receives a letter from Rigdon who is recuperating from his illness at his brother Carvel's house in Washington Co., PA.

28 Nov (Thr)
Smith and Higbee arrive in Washington, D.C.

29 Nov (Fri)
Smith and Higbee meet with President Martin Van Buren in the White House.

21 Dec (Sat)
Smith arrives in Philadelphia by train from Washington, D.C. Parley P. Pratt also arrives in Philadelphia, having traveled there from NYC. Pratt remains in Philadelphia until Jan 1st.

c. 24 Dec (Mon)
About this time Porter Rockwell and Elias Higbee arrive at Philadelphia with Smith's carriage from Washington, PA, where they had been some time, leaving Elder Rigdon there sick, and Dr. Robert E. Foster to take care of him.


- 1840 -

9 Jan (Thr)
Smith returned to Philadelphia after having visited outside of the city.

c. early 1840
Sidney Rigdon joined the Masons -- perhaps while in PA.

13 Jan (Mon)
Sidney Rigdon and Dr. Foster arrived in Philadelphia and a Church conference was held there, hosted by local mission president, Benjamin Winchester. About this time Smith reportedly informed Pratt about the principle of polygamy. Winchester later recalled that Smith was engaged in an illicit affair with a female member, while staying in Philadelphia.

mid-Jan 1840
Time & Seasons. (Vol. 1. No. 3. Commerce, Illinois, January, 1840): [p. 43] "In this No. will be seen an article which we copy from the New York Era," Signed P. P. Pratt, it's in contradiction to the foolish simple priest fabricated tale that has been going the rounds, charging Sidney Rigdon with the crime of making the Book of Mormon, out of the romantic writings of one Solomon Spaulding &c." This editorial notice written by Ebenezer Robinson and/or Don Carlos Smith. This issue also reprinted "A Cunning Device Detected" from the Quincy Whig of Nov. 16, 1839.

27 Jan (Mon)
Smith, Higbee, Rockwell, and Foster went to Washington by railroad, having sold Smith's carriage. They left Sidney Rigdon sick in Philadelphia for about another six weeks.

31 Jan (Fri)
Brigham Young and George A. Smith took a steamboat and stage to travel from New Haven, CT to New York City, where they stayed with Parley P. Pratt.

1 Feb (Sat)
George A. Smith traveled to Philadelphia. There he no doubt met with Sidney Rigdon and Benjamin Winchester.

5 Feb (Wed)
Joseph Smith preached in Washington, D.C.

c. 6 Feb (Thr)
Smith reportedly had a second interview with Martin Van Buren, who supposedly told the Mormons: "Gentlemen, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you;" and "If I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri."

c. 10 Feb (Mon)
Smith, Rockwell, and Foster left Washington and travel to Dayton, Ohio.

4 Mar (Wed)
Joseph Smith arrived back in Nauvoo.

4 Mar (Wed)
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee considered the Mormons' petition for redress and ruled that they should pursue their case in the courts of Missouri.

9 Mar (Mon)
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt, Parley P. Pratt, George A. Smith, & R. Hedlock sailed to Liverpool [per Brigham Young].

6 Apr (Mon)
Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, Willard Richards, William Clayton, and John Moon were also in Liverpool [per Brigham Young].

21 Apr (Tue)
The name of the Post Office at Commerce was changed to "Nauvoo.".

Apr 1840
Joseph Smith preached that God was once a man.

Apr 1840
Orson Hyde and John E. Page went on mission to Jerusalem (Hyde for three years, Page not making the trip, and returning Dec, 1842) [Orson Hyde].

13 Jun (Sat)
Don Carlos Smith (Joseph Smith's son) born at Nauvoo.

7 July (Tue)
A Gentile search party from Tully, MO, found a large cache of stolen goods near the river at Nauvoo; they kidnapped four Mormons found in the vicinity, took them to Tully and extorted their confessions.

July 1840
Dr. Nelson. an abolitionist who ran a private school in Palmyra, MO, and who often visited Illinois, was lecturing in Quincy on the Mormons. He advertised his lecturing in the July 11th issue of the "Quincy Whig."

In or after
Aug 1840
John C. Bennett joined Church and became mayor of Nauvoo.

15 Aug (Sat)
Joseph Smith enunciated doctrine for baptism for the dead.

About middle of
Orson Pratt published "Remarkable Visions" in Scotland.

14 Sep (Mon)
Joseph Smith Sr. died at Nauvoo, leaving the office of Patriarch empty.

Fall 1840
Oliver Cowdery moved to Tiffin, OH and opened a law office; partner with Joel W. Wilson and with William Lang. Oliver Cowdery and his family joined the Methodist congregation there.

Oct 1840
Ebenezer Robinson completed the printing the third edition of The Book of Mormon at Nauvoo.

mid 1840
LDS Church membership had grown to about 17,000.

16 Dec (Wed)
The Illinois Legislature granted charters for the City of Nauvoo, the Nauvoo Legion, and the University of the City of Nauvoo.

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Year 1841

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last revised 3-12-2001