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Mormons and anti-Mormons, 1831-39

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Orson Hyde
(1806-aft 1893)
1832 Missionary Journal (excerpts)

Title-page   Introduction
Rigdon at Mentor
Mormons at Kirtland
Kirtland Temple

Transcriber's comments

another copy of Hyde's journal entries   |   1890 articles in Saints' Herald








Document 1: 1832 Samuel H. Smith comments (excerpts)

Source: Smith, Samuel H., "Journal," LDS Church Historian's Archives, UT. Typescript in Dale R. Broadhurst Papers, Marriott Library, University of Utah. (Also partly transcribed in Cheryl H. Bean's Rediscovering History. . . St. Anthony, ID, 1995).

Note 1:  According to Samuel H. Smith, he and Orson Hyde first approached (New) Salem, Ashtabula Co., Ohio from the west, having trekked towards that town after leaving neighboring Kingsville. The "Christian congregation" they came across was probably located between the hamlet of Amboy and the western limits of Salem, on the old lakeshore road. The following day, Feb. 14, 1832, the missionaries appear to have walked into Salem. Orson Hyde said they "sold two Book of Mormons" in that area on the previous day. Thus, it is possible that the missionaries were in West Salem on the 13th.

Note 2:  The movements of the missionaries on the 14th and 15th are somewhat obscure. They must have left Salem town limits and spent some time on the shore of Lake Erie. While this stopping point may have been on the PA side of the state line, it is more likely that the two waited until the afternoon of Feb. 15th or the morning of the 16th to cross Conneaut Creek and walk into Springfield Twp., Erie Co. PA. According to Smith, the two then "went into the village again," where they "held a meeting in the school house," probably on Feb. 14th. The only "village" of any size in the immediate vicinity was Salem. Here is where Aaron Wright in 1833 said that Orson Hyde "preached" in "the school house" and was heard by Nehmiah King, a local Salem resident who had known Solomon Spalding. Hyde in 1841 said himself: "In the spring of 1832 I preached in New Salem, Ohio the place where Rev. Mr. Spaulding resided at the time he wrote his romance." It is likely that the two "school houses" were one in the same and that Feb. 14 (or, possibly 15), 1832 was the day that Orson Hyde preached in the Salem Center School.

Note 3:  Daniel Tyler in 1878 said "In 1832 Elders Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith preached a few times in our neighborhood and baptized three persons, among them Erastus Rudd . . ." As Tyler and his family were then living immediately across the state line (in Springfield Twp,. Erie Co., PA) at this time, it appears that Erastus Rudd's baptism may have been shortly after Hyde and Smith began preaching in Springfield -- probably c. Feb. 21-27, 1832. It should be noted that there was no Mormon branch established in New Salem (Conneaut) during the 1830s. The closest LDS congregation was located in Springfield twp., Erie Co., PA and the members probably generally met just north of West Springfield hamlet, in the vicinity of the Rudd farm.

[1832: Feb. 1]
We [Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde] left Kirtland and went as far as Painesville . . .

[1832: Feb. 10]
[Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde] came to Kingsville [Twp., Ashtabula Co., Ohio] and held a meeting. Had much liberty of speech though a small congregation . . .

[1832: Feb. 12]
Went on towards Salem; came to a Christian congregation within one mile of the village . . . they had heard much evil concerning this sect. They requested us to tarry and preach again, accordingly the next evening. Stayed all night with Mr. Sawtel . . .

[1832: Feb. 14-15]
Labored much with the people after [the] meeting [at the Lake] . . . went into the village again. Held a meeting in the school house. After [the] meeting we left the place and traveled a while and then stayed in a tavern . . . they did not repent to receive the work of the Lord . . .

[1832: Feb. 16]
[in Springfield Twp., Erie Co., PA] . . . came to Joseph Hartshorn. Found him somewhat believing. He had been to Kirtland and seen the Brethren. Held a meeting in the evening down near the lake shore. A large congregation. . .

[1832: Feb. 18]
Held a meeting in the evening [in Springfield Twp., Erie Co., PA] at the house of Erastus Rudd, but few came to hear. . .

[1832: Feb. 19]
Held a meeting at Erastus Rudd's, but few came to hear. . .

[1832: Feb. 21]
Held a meeting at Erastus Rudd's . . .

[1832: Feb. 22]
Held a meeting at Joseph Hartshorn's. During the last three meetings there baptized three . . .

[1832: Feb. 26]
Held a meeting at Mr. Bar's. Brother Jared Carter preached. Held a meeting in the evening at Brother Rudd's . . .

[1832: Feb. 27]
. . . Baptized two young men: Horace Spencer and his brother. We confirmed them and ordained Brother Simons to be an Elder of the Church [in Springfield Twp., Erie Co., PA] and we baptized five and went again to Mr. Barr's. . . .

Document 2: 1832-33 Hyrum Smith comments (excerpts)

Source: Smith, Hyrum, "1832-33 Diary," Lee Library, BYU. Partial typescript in Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah.

Note 1:  This Hyrum Smith Diary includes entries from November 20, 1832 to June 7, 1833. This particular source (then in private hands) does not appear to have been consulted by Pearson H. Corbett in his 1963 biography Hyrum Smith, Patriarch. In his book Corbett speaks of "Hyrum Smith's Diary" and says (in a note on page 96) that the diary was then in the "possession of his descendants." Corbett quotes from that diary through the month of November 1832 (on page 105) and provides a single brief entry for December. He then says: "Here Hyrum discontinued his entries. He kept no journal until the following spring." On page 110 of his biography Corbett resumes quoting from Hyrum Smith in an entry made on April 18, 1833, saying that "the journal, after a lapse of time, is continued," and also noting that "the dates on entries in the diary are not chronological..." It is possible that the "1832-33 Diary" is an overlapping record kept separately by Hyrum Smith. Or, it may be comprised of pages which somehow became detached from the source quoted from by Corbett.

Note 2:  Hyrum Smith does not identify his 1833 missionary companion in Erie Co., PA. However, Orson Hyde provides this information: "In the spring of 1833, I, in company with Hyrum Smith, went on a mission to Elk Creek township, Erie County, Pennsylvania, where we labored several weeks... Assuming Hyde left Kirtland in Hyrum Smith's company, he would have been the second party in the "we" Smith speaks of when saying he and his traveling companion "arrived at Springfield" on March 28th, after having been "Rejected & Cast out by them," (i.e. their auditors in some unspecified place between Painesville and Springfield). The logical stopping places within the 30 miles separating these two points would have been all been in lakeshore Ashtabula Co. Perhaps the hostile encounter came in the town of Ashtabula or even Solomon Spalding's old residence of New Salem.

Note 3:  The names abbreviated by Hyrum Smith in his entry for April 5, 1833 are: J Murdock = John Murdock,  Z Coulton = Zebedee Coltrin (Coulton is a variation of the name frequently encountered in Erie Co., PA),  L Johnson = Lyman E. Johnson,  O Prat = Orson Pratt,  Doct Hulburt = Doctor Philastus Hurlbut,  D. Copley = Daniel Copley,  O. Hide = Orson Hyde. Journal entries made by Zebedee Coltrin speak of this same mini-conference of April 5, 1833, but do not tell that it was for "the purpose of seperating Doct[or Philastus] Hulburt [and] D[aniel] Copley," or that the meeting was held at "Brother [Stephen] Winchesters."

Note 4:  Missionaries Daniel Copley and D.P. Hurlbut were no doubt separated so that Hurlbut's character and actions would nolonger habe a direct impact on "young" Copley. In this way Hurlbut was under seasoned missionary Orson Hyde's direct supervision and control. There were at least two possible reasons for this action: 1) to restrain Hurlbut from investigating the Spalding authorship claims then in circulation in that region of the country (Jackson's Crossroads, PA Conneaut, OH, etc.); and 2) in order to thwart Hurlbut's presumed physical affair with young Mormon convert Huldah Barnes (1806-1898). Benjamin Winchester, the son of "Brother [Stephen] Winchester," recalled that "He [Hurlbut] joined the Mormons and became an elder. He seduced a girl named Barns. We as the church, to cover up the matter, urged him to marry her. He refused and then we expelled him..."

Huldah was probably baptized in April of 1833 in Conneaut twp. Erie Co., PA, perhaps by D. P. Hurlbut himself. Her older sister, Anna Barnes Harmon (1798-1847) was baptized there on May 29th by Hurlbut's missionary companion, Orson Hyde. Huldah was likely the "Mormon woman of very bad character, who lived alone" recalled by Rachael Miller Derby as playing hostess to D. P. Hurlbut in Erie Co. during Sept. 1833. Although she became a plural wife of Heber C. Kimball in 1846, Huldah apparently had a penchant for living alone -- both in WI among the Strangites and later in UT, where she died a single woman in 1898.


[1832: Nov. 20]
I Hy[ru]m Smith and William Smith after having tarried at Kirtland From the 27th of January to the 20th of November in the year of our lord 1832... my Brother William he Being ordained to the leser PriestHood and we Started Eastward on the Elevanthe month on the 20th Day of the month Called November...

[1833: March 26, Monday]

I Hyrum Smith... Started... to Journey Eastward... the 26th went to Painesvill[e]...

[1833: March 27, Tuesday]
Traveled Eastward... Rejected & Cast out by them
[note: between Painesville and Springfield]

[1833: March 28, Wednesday]
...we arrived at Springfield...

[1833: April 2, Monday]
...left Springfield... went to... Brother Winchesters...

[1833: April 5-6 Thurs.-Fri.]
...left Springfield... went to... Brother Winchesters... met With Brothers J Murdock Z Coulton L Johnson O Prat  Caled a Conference for the Purpose of Seperating Doct Hulburt [and] D- Copley    7. High [Priests] present  Decided that D. Copley Should travel with John Boynton  D Hurlburt travel With O. Hide   this for the cause of god...

[1833: April 7, Saturday]
... went to Brother grants...

[1833: April 8, Sunday]
Held a meeting...

[1833: April 9, Monday]
... went to Brother Winchesters there Saw Brother O Hide and D HurlBurt...Prepare for Home...

[1833: April 10, Tuesday]
... ride with Brother Mathews... Arived at Kirtland...

[1833: May 1-June 6]
(no entries)

June the 7th 1833
... commenced making Preparation for the Building the House of the lord...

Document 3a: 1832 Jared Carter comments (excerpts)

Source: Carter, Jared, "Journal," LDS Church Historian's Archives, UT. (Partly transcribed in Cheryl H. Bean's Rediscovering History... St. Anthony, ID, 1995).

Note 1:  Jared Carter makes the interesting statement that three of the Springfield Mormons bapatized by Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde in Feb. 1832 were already "falling away" from the Church by the time Carter and his missionary companion Ebenezer Page visited there in late April 1832. This dampening of their convert zeal may have been, in part, due to news emanating from neighboring Salem, Ohio that the Book of Mormon had been written by local author Solomon Spalding. Erastus Rudd and his brother, John Rudd, Jr. appear to have been among the faithful members who held true to the LDS cause.

Note 2:  On the other hand, Daniel Tyler in 1878 said there was no local "talk of the Spaulding romance being connected with the Book of Mormon until about 1834 or 1835, when Henry Lake began to claim" such things in nearby Salem. Daniel may have been off by a few months in this recollection, for his own convert father, Andrews Tyler, had deserted the Mormons prior to his excommunication at the hands of Orson Pratt on Dec. 5, 1833. Thus, the "great opposition and falling away" noticed in the Springfield Branch by Jared Carter may well have occurred concurrently with the first outward spread of the Spalding authorship claims from "next door" in Ashtabula Co., OH.

Note 3:  The "Chole Rudd" and "Fanny Mariah Rudd" who were baptized at the end of April, 1832 by Carter and Page were family members of Erastus and John, Jr -- Chloe Hills Rudd was their mother and Fanny Mariah was the daughter of Chloe's son, Erastus Rudd and his wife Experience Wheeler Rudd. This couple named their next child (born June 22, 1832) "Sidney Rigdon Rudd."


[1832: Feb. 26]
We [Jared Carter and Ebenezer Page] held two meetings [in Springfield twp., Erie Co., PA] and rejoiced much to see them [Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde] and hear from the Saints in the western region . . .

[1832: Apr. 27-May 2]
We [Jared Carter and Ebenezer Page] labored at Springfield from Friday until the 2[nd] May among the neighborhood of Joseph Heart's home, where Brother Rudd lives. Here the work broke out and notwithstanding that great opposition and falling away that had taken place (for it was the case that Brother Orson Hyde and Samuel Smith had been preaching here some weeks before and had baptized five and ordained one to be an Elder, but the Elder fell away with the other two members.) Yet the work of God moved again and there was, after we had preached a few times, eight that were baptized and two [out] of the three that had fallen away reclaimed . . . [among the "eight that were baptized": "Cloa [Chole] Rudd" and "Fanny Mariah Rudd"] 

Document 3b: 1833-34 Orson Pratt comments (excerpts)

Source: Pratt, Orson, "Journal," in Watson, Elden J. (ed) The Orson Pratt Journals Salt Lake City: self-published, 1975, pp. 16-27)

Note 1:  Orson Pratt and his missionary companion Lyman E. Johnson left Kirtand on March 26, 1833, the same day as Hyrum Smith left on his own preaching and administrative mission to Erie Co., PA. It is possible that the three traveled together through OH. According to both Hyrum Smith and Zebedee Coltrin, Orson Pratt was present at Springfield in Erie Co., PA on April 4th and 5th. Coltrin again encountered the two (perhaps at Silver Creek, Chautauqua Co., NY) on April 22nd, on his way to Warsaw (then in Genesee Co.). While passing through Chautauqua Co. Coltrin contracted smallpox. Pratt says nothing about this minor epidemic then raging in that county.

Note 2:  Evan M. Green speaks of meeting "O. Hyde" on Apr. 28, 1833 at the LDS Elk Creek branch. In the same passage he goes on to list "Bro. Hyde," apparently for a second time. Perhaps the first Mormon mentioned here was actually "Orson Pratt."

Note 3:  Pratt mentions working to overcome local problems among the members of the Springfield and Elk Creek branches between Dec. 1 and 5, 1833. He officiated in the excommunication of Andrews Tyler on the 5th. Two other Erie Co. members were cut off at this same time. According to an 1883 account provided by his son Daniel, Andrews Tyler "admitted that the 'Mormon' doctrines were true, but claimed that the members of that church had adopted them to cover up a fraud." (Daniel Tyler, "Incidents of Experience," in: Classic Experiences and Adventures Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969), p. 24. The "fraud" Andrews Tyler spoke of was probably in regard to actual origin of the Book of Mormon, as the Solomon Spalding authorship claims for that book were then beginning to circulate among the residents of neighboring New Salem, OH.

[1833: June 7]
Elder Lyman E. Johnson and myself, having received a commandment, through the Prophet, to visit the churches and preach in the Eastern States, left Kirtland on the 26th of March to fill our mission. We arrived in Bath, New Hampshire, on the 7th June...

[1833: Sept. 28]
We arrived in Kirtland, having been absent six months, during which time I had traveled about 2,000 miles...

[1833: Nov. 27]
November 27th. Brother Lyman and I, having been set apart by a council of High Priests to visit the Churches, accordingly took our leave of Kirtland and went to Springfield.

[1833: Dec. 1]
December 1st. Preached in Springfield upon the Gospel.

[1833: Dec. 2]
December 2nd. Went to Elk Creek and attended a Church meeting. Brother Zebedee being present. Two were cut off from the Church.

[1833: Dec. 3]
December 3rd. Went to Springfield.

[1833: Dec. 4]
December 4th. We attended a Church meeting in Springfield and settled some difficulties among the brethren.

[1833: Dec. 5]
Attended another Church meeting in the same place and cut off from the Church Brother Tiler.

[1833: Dec. 6]
December 6th. Preached at Elk Creek.

[1833: Dec. 8]
December 8th. Being the Sabbath preached at the same place upon the two places of gathering.

[1833: Dec. 11]
December 11th. Held a conference in the evening and regulated some difficulties between Henry Dighton and Harrison Sagers, and also between Zebedee Coltrin and Moses Martin. Brothers Harrison and Moses were found to be under condemnation, but after confessing, were permitted to retain their offices. Brother Lyman E. Johnson also ordained Brother Amasa Lyman to the office of High Priest.

[1833: Dec. 12]
December 12th. Brother Lyman, Amasa and I left Elk Creek and came to Westfield...

Document 4: 1832 Orson Hyde comments (excerpts)

Source: Hyde, Orson, "Journal," LDS Church Historian's Archives, UT. Typescript of original holograph journal on at the Utah Historical Society, Salt Lake City, Utah. (Partial reprints avilable in Cheryl H. Bean's Rediscovering History. . . St. Anthony, ID, 1995 and Howard H. Barron's Orson Hyde 1977, UT)

view more of this document at the Mormon Classic E-Texts web-page

Note 1:  Orson Hyde's journal entry for Feb. 10, 1832 says that he and Samuel H. Smith stopped in Kingsville, Ashtabula Co., Ohio at "Mr. Woodbury's." This was likely the residence of Wheeler Woodbury or, perhaps, of one of his sons. Wheeler's daughter Maria married D.P. Hurlbut in Kingsville in 1834. As Hyde says he and Smith "Left Mr. W's house, went on to Salem" on Feb. 11, they no doubt took advantage of the Woodburys' hospitality and spent the night there. Reference to Samuel H. Smith's journal entries shows that he and Hyde remained on the western outskirts of (New) Salem until about Feb. 13th or 14th.

Note 2:  Hyde's mention of having sold "two Book of Mormons" in the New Salem area on Feb. 13th is consistent with claims by several of the so-called "Conneaut witnesses" for the Spalding authorship claims -- that they had read the book locally c. 1832-33. Hyde's entry for Feb. 19th may contain his attempt to write "Mr. Rudd." There was both a "Reed" and two or three "Rudds" who entertained Mormon missionaries in this vicinity at the same time. Samuel H. Smith calls apparently the same man "Erastus Rudd."

Note 3:  Hyde and Smith baptized at least six men in the Springfield area between Feb. 20 and Feb. 27, 1832. These were the core of the Springfield Branch of the Mormon Church, which was apparently organized at some unrecorded date between late February and the middle of March, 1832. When Evan M. Greene visited the young congregation ten months later, there was a functional LDS branch in Springfield. Though the Mormons did well at first in Erie Co., PA, they accomplished much less immediately across the state line in Salem and the surrounding townships of Ashtabula Co., Ohio. It is possible that Nehmiah King's Feb. 1832 allegation regarding a Solomon Spalding authorship for the Book of Mormon served to subdue the Saints' missionary success in that part of the country. King was a lawyer and had served in Ashtabula Co. as a Justice of the Peace. His neighbor and fellow Spalding-associate was Henry Lake, whose son Zaphna became the Sheriff of Ashtabula Co. a year after the 1832 visit of missionaries Hyde and Smith.


J O U R N A L   O F

O R S O N   H Y D E

While Absent on a Mission in Company with
Samuel H. Smith, From February 1, 1832, to
December 22nd, 1832, arriving at Kirtland
Ohio, being absent about eleven months.

 J O U R N A L   O F   O R S O N   H Y D E

[pg. 01]
February 1, 1832:  Left home, called on Brother Stebbins, obtained a walking staff, &c. Went on to P. Ville, tarried with Bro. Kingsbury over night, found him quite intelligent in the mysteries of the Kingdom, strong in the faith, &c. . . .

[pg. 02] . . .
February 10th, 1832:  Left Mr. Holcomb's and went down to Kingsville 6 miles and held a meeting at Mr. Woodbury's -- small congregation but gave good attention. Something excited.

February 11th, 1832:  Left Mr. W's house, went on to Salem, found some friendly and some enemies -- some I think will go to Zion.

February 12th, 1832:  Sunday morning went on near Salem Village to a Christian congregation, attended meeting with them, heard them exhort, pray, &c. At the close of the meeting arose and told them our mission, &c. and desired permission to preach in the evening. And after a little conversation among them, the[y] unanimously agreed we should preach; attended a crowded and attentive audience. They requested we should tarry and preach again. Accordingly made an appointment for next evening. Tarried all night with a Mr. Sawtril; -- kindly entertained.

February 13th, 1832:  Visited two or three families in the vicinty of Salem; held a meeting in the evening, a large and attentive congregation -- some appeared to be excited -- sold two Books of Mormon. Tarried all night with Col. Fifield.

February 14th, 1832:  Visited one or two families, and in the evening held meeting on the Lake Shore, preached to an attentive congregation. And next day the
[pg. 03]
15th of February, visited two families which were almost persuaded to be Christians, but wanted to consider a little longer upon the matter.

February 16th, 1832:  Went on to Springfield, Pa., visited a number of families, held meeting in the evening -- prospects favorable; appointed a meeting for the next day at one o'clock.

February 17th, 1832:  Tarried in Springfield; preached in the afternoon, and also in the evening; in the same place on the 18th, tarried over night with Mr. Reed.

February 19th, 1832:  Sunday, preached at Mr. Reed's; an attentive congregation; labored in private, diligently after meeting with a Christian preacher.

February 20th, 1832:  Preached at Mr. Hartshorne['s] in Springfield. Gave out an invitation for them to come forward for Baptism -- three came forward and one was the Christian preacher. I immersed them and we had a joyful season.

February 22nd, 1832:  Preached at Mr. Hartshorne's in the afternoon, one came forward. In the evening preached two miles from that place at a school house -- attentive congregation.

February 23rd, 1832:  Preached near Springfield four corners; -- Prospects unfavorable.

February 24th, 1832:  Returned back to Mr. Hartshorne's and visited around a little among the neighbors.

February 25th, 1832:  Spent the day in study and conversation. Preached in the evening at Mr. Hartshorne's -- attentive congregation.

February 26th, 1832:  Held meeting at Mr. Barr's; favored with hearing Brother Jared Carter preach, who came into the place the evening before on his return from Vermont; not a little comforted; held meeting in the evening two miles off.

February 27th, 1832:  Baptized two young men; ordained Brother Simons an Elder, instructed him in the knowledge of the Kingdom, &c. tarried over night at Mr. Barr's.

February 28th, 1832:  Went on six miles, and tarried with him through the day; copied the Law & Covenants, [for] Brother Simons I mean, &c. &c.

[pg. 04]
February 28th, 1832:  Left Bro. Simons and went on to Fairview, preached in the village in the morning; prospects unfavorable; tarried at the Tavern last night, lost, left or was stolen one (1) Book of Mormon. . .

March 5th, 1832:  Went on to Erie; labored in Erie with a number of families; prospects poor; went on about half a mile and tarried with a widow woman -- a Presbyterian by profession. . . .

[pg. 05]
March 10th, 1832:  Went on five or six miles and found a man who desired us to return 3 miles, a little off the road; We did so, on the 11th had a large and attentive congregation, and quite anxious. Tarried in the place over night. Started next morning and went on a little and was overtaken by a man who was desirous that we should return. We accordingly did this on the 12th -- tarried over night with him -- almost persuaded to become a Christian. . . .

[pg. 06]
March 19th, 1832:  Went on three or four miles; sealed up many to the day of wrath; bound the tares in bundles; blessed some; preached in Westfield Village in the evening to a large congregation; had great liberty of speech. . . .

[pg. 07]
Went on to a Mr. Aldriedges, a Quaker, who was very friendly, he and his wife very much believing; held a meeting in the place in the evening, but they could not believe strong enough to obey; tarried over night with them.

March 24th, 1832:  Left Portland and went to Fredonia, from there to Lapona 9 miles to the Mother of Earl Johnson, where Thomas Brackenbury died; found something of a prospect there.

March 25th, 1832:  Held a meeting at Mrs. Johnson's in the evening -- a number quite anxious, but found some bitter opposition. Mrs. Johnson and her son received the work previous; concluded to tarry and preach in the region round about a few days.

March 26th, 1832:  Visited two families; held a meeting in the evening at Mr. Darby's, people quite attentive; Mr. D. was just gone with the Consumption, we prayed for and laid our hands upon him, and he seemed to be easier for a short time.

March 27th, 1832:  Visited one family and returned to Mrs. Jognson's, and then went to Brothers Earl and Seth Johnson from Amherst. Were much rejoiced to hear from our Brethren from the west; they had the Vision read to us.

March 28th, 1832:  Held a meeting four miles from Brother Johnson's in the afternoon among a society of Christians by profession, strongly opposed by them, Elder Bailey by name, gravely withstood our words, etc.

March 29th, 1832:  Preached at Laona, a small village one mile from Brother Johnson's.

March 30th, 1832:  Preached at Fredonia three miles from Brother Johnson's.

March 31st, 1832:  Preached one mile east of Fredonia

APRIL 1st, 1832:  Preached at Pomfret; a number almost constrained to go forward, but for fear of persecution, they held back.

April 2nd, 1832:  Left Brother Johnson's little before noon; quite a prospect pf some coming into the faith in that place. Went on five miles from house to house; tarried all night in Sheridan. . . .

[pg 47]
Schenectady 16 miles; Traveled all day -- got very wet; -- waited there until Six in the evening, and took the Stage from there to Utica -- 96 miles -- Fare $9.00.

Thursday evening December 13th, 1832:  At 6:30 o'clock arrived at Utica.

Friday Morning December 14th, 1832:  Left Utica for Canandaigua -- distance 112 miles -- took stage -- arrived at Canandaigua Saturday evening at 8:30 o'clock. Thirteen days from Boston --

December 22nd, 1832:  Arrived at Kirtland, Ohio, after being absent on a Mission in company with Samuel H. Smith, -- about eleven Months.

(signed) Orson Hyde.        

Delivered to the Bishop 13th March, 1833.
Journal No. 1.

"Faith is the rainbow's form
Hung on the brow of Heaven,
The glory of the passing storm;
The pledge of mercy given,
It is the bright triumphant arch
Through which the Saints to glory march.


Document 5: 1864 Orson Hyde Autobiography (excerpts)

Source: Latter Day Saints' Millennial Star XXVI:47-50 (Nov.-Dec., 1864).

view the full document at the Mormon Classic E-Texts web-page

Note 1:  The historical series of articles comprising the "History of Brigham Young" was presented throughout 1864-1865 in the pages of the Liverpool based Millennial Star. Supplementing the main biography of LDS President Young were numerous biographical sketches of other leaders in the Utah Church. The "History of Orson Hyde" appears to be an autobiographical story composed primarily by Hyde himself. What source materials (such as his own journal entries, copies of correspondence, etc.) Hyde may have consulted in preparing this article remain unknown; however, his retelling of events previously recorded in his 1832 mission journal makes that document one probable source.

Note 2:  The information in Hyde's autobiographical sketch is taken primarily from his years before converting to the Latter Day Saints and from his early missions carried out for their church. To some extent Hyde appears to have transferred his earlier dependence upon and loyalty to Sidney Rigdon over to Hyrum Smith in about 1832-33. Hyrum would ever after be Orson's benefactor, a role which he may have played as early as June 1833 when Hyde was elevated to the position of personal clerk to Joseph Smith, Jr. and the other members of the Mormon First Presidency. Hyde's presumed shift in personal allegiance at that point in his life may help explain why he is so candid in admitting that he'd heard of Smith's "golden bible" being "dug out of a rock in the state of New York. According to Hyde's own words he "not long after" this " became a convert to this new faith" of the Campbellites, of which "Elder S. Rigdon was its chief advocate." While Hyde may have felt secure in stating this remarkable admission in 1864, it is almost unthinkable that he would have made the close connection between the "golden bible" and Rigdon's version of Campbellism as early as 1827, had he remained under Sidney Rigdon's protective influence.

Note 3:  Note: Richard VanWagoner says in his Sidney Rigdon, page 55: "Publication of the "Golden Bible," as people were calling it, had been recounted in several Western Reserve and New York newspapers as early as 1827, when Joseph Smith began working on the book. There can be little doubt that Rigdon, an enthusiastic reader of newspapers, was aware of the book before it was placed in his hands." He then recounts Orson Hyde's remembrance that "a 'golden bible' had been dug out of a rock in the State of New York.'" This recollection by Hyde should be compared also to Eliza Snow's complementary statements.



M I L L E N N I A L   S T A R.

"Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it." -- ISAIAH.
No. 47,  Vol. XXVI.                Saturday,  November 19, 1864.                    Price One Penny.

[pg. 742]


"I, Orson Hyde, son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorp, was born in Oxford, New Haven County and state of Connecticut, January 8, 1805. At the age of seven years, my mother, a pious and godly woman, according to the light that then was, and member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, died soon after being delivered of a son, named Ami. Having given birth to eight sons and three daughters in the following order, according to my best recollection: Abijah, Harry, Laura, Nathan, Sally, Asahel, Horatio, Maria, Charles, Orson and Ami. . . .

At this early age, I was placed in the care of a gentleman by the name of Nathan Wheeler . . .

[pg. 743]
. . . Mr. Wheeler removed . . . purchased a farm in Kirtland, and sent for me and his nephew, Nathan Wooster, to come out the next spring. . . . Mr. W.[heeler] then sent to the east for the balance of his family, who came on the next season in the care of Captain Isaac Morley, a resident of Kirtland, where they arrived in safety. The farm being a new one, and heavily timbered, it was the hardest kind of labor to prepare it for cultivation. . . . on the 8th day of January, 1823, I went forth from my old home to carve out my fortune and destiny under my own guidance, for ought I then knew. My first strike was to hire out for six months to Grandison Newel, at 6 dollars per month, to work in a small iron foundry . . .

I next went into the store of Gilbert and Whitney in Kirtland to serve as clerk, where I continued for a year or two, then hired two carding machines to run for one year . . . During this season I paid my hired help, and also my rent, and cleared about 600 dollars in cash. This I thought was doing very well for a boy. When winter came on, I went into Gilbert and Whitney's store again, under moderate wages, and continued there until the spring. Then in 1827, business being rather slack in the store, I went to work for the same parties, making pot and pearl ashes. This season there was a Methodist camp meeting about six miles distant from Kirtland, which I attended, and became a convert to that faith. I enjoyed myself as well as the light and knowledge I then had would allow me. I believe that God had mercy and compassion upon me, and that if I had died at that time, I should have received all the happiness and glory that I could appreciate or

[pg. 744]
enjoy. The revival that began at that camp meeting spread much in Kirtland. A class was formed there, and I was appointed class-leader.

About this time some vague reports came in the newspapers that a "golden bible" had been dug out of a rock in the state of New York. It was treated, however, as a hoax. But on reading the report, I remarked as follows -- "Who knows but that this `golden bible' may break up all our religion, and change its whole features and bearing?" Nothing more was heard of it for a long time in that section.

Not long after this, the Campbellite doctrine began to be preached in Mentor and in Kirtland. Elder S. Rigdon was its chief advocate there.

Being forcibly struck with the doctrine of immersion or baptism for the remission of sins, and many other important items of doctrine which were advocated by this new sect, and which were passed over by the Methodists as not essential, I left the Methodists and became a convert to this new faith.

Feeling that one day I might be called to advocate it, and feeling my great deficiency in learning, I resolved to go to school. Accordingly, I took up my abode in Mentor, in the house of Elder Sidney Rigdon, and began the study of English grammar under his tuition. Elder Rigdon took unwearied pains and care to instruct me in this elementary science."

[pg. 760]
. . . spent one season with a young man by the name of Matthew J. Clapp, at his father's house, where the public library was kept. Here I read history and various other works, scientific and literary; and in the fall of the year was ordained an Elder in this new church, and went on a mission with Elder Rigdon to Elyria, Loraine County, and also to Florence in Huron County. There we baptized a great number of people into the new faith, organized several branches of the church, and returned again to Mentor. This I think was in the fall of 1829.

Early in the spring of 1830, I returned to Elyria and Florence, and became the pastor of the churches raised up the fall previous. During the fall and winter of 1830, I also taught school in Florence. During this fall, Samuel H. Smith, Ziba[r] Peterson, F. G. Williams and Peter Whitmer came along through that section, preaching the 'golden bible' or 'Mormonism,' I encountered them; but perceiving that they were mostly illiterate men, and at the same time observing some examples of superior wisdom and truth in their teaching, I resolved to read the famed 'golden bible,' as it was called.

Accordingly, I procured the book and read a portion of it, but came to the conclusion that it was all a fiction. I preached several times against the `Mormon' doctrine or rather against the 'Mormon' bible. On one occasion, the people of Ridgeville, near Elyria, sent for me to preach against the `Mormon' bible. I complied with the request, and preached against it. The people congratulated me much, thinking that 'Mormonism' was completely floored; but I, for the first time, thought that the 'Mormon' bible might be the truth of heaven; and fully resolved before leaving the house, that I would never preach against it any more until I knew more about it, being pretty strongly convicted in my own mind that I was doing wrong. I closed up my school and my preaching in that section, and resolved to go to Kirtland on a visit to my old friends. Elder S. Rigdon, Gilbert and Whitney, and many others of my former friends had embraced the 'Mormon' faith. I ventured to tell a few of my confidential friends in Florence my real object

[pg. 761]
in visiting Kirtland. The Prophet, Joseph Smith, jun., had removed to that place. My object was to get away from the prejudices of the people, and to place myself in a position where I could examine the subject without embarrassment.

Accordingly, in the summer of 1831, I went to Kirtland, and under cover of clerkship in the old store of Whitney and Gilbert, I examined 'Mormonism.' Read the 'Mormon' bible carefully through, attended meetings of the 'Mormons' and others, heard the arguments pro and con., but was careful to say nothing. I prayed much unto the Lord for light and knowledge, for wisdom and spirit to guide me in my examinations and investigations. Often heard the Prophet talk in public and in private upon the subject of the new religion; also heard what the opposition had to say. Listened also to many foolish tales about the Prophet -- too foolish to have a place in this narrative. I marked carefully the spirit that attended the opposition, and also the spirit that attended the 'Mormons' and their friends; and after about three months of careful and prayerful investigation, reflection and meditation, I came to the conclusion that the 'Mormons' had more light and a better spirit than their opponents. I concluded that I could not be the loser by joining the 'Mormons,' and as an honest man, conscientiously bound to walk in the best and clearest light I saw, I resolved to be baptized into the new religion. Hence, I attended the Saints' meeting in Kirtland, Sunday, October 30, 1831, and offered myself a candidate for baptism, which was administered to me by the hands of Elder Sidney Rigdon; was confirmed and ordained an elder in the Church on the same day under the hands of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and Sidney Rigdon . . .

[pg. 774]
"A few days after this, I attended a conference in the town of Orange, at which I was ordained a high priest under the hands of Joseph Smith, and appointed on a mission to Elyria and Florence in connection with Brother Hyrum Smith. In these places we were the means of converting and baptizing many of my old Campbellite friends, raised up and organized two or three branches of the Church, laid hands on several sick persons and healed them by prayer and faith. After confirming the Churches and bearing a faithful testimony to them and to all people, in the midst of much opposition, we returned again to Kirtland. I found Brother Hyrum a pleasant and an agreeable companion, a wise counsellor, a father and a guide.

Soon after our return to Kirtland, I was sent on another mission, in company with Brother Samuel H. Smith, a younger brother of the Prophet, who was a man slow of speech and unlearned, yet a man of good faith and extreme integrity. We journeyed early in the spring of 1832, eastward together, without 'purse or scrip,' going from house to house, teaching and preaching . . .

[pg. 775]
. . . in Westfield, New York, we preached to a crowded audience. I was speaker. After the discourse, a gentleman rose up and requested that a brief history of Joseph Smith be given to the people previous to his finding the plates. I remarked that I was not acquainted with the early history of Joseph Smith, and consequently was unable to comply with the request, but observed that his younger brother was present who might, if he felt disposed, favor them with an account of the early life of his brother.

Samuel arose and said, that as it was the early history of his own brother that they required, it might be thought that, in consequence of his near kin, his statements might not be free from partiality, and respectfully declined the task. . .

[pg. 776]
. . . we returned to Boston; and from thence we went to Providence, Rhode Island, and there baptized some ten or fifteen persons amid most violent opposition. We had to flee in the night, sleep under the fence and under an apple tree. Went back to Boston and then started for home, where we arrived late in December. . . .

In the spring of 1833, I, in company with Hyrum Smith, went on a mission to Elk Creek township, Erie County, Pennsylvania, where we labored several weeks, and baptized a number of persons into a branch of the Church, previously raised up there by the ministry of John F. Boynton and others.
We also preached considerably in North East Township, Ohio, and in other places while passing to and fro, baptizing some few by the way. Returned to Kirtland in the summer."

[pg. 790]
During this same summer I was appointed to go up to Jackson county, Missouri . . . expulsion seemed inevitable. The Saints began to flee over the river to Clay County, and we, having done all we could, took a steamer for St. Louis on our return home. We arrived home in Kirtland in the month of November 1833.

In the winter and spring of 1834, I took another mission to Pennsylvania, Elk Creek, in company with Elder Orson Pratt,
to preach the gospel and to call a company to go up that summer to Missouri. We went as far east as Genesee, New York. . . .

[pg. 791]
. . . On the 4th day of September [1834] following, I was married, in Kirtland, to Miss Marinda N. Johnson, daughter of John and Elsa Johnson, by Elder Sidney Rigdon.

This winter the Twelve Apostles were chosen, and I, being one of that number, was appointed, with the entire quorum, to take a mission through the states, and hold conferences in all the churches. . . .

[pg. 792]
. . . [in the] Spring of 1837, went on a mission to England, in company with Elders Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, John Goodson, Isaac Russel, John Snider and Joseph Fielding. Labored in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and baptized about fifteen hundred souls . . . In the month of October, 1838, with me it was a day of affliction and darkness. I sinned against God and my brethren; I acted foolishly. I will not allude to any causes for so doing save one, which was, that I did not possess the light of the Holy Ghost. I lost not my standing in the Church, however; yet, not because I was worthy to retain it, but because God and his servants were merciful. Everlasting thanks to God, and may his servants ever find mercy. Brothers Hyrum Smith and H. C. Kimball, men of noted kindness of heart, spake to me words of encouragement and comfort in the hour of my greatest sorrow. But Hyrum is gone! Peace to his ashes and blessings upon his posterity. Heber lives, and may he and his posterity live to tread upon the necks of the enemies of God. I seek pardon of all whom I have offended, and also of my God, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. . . . 

Document 6: 1955 Marvin S. Hill comments (excerpts)

Source: "An Historical Study of the Life of Orson Hyde . . ." Unpublished Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, 1955.

Note 1:  Although this thesis has never been copyrighted, only limited excerpts are provided here, due to the fact that the text may be copyrighted at a later date.



AND  APOSTLE  FROM  1805-1842

A Thesis

Presented to

the Faculty of the Department of History

Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah

In Partial Fulfillment

of the Requirements for the Degree

Master of Arts in History


Marvin S. Hill

August 1955



Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of the Lord unto salvation. Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants. Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the Living God, that I was, that I am, that I am to come. This is the word of the Lord unto you, my servant Orson Hyde, . . . and ubto all the faithful elders of my church -- Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature acting in the authority which I have given you, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 1
That Orson Hyde took this revelation seriously is evidenced from the extended mission upon which he soon embarked. This revealtion fore- shadowed his pattern of life for the next fifteen years. One mission fol- lowed another until the Mormons were finally settled in their mountain home in Utah. One of the most accurately and completely documented of Hyde's missions was that whivh he took in the company of Samuel H. Smith, Joseph's younger brother. Orson kept a day by day journal of the events of this mission and this record has been preserved.2 The missionaries planned to visit the eastern part of the United States. They left Kirtland, Ohio, on February 1, 1832. Travelling on foot, they went from house to house and from town to town, relying for food and shelter upon the good nature and generosity of the people on whom they called. This method was to be used frequently by Elder Hyde in his many missionary journies for the Mormon Church.   One of the first important contacts made by the elders was at Salem,
1 Ibid. 2 Orson Hyde, "Journal while absent on a mission in company with Samuel H. Smith from February 1, 1832 to December 22, 1832." The original handwritten copy of this journal is in the L.D.S. Church Historian's Office, Salt Lake City. It will be hereafter referred to as Hyde, "Journal."  
Ohio.1 Here a branch of the Church was organized after several people were converted. Moving eastward along the southern shore of Lake Erie, The Mormon elders came to Westfield, New York. They preached to a large congregation and had "great liberty of speech." "After meeting," Orson recorded:
a young man arose and requested me to relate the character of Joseph (Smith) to the congregation. I told him I was unacquainted with him before he translated the work (the Book of Mormon) and should be unable to relate it; but, said I, "If you have been acquainted with him you had better relate to the people yourself." Accordingly he commenced, but being a very large congregation pre- sent, his courage failed him, and through the prayer of faith he was utterly confounded, and the people began to question him and he began to plead off, and said he had no more to say, and he went off under the scoffs and sneers and sarcasms of the people.2
The two missionaries continued to follow the shore line of Lake Erie to Buffalo, New York, and then moved to Fayette. At Skaneateles they gave a sidewalk lecture but failed to convince their hearers.3 Orson Hyde had it in his mind to visit his brother, Asahel, in Oxford, New York.  
1 Writing in 1840, at the suggestion of Benjamin Winchester who was attempting to discredit the "Spaulding theory" as to the origin of the Book of Mormon, Orson Hyde recalled that while he was at New Salem, Ohio he con- verted several of the "neighbours" of Solomon Sapulding. Hyde affirmed that none of the converts "intimated to me that there was any similarity between the Book of Mormon, and Mr. Spaulding's Romance." Hyde said that the neighbors of Spaulding had frequently heard the manuscript read aloud but found no similarity between it and the Book of Mormon. Winchester, Benjamin, Plain Facts Showing the Origin of the Spaulding Story, Concerning the Manuscript Found and Its Being Transformed into the Book of Mormon. (Bedford, England: republished by George J. Adams, 1841), p. 26. 2 Hyde, "Journal," March 19, 1832. When Hyde retold this story in his "History" he varied it to some extent. According to this account Hyde had suggested that Samuel Smith give the early history of Joseph, his brother, but Samuel declined lest he be accused of being partial. Then the heckler began to relate what he knew of Joseph Smith's early history but soon he himself had a heckler. Orson said, "he soon came to where he said Joseph did some mean act and ran away. Another gentleman in the congrega- tion, knowing that the speaker had recently run away from his former place of abode for his mean acts and come there, here interrupted the speaker by asking him how long it was after Joseph ran away till he started? This ques- tion so discomfited the speaker that he sat down amid the hisses and uproar of the multitude." "History of Orson Hyde," Millennial Star, 1864, p. 774. 3 Hyde, "Journal," April 27, 1832.

Document 7: 1977 Howard H. Barron comments (excerpts)

Source: Barron, Howard H. Orson Hyde. . . 1977, UT.

Note 1:  The entire contents of this book copyright © 1977 by Horizon Publishers. Only limited, "fair use" excerpts are reproduced here.


Missionary - Apostle - Colonizer

Howard H. Barron

Horizon  Publishers


All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or any
parts thereof in any form or by any media without
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          Newel K. Whitney Store in Kirtland, Ohio. Orson was employed here as a clerk.
          (Courtesy of LaMar C. Barrett)

In the winter if 1826 and the spring of 1827, after working at four different jobs, Orson returned to the Gilbert and Whitney store in Kirtland for "moderate wages."15 When business declined in the spring, he stopped clerking and began "making pot and pearl ashes" for Gilbert and Whitney. Kirtland at this time, set in the heart of the great Western Reserve, was thriving and profiting from an influx of job seekers and land speculators hoping to improve financial conditions in consequence of the soon-to-be-built Erie Canal.

The Spirit of Religious Revivalism Swept Over the Kirtland Area

Kirtland and vicinity were also filled with the spirit of religious revivalism. In 1827, at age 22, Orson attended a Methodist camp meeting about six miles from Kirtland and was converted; he was later appointed a Methodist class leader. During his period of activity in the Methodist faith, Orson became aware of newspaper reports "that a 'Golden Bible' had been dug out of a rock in the State of New York."17 These reports, treating the subject lightly, concerned Orson little; he reffered to the whole account as aŹ"hoax," but later wrote that one of his passing reactions was, "Who knows but that this 'Golden Bible' may break up all our religion, and change its its whole features and bearing?"18


Transcriber's  Comments

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