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Chardon, Ohio at the end of the 1830s

Letters and Articles Mentioning D. P. Hurlbut

1835-1886 Hurlbut sources  |  Hurlbut in Sandusky Co., Ohio
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Document 1:
B. F. Norris Letter
January 6, 1834

Source: Mark Norris Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library. view enlarged graphic

Note 1: Mark Norris (1796-1862) was a prominent Ypsilanti businessman. He was the Postmaster of that town during the 1830s and the letter, on the reverse side, bears the inscription: "Mr. Mark Norris P M Ypsilanti, Michigan."

Note 2: The writer of the letter was Mark Norris' brother, Benjamin Franklin Norris (1811-c.1870), a non-Mormon, perhaps from late from Perry, Ohio, who evidently was working in Mentor, painting chairs from Grandison Newell's chair factory, which was located on the east branch of the Chagrin River, between Mentor and Kirtland.

Note 3: He wrote his brother via the Painesville P. O., about the Kirtland Mormons, saying: "There is a large society of them about two miles from this place. Rigdon & Smith reside her[e]. They have established a printing press. Rigdon & Smith are the founders of mormonism. It is said that the inhabitants have threatened mobing them. They are now arming themselves with instruments of war such as guns sords dirks spontoons Ec Smith has four or five armed men to gard him every night they say they are not going to be drove away as they ware at missory they will fights for their rights. Smith has sworn the peace against a man named Hurbert who has ben engaged for about three months in tra[c]ing the origin of the book of mormon. He [has] returned and was [jailed?] yesterday... His work will be published in a few weeks giving the true origin of the book of Mormon." (Letter of B. F. Norris to Mark Norris, January 6, 1834, Mark Norris Papers, Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library) -- On 4 Jan (Sat) Stephen Sherman, a Kirtland Constable from Kirtland, appeared before William Holbrook a Painesville Justice of the Peace with defendant DPH in his custody. His hearing was postponed to the 6th and Constable Sherman was ordered to keep DPH in his custody until that time. -- 6 Jan (Mon) Constable Sherman again appeared before Judge William Holbrook with DPH in custody. The hearing was postponed a second time, to Jan 13, 1834. DPH successfully requested to be kept in the custody of Constable A. Ritch of Painesville, rather than the custody of the Kirtland Constable.

                           Mentor  Jan 6th 1834

Dear Brother

                      After a long silence I take my pen in

hand to inform you where I am and what I am dooing

I reside in the above town about 14 miles from Perry  I saw

Carlos a few days since as painesville   he has taken a small job

making sleighs &c  he has built a small house this fall & winter 

his sawmill is dooing a first rate business   he talks of bilding

a shop next summer   he has a plenty apples peaches &c.

I am painting [chares] this winter   can make twenty dollars

per month after paying my board washing &c   I

have a good shop and comfortable place to work and good

place to board   I pay ten shillings per week for board 

I think this cuntry far superior to that for a [young]

man to make money in his [board] and clothing will cost

about two thirds as much as it will there   I have all cash 

for my work   they say they think they will want me a 

year at [least]   if I work next summer I can make one

dollar per day and not work harder than I now do

I wish you to collect the remainder of that note you have against

[--B] Calvin & Read if posible   I shall come back there

next fall  I must tell you a little about the mormons

there is a large society of them about two miles from this 

place  Rigdin & Smith reside here  they have established a

printing press  R & S are the founders of mormonism,  it is said

that the inhabitance have threatnd  mobing [them].  they are

now arming themselves with instruments of war sutch

as guns sords dirks spontoons &c   Smith has four or five [armed]

men to gard him every night   they say they are not going 

to bee drove away  as they [were] at missory   they will fight 

for there [rights]  Smith has sworn the peace against 

a man by the name of Hurbert who has ben engaged for 

about three months in trasing the origin of the book 

mormon   he has returned and was [arested] yesterday and

has his trial tomorrow   his work will be published in a few

weeks giving the true origin of the book of mormon  Smiths

[carictor] &c &c   dont fale to right as [soon] as you [resieve]

this    give my respects to Decater & Elving   tell them to right

direct your letters to Painsville geauga co. Ohio

   respectively your         B. F. Norris

Mark Norris

Document 2:
Oliver Cowdery Letter
Jan. 13, 1834

Source: Oliver Cowdery Letterbook, H. E. Huntington Collection: OCLB 18-22 (as photo-reproduced on microfilm #95, RLDS Library and Archives, Independence, MO).

Note 1: Oliver Cowdery Letter (to his brother, Lyman Cowdery, in New York State) -- Oliver's saying that "Hurlbut is now in this country" probably refers to the fact that D. P. Hurlbut had returned from his evidence-gathering travels in the East and was again residing in Geuaga Co., Ohio. Hurlbut likely returned from that trip on or before the "21st day of Dec. 1833," as listed in the record of Joseph Smith's court actions against the man. The fact that Oliver so refers to Hurlbut (without further introduction) shows that Lyman Cowdery was already familiar with the man and his activities. Indeed, it appears from Oliver's remark, ("you would never regret that you did not open a communication with him") that Lyman had been contemplating contacting Hurlbut or responding to a solicitation previously made by him. If so, Lyman probably communicated that information in the letter of Jan. 3, 1834 which Oliver refers to in his opening sentence. As D.P. Hurlbut had been visiting New York State only a few days before this time, it appears that Lyman learned of the ex-Mormon's activities locally, and not via some Mormon source in Ohio.

Note 2:Oliver's reference to law-suits being brought by the Mormon leaders against "the heads of the mob" at this time no doubt refers to court actions in Missouri. A law-suit was also being initiated by the Mormon leaders against D.P. Hurlbut at this same time in Ohio, and Cowdery may have regarded him as a similar "head" of the local "mob."

Kirtland, Ohio
Monday, January 13, 1834

Dear Brother Lyman,

Yours of the 3d and post marked the 5th of this month, was received at this office by Saturday's mail. Not having been favored with a communication from you since I left your state in October, 1830, I can say, that I am willing to acknowledge the gratitude which occupied my bosom on the reception of yours bearing date as above. I was happy to learn of the health of yourself and family, and I doubt not, but I am remembered with due brotherly kindness yet by yourself and sister Liza. I was pleased with your principles as advanced in yours to me, and in reply I may say, that as to the pure republicanism which was the basis of my political creed while with you, I have not changed from the same, for the Magna Charta, of equal rights, equal privileges, is that which shall never be dishonored by me; and my fervent wish, is that it never may be by any of the name, while this country is called America, or the sun in yonder firmament continues to shed his light upon the footstool of God.

My occupation in life is different from what it was when I resided in your country, and my profession is also different, but so long as we all are bound to support the constitution and are held amenable to the laws, it is but just, that we should entertain our own opinions, and exercise our own privileges in every matter in which we all are so deeply interested; consequently then, I consider it not only my privilege, but my duty, to myself and to the name, to ever entertain uncontrolled and unshackled principle as to the matters of our government, and without further comment on this point, I will say, that as they were when I was with you, so they will remain.

Perhaps you may be anxious to ascertain my principles as to particular forms of government, that is whether a government would not be better administered by the clergy, or to speak more in the common phrase, whether a government of Church and State would not be preferable to ours, or any other? I have observed for some time past, a move toward that end by a certain sect in our land, which has excited my attention, and caused me perhaps, to investigate the subject more closely than I should have done, had it been otherwise. My opinion upon this point is established, and is simply this, the moment on any one religious sect, how extant, gains the ascendancy sufficient to hold the administration of our government, the human heart is so easily corrupted that a spirit of intolerance would immediately transcend that of justice and equality that we should be compelled to immediately bid an everlasting adieu to our hard bought liberty.

You ask me for information relative to the shameful outrage in Missouri. I forward you a paper with this letter, from which you will learn every principal matter relating to the same, excepting that I have been informed that the governor of the state has offered to reinstate my friends upon their own lands and also has issued his proclamation to call out three hundred men from the adjoining counties that a court might be held; but the last has not yet been confirmed, consequently I wait without putting too much evidence in it, until I learn further particulars. I may say with propriety, however that one of the most disgraceful scenes has transpired, that has ever been the painful duty of any American Citizen to record, or relate since these colonies were organized into free states. Peaceable inhabitants have been vilely and inhumanly treated, and one killed; helpless women and children have been compelled to seek an asylum among strangers, and some to wander in the open prairies without food, or anything but the open canopy to shelter them. These unlawful proceedings will, no doubt, be accounted for (though not made to appear justifiable). When I inform you that those men were principally emigrants from the Southern States, and settled in that country before the land came into market, and the probability is, that few were able to purchase and if they are not the offscourings of the United States, the society from which they came is equally to be pitied with themselves.

How this unhappy affair will terminate I am unable to say, but I am informed that several suits have been commenced against the heads of the mob. And I have no hesitancy in saying, that if justice is done, we shall receive a fair compensation for all our damages sustained, and these miserable outlaws feel the weight of justice to that efficient degree that they will perhaps be willing to let. I was pleased with your observations relative to the Book of Mormon. That "if it is true it will stand, but if not it will fall," is a fact [that?] needs no casuist to determine the matter. That I have equal claim upon the laws for protection in my manner of faith and worship, is a fact also, that no scholar of the constitution will, for the moment deny; and to seek the destruction of a man because of his religion, is a step too low for any citizens of our Republic to take. The body may be confined in chains, racked upon the wheel, or consumed with the fagot, but still Mens Invicta Manet (The Mind remains unconquered). Hurlbut is now in this country pedling slanders, but has said nothing about myself as I have learned. If you were acquainted with his character, as represented to me, you would never regret that you did not open a communication with him.

I was married one year the 18th of December last, to Miss Elizabeth Ann Whitmer, formerly of Fayette, Seneca County, NY. I left her in Missouri last summer expecting to return, soon, but did not. I sent for her last fall but the season was so far advanced that she did not deem it prudent to come this season; I frequently hear from her, she is well, and probably will come to this county next spring. How long I may tarry here is to me uncertain, as I expect, (if life is spared), sooner or later to remove again to Missouri, as it is by far the most delightful country that I ever saw. I do not expect to go [for?] years however. Should you visit sister Olive I should be highly gratified if you could so arrange your business as [to?] visit me also. Father is about to apply for a pension, and will I think succeed in obtaining it. If he should not, however, I shall write you to get certificates of his character as a man of truth &c. [as?] he has not lived in this place but a short time, and is [not?] as well known as in your place. The family are as well as usual, and pleased to hear from you.

I hope, brother Lyman, that our religious opinions will never be a barrier between [us?] as brethren, on my part it never will while I am possessed [of?] my natural intellect. I would be glad to write you more fully [on?] many subjects, and particularly on that of religion, but [am?] under the necessity of closing abridging my letter for [want?] of time and room. I was about to publish a part of [your?] letter, the principles contained in it being of so important a nature, but did not know but it would be an intrusion, so I shall forbear.

You will please accept my respects and esteem, for yourself and sister Eliza, and write when convenient.
I am, &c.,

Oliver Cowdery.

Document 3:
Orson Hyde Letter
Jan. 22, 1834

Source: "History of Joseph Smith," Times & Seasons, Nauvoo, Hancock Co., IL, Vol. 6. No. 14, Aug. 1, 1845. pp. 976-7.

Note 1: On the 22nd, the presidency of the High Priesthood wrote from Kirtland to the brethren in Christ Jesus, scattered from Zion, scattered abroad from the land of their inheritance:

Jan. 22, 1834 Orson Hyde Letter (to the Mormons in Missouri.) -- Orson Hyde's remark, that there was then "not quite so much danger of a mob upon us as there has been," appears directly related to the fact that "Bro. Joseph" had (on the "21st day of Dec. 1833,") demanded a Justice of the Peace's "warrant" against D.P. Hurlbut, and that Smith's charges against the ex-Mormon had been heard in a "three days trial." According to Hyde, following the outcome of this hearing, Hurlbut's "influence was pretty much destroyed" and the local "spirit of hostility" held by some of the non-Mormons had "broken down in a good degree." These remarks indicate that D.P. Hurlbut was either a major leader of local hostile efforts against the Saints, or the main promoter of such work in the earliest part of 1833.

The official record regarding this "three days trial" may be found in 1834 Ohio vs. Hurlbut documents. In part, it reads:  "On complaint of Joseph Smith Junr. against the defendant against J. C. Dowen a Justice of the Peace for Kirtland Township in said County made on the 21st day of Dec. 1833 a warrant was issued by said J. C. Dowen, Justice aforesaid which was returned before me William Holbrook a Justice of the Peace for Painesville township in the County aforesaid on the 4th day of January A D 1834 by Stephen Sherman a Constable of Kirtland township with defendant in Court."

We your companions in tribulation, embrace the present opportunity of sending you this token of our love and good will, assuring you that our bowels are filled with compassion, and that we have just received intelligence from you through the medium of Brother Elliott, of Chagrin, making enquiries concerning the course which you are to pursue. In addition to the knowledge contained in the above on this subject, we say if it is not the duty of the Governor to call our and keep a standing force in Jackson county to protect you on you lands, (which it appears, must be done, as we understand the mob are determined to massacre you if the Governor takes you back upon your lands and leaves you unprotected;) it will become your duty to petition the Governor, to petition the President to send a force there to protect you, when you are reinstated.

The Governor proposed to take you back to your lands whenever you are ready to go, (if we understand correctly,) but cannot keep up any army to guard you; and while he hostile feelings of the people of Jackson county remain unabated, probably you dare not go back to be left unguarded. Therefore, in your petition to the Governor, set all these things forth in their proper light and pray him to notify the PResidnet of your situation, and also petition the President yourselves, according to the direction of the Lord. We have petitioned Gov. Dunklin in your behalf, and enclosed it in a printed revelation, the same of this, which we now send to you. The petition was signed by some thing like sixty brethren, and maile for Jefferson City, one week ago, and he will probably receive it two weeks before you receive this.

We also calculate to send a petition and this revelation to the President forthwith, in your behalf, and then we will act the part of the poor widow to perfection, if possible, and let our rulers read their destiny if they do not lend a helping hand. We exhort you to prosecute and try every lawful means to bring the mob to (justice), as fast as circumstances will permit. With regard to your tarrying in Clay county, we cannot say; you must be governed by circumstances; perhaps you will have tto obtain bread until the Lord delivers.

We sent you a fifty dollar United States note some time ago, if you have received it, please acknowledge he receipt of it, to us that we may be satisfied you received it. We shall do all that is in our power to assist you in every way we can. We know your situation is a trying one, but be patient and not murmur against the Lord, and you shall see that all these things shall turn to your greatest good.

Enquire of Elder Marsh and find out the entire secret of mixing and compounding lead and antimony, so as to make type metal, and write us concerning it. Joseph has sent you another fifty dollar note, making in all one hundred dollars; write us concerning it. There is a prospect of the eastern churches doing something pretty handsome towards the deliverance of Zion, in the course of a year, if Zion is not delivered otherwise.

Though the Lord said this affliction came upon you because of your sins, polluting your inheritances, &c., yet there is an exception of some, namely, the heads of Zion, for the Lord said your brethren in Zion began to repent, and the angels rejoice over them, &c. You will also see an exception at the top of the second column of this revelation: therefore, this affliction came upon the church to chasten those in transgression, and prepare the hearts of those who had repented, for an endowment form the Lord.

We shall not be able to send you any more money at present, unless the Lord puts it into our hands unexpectedly. There is not quite so much danger of a mob upon us as there has been. The hand of the Lord has thus far been stretched out to protect us. Doctor P. Hurlbut an apostate elder from this church, has been put the state of New York, and gathered up all the ridiculous stories that could be invented, and some affidavits respecting the character of Joseph, and the Smith family, and exhibited them to numberous congregations in Chagrin, Kirtland, Mentor, and Painesville, and fired the minds of the people with much indignation, against Joseph and the church.

Hurlbut also made many harsh threats, &c., that he would take the life of Joseph, if he could not destroy Mormonism without. Bro. Joseph took him with a peace warrant and after three days trial, and investigating the merits of our religion, in the town of Painesville, by able attorneys on both sides, he was bound over to the county court.
Thus his influence was pretty much destroyed, and since the trial the spirit of hostility seems to be broken down in a good degree, but how long it will continue so, we cannot say.

You purchased you inheritances with money therefore, behold you are blessed; you have not purchased your lands by the shedding of blood, consequently you do not come under the censure of this commandment, which says "if by blood lo your enemies are upon you, and elves no uneasiness on this account.

Farewell in the bonds of the new covenant, and partakers in tribulation.

Clerk of the Presidency of the church.

Document 4:
Joseph Smith Letter
early 1834

Source: Joseph Smith, Jr. Letters, photocopy, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah   view enlarged graphic

Notes: early 1834 Joseph Smith Note to Newel K. Whitney (c. Feb.-Mar. 1834, Kirtland, Ohio) While this obviously hastily scribbled note contains no date, it must owe its existence to fears among the Mormon leadership that the assests of the "United Firm" were in danger from the actions set forth by "evil" and "unseen" hands. As early as Jan. 11, 1834, Joseph Smith, F. G. Williams, Oliver Cowdery, John Johnson, Orson Hyde and Newel K. Whitney had begun to pray that God would protect them, grant blessings upon the United Firm, and "that the bishop would have sufficient funds to pay the debts of the United Firm." See Phillip R. Legg's Oliver Cowdery... (Independence, Herald House, 1989), pp. 78-79 for the latter quote.

As the United Firm did not survive past April 10, 1834, it is likely that Smith's note to Whitney was written at least a few weeks prior to that date, but probably not much before Jan. 11, 1834. I think that its most probable time of composition was c. Feb.-Mar. 1834, before the State of Ohio vs. D.P. Hurlbut csas was conducted in Chardon. BR>

Brother Whitney --
I write this because I forgot to tell you of some things that you [ought to] know [where] Docter P. Hurlbut is commenceing an unjust suit against Brother Hyram to git the prope[r]ty of this farm which belongs to the [[United]] Firm Brother Hyram [and my] father has [not got] any property here but one cow a peace each I have a [bill] for all the rest made over to me more than one year ago for Books and what they owed me and it will involve me or the firm if we let them take this property which you [may] rest asured belongs to us a word to the wise is sufficie[nt]

Joseph Smith Jr

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