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Money Digging


   We are not able to determine whether the elder Smith was ever concerned in money digging transactions previous to his emigration from Vermont, or not, but it is a well authenticated fact that soon after his arrival here he evinced a firm belief in the existence of hidden treasures, and that this section of country abounded in them. -- He also revived, or in other words  propagated the vulgar, yet popular belief that these treasures were held in charge by some evil spirit, which was supposed to be either the DEVIL himself, or some one of his most trusty favorites. This opinion however, did not originate by any means with Smith, for we find that the vulgar and ignorant from time immemorial, both in Europe and America, have entertained the same preposterous opinion.<br>
   It may not be amiss in this place to mention that the mania of money digging soon began rapidly to diffuse itself through many parts of this country; men and women without distinction of age or sex became marvellous wise in the occult sciences, many dreamed, and others saw visions disclosing to them, deep in the bowels of the earth, rich and shining treasures, and to facilitate those mighty mining operations, (money was usually if not always sought after in the night time,) divers devices and implements were invented, and although the spirit was always able to retain his precious charge, these discomfited as well as deluded beings, would on a succeeding night return to their toil, not in the least doubting that success would eventually attend their labors.<br>
   Mineral rods and balls, (as they were called by the imposter who made use of them,) were supposed to be infallible guides to these sources of wealth -- “peep stones” or pebbles, taken promiscuously from the brook or field, were placed in a hat or other situation excluded from the light, when some wizzard or witch (for these performances were not confined to either sex) applied their eyes, and nearly starting their balls from their sockets, declared they saw all the wonders of nature, including of course, ample stores of silver and gold.<br>
   It is more than probable that some of these deluded people, by having their imaginations heated to the highest pitch of excitement, and by straining their eyes until they were suffused with tears, might have, through the medium of some trifling emission of the ray of light, receive imperfect images on the retina, when their fancies could create the rest. Be this however as it may, people busied themselves in consulting these blind oracles, while the ground was nightly opened in various places and men who were too lazy or idle to labor for bread in the day time, displayed a zeal and perseverance in this business worthy of a better cause.
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The Reflector, Palmyra, Gold Bible, no. 3
Palmyra Reflector
Abner Cole
1 Feb, 1831
   We are not able to determine whether the elder Smith was ever concerned in money digging transactions previous to his emigration from Vermont, or not, but it is a well authenticated fact that soon after his arrival here he evinced a firm belief in the existence of hidden treasures, and that this section of country abounded in them. -- He also revived, or in other words propagated the vulgar, yet popular belief that these treasures were held in charge by some evil spirit, which was supposed to be either the DEVIL himself, or some one of his most trusty favorites. This opinion however, did not originate by any means with Smith, for we find that the vulgar and ignorant from time immemorial, both in Europe and America, have entertained the same preposterous opinion.
   It may not be amiss in this place to mention that the mania of money digging soon began rapidly to diffuse itself through many parts of this country; men and women without distinction of age or sex became marvellous wise in the occult sciences, many dreamed, and others saw visions disclosing to them, deep in the bowels of the earth, rich and shining treasures, and to facilitate those mighty mining operations, (money was usually if not always sought after in the night time,) divers devices and implements were invented, and although the spirit was always able to retain his precious charge, these discomfited as well as deluded beings, would on a succeeding night return to their toil, not in the least doubting that success would eventually attend their labors.
   Mineral rods and balls, (as they were called by the imposter who made use of them,) were supposed to be infallible guides to these sources of wealth -- “peep stones” or pebbles, taken promiscuously from the brook or field, were placed in a hat or other situation excluded from the light, when some wizzard or witch (for these performances were not confined to either sex) applied their eyes, and nearly starting their balls from their sockets, declared they saw all the wonders of nature, including of course, ample stores of silver and gold.
   It is more than probable that some of these deluded people, by having their imaginations heated to the highest pitch of excitement, and by straining their eyes until they were suffused with tears, might have, through the medium of some trifling emission of the ray of light, receive imperfect images on the retina, when their fancies could create the rest. Be this however as it may, people busied themselves in consulting these blind oracles, while the ground was nightly opened in various places and men who were too lazy or idle to labor for bread in the day time, displayed a zeal and perseverance in this business worthy of a better cause.

   For a length of time this clairvoyant manifestation was sought to be turned to selfish advantage, in the way of fortune-telling, and in the pretended discovery by the medium of the seer-stone of lost or stolen property.  But the realizations from these sources were insufficient to encourage a long continuance of the experiments, though some small amounts were obtained by them; and a very worthy citizen now living in Palmyra actually paid seventy-five cents in money for being sent some three miles on a fool's errand in pursuit of a stolen roll of cloth.  It is presumed to be needless to add, that no genuine discoveries of stolen property were made in this manner, and that the entire proceeds derived from the speculation went into Joe's pocket.<br>
   The most glittering sights revealed to the mortal vision of the young impostor in the manner stated, were hidden treasures of great value, including enormous deposits of gold and silver sealed in earthen pots or iron chests, and buried in the earth in the immediate vicinity of the place where he stood.  These discoveries finally became too dazzling for his eyes in daylight, and he had to shade his vision by looking at the stone in his hat!  Of course but few persons were sufficiently stolid to listen to these silly pretensions, for they were only of a piece with Joe's habitual extravagances of assertion.  Yet he may have had believers.<br>
   Persisting in this claim to the gift of spiritual discernment, Smith very soon succeeded in his experiment upon the credulity of a selected audience of ignorant and superstitious persons, to an extent which it is presumed he could not himself have anticipated at the outset of the trial.  He followed up this advantage, and by its means, in the spring of 1820, raised some small contributions from the people in the vicinity, to defray the expense of digging for the buried money, the precise hiding-place of which he had discovered by the aid of the stone in his hat.  At an appointed time, being at a dead hour of night, his dupes and employed laborers repaired with lanterns to the revealed locality of the treasure, which was upon the then forest hill, a short distance from his father's house; and after some preparatory mystic ceremonies, the work of digging began at his signal.  Silence, as the condition of success, had been enjoined upon the chosen few present, who were to be sharers in the expected prize.  The excavating process was continued for some two hours, without a word being spoken-the magician meanwhile indicating, by some sort of a wand in his hand, the exact spot where the spade was to be crowded into the earth-when, just at the moment the money-box was within the seer's grasp, one of the party, being tempted by the devil, spoke!  The enchantment was broken, and the treasure vanished!  Such was Joe's explanation, and, ridiculous as was the idea, it was apparently satisfactory to his dupes.<br>
   This was the inauguration of the impostor's money-digging performances; and the description given of this first trial and of its results is as near exactitude as can at this time be recollected from his own accounts.  Several of the individuals participating in this and subsequent diggings, and many others well remembering the stories of the time, are yet living witnesses of these follies, and can make suitable corrections if the particulars as stated are not substantially according to the facts.<br>
   The imposture was renewed and repeated at frequent intervals from 1820 to 1827, various localities being the scenes of these delusive searches for money, as pointed out by the revelations of the magic stone.  And these tricks of young Smith were not too absurd for the credence of his fanatical followers.  He was sufficiently artful and persevering to preserve his spell-holding power over their minds, and keep up his deceptions for the length of time before stated.  It certainly evidences extraordinary talent or subtlety, that for so long a period he could maintain the potency of his art over numbers of beings in the form of manhood, acknowledging their faith in his supernatural powers.  He continued to use this advantage in the progress of his experiments to raise from them and others contributions in money and various articles of value, amounting to a considerable aggregate sum, being enough to pay the digging expenses (whiskey and labor), and also in this way securing a handsome surplus, which went in part toward necessary domestic supplies for the Smith family.<br>
   In some instances individuals were impelled, in their donations in this business, by the motive of ridding themselves of Smith's importunities, while others advanced the idea that there might be something in it, as they explained in reply to the unfavorable suggestions of reflecting friends.  One respectable and forehanded citizen, now living in Manchester, confesses to having patronized Smith's perseverance on this idea, and says he once handed him a silver dollar, partly in that view and partly to get rid of the fellow.  Smith's father and elder brothers generally participated in the manual labors of these diggings, and their example seemed to revive confidence in the sometimes wavering victims of the imposture, and also to bring others to their aid.<br>
   The subsequent operations on this head were conducted substantially in the mode and manner of the first performance, as described, with slight variations in the incantations, and always with the same result - Smith almost getting hold of the money-chest, but finally losing it by the coincident breaking of the spell through some unforeseen satanic interposition.  By this cause the money would vanish just at the instant of its coming within the necromancer's mortal grasp!<br>
   A single instance of Smith's style of conducting these money-diggings will suffice for the whole series, and also serve to illustrate his low cunning, and show the strange infatuation of the persons who yielded to his unprincipled designs.  Assuming his accustomed air of mystery on one of the occasions, and pretending to see by his miraculous stone exactly where the sought-for chest of money had lodged in its subterranean transits, Smith gave out the revelation that a black sheep would be required as a sacrificial offering upon the enchanted ground before entering upon the work of exhumation.  He knew that his kind-hearted neighbor, William Stafford, who was a listener to his plausible story - a respectable farmer in comfortable worldly circumstances - possessed a fine, fat, black wether, intended for division between his family use and the village market, and Smith knew, moreover, that fresh meat was a rarity at his father's home where he lived.  The scheme succeeded completely.  It was arranged that Mr. Stafford should invest the wether as his stock in the speculation, the avails of which were to be equitably shared among the company engaging in it.  At the approach of the appointed hour at night, the digging fraternity, with lanterns, and the fattened sheep for the sacrifice, were conducted by Smith to the place where the treasure was to be obtained.  There Smith described a circle upon the ground around the buried chest, where the blood of the animal was to be shed as the necessary condition of his power to secure the glittering gold.  As usual, not a word was to be spoken during the ceremony, nor until after the prize was brought forth.  All things being thus in readiness, the throat of the sheep was cut by one of the party according to previous instructions, the poor animal made to pour its own blood around the circle, and the excavation entered upon in a vigorous and solemn manner.  In this case the digging was continued for about three hours, when the devil again frustrated the plan exactly in the same way as on the repeated trials before!  In the mean time, the elder Smith, aided by one of the junior sons, had withdrawn the sacrifical carcass and reduced its flesh to mutton for his family use...
   Numerous traces of the excavations left by Smith are yet remaining as evidences of his impostures and the folly of his dupes, though most of them have become obliterated by the clearing off and tilling of the lands where they were made.<br>
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Origin, rise, and progress of Mormonism : biography of its founders and history of its church : personal remembrances and historical collections hitherto unwritten ..., pgs 20-25
Pomeroy Tucker's View
Pomeroy Tucker
1867
   For a length of time this clairvoyant manifestation was sought to be turned to selfish advantage, in the way of fortune-telling, and in the pretended discovery by the medium of the seer-stone of lost or stolen property. But the realizations from these sources were insufficient to encourage a long continuance of the experiments, though some small amounts were obtained by them; and a very worthy citizen now living in Palmyra actually paid seventy-five cents in money for being sent some three miles on a fool's errand in pursuit of a stolen roll of cloth. It is presumed to be needless to add, that no genuine discoveries of stolen property were made in this manner, and that the entire proceeds derived from the speculation went into Joe's pocket.
   The most glittering sights revealed to the mortal vision of the young impostor in the manner stated, were hidden treasures of great value, including enormous deposits of gold and silver sealed in earthen pots or iron chests, and buried in the earth in the immediate vicinity of the place where he stood. These discoveries finally became too dazzling for his eyes in daylight, and he had to shade his vision by looking at the stone in his hat! Of course but few persons were sufficiently stolid to listen to these silly pretensions, for they were only of a piece with Joe's habitual extravagances of assertion. Yet he may have had believers.
   Persisting in this claim to the gift of spiritual discernment, Smith very soon succeeded in his experiment upon the credulity of a selected audience of ignorant and superstitious persons, to an extent which it is presumed he could not himself have anticipated at the outset of the trial. He followed up this advantage, and by its means, in the spring of 1820, raised some small contributions from the people in the vicinity, to defray the expense of digging for the buried money, the precise hiding-place of which he had discovered by the aid of the stone in his hat. At an appointed time, being at a dead hour of night, his dupes and employed laborers repaired with lanterns to the revealed locality of the treasure, which was upon the then forest hill, a short distance from his father's house; and after some preparatory mystic ceremonies, the work of digging began at his signal. Silence, as the condition of success, had been enjoined upon the chosen few present, who were to be sharers in the expected prize. The excavating process was continued for some two hours, without a word being spoken-the magician meanwhile indicating, by some sort of a wand in his hand, the exact spot where the spade was to be crowded into the earth-when, just at the moment the money-box was within the seer's grasp, one of the party, being "tempted by the devil," spoke! The enchantment was broken, and the treasure vanished! Such was Joe's explanation, and, ridiculous as was the idea, it was apparently satisfactory to his dupes.
   This was the inauguration of the impostor's money-digging performances; and the description given of this first trial and of its results is as near exactitude as can at this time be recollected from his own accounts. Several of the individuals participating in this and subsequent diggings, and many others well remembering the stories of the time, are yet living witnesses of these follies, and can make suitable corrections if the particulars as stated are not substantially according to the facts.
   The imposture was renewed and repeated at frequent intervals from 1820 to 1827, various localities being the scenes of these delusive searches for money, as pointed out by the revelations of the magic stone. And these tricks of young Smith were not too absurd for the credence of his fanatical followers. He was sufficiently artful and persevering to preserve his spell-holding power over their minds, and keep up his deceptions for the length of time before stated. It certainly evidences extraordinary talent or subtlety, that for so long a period he could maintain the potency of his art over numbers of beings in the form of manhood, acknowledging their faith in his supernatural powers. He continued to use this advantage in the progress of his experiments to raise from them and others contributions in money and various articles of value, amounting to a considerable aggregate sum, being enough to pay the digging expenses (whiskey and labor), and also in this way securing a handsome surplus, which went in part toward necessary domestic supplies for the Smith family.
   In some instances individuals were impelled, in their donations in this business, by the motive of ridding themselves of Smith's importunities, while others advanced the idea that there "might be something in it," as they explained in reply to the unfavorable suggestions of reflecting friends. One respectable and forehanded citizen, now living in Manchester, confesses to having patronized Smith's perseverance on this idea, and says he once handed him a silver dollar, partly in that view and partly to "get rid of the fellow." Smith's father and elder brothers generally participated in the manual labors of these diggings, and their example seemed to revive confidence in the sometimes wavering victims of the imposture, and also to bring others to their aid.
   The subsequent operations on this head were conducted substantially in the mode and manner of the first performance, as described, with slight variations in the incantations, and always with the same result - Smith "almost" getting hold of the money-chest, but finally losing it by the coincident breaking of the "spell" through some unforeseen satanic interposition. By this cause the money would vanish just at the instant of its coming within the necromancer's mortal grasp!
   A single instance of Smith's style of conducting these money-diggings will suffice for the whole series, and also serve to illustrate his low cunning, and show the strange infatuation of the persons who yielded to his unprincipled designs. Assuming his accustomed air of mystery on one of the occasions, and pretending to see by his miraculous stone exactly where the sought-for chest of money had lodged in its subterranean transits, Smith gave out the revelation that a "black sheep" would be required as a sacrificial offering upon the enchanted ground before entering upon the work of exhumation. He knew that his kind-hearted neighbor, William Stafford, who was a listener to his plausible story - a respectable farmer in comfortable worldly circumstances - possessed a fine, fat, black wether, intended for division between his family use and the village market, and Smith knew, moreover, that fresh meat was a rarity at his father's home where he lived. The scheme succeeded completely. It was arranged that Mr. Stafford should invest the wether as his stock in the speculation, the avails of which were to be equitably shared among the company engaging in it. At the approach of the appointed hour at night, the digging fraternity, with lanterns, and the fattened sheep for the sacrifice, were conducted by Smith to the place where the treasure was to be obtained. There Smith described a circle upon the ground around the buried chest, where the blood of the animal was to be shed as the necessary condition of his power to secure the glittering gold. As usual, not a word was to be spoken during the ceremony, nor until after the prize was brought forth. All things being thus in readiness, the throat of the sheep was cut by one of the party according to previous instructions, the poor animal made to pour its own blood around the circle, and the excavation entered upon in a vigorous and solemn manner. In this case the digging was continued for about three hours, when the "devil" again frustrated the plan exactly in the same way as on the repeated trials before! In the mean time, the elder Smith, aided by one of the junior sons, had withdrawn the sacrifical carcass and reduced its flesh to mutton for his family use..."    Numerous traces of the excavations left by Smith are yet remaining as evidences of his impostures and the folly of his dupes, though most of them have become obliterated by the clearing off and tilling of the lands where they were made.

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Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 1, pg 2, col 5
Isaac Butts Statement
Isaac Butts
1884-1887
   Young Jo had a forked witch-hazel rod with which he claimed he could locate buried money or hidden things. Later he had a peep-stone which he put into his hat and looked into it. I have seen both. Joshua Stafford, a good citizen, told me that young Jo Smith and himself dug for money in his orchard and elsewhere nights. All the money digging was done nights. I saw the holes in the orchard which were four or five feet square and three or four feet deep. Jo and others dug much about Palmyra and Manchester. I have seen many of the holes. The first thing he claimed to find was gold plates of the "Book of Mormon," which he kept in a pillowcase and would let people lift, but not see. I came to Ohio in 1818... I returned to Palmyra twice and resided there about two years each time.
(Note:  No images of this source are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

   I, Peter Ingersoll, first became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. in the year of our Lord, 1822. - I lived in the neighborhood of said family, until about 1830; during which time the following facts came under my observation.<br>
   The general employment of the family, was digging for money.  I had frequent invitations to join the company, but always declined being one of their number.  They used various arguments to induce me to accept their invitations.  I was once ploughing near the house of Joseph Smith, Sen. about noon, he requested me to walk with him a short distance from his house, for the purpose of seeing whether a mineral rod would work in my hand, saying at the same time he was confident it would.  As my oxen were eating, and being myself at leisure, I accepted the invitation. - When we arrived near the place at which he thought there was money, he cut a small witch hazle bush and gave me direction how to hold it.  He then went off some rods, and told me to say to the rod, work to the money, which I did, in an audible voice.  He rebuked me severely for speaking it loud, and said it must be spoken in a whisper.  This was rare sport for me.  While the old man was standing off some rods, throwing himself into various shapes, I told him the rod did not work.  He seemed much surprised at this, and said he thought he saw it move in my hand.  It was now time for me to return to my labor.  On my return, I picked up a small stone and was carelessly tossing it from one hand to the other.  Said he, (looking very earnestly) what are you going to do with that stone?  Throw it at the birds, I replied.  No, said the old man, it is of great worth; and upon this I gave it to him.  Now, says he, if you only knew the value there is back of my house, (and pointing to a place near) - there, exclaimed he, is one chest of gold and another of silver.  He then put the stone which I had given him, into his hat, and stooping forward, he bowed and made sundry maneuvers, quite similar to those of a stool pigeon.  At length he took down his hat, and being very much exhausted, said, in a faint voice, if you knew what I had seen, you would believe.  To see the old man thus try to impose upon me, I confess, rather had a tendency to excite comtempt than pity.  Yet I thought it best to conceal my feelings, preferring to appear the dupe of my credulity, than to expose myself to his resentment.  His son Alvin then went through with the same performance, which was equally disgusting.<br>
   Another time, the said Joseph, Sen. told me that the best time for digging money, was, in the heat of summer, when the heat of the sun caused chests of money to rise near the top of the ground - we call them rocks, and they truly appear so, but they are, in fact, most of them chests of money raised by the heat of the sun.<br>
   At another time, he told me that the ancient inhabitants of this country used camels instead of horses.  For proof of this fact, he stated that in a certain hill on the farm of Mr. Cuyler, there was a cave containing an immense value of gold and silver, stands of arms, also, a saddle for a camel, hanging on a peg at one side of the cave.  I asked him, of what kind of wood the peg was.  He could not tell, but said it had become similar to stone or iron.<br>
   The old man at last laid a plan which he thought would accomplish his design.  His cows and mine had been gone for some time, and were not to be found, notwithstanding our diligent search for them.  Day after day was spent in fruitless search, until at length he proposed to find them by his art of divination.  So he took his stand near the corner of his house, with a small stick in his hand, and made several strange and peculiar motions, and then said he could go directly to the cows.  So he started off, and went into the woods about one hundred rods distant and found the lost cows.  But on finding out the secret of the mystery, Harrison had found, and drove them to the above named place, and milked them.  So that this stratagem turned out rather more to his profit that it did to my edification. - The old man finding that all his efforts to make me a money digger, had proved abortive, at length ceased his importunities.  One circumstance, however, I will mention before leaving him.  Some time before young Joseph found, or pretended to find, the gold plates, the old man told me that in Canada, there had been a book found, in a hollow tree, that gave an account of the first settlement of this country before it was discovered by Columbus.<br>
   In the month of August, 1827, I was hired by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife's household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was.  When we arrived at Mr. Hale's, in Harmony, Pa. from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting.  His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: You have stolen my daughter and married her.  I had much rather have follewed her to her grave.  You spend your time in digging for money - pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people.  Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false.  He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones.  Mr. Hale told Joseph, if he would move to Pennsylvania and work for a living, he would assist him in getting into business.  Joseph acceded to this proposition.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 232-235
Peter Ingersoll's account of Smith family money digging
Peter Ingersoll, witnessed by Th. P. Baldwin
9 Dec, 1833
   I, Peter Ingersoll, first became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. in the year of our Lord, 1822. - I lived in the neighborhood of said family, until about 1830; during which time the following facts came under my observation.
   The general employment of the family, was digging for money. I had frequent invitations to join the company, but always declined being one of their number. They used various arguments to induce me to accept their invitations. I was once ploughing near the house of Joseph Smith, Sen. about noon, he requested me to walk with him a short distance from his house, for the purpose of seeing whether a mineral rod would work in my hand, saying at the same time he was confident it would. As my oxen were eating, and being myself at leisure, I accepted the invitation. - When we arrived near the place at which he thought there was money, he cut a small witch hazle bush and gave me direction how to hold it. He then went off some rods, and told me to say to the rod, "work to the money," which I did, in an audible voice. He rebuked me severely for speaking it loud, and said it must be spoken in a whisper. This was rare sport for me. While the old man was standing off some rods, throwing himself into various shapes, I told him the rod did not work. He seemed much surprised at this, and said he thought he saw it move in my hand. It was now time for me to return to my labor. On my return, I picked up a small stone and was carelessly tossing it from one hand to the other. Said he, (looking very earnestly) what are you going to do with that stone? Throw it at the birds, I replied. No, said the old man, it is of great worth; and upon this I gave it to him. Now, says he, if you only knew the value there is back of my house, (and pointing to a place near) - there, exclaimed he, is one chest of gold and another of silver. He then put the stone which I had given him, into his hat, and stooping forward, he bowed and made sundry maneuvers, quite similar to those of a stool pigeon. At length he took down his hat, and being very much exhausted, said, in a faint voice, "if you knew what I had seen, you would believe." To see the old man thus try to impose upon me, I confess, rather had a tendency to excite comtempt than pity. Yet I thought it best to conceal my feelings, preferring to appear the dupe of my credulity, than to expose myself to his resentment. His son Alvin then went through with the same performance, which was equally disgusting.
   Another time, the said Joseph, Sen. told me that the best time for digging money, was, in the heat of summer, when the heat of the sun caused chests of money to rise near the top of the ground - we call them rocks, and they truly appear so, but they are, in fact, most of them chests of money raised by the heat of the sun.
   At another time, he told me that the ancient inhabitants of this country used camels instead of horses. For proof of this fact, he stated that in a certain hill on the farm of Mr. Cuyler, there was a cave containing an immense value of gold and silver, stands of arms, also, a saddle for a camel, hanging on a peg at one side of the cave. I asked him, of what kind of wood the peg was. He could not tell, but said it had become similar to stone or iron.
   The old man at last laid a plan which he thought would accomplish his design. His cows and mine had been gone for some time, and were not to be found, notwithstanding our diligent search for them. Day after day was spent in fruitless search, until at length he proposed to find them by his art of divination. So he took his stand near the corner of his house, with a small stick in his hand, and made several strange and peculiar motions, and then said he could go directly to the cows. So he started off, and went into the woods about one hundred rods distant and found the lost cows. But on finding out the secret of the mystery, Harrison had found, and drove them to the above named place, and milked them. So that this stratagem turned out rather more to his profit that it did to my edification. - The old man finding that all his efforts to make me a money digger, had proved abortive, at length ceased his importunities. One circumstance, however, I will mention before leaving him. Some time before young Joseph found, or pretended to find, the gold plates, the old man told me that in Canada, there had been a book found, in a hollow tree, that gave an account of the first settlement of this country before it was discovered by Columbus.
   In the month of August, 1827, I was hired by Joseph Smith, Jr. to go to Pennsylvania, to move his wife's household furniture up to Manchester, where his wife then was. When we arrived at Mr. Hale's, in Harmony, Pa. from which place he had taken his wife, a scene presented itself, truly affecting. His father-in-law (Mr. Hale) addressed Joseph, in a flood of tears: "You have stolen my daughter and married her. I had much rather have follewed her to her grave. You spend your time in digging for money - pretend to see in a stone, and thus try to deceive people." Joseph wept, and acknowledged he could not see in a stone now, nor never could; and that his former pretensions in that respect, were all false. He then promised to give up his old habits of digging for money and looking into stones. Mr. Hale told Joseph, if he would move to Pennsylvania and work for a living, he would assist him in getting into business. Joseph acceded to this proposition.

   I became acquainted with the Smith family, known as the authors of the Mormon Bible, in the year 1820.  At that time, they were engaged in the money digging business, which they followed until the latter part of the season of 1827.
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Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 240
Testimony of Willard Chase
Willard Chase, witnessed by Fred'k Smith
11 Dec, 1833
   I became acquainted with the Smith family, known as the authors of the Mormon Bible, in the year 1820. At that time, they were engaged in the money digging business, which they followed until the latter part of the season of 1827.

   I, Joseph Capron, became acquainted with Joseph Smith Sen. in the year of our Lord, 1827...<br>
   The family of Smiths held Joseph Jr. in high estimation on account of some supernatural power, which he was supposed to possess.  This power he pretended to have received through the medium of a stone of peculiar quality.  The stone was placed in a hat, in such a manner as to exclude all light, except that which emanated from the stone itself.  This light of the stone, he pretended, enabled him to see any thing he wished.  Accordingly he discovered ghosts, infernal spirits, mountains of gold and silver, and many other invaluable treasures deposited in the earth.  He would often tell his neighbors of his wonderful discoveries, and urge them to embark in the money digging business.  Luxury and wealth were to be given to all who would adhere to his counsel.  A gang was soon assembled.  Some of them were influenced by curiosity, others were sanguine in their expectations of immediate gain.  I will mention one circumstance, by which the uninitiated may know how the company dug for treasures.  The sapient Joseph discovered, north west of my house, a chest of gold watches; but, as they were in the possession of the evil spirit, it required skill and stratagem to obtain them.  Accordingly, orders were given to stick a parcel of large stakes in the ground, several rods around, in a circular form.  This was to be done directly over the spot where the treasures were deposited.  A messenger was then sent to Palmyra to procure a polished sword: after which, Samuel F. Lawrence, with a drawn sword in his hand, marched around to guard any assault which his Satanic majesty might be disposed to make.  Meantime, the rest of the company were busily employed in digging for the watches.  They worked as usual till quite exhausted.  But, in spite of their brave defender, Lawrence, and their bulwark of stakes, the devil came off victorious, and carried away the watches.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 258-260
Testimony of Joseph Capron
Joseph Capron
8 Nov, 1833
   I, Joseph Capron, became acquainted with Joseph Smith Sen. in the year of our Lord, 1827...
   The family of Smiths held Joseph Jr. in high estimation on account of some supernatural power, which he was supposed to possess. This power he pretended to have received through the medium of a stone of peculiar quality. The stone was placed in a hat, in such a manner as to exclude all light, except that which emanated from the stone itself. This light of the stone, he pretended, enabled him to see any thing he wished. Accordingly he discovered ghosts, infernal spirits, mountains of gold and silver, and many other invaluable treasures deposited in the earth. He would often tell his neighbors of his wonderful discoveries, and urge them to embark in the money digging business. Luxury and wealth were to be given to all who would adhere to his counsel. A gang was soon assembled. Some of them were influenced by curiosity, others were sanguine in their expectations of immediate gain. I will mention one circumstance, by which the uninitiated may know how the company dug for treasures. The sapient Joseph discovered, north west of my house, a chest of gold watches; but, as they were in the possession of the evil spirit, it required skill and stratagem to obtain them. Accordingly, orders were given to stick a parcel of large stakes in the ground, several rods around, in a circular form. This was to be done directly over the spot where the treasures were deposited. A messenger was then sent to Palmyra to procure a polished sword: after which, Samuel F. Lawrence, with a drawn sword in his hand, marched around to guard any assault which his Satanic majesty might be disposed to make. Meantime, the rest of the company were busily employed in digging for the watches. They worked as usual till quite exhausted. But, in spite of their brave defender, Lawrence, and their bulwark of stakes, the devil came off victorious, and carried away the watches.

   (Joseph Smith Sr.) then stated their digging was not for money but it was for the obtaining of a Gold Bible.  Thus contradicting what he had told me before: for he had often said, that the hills in our neighborhood were nearly all erected by human hands - that they were all full of gold and silver.  And one time, when we were talking on the subject, he pointed to a small hill on my farm, and said, in that hill there is a stone which is full of gold and silver.  I know it to be so, for I have been to the hole, and God said unto me, go not in now, but at a future day you shall go in and find the book open, and then you shall have the treasures.  He said that gold and silver was once as plenty as the stones in the field are now - that the ancients, half of them melted the ore and made the gold and silver, while the other half buried it deeper in the earth, which accounted for these hills.  Upon my enquiring who furnished the food for the whole, he flew into a passion, and called me a sinner, and said he, you must be eternally damned.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 257-258
Testimony of Roswell Nichols
Roswell Nichols
1 Dec, 1833
   (Joseph Smith Sr.) then stated their digging was not for money but it was for the obtaining of a Gold Bible. Thus contradicting what he had told me before: for he had often said, that the hills in our neighborhood were nearly all erected by human hands - that they were all full of gold and silver. And one time, when we were talking on the subject, he pointed to a small hill on my farm, and said, "in that hill there is a stone which is full of gold and silver. I know it to be so, for I have been to the hole, and God said unto me, go not in now, but at a future day you shall go in and find the book open, and then you shall have the treasures." He said that gold and silver was once as plenty as the stones in the field are now - that the ancients, half of them melted the ore and made the gold and silver, while the other half buried it deeper in the earth, which accounted for these hills. Upon my enquiring who furnished the food for the whole, he flew into a passion, and called me a sinner, and said he, "you must be eternally damned."

   I, Joshua Stafford, became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. about the year 1819 or 20. They then were laboring people, in low circumstances. A short time after this, they commenced digging for hidden treasures, and soon after they became indolent, and told marvellous stories about ghosts, hob-goblins, caverns, and various other mysterious matters. Joseph once showed me a piece of wood which he said he took from a box of money, and the reason he gave for not obtaining the box, was, that it moved. At another time, he, (Joseph, Jr.) at a husking, called on me to become security for a horse, and said he would reward me handsomely, for he had found a box of watches, and they were as large as his fist, and he put one of them to his ear, and he could hear it tick forty rods. Since he could not dispose of them profitably at Canandaigua or Palmyra, he wished to go east with them. He said if he did not return with the horse, I might take his life. I replied, that he knew I would not do that. Well, said he, I did not suppose you would, yet I would be willing that you should. He was nearly intoxicated at the time of the above conversation.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 258
Testimony of Joshua Stafford
Joshua Stafford
15 Nov, 1833
   I, Joshua Stafford, became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sen. about the year 1819 or 20. They then were laboring people, in low circumstances. A short time after this, they commenced digging for hidden treasures, and soon after they became indolent, and told marvellous stories about ghosts, hob-goblins, caverns, and various other mysterious matters. Joseph once showed me a piece of wood which he said he took from a box of money, and the reason he gave for not obtaining the box, was, that it moved. At another time, he, (Joseph, Jr.) at a husking, called on me to become security for a horse, and said he would reward me handsomely, for he had found a box of watches, and they were as large as his fist, and he put one of them to his ear, and he could hear it "tick forty rods." Since he could not dispose of them profitably at Canandaigua or Palmyra, he wished to go east with them. He said if he did not return with the horse, I might take his life. I replied, that he knew I would not do that. Well, said he, I did not suppose you would, yet I would be willing that you should. He was nearly intoxicated at the time of the above conversation.

   I first became acquainted with Joseph, Sen., and his family in the year 1820.  They lived, at that time, in Palmyra, about one mile and a half from my residence.  A great part of their time was devoted to digging for money; especially in the night time, when they said the money could be most easily obtained.  I have heard them tell marvellous tales, respecting the discoveries they had made in their peculiar occupation of money digging.  They would say, for instance, that in such a place, in such a hill, on a certain man's farm, there were deposited keys, barrels and hogsheads of coined silver and gold - bars of gold, golden images, brass kettles filled with gold and silver - gold candlesticks, swords, &c. &.c  They would say, also, that nearly all the hills in this part of New York, were thrown up by human hands, and in them were large caves, which Joseph, Jr., could see, by placing a stone of singular appearance in his hat, in such a manner as to exclude all light; at which time they pretended he could see all things within and under the earth, - that he could see within the above mentioned caves, large gold bars and silver plates - that he could also discover the spirits in whose charge these treasures were, clothed in ancient dress.  At certain times, these treasures could be obtained very easily; at others, the obtaining of them was difficult.  The facility of approaching them, depended in a great measure on the state of the moon.  New moon and good Friday, I believe, were regarded as the most favorable times for obtaining these treasures.  These tales I regarded as visionary.  However, being prompted by curiosity, I at length accepted of their invitations, to join them in their nocturnal excursions.  I will now relate a few incidents attending these excursions.<br>
   Joseph Smith, Sen., came to me one night, and told me, that Joseph Jr. had been looking in his glass, and had seen, not many rods from his house, two or three kegs of gold and silver, some feet under the surface of the earth; and that none others but the elder Joseph and myself could get them.  I accordingly consented to go, and early in the evening repaired to the place of deposit.  Joseph, Sen. first made a circle, twelve or fourteen feet in diameter.  This circle, said he, contains the treasure.  He then stuck in the ground a row of witch hazel sticks, around the said circle, for the purpose of keeping off the evil spirits.  Within this circle he made another, of about eight or ten feet in diameter.  He walked around three times on the periphery of this last circle, muttering to himself something which I could not understand.  He next stuck a steel rod in the centre of the circles, and then enjoined profound silence upon us, lest we should arouse the evil spirit who had the charge of these treasures.  After we had dug a trench about five feet in depth around the rod, the old man by signs and motions, asked leave of absense, and went to the house to inquire of young Joseph the cause of our disappointment.  He soon returned and said, that Joseph had remained all this time in the house, looking in his stone and watching the motions of the evil spirit - that he saw the spirit come up to the ring and as soon as it beheld the cone which we had formed around the rod, it caused the money to sink.  We then went into the house, and the old man observed, that we had made a mistake in the commencement of the operation; if it had not been for that, said he, we should have got the money.<br>
   At another time, they devised a scheme, by which they might satiate their hunger, with the mutton of one of my sheep, a large, fat, black weather.  Old Joseph and one of the boys came to me one day, and said that Joseph Jr. had discovered some very remarkable and valuable treasures, which could be procured only in one way.  That way, was as follows: - That a black sheep should be taken on to the ground where the treasures were concealed - that after cutting its throat, it should be led around a circle while bleeding.  This being done, the wrath of the evil spirit would be appeased: the treasures could then be obtained, and my share of them was to be four fold.  To gratify my curiosity, I let them have a large fat sheep.  They afterwards informed me, that the sheep was killed pursuant to commandment; but as there was some mistake in the process, it did not have the desired effect.  This, I believe, is the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business.  They, however, had around them constantly a worthless gang, whose employment it was to dig money nights, and who, day times, had more to do with mutton than money.<br>
   When they found that the people of this vicinity would no longer put any faith in their schemes for digging money, they then pretended to find a gold bible, of which, they said, the book of Mormon was only an introduction.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 237-239
Testimony of William Stafford
William Stafford, witnessed by Th. P. Baldwin
9 Dec, 1833
   I first became acquainted with Joseph, Sen., and his family in the year 1820. They lived, at that time, in Palmyra, about one mile and a half from my residence. A great part of their time was devoted to digging for money; especially in the night time, when they said the money could be most easily obtained. I have heard them tell marvellous tales, respecting the discoveries they had made in their peculiar occupation of money digging. They would say, for instance, that in such a place, in such a hill, on a certain man's farm, there were deposited keys, barrels and hogsheads of coined silver and gold - bars of gold, golden images, brass kettles filled with gold and silver - gold candlesticks, swords, &c. &.c They would say, also, that nearly all the hills in this part of New York, were thrown up by human hands, and in them were large caves, which Joseph, Jr., could see, by placing a stone of singular appearance in his hat, in such a manner as to exclude all light; at which time they pretended he could see all things within and under the earth, - that he could see within the above mentioned caves, large gold bars and silver plates - that he could also discover the spirits in whose charge these treasures were, clothed in ancient dress. At certain times, these treasures could be obtained very easily; at others, the obtaining of them was difficult. The facility of approaching them, depended in a great measure on the state of the moon. New moon and good Friday, I believe, were regarded as the most favorable times for obtaining these treasures. These tales I regarded as visionary. However, being prompted by curiosity, I at length accepted of their invitations, to join them in their nocturnal excursions. I will now relate a few incidents attending these excursions.
   Joseph Smith, Sen., came to me one night, and told me, that Joseph Jr. had been looking in his glass, and had seen, not many rods from his house, two or three kegs of gold and silver, some feet under the surface of the earth; and that none others but the elder Joseph and myself could get them. I accordingly consented to go, and early in the evening repaired to the place of deposit. Joseph, Sen. first made a circle, twelve or fourteen feet in diameter. This circle, said he, contains the treasure. He then stuck in the ground a row of witch hazel sticks, around the said circle, for the purpose of keeping off the evil spirits. Within this circle he made another, of about eight or ten feet in diameter. He walked around three times on the periphery of this last circle, muttering to himself something which I could not understand. He next stuck a steel rod in the centre of the circles, and then enjoined profound silence upon us, lest we should arouse the evil spirit who had the charge of these treasures. After we had dug a trench about five feet in depth around the rod, the old man by signs and motions, asked leave of absense, and went to the house to inquire of young Joseph the cause of our disappointment. He soon returned and said, that Joseph had remained all this time in the house, looking in his stone and watching the motions of the evil spirit - that he saw the spirit come up to the ring and as soon as it beheld the cone which we had formed around the rod, it caused the money to sink. We then went into the house, and the old man observed, that we had made a mistake in the commencement of the operation; if it had not been for that, said he, we should have got the money.
   At another time, they devised a scheme, by which they might satiate their hunger, with the mutton of one of my sheep, a large, fat, black weather. Old Joseph and one of the boys came to me one day, and said that Joseph Jr. had discovered some very remarkable and valuable treasures, which could be procured only in one way. That way, was as follows: - That a black sheep should be taken on to the ground where the treasures were concealed - that after cutting its throat, it should be led around a circle while bleeding. This being done, the wrath of the evil spirit would be appeased: the treasures could then be obtained, and my share of them was to be four fold. To gratify my curiosity, I let them have a large fat sheep. They afterwards informed me, that the sheep was killed pursuant to commandment; but as there was some mistake in the process, it did not have the desired effect. This, I believe, is the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business. They, however, had around them constantly a worthless gang, whose employment it was to dig money nights, and who, day times, had more to do with mutton than money.
   When they found that the people of this vicinity would no longer put any faith in their schemes for digging money, they then pretended to find a gold bible, of which, they said, the book of Mormon was only an introduction.

   Mr. Harris says... There was a company there in that neighborhood, who were digging for money supposed to have been hidden by the ancients. Of this company were old Mr Stowel—I think his name was Josiah—also old Mr. Beman, also Samuel Lawrence, George Proper, Joseph Smith, jr., and his father, and his brother Hiram Smith. They dug for money in Palmyra, Manchester, also in Pennsylvania, and other places. When Joseph found this stone, there was a company digging in Harmony, Pa., and they took Joseph to look in the stone for them, and he did so for a while, and then he told them the enchantment was so strong that he could not see, and they gave it up...<br>
   It was reported by these money-diggers, that they had found boxes, but before they could secure them, they would sink into the earth. A candid old Presbyterian told me, that on the Susquehannah flats he dug down to an iron chest, that he scraped the dirt off with his shovel, but had nothing with him to open the chest; that he went away to get help, and when they came to it, it moved away two or three rods into the earth, and they could not get it. There were a great many strange sights. One time the old log school-house south of Palmyra, was suddenly lighted up, and frightened them away. Samuel Lawrence told me that while they were digging, a large man who appeared to be eight or nine feet high, came and sat on the ridge of the barn, and motioned to them that they must leave. They motioned back that they would not; but that they afterwards became frightened and did leave. At another time while they were digging, a company of horsemen came and frightened them away. These things were real to them, I believe, because they were told to me in confidence, and told by different ones, and their stories agreed, and they seemed to be in earnest—I knew they were in earnest.
Full Source
External Link
Tiffany's Monthly, Vol 5, No 4, Mormonism - No. II, pgs 163-64
Interview with Martin Harris
Joel Tiffany
Aug, 1859
   Mr. Harris says... "There was a company there in that neighborhood, who were digging for money supposed to have been hidden by the ancients. Of this company were old Mr Stowel—I think his name was Josiah—also old Mr. Beman, also Samuel Lawrence, George Proper, Joseph Smith, jr., and his father, and his brother Hiram Smith. They dug for money in Palmyra, Manchester, also in Pennsylvania, and other places. When Joseph found this stone, there was a company digging in Harmony, Pa., and they took Joseph to look in the stone for them, and he did so for a while, and then he told them the enchantment was so strong that he could not see, and they gave it up...
   It was reported by these money-diggers, that they had found boxes, but before they could secure them, they would sink into the earth. A candid old Presbyterian told me, that on the Susquehannah flats he dug down to an iron chest, that he scraped the dirt off with his shovel, but had nothing with him to open the chest; that he went away to get help, and when they came to it, it moved away two or three rods into the earth, and they could not get it. There were a great many strange sights. One time the old log school-house south of Palmyra, was suddenly lighted up, and frightened them away. Samuel Lawrence told me that while they were digging, a large man who appeared to be eight or nine feet high, came and sat on the ridge of the barn, and motioned to them that they must leave. They motioned back that they would not; but that they afterwards became frightened and did leave. At another time while they were digging, a company of horsemen came and frightened them away. These things were real to them, I believe, because they were told to me in confidence, and told by different ones, and their stories agreed, and they seemed to be in earnest—I knew they were in earnest."

   It was early in the autumn of 1827 that Martin Harris called at my house in Palmyra, one morning about sunrise...<br>
   Before I proceed to Martin's narrative, however, I would remark in passing, that Jo Smith, who has since been the chief prophet for the Mormons, and was one of the most prominent ostensible actors in the first scenes of this drama, belonged to a very shiftless family near Palmyra.  They lived a sort of vagrant life, and were principally known as money-diggers.  Jo from a boy appeared dull and utterly destitute of genius; but his father claimed for him a sort of second sight, a power to look into the depths of the earth, and discover where its precious treasures were hid.  Consequently long before the idea of a golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place where they struck upon treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig.<br>
Full Source
External Link
Gleanings by the way, pgs 222 & 225
John Clark Account
John A. Clark
24 Aug, 1840
   It was early in the autumn of 1827 that Martin Harris called at my house in Palmyra, one morning about sunrise...
   Before I proceed to Martin's narrative, however, I would remark in passing, that Jo Smith, who has since been the chief prophet for the Mormons, and was one of the most prominent ostensible actors in the first scenes of this drama, belonged to a very shiftless family near Palmyra. They lived a sort of vagrant life, and were principally known as money-diggers. Jo from a boy appeared dull and utterly destitute of genius; but his father claimed for him a sort of second sight, a power to look into the depths of the earth, and discover where its precious treasures were hid. Consequently long before the idea of a golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place where they struck upon treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig.

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Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 1, pg 2, col 4
Sarah Anderick Statement
Sarah Fowler Anderick
24 Jun, 1887
   (Jo Smith) claimed, when a young man, he could tell where lost or hidden things and treasures were buried or located with a forked witch hazel. He deceived many farmers, and induced them to dig nights for chests of gold, when the pick struck the chest, someone usually spoke, and Jo would say the enchantment was broken, and the chest would leave.
   Williard Chase, a Methodist who lived about two miles from uncle's, while digging a well, found a gray smooth stone... I heard that Jo obtained it and called it a peep-stone, which he used in the place of the witch hazel. Uncle refused to let Jo dig on his farm. I have seen many holes where he dug on other farms.
(Note:  No images of this source are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

No Preview Available
External Link
Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 1, pg 3, col 2
Cornelius Stafford Statement
Cornelius R. Stafford
Mar, 1885
   I was born in Manchester, New York, Feb. 4, 1813. Our school district was called the Stafford District because of sixty scholars enrolled, forty were Staffords. The road on which they lived is now called Stafford Street. The Mormon Smith family lived near our house. I was well acquainted with them and attended school with the younger children. There was much digging for money on our farm and about the neighborhood. I saw Uncle John and Cousin Joshua Stafford dig a hole twenty feet long, eight broad and seven deep. They claimed that they were digging for money but were not successful in finding any. Jo Smith kept it up after our neighbors had abandoned it. A year or two after Jo claimed to find the plates of the "Book of Mormon." ...Jo Smith, the prophet, told my uncle, William Stafford, he wanted a fat, black sheep. He said he wanted to cut its throat and make it walk in a circle three times around and it would prevent a pot of money from leaving. Jo's family ate the sheep; he duped many people in similar ways. He claimed to receive revelations from the Lord. The Smiths stole six hogs-heads from us; everything missing was claimed by our neighbors to be in possession of the Smiths. I would make oaths to my statement were not the Justice sick.
(Note:  No images of this source are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

   Jo claimed he could tell where money was buried, with a witch hazel consisting of a forked stick of hazel. He held it one fork in each hand and claimed the upper end was attracted by the money. I heard my stepfather, Robert Orr, say he had been digging for money one night. Some of my neighbors also said they were digging for money nights. My mother-in-law, Mrs. Rockwell, said that Prophet Jo Smith told her there was money buried in the ground and she spent considerable time digging in various places for it. I never knew of her finding any. Jo Smith told me there was a peep-stone for me and many others if we could only find them. Jo claimed to have revelations and tell fortunes. He told mine by looking in the palm of my hand and said among other things that I would not live to be very old.
External Link
Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 2, pg 1, col 1
Christopher Stafford Statement
Christopher M. Stafford
23 Mar, 1885
   Jo claimed he could tell where money was buried, with a witch hazel consisting of a forked stick of hazel. He held it one fork in each hand and claimed the upper end was attracted by the money. I heard my stepfather, Robert Orr, say he had been digging for money one night. Some of my neighbors also said they were digging for money nights. My mother-in-law, Mrs. Rockwell, said that Prophet Jo Smith told her there was money buried in the ground and she spent considerable time digging in various places for it. I never knew of her finding any. Jo Smith told me there was a peep-stone for me and many others if we could only find them. Jo claimed to have revelations and tell fortunes. He told mine by looking in the palm of my hand and said among other things that I would not live to be very old.

   I was born in Wester, Oneida Co., N.Y., Feb. 10, 1805. Our family moved to Phelpstown a few miles south of Palmyra, N.Y., in 1815, where I resided until 1842. I was often in Palmyra, and was well acquainted with Jo Smith, who became the Mormon prophet. When a young man he claimed to receive revelations from the Lord where treasures were buried. He told Peter Rupert and Mr. Cunningham, a blacksmith (simple-minded old men), that there was a chest of gold buried on my brother-in-law, Henry Murphy's farm, under a beech tree. Henry's younger brother, Jack, said that must be stopped, and he obtained some filth in a sap bucket and got up in the beech tree before they arrived in the evening. They came and Mr. Rupert held the Bible open and a lighted candle as prophet Jo directed, while Peter dug for the chest of gold. Jack called Peter three times and he looked up and said, Here am I, Lord, and received the filth in his face. Peter told me and others that the Lord chastised him and he had to stop his digging. He said he paid Jo for the information. I told him he ought not to believe Jo, for he was liar and imposter. He said Jo would put a spell on him and that he would have to stand still two weeks. He said Jo had perfect command over men. He believed he was a prophet. Jack was called Lord Murphy afterwards. There were many others similarly duped by Jo. Many of Jo's victims were from New Jersey and believed in witches and ghosts. He could not fool the New England or York State Yankees.
External Link
Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 2, pg 1, col 2
Joseph Rogers Statement
Joseph Rogers
16 May, 1887
   I was born in Wester, Oneida Co., N.Y., Feb. 10, 1805. Our family moved to Phelpstown a few miles south of Palmyra, N.Y., in 1815, where I resided until 1842. I was often in Palmyra, and was well acquainted with Jo Smith, who became the Mormon prophet. When a young man he claimed to receive revelations from the Lord where treasures were buried. He told Peter Rupert and Mr. Cunningham, a blacksmith (simple-minded old men), that there was a chest of gold buried on my brother-in-law, Henry Murphy's farm, under a beech tree. Henry's younger brother, Jack, said that must be stopped, and he obtained some filth in a sap bucket and got up in the beech tree before they arrived in the evening. They came and Mr. Rupert held the Bible open and a lighted candle as prophet Jo directed, while Peter dug for the chest of gold. Jack called Peter three times and he looked up and said, "Here am I, Lord," and received the filth in his face. Peter told me and others that the Lord chastised him and he had to stop his digging. He said he paid Jo for the information. I told him he ought not to believe Jo, for he was liar and imposter. He said Jo would put a spell on him and that he would have to stand still two weeks. He said Jo had perfect command over men. He believed he was a prophet. Jack was called Lord Murphy afterwards. There were many others similarly duped by Jo. Many of Jo's victims were from New Jersey and believed in witches and ghosts. He could not fool the New England or York State Yankees.

   I was born in Belchertown, Mass., May 1, 1812. When I was five or six years old my parents moved to Manchester, N.Y., one mile from the Mormon Smith family, and I attended school with their children. There was considerable digging for money in our neighborhood by men, women and children. I never knew of their finding any. I saw a large hole dug on Nathaniel Smith's farm, which was sandy.
External Link
Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 2, pg 1, col 3
Caroline Smith Statement
M. C. R. Smith
25 Mar, 1885
   I was born in Belchertown, Mass., May 1, 1812. When I was five or six years old my parents moved to Manchester, N.Y., one mile from the Mormon Smith family, and I attended school with their children. There was considerable digging for money in our neighborhood by men, women and children. I never knew of their finding any. I saw a large hole dug on Nathaniel Smith's farm, which was sandy.
(Note:  Mrs. Caroline Smith was the sister of the infamous Mormon, Orrin Porter Rockwell.)

The following agreement, the original of which is in the possession of a citizen of Thompson township, was discovered by our correspondent, and forwarded to us as a matter of local interest...<br>
<br>
   ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT.<br>
<br>
   We, the undersigned, do firmly agree, & by these presents bind ourselves, to fulfill and abide by the hereafter specified articles:<br>
   First--That if anything of value should be obtained at a certain place in Pennsylvania near a Wm. Hale's supposed to be a valuable mine of either Gold or Silver and also to contain coined money and bars or ingots of Gold or Silver, and at which several hands have been at work during a considerable part of the past summer, we do agree to have it divided in the following manner, viz.: Josiah Stowell, Calvin Stowell and Wm. Hale to take two-thirds, and Charles Newton, Wm. I. Wiley, and the Widow Harper to take the other third. And we further agree that Joseph Smith, Sen. and Joseph Smith Jr. shall be considered as having two shares, two elevenths of all the property that may be obtained, the shares to be taken equally from each third.<br>
   Second--And we further agree, that in consideration of the expense and labor to which the following named persons have been at (John F. Shephard, Elihu Stowell and John Grant) to consider them as equal sharers in the mine after all the coined money and bars or ingots are obtained by the undersigned, their shares to be taken out from each share; and we further agree to remunerate all the three above named persons in a handsome manner for all their time, expense and labor which they have been or may be at, until the mine is opened, if anything should be obtained; otherwise they are to lose their time, expense and labor.<br>
   Third--And we further agree that all the expense which has or may accrue until the mine is opened, shall be equally borne by the proprietors or each third and that after the mine is opened the expense shall be equally borne by each of the sharers.<br>
Township of Harmony, Pa., Nov. 1, 1825. In presence of<br>
<table>
<tr><td>ISSAC HALE, </td><td>CHAS. A. NEWTON,</td></tr>
<tr><td>DAVID HALE, </td><td>JOS. SMITH, SEN.,</td></tr>
<tr><td>P. NEWTON. </td><td>ISAIAH STOWELL,</td></tr>
<tr><td></td><td>CALVIN STOWELL,</td></tr>
<tr><td></td><td>JOS. SMITH, JR.,</td></tr>
<tr><td></td><td>WM. I. WILEY.</td></tr>
</table>
External Link
Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 23, 1880, pg 4
Agreement Regarding Spanish Treasure
1 Nov, 1825
The following agreement, the original of which is in the possession of a citizen of Thompson township, was discovered by our correspondent, and forwarded to us as a matter of local interest...

   ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT.

   We, the undersigned, do firmly agree, & by these presents bind ourselves, to fulfill and abide by the hereafter specified articles:
   First--That if anything of value should be obtained at a certain place in Pennsylvania near a Wm. Hale's supposed to be a valuable mine of either Gold or Silver and also to contain coined money and bars or ingots of Gold or Silver, and at which several hands have been at work during a considerable part of the past summer, we do agree to have it divided in the following manner, viz.: Josiah Stowell, Calvin Stowell and Wm. Hale to take two-thirds, and Charles Newton, Wm. I. Wiley, and the Widow Harper to take the other third. And we further agree that Joseph Smith, Sen. and Joseph Smith Jr. shall be considered as having two shares, two elevenths of all the property that may be obtained, the shares to be taken equally from each third.
   Second--And we further agree, that in consideration of the expense and labor to which the following named persons have been at (John F. Shephard, Elihu Stowell and John Grant) to consider them as equal sharers in the mine after all the coined money and bars or ingots are obtained by the undersigned, their shares to be taken out from each share; and we further agree to remunerate all the three above named persons in a handsome manner for all their time, expense and labor which they have been or may be at, until the mine is opened, if anything should be obtained; otherwise they are to lose their time, expense and labor.
   Third--And we further agree that all the expense which has or may accrue until the mine is opened, shall be equally borne by the proprietors or each third and that after the mine is opened the expense shall be equally borne by each of the sharers.
Township of Harmony, Pa., Nov. 1, 1825. In presence of
ISSAC HALE, CHAS. A. NEWTON,
DAVID HALE, JOS. SMITH, SEN.,
P. NEWTON. ISAIAH STOWELL,
CALVIN STOWELL,
JOS. SMITH, JR.,
WM. I. WILEY.

   I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825.  He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called money diggers; and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face.  In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure.  His appearance at this time, was that of a careless young man - not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father.  Smith, and his father, with several other 'money-diggers' boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards, many years since.  Young Smith gave the 'money-diggers' great encouragement, at first, but when they had arrived in digging, to near the place where he had stated an immense treasure would be found - he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see.  They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed.  This took place about the 17th of November, 1825; and one of the company gave me his note for $12.68 for his board, which is still unpaid.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 262-263
Testimony of Joseph Smith's father-in-law
Isaac Hale, witnessed by Charles Dimon
20 Mar, 1834
   I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called "money diggers;" and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure. His appearance at this time, was that of a careless young man - not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father. Smith, and his father, with several other 'money-diggers' boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards, many years since. Young Smith gave the 'money-diggers' great encouragement, at first, but when they had arrived in digging, to near the place where he had stated an immense treasure would be found - he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed. This took place about the 17th of November, 1825; and one of the company gave me his note for $12.68 for his board, which is still unpaid.

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Amboy Journal, June 11, 1879, Vol. 24, No. 11.
Alva Hale Statement
A. G. SKINNER
24 May, 1879
   Mr. Alva Hale says: "Joe Smith never handled one shovel full of earth in those diggings. All that Smith did was to peep with stone and hat, and give directions where and how to dig, and when and where the enchantment removed the treasure. That Smith said if he should work with his hands at digging there, he would lose the power to see with the stone."
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   When peeking he kneeled and buried his face in his white stovepipe hat, within which was the peek-stone. He declared it to be so much like looking into the water that the deflection of flight sometimes took him out of his course. On a wilderness-hill -- now a part of Jacob J. Skinner's farm -- his peek-stone discovered a ton of silver bars which had been buried by weary Spaniards as they trudged up the Susquehanna. An expedition for their recovery was undertaken as soon as Smith could muster enough followers to do the work. Unlike St. Paul, Joe did not work with his own hands, and he did not hesitate to be chargeable to any one. Several round excavations were made on the crown of a hill, the largest of which was about thirty-five feet in diameter and of about the same depth. The water was drained toward the south, and a shanty covered the hole from the eyes of the scoffers and the profane. The diggers had proceeded with great labor, and were just ready to grasp the silver, when the charm moved it three hundred feet to the north-east. Joe tracked it with his peek-stone to its hiding-place. It was not so far under the surface this time -- only about twenty feet -- and the faithful again worked with a will. The dilatory movements of the silver caused anxiety to Mr. Isaac Hale, with whom the diggers had been boarding round. Hale was a stiff old Methodist whose business judgment told him that he was taking too much stock in this big bonanza. For all his anxiety, the silver again flitted away, and alighted fifty feet beyond the big hole. They determined to capture it if they ran the hill through a sieve. The third hole had been sunk fifteen out of the necessary twenty feet when the treasure once more jumped to the other side of the big hole. Then the prophet had a vision: the blood of a black sheep must be shed and sprinkled around the diggings. Black sheep were scarce, and while they waited for one the faithful obtained their needed rest. At length, no sheep appearing, Joe said that a black dog might answer. A dog, therefore, was killed, and the blood was sprinkled on the ground. After that the silver never went far away. Still, it waltzed about the big hole in such a lively manner that frequent tunnelling to effect its capture availed nothing. At last the prophet decided that it was of no use to dig unless one of their number was made a sacrifice. None of the faithful responded to his call, and thus the magnificent scheme was abandoned. Oliver Harper, one of the diggers who furnished the money, was soon afterward murdered. The prophet thought this might answer for a sacrifice: he again rallied the diggers, but the charm remained stubborn and would not reveal the silver.*<br>
<br>
   * On a scorching day in July I visited Susquehanna to obtain an authentic narrative from several parties who were eye-witnesses of the events which they related. At the residence of Mrs. Elizabeth Squires I found both herself and Mrs. Sally McKune, the widow of Joseph McKune. Mrs. Squires is considerably over seventy, and Mrs. McKune is about eighty, years of age. Both these ladies lived in the neighborhood at the time of the Smith manifestations. The statement given above with regard to the digging for treasure is that of Mrs. McKune, supplemented by Mrs. Squires. Jacob J. Skinner, the present owner of the farm, was about sixteen years old at the time of the search. For a number of years he has been engaged in filling the holes with stone to protect his cattle, but the boys still use the north-east hole as a swimming-pond in the summer.
Full Source
External Link
Lippincott's Magazine 26:152, pgs 199-200
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine
Frederic G. Mather
Aug, 1880
   When "peeking" he kneeled and buried his face in his white stovepipe hat, within which was the peek-stone. He declared it to be so much like looking into the water that the "deflection of flight" sometimes took him out of his course. On a wilderness-hill -- now a part of Jacob J. Skinner's farm -- his peek-stone discovered a ton of silver bars which had been buried by weary Spaniards as they trudged up the Susquehanna. An expedition for their recovery was undertaken as soon as Smith could muster enough followers to do the work. Unlike St. Paul, Joe did not work with his own hands, and he did not hesitate to be chargeable to any one. Several round excavations were made on the crown of a hill, the largest of which was about thirty-five feet in diameter and of about the same depth. The water was drained toward the south, and a shanty covered the hole from the eyes of the scoffers and the profane. The diggers had proceeded with great labor, and were just ready to grasp the silver, when the charm moved it three hundred feet to the north-east. Joe tracked it with his peek-stone to its hiding-place. It was not so far under the surface this time -- only about twenty feet -- and the faithful again worked with a will. The dilatory movements of the silver caused anxiety to Mr. Isaac Hale, with whom the diggers had been "boarding round." Hale was a stiff old Methodist whose business judgment told him that he was taking too much stock in this "big bonanza." For all his anxiety, the silver again flitted away, and alighted fifty feet beyond the big hole. They determined to capture it if they ran the hill through a sieve. The third hole had been sunk fifteen out of the necessary twenty feet when the treasure once more jumped to the other side of the big hole. Then the prophet had a vision: the blood of a black sheep must be shed and sprinkled around the diggings. Black sheep were scarce, and while they waited for one the faithful obtained their needed rest. At length, no sheep appearing, Joe said that a black dog might answer. A dog, therefore, was killed, and the blood was sprinkled on the ground. After that the silver never went far away. Still, it waltzed about the big hole in such a lively manner that frequent tunnelling to effect its capture availed nothing. At last the prophet decided that it was of no use to dig unless one of their number was made a sacrifice. None of the faithful responded to his call, and thus the magnificent scheme was abandoned. Oliver Harper, one of the diggers who furnished the money, was soon afterward murdered. The prophet thought this might answer for a sacrifice: he again rallied the diggers, but the charm remained stubborn and would not reveal the silver.*

   * On a scorching day in July I visited Susquehanna to obtain an authentic narrative from several parties who were eye-witnesses of the events which they related. At the residence of Mrs. Elizabeth Squires I found both herself and Mrs. Sally McKune, the widow of Joseph McKune. Mrs. Squires is considerably over seventy, and Mrs. McKune is about eighty, years of age. Both these ladies lived in the neighborhood at the time of the Smith manifestations. The statement given above with regard to the digging for treasure is that of Mrs. McKune, supplemented by Mrs. Squires. Jacob J. Skinner, the present owner of the farm, was about sixteen years old at the time of the search. For a number of years he has been engaged in filling the holes with stone to protect his cattle, but the boys still use the north-east hole as a swimming-pond in the summer.

   Some time previous to 1825, a man by the name of Wm. Hale, a distant relative of uncle Isaac Hale, came to Isaac Hale and said that he had been informed by a woman by the name of Odle, who claimed to possess the power of seeing under ground (such persons were then commonly called peepers), that there were great treasures concealed in the hill northeast from Isaac Hale's house, and by her directions Wm. Hale commenced digging. But, being too lazy to work and too poor to hire, he obtained a partner by the name of Oliver Harper, of York State, who had the means to hire help. But after a short time operations were suspended, for a time, during which Wm. Hale heard of Peeper Joseph Smith, jr., and wrote to him and soon visited him, and found Smith's representations were so flattering that Smith was either hired or became a partner with Wm. Hale, Oliver Harper and a man by the name of Stowell, who had some property. They hired men and dug in several places. The account given in the history of Susquehanna County, p, 580, of a pure white dog to be used as a sacrifice to restrain the enchantment, and of the anger of the Almighty at the attempt to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog, is a fair sample of Smith's revelations, and of the God that inspired him. Their digging in several places was in compliance with 'Peeper' Smith's revelations, who would attend with his peep-stone in his hat, and his hat drawn over his face, and tell them how deep they would have to go; and when they found no trace of the chest of money, he would peep again and weep like a child, and tell them that the enchantment had removed it on account of some sin, or thoughtless word, and finally the enchantment became so strong that he could not see, and the business was finally abandoned. Smith could weep and shed tears at any time if he chose to.
Full Source
External Link
Joseph Smith the Prophet His Family and His Friends, pgs 78-79
Hiel and Joseph Lewis account
Hiel and Joseph Lewis
23 Apr, 1879
   Some time previous to 1825, a man by the name of Wm. Hale, a distant relative of uncle Isaac Hale, came to Isaac Hale and said that he had been informed by a woman by the name of Odle, who claimed to possess the power of seeing under ground (such persons were then commonly called peepers), that there were great treasures concealed in the hill northeast from Isaac Hale's house, and by her directions Wm. Hale commenced digging. But, being too lazy to work and too poor to hire, he obtained a partner by the name of Oliver Harper, of York State, who had the means to hire help. But after a short time operations were suspended, for a time, during which Wm. Hale heard of Peeper Joseph Smith, jr., and wrote to him and soon visited him, and found Smith's representations were so flattering that Smith was either hired or became a partner with Wm. Hale, Oliver Harper and a man by the name of Stowell, who had some property. They hired men and dug in several places. The account given in the history of Susquehanna County, p, 580, of a pure white dog to be used as a sacrifice to restrain the enchantment, and of the anger of the Almighty at the attempt to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog, is a fair sample of Smith's revelations, and of the God that inspired him. Their digging in several places was in compliance with 'Peeper' Smith's revelations, who would attend with his peep-stone in his hat, and his hat drawn over his face, and tell them how deep they would have to go; and when they found no trace of the chest of money, he would peep again and weep like a child, and tell them that the enchantment had removed it on account of some sin, or thoughtless word, and finally the enchantment became so strong that he could not see, and the business was finally abandoned. Smith could weep and shed tears at any time if he chose to.

   Many stories respecting Joe Smith are still current in the localities frequented here:--<br>
   A straggling Indian, who was passing up the Susquehanna, had told of buried treasure. Joseph, hearing of this, hunted up the Indian, and induced him to reveal the place where it was buried. The Indian told him that a point, a certain number of paces due north from the highest point of Turkey Hill, on the opposite side of the Susquehanna River, was the place. Joseph now looked about for some man of means to engage in the enterprise. He induced a well-to-do farmer by the name of Harper, of Harpersville, N. Y., to go in with him. They commenced digging on what is now the farm of Jacob I. Skinner, in Oakland township. After digging a great hole, that is still to be seen, Harper got discouraged, and was about abandoning the enterprise. Joe now declared to Harper that there was an enchantment about the place that was removing the treasure farther off; that Harper must get a perfectly white dog, 1 and sprinkle his blood over the ground, and that would prevent the enchantment from removing the treasure. Search was made all over the country, but no perfectly white dog could be found. Joseph said he thought a white sheep would do as well. A sheep was killed and his blood sprinkled as directed. The digging was then resumed by Harper. After spending $2000 he utterly refused to go any further. Joseph now said that the enchantment had removed all the treasure; that the Almighty was displeased with them for attempting to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog, and had allowed the enchantment to remove the treasure. He would sit for hours looking into his hat at the round colored stone, and tell of seeing things far away and supernatural. At times he was melancholy and sedate, as often hilarious and mirthful; an imaginative enthusiast, consititutionally opposed to work, and a general favorite with the ladies<br>
   Smith early put on the airs of a prophet, and was in the habit of 'blessing' his neighbors' crops for a small consideration. On one occasion a neighbor had a piece of corn planted rather late, and on a moist piece of ground, and, feeling a little doubtful about its ripening, got Smith to bless it. It happened that that was the only piece of corn killed by the frost in the neighborhood. When the prophet's attention was called to the matter, he got out of the difficulty by saying that he made a mistake, and had put a curse on the corn instead of a blessing. Rather an unneighborly act, and paid for too!<br>
   Harris came from Coventry, Chenango County, N. Y. (Query. Was he not the same Martin Harris who, in 1799, was imprisoned and broke jail at Wilkes-Barre?).<br>
   Joe often told Mrs. D. Lyons of the hidden treasure, and of the enchantment about it, and that it was necessary that one of the company should die before the enchantment could be broken. <br>
   After Oliver Harper's death the digging was prosecuted with renewed energy. Harper had been efficient in procuring men and means to carry on the enterprise, which was not to search for the plates from which Joe pretended to receive revelations, but for reported hidden treasure.<br>
   A belief that money will yet be found as predicted still affects some weak characters, and even within the last five years digging has been carried on slyly at night on or towards Locust Hill, but not in the same place where Joe's believer's worked....<br>
   Reference has been made to the difference of opinion in regard to Joe's first operations in Susquehanna County. R. C. Doud asserts that in 1822 he was employed, with thirteen others, by Oliver Harper, to dig for gold under Joe's directions (though the latter was not present at the time), on Joseph McKune's land; and that Joe had begun operations the year previous. He states that George Harper, a brother of Oliver, had no faith in the enterprise, but tracked the party to Hale's farm. The digging was kept up constantly; seven resting and seven at work.<br>
   On the old Indian road from Windsor to Chenango Point, about four miles west of Windsor, men were digging, at the same time, for silver, upon Joe's telling them where it could be found. Mr. D. further states that he himself had no faith at all, but hired at so much per day, and it was of no consequence to him whether his employer gained his point or not.<br>
   It is said that even Mr. Isaac Hale was at first a little deluded about the digging, while he boarded the party. This probably was some time before he had met Joe Smith; as it would appear, that the time referred to by Mrs. D. Lyons, was in 1825, when the digging was renewed after Harper's death, and Joe himself was present.<br>
   Jacob I. Skinner. son of Jacob (who was twin-brother of Israel Skinner), has the deed of the land on which Joe's followers experimented. It is something over a quarter of a mile north of the river to the diggings, up Flat Brook. The accompanying diagram will illustrate the relative positions of the pits.<br>
   Starting from Susquehanna Depot to reach his place, one crosses the bridge and turns to the left following the road nearest the river, which strikes the old river at Shutt's house; then continuing on down until he crosses a creek and comes in sight of a school-house, with a grove beyond it, in front of which, on the opposite side of the road, is a graveyard. Just above the school-house he turns into a road on the right, and follows up Flat Brook to the farm now owned by J. I. Skinner. From his house a path leads about 120 yards southeast to the largest excavation, which was also the last one, from which proceeds a drain about twelve rods long.<br>
   The sides of the pits were once perpendicular, but one has been wholly filled up, and corn is growing over it; another, in addition to the large one mentioned, is now partially filled, and the sides in consequence are sloping. In the fourth (the one just over the fence), no alteration has been made, except as cattle have pushed in the surface around it to reach the water which gathers there. It is under the trees, the land not having yet been cleared.
External Link
History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, Emily C. Blackman, pgs 579-82
History of Susquehanna County
Emily C. Blackman
1873
   Many stories respecting Joe Smith are still current in the localities frequented here:--
   "A straggling Indian, who was passing up the Susquehanna, had told of buried treasure. Joseph, hearing of this, hunted up the Indian, and induced him to reveal the place where it was buried. The Indian told him that a point, a certain number of paces due north from the highest point of Turkey Hill, on the opposite side of the Susquehanna River, was the place. Joseph now looked about for some man of means to engage in the enterprise. He induced a well-to-do farmer by the name of Harper, of Harpersville, N. Y., to go in with him. They commenced digging on what is now the farm of Jacob I. Skinner, in Oakland township. After digging a great hole, that is still to be seen, Harper got discouraged, and was about abandoning the enterprise. Joe now declared to Harper that there was an enchantment about the place that was removing the treasure farther off; that Harper must get a perfectly white dog, 1 and sprinkle his blood over the ground, and that would prevent the enchantment from removing the treasure. Search was made all over the country, but no perfectly white dog could be found. Joseph said he thought a white sheep would do as well. A sheep was killed and his blood sprinkled as directed. The digging was then resumed by Harper. After spending $2000 he utterly refused to go any further. Joseph now said that the enchantment had removed all the treasure; that the Almighty was displeased with them for attempting to palm off on Him a white sheep for a white dog, and had allowed the enchantment to remove the treasure. He would sit for hours looking into his hat at the round colored stone, and tell of seeing things far away and supernatural. At times he was melancholy and sedate, as often hilarious and mirthful; an imaginative enthusiast, consititutionally opposed to work, and a general favorite with the ladies
   "Smith early put on the airs of a prophet, and was in the habit of 'blessing' his neighbors' crops for a small consideration. On one occasion a neighbor had a piece of corn planted rather late, and on a moist piece of ground, and, feeling a little doubtful about its ripening, got Smith to bless it. It happened that that was the only piece of corn killed by the frost in the neighborhood. When the prophet's attention was called to the matter, he got out of the difficulty by saying that he made a mistake, and had put a curse on the corn instead of a blessing. Rather an unneighborly act, and paid for too!"
   Harris came from Coventry, Chenango County, N. Y. (Query. Was he not the same Martin Harris who, in 1799, was imprisoned and broke jail at Wilkes-Barre?).
   Joe often told Mrs. D. Lyons of the hidden treasure, and of the "enchantment" about it, and that it was necessary that one of the company should die before the enchantment could be broken.
   After Oliver Harper's death the digging was prosecuted with renewed energy. Harper had been efficient in procuring men and means to carry on the enterprise, which was not to search for the "plates" from which Joe pretended to receive revelations, but for reported hidden treasure.
   A belief that money will yet be found as predicted still affects some weak characters, and even within the last five years digging has been carried on slyly at night on or towards Locust Hill, but not in the same place where Joe's believer's worked....
   Reference has been made to the difference of opinion in regard to Joe's first operations in Susquehanna County. R. C. Doud asserts that in 1822 he was employed, with thirteen others, by Oliver Harper, to dig for gold under Joe's directions (though the latter was not present at the time), on Joseph McKune's land; and that Joe had begun operations the year previous. He states that George Harper, a brother of Oliver, had no faith in the enterprise, but tracked the party to Hale's farm. The digging was kept up constantly; seven resting and seven at work.
   On the old Indian road from Windsor to Chenango Point, about four miles west of Windsor, men were digging, at the same time, for silver, upon Joe's telling them where it could be found. Mr. D. further states that he himself had no faith at all, but hired at so much per day, and it was of no consequence to him whether his employer gained his point or not.
   It is said that even Mr. Isaac Hale was at first a little deluded about the digging, while he boarded the party. This probably was some time before he had met Joe Smith; as it would appear, that the time referred to by Mrs. D. Lyons, was in 1825, when the digging was renewed after Harper's death, and Joe himself was present.
   Jacob I. Skinner. son of Jacob (who was twin-brother of Israel Skinner), has the deed of the land on which Joe's followers experimented. It is something over a quarter of a mile north of the river to "the diggings," up Flat Brook. The accompanying diagram will illustrate the relative positions of the pits.
   Starting from Susquehanna Depot to reach his place, one crosses the bridge and turns to the left following the road nearest the river, which strikes the old river at Shutt's house; then continuing on down until he crosses a creek and comes in sight of a school-house, with a grove beyond it, in front of which, on the opposite side of the road, is a graveyard. Just above the school-house he turns into a road on the right, and follows up "Flat Brook" to the farm now owned by J. I. Skinner. From his house a path leads about 120 yards southeast to the largest excavation, which was also the last one, from which proceeds a drain about twelve rods long.
   The sides of the pits were once perpendicular, but one has been wholly filled up, and corn is growing over it; another, in addition to the large one mentioned, is now partially filled, and the sides in consequence are sloping. In the fourth (the one just over the fence), no alteration has been made, except as cattle have pushed in the surface around it to reach the water which gathers there. It is under the trees, the land not having yet been cleared.

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Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 1, pg 3, col 1
Henry Sayer Account
Henry A. Sayer
24 Feb, 1885
   I was the nineteenth, born May 4, 1810. My parents desired their children to be American citizens, and emigrated in 1816 to Luzurne County, Pa., seven miles from Wilkesbarre. When a young man I spent much of the summers along the Susqurhanna River. I became acquainted with Jo, Hyrum, and Bill Smith, whom I often saw hunting and digging for buried money, treasure, or lost and hidden things. Jo claimed to receive revelations from the Lord where to dig. People would say, "Jo, what did the Lord tell you last night, or what did you dream?" "Jo, what are you going to dig for next?" "Jo, I found a hollow tree or stump; go and see what you can find there." He had a peep-stone which he claimed had an attraction, and he could see hidden things through it. He was generally called the Peeker. He was said to be the laziest whelp about the country. He had men to do the digging.
(Note:  No images of this source are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

   In the year Eighteen hundred and twenty four my fathers family met with a great affliction by the death of my eldest brother Alvin. In the month of October Eighteen hundred and twenty five I hired with an old Gentleman, by name of Josiah Stoal who lived in Chenango County, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquahanah County, State of Pensylvania, and had previous to my hiring with him been digging in order if possible to discover the mine. After I went to live with him he took me among the rest of his hands to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after  it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], pgs 7 & 8
Joseph Smith's canonized account
Joseph Smith Jr.
1838
   In the year Eighteen hundred and twenty four my fathers family met with a great affliction by the death of my eldest brother Alvin. In the month of October Eighteen hundred and twenty five I hired with an old Gentleman, by name of Josiah Stoal who lived in Chenango County, State of New York. He had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquahanah County, State of Pensylvania, and had previous to my hiring with him been digging in order if possible to discover the mine. After I went to live with him he took me among the rest of his hands to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my having been a money digger.

   Soon after this visit to Cumorah, a gentleman from the south part of the State, (Chenango County,) employed our brother as a common laborer, and accordingly he visited that section of the country; and had he not been accused of digging down all, or nearly so, the mountains of Susquehannah, or causing others to do it by some art of nicromancy, I should leave this, for the present, unnoticed. You will remember, in the mean time, that those who seek to vilify his character, say that he has always been notorious for his idleness. This gentleman, whose name is Stowel, resided in the town of Bainbridge, on or near the head waters of the Susquehannah river. Some forty miles south, or down the river, in the town of Harmony, Susquehannah county, Pa. is said to be a cave or subterraneous recess, whether entirely formed by art or not I am uninformed, neither does this matter; but such is said to be the case,-when a company of Spaniards, a long time since, when the country was uninhabited by white settlers, excavated from the bowels of the earth ore, and coined a large quantity of money; after which they secured the cavity and evacuated, leaving a part still in the cave, purposing to re-turn at some distant period. A long time elapsed and this account came from one of the individuals who was first engaged in this mining business. The country was pointed out and the spot minutely described. This, I believe, is the substance, so far as my memory serves, though I shall not pledge my veracity for the correctness of the account as I have given.-Enough however, was credited of the Spaniard's story, to excite the belief of many that there was a fine sum of the precious metal being coined in this subterraneous vault, among whom was our employer; and accordingly our brother was required to spend a few months with some others in excavating the earth, in pursuit of this treasure.
Full Source
External Link
Latter Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate Volume 2, No. 1, October 1835, pgs 200-201
Olivery Cowdery's account
Oliver Cowdery
Oct, 1835
   Soon after this visit to Cumorah, a gentleman from the south part of the State, (Chenango County,) employed our brother as a common laborer, and accordingly he visited that section of the country; and had he not been accused of digging down all, or nearly so, the mountains of Susquehannah, or causing others to do it by some art of nicromancy, I should leave this, for the present, unnoticed. You will remember, in the mean time, that those who seek to vilify his character, say that he has always been notorious for his idleness. This gentleman, whose name is Stowel, resided in the town of Bainbridge, on or near the head waters of the Susquehannah river. Some forty miles south, or down the river, in the town of Harmony, Susquehannah county, Pa. is said to be a cave or subterraneous recess, whether entirely formed by art or not I am uninformed, neither does this matter; but such is said to be the case,-when a company of Spaniards, a long time since, when the country was uninhabited by white settlers, excavated from the bowels of the earth ore, and coined a large quantity of money; after which they secured the cavity and evacuated, leaving a part still in the cave, purposing to re-turn at some distant period. A long time elapsed and this account came from one of the individuals who was first engaged in this mining business. The country was pointed out and the spot minutely described. This, I believe, is the substance, so far as my memory serves, though I shall not pledge my veracity for the correctness of the account as I have given.-Enough however, was credited of the Spaniard's story, to excite the belief of many that there was a fine sum of the precious metal being coined in this subterraneous vault, among whom was our employer; and accordingly our brother was required to spend a few months with some others in excavating the earth, in pursuit of this treasure.

   There had lived a few years previous to this date, in the vicinity of Great Bend, a poor man named Joseph Smith, who, with his family, had removed to the western part of the State, and lived in squalid poverty near Palmyra, in Ontario County. Mr. Stowell, while at Lanesboro, heard of the fame of one of his sons, named Joseph, who, by the aid of a magic stone had become a famous seer of lost or hidden treasures. These stories were fully received into his credulous mind, and kindled into a blaze his cherished hallucination. Visions of untold wealth appeared through this instrumentality, to his longing eyes. He harnessed his team, and filled his wagon with provisions for man and beast, and started for the residence of the Smith family. In due time he arrived at the humble log-cabin, midway between Canandaigua and Palmyra, and found the sought for treasure in the person of Joseph Smith, Jr., a lad of some eighteen years of age. He, with the magic stone, was at once transferred from his humble abode to the more pretentious mansion of Deacon Stowell. Here, in the estimation of the Deacon, he confirmed his conceded powers as a seer, by means of the stone which he placed in his hat, and by excluding the light from all other terrestrial things, could see whatever he wished, even in the depths of the earth. This omniscient attribute he firmly claimed. Deacon Stowell and others, as firmly believed it. Mr., Stowell, with his ward and two hired men, who were, or professed to be, believers, spent much time in mining near the State line on the Susquehanna and many other places, I myself have seen the evidences of their nocturnal depredations on the face of Mother Earth, on the Deacon's farm, with what success this deponent saith not.
External Link
Chenango Union, Norwich, NY, May 2, 1877, Vol 30, No. 33
W. D. Purple Account
W. D. Purple
28 Apr, 1877
   There had lived a few years previous to this date, in the vicinity of Great Bend, a poor man named Joseph Smith, who, with his family, had removed to the western part of the State, and lived in squalid poverty near Palmyra, in Ontario County. Mr. Stowell, while at Lanesboro, heard of the fame of one of his sons, named Joseph, who, by the aid of a magic stone had become a famous seer of lost or hidden treasures. These stories were fully received into his credulous mind, and kindled into a blaze his cherished hallucination. Visions of untold wealth appeared through this instrumentality, to his longing eyes. He harnessed his team, and filled his wagon with provisions for "man and beast," and started for the residence of the Smith family. In due time he arrived at the humble log-cabin, midway between Canandaigua and Palmyra, and found the sought for treasure in the person of Joseph Smith, Jr., a lad of some eighteen years of age. He, with the magic stone, was at once transferred from his humble abode to the more pretentious mansion of Deacon Stowell. Here, in the estimation of the Deacon, he confirmed his conceded powers as a seer, by means of the stone which he placed in his hat, and by excluding the light from all other terrestrial things, could see whatever he wished, even in the depths of the earth. This omniscient attribute he firmly claimed. Deacon Stowell and others, as firmly believed it. Mr., Stowell, with his ward and two hired men, who were, or professed to be, believers, spent much time in mining near the State line on the Susquehanna and many other places, I myself have seen the evidences of their nocturnal depredations on the face of Mother Earth, on the Deacon's farm, with what success "this deponent saith not."
(Note:  No images of this edition of the Chenango Union are available online. On July 26, 1877, this article was reprinted in the Watkins Express and can be read in its original format here.)

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External Link
Naked Truths About Mormonism, Vol 1, No 1, pg 2, col 6
William Hine statement
William Riley Hine
Jan, 1888
   I was born February 11, 1803, at Colesville, Windsor Township, Broome County, N.Y. Jo Smith, who became the Mormon prophet, and his father came from Palmyra, or Manchester, N.Y., and dug for salt two summers, near and in sight of my house. The old settlers used to buy salt from an Indian squaw, who often promised to tell the whites where the salt spring was, but she never did. Jo Smith claimed to be a seer. He had a very clear stone about the size and shape of a duck's egg, and claimed that he could see lost or hidden things through it. He said he saw Captain Kidd sailing on the Susquehanna River during a freshet, and that he buried two pots of gold and silver. He claimed he saw writing cut on the rocks in an unknown language telling where Kidd buried it, and he translated it through his peep-stone. I have had it many times and could see in it whatever I imagined. Jo claimed it was found in digging a well in Palmyra, N.Y. He said he borrowed it. He claimed to receive revelations from the Lord through prayer, and would pray with his men, mornings and at other times. His father told me he was fifteen years old. I called him half-witted. He was miserably clad, coarse and awkward. He had men who did the digging and they and others would take interests. Some would lose faith and others would take their places. They dug one well thirty feet deep and another seventy-five at the foot and south side of the Aquaga Mountain, but found no salt.
   My nephew now owns the land he dug on. Asa Stowel furnished the means for Jo to dig for silver ore, on Monument Hill. He dug over one year without success. Jo dug next for Kidd's money, on the west bank of the Susquehanna, half a mile from the river, and three miles from his salt wells. He dug for a cannon the Indians had buried, until driven away by the owner of the land. He dug for many things and many parties, I never knew him to find anything of value. He and his workmen lived in a shanty while digging for salt. When it rained hard, my wife has often made beds for them on the floor in our house. Jo became known all over New York and Pennsylvania. Sometimes his brothers were with him...
   ...Jo and his father were all the time telling of hidden things, lead, silver and gold mines which he could see. I called him Peeker...
   ...Calvin Smith and I, while burning brush, found a hole which, when cleaned out, was fifteen feet deep; it was covered with poles which had been split with tomahawks; a tree near by was marked each side for seventy feet. Gun barrels and various Indian implements were found later near by. The hole was within twenty rods of Jo's salt digging.
(Note:  No images of this source are available online. Please contact me if you have any information.)

   I shall change my theme for the present but let not my reader suppose that because I shall pursue another topic for a season that we stopt our labor and went at trying to win the faculty of Abrac drawing Magic circles or sooth saying to the neglect of all kinds of buisness we never during our lives suffered one important interest to swallow up every other obligation but whilst we worked  with our hands we endeavored to remmember the service of & the welfare of our souls.
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, pg 40
Lucy's mention of Magic Circles
Lucy Mack Smith
1844-45
   I shall change my theme for the present but let not my reader suppose that because I shall pursue another topic for a season that we stopt our labor and went at trying to win the faculty of Abrac drawing Magic circles or sooth saying to the neglect of all kinds of buisness we never during our lives suffered one important interest to swallow up every other obligation but whilst we worked with our hands we endeavored to remmember the service of & the welfare of our souls.
(Note:  This quote comes from Lucy's original manuscript transcribed in 1844-1845 by Martha Jane and Howard Coray. In 1845 the Corays produced an altered copy which can be read in full here. This altered manuscript was used in the 1853 publication by Orson Pratt in England under the title "Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his Progenitors for many Generations" which can be read in full here.)

   I think it was in the year 1830, I heard that some ancient records had been discovered that would throw some new light upon the subject of religion; being deeply interested in the matter, I concluded to go to the place and learn for myself the truth of the matter. Accompanied by a friend, Jacob Ramsdell, I set out to find the Smith family, then residing some three or four miles South of the village of Palmyra, Waynecounty, New York, and near the line of the town of Manchester. Joseph, Junior, afterwards so well known, not being at home, we applied to his father for the information we wanted. This Joseph Smith, Senior, we soon learned, from his own lips, was a firm believer in witchcraft and other supernatural things; and had brought up his family in the same belief. He also believed that there was a vast amount of money buried somewhere in the country; that it would some day be found; that he himself had spent both time and money searching for it, with divining rods, but had not succeeded in finding any, though sure that he eventually would.
Full Source
External Link
Historical Magazine (second series),Vol 7, Interview with the Father of Joseph Smith, pgs 305-6
Interview with Joseph Smith Sr.
Fayette Lapham
May, 1870
   I think it was in the year 1830, I heard that some ancient records had been discovered that would throw some new light upon the subject of religion; being deeply interested in the matter, I concluded to go to the place and learn for myself the truth of the matter. Accompanied by a friend, Jacob Ramsdell, I set out to find the Smith family, then residing some three or four miles South of the village of Palmyra, Waynecounty, New York, and near the line of the town of Manchester. Joseph, Junior, afterwards so well known, not being at home, we applied to his father for the information we wanted. This Joseph Smith, Senior, we soon learned, from his own lips, was a firm believer in witchcraft and other supernatural things; and had brought up his family in the same belief. He also believed that there was a vast amount of money buried somewhere in the country; that it would some day be found; that he himself had spent both time and money searching for it, with divining rods, but had not succeeded in finding any, though sure that he eventually would.

   Question 10.  Was not Jo Smith a money digger.<br>
   Answer.  Yes, but it was never a very profitable job to him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.
External Link
Elders' Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, pg 43
Official admission of Joseph's money-digging
Joseph Smith Jr.
Jul, 1838
   Question 10. Was not Jo Smith a money digger.
   Answer. Yes, but it was never a very profitable job to him, as he only got fourteen dollars a month for it.
(Note:  This piece is attributed to Joseph Smith.)

External Link
Image of "Holiness to the Lord" Parchment
(Note:  This page was found among Hyrum Smith's belongings after his death.)

External Link
Image of "Saint Peter Bind Them" Parchment
(Note:  This page was found among Hyrum Smith's belongings after his death.)

External Link
Graphic Reproduction of "Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah" Parchment
(Note:  This page was found among Hyrum Smith's belongings after his death.)

External Link
Joseph Smith's Jupiter Talisman
27 Jun, 1844
(Note:  This talisman was found on Joseph Smith's body after his death.)

External Link
Inscribed Smith Family Dagger
27 Jun, 1844
(Note:  This dagger was found among Hyrum Smith's belongings after his death.)

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