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Martin Harris


   Being called upon to give a statement to the world of what I know respecting the Gold Bible speculation, and also of the conduct of Martin Harris, my husband, who is a leading character among the Mormons, I do it free from prejudice, realizing that I must give an account at the bar of God for what I say.  Martin Harris was once industrious attentive to his domestic concerns, and thought to be worth about ten thousand dollars.  He is naturally quick in his temper and in his mad-fits frequently abuses all who may dare to oppose him in his wishes.  However strange it may seem, I have been a great sufferer by his unreasonable conduct.  At different times while I lived with him, he has whipped, kicked, and turned me out of the house.  About a year previous to the report being raised that Smith had found gold plates, he became very intimate with the Smith family, and said he believed Joseph could see in his stone any thing he wished.  After this he apparently became very sanguine in his belief, and frequently said he would have no one in his house that did not believe in Mormonism; and because I would not give credit to the report he made about the gold plates, he became more austere towards me.  In one of his fits of rage he struck me with the but end of a whip, which I think had been used for driving oxen, and was about the size of my thumb, and three or four feet long.  He beat me on the head four or five times, and the next day turned me out of doors twice, and beat me in a shameful manner.  The next day I went to the town of Marion, and while there my flesh was black and blue in many places.  His main complaint against me was, that I was always trying to hinder his making money.<br>
   When he found out that I was going to Mr. Putnam's, in Marion, he said he was going too, that they had sent for him to pay them a visit.  On arriving at Mr. Putnam's, I asked them if they had sent for Mr. Harris; they replied, they knew nothing about it; he, however, came in the evening.  Mrs. Putnam told him never to strike or abuse me any more; he then denied ever striking me; she was however convinced that he lied, as the marks of his beating me were plain to be seen, and remained more than two weeks.  Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to judge, for its effects upon Martin Harris have been to make him more cross, turbulent and abusive to me.  His whole object was to make money by it.  I will give one circumstance in proof of it.  One day, while at Peter Harris' house, I told him he had better leave the company of the Smiths, as their religion was false; to which he replied, if you would let me alone, I could make money by it...<br>
   With regard to Mr. Harris' being intimate with Mrs. Haggard, as has been reported, it is but justice to myself to state what facts have come within my own observation, to show whether I had any grounds for jealousy or not.  Mr. Harris was very intimate with this family, for some time previous to their going to Ohio.  They lived a while in a house which he had built for their accommodation, and here he spent the most of his leisure hours; and made her presents of articles from the store and house.  He carried these presents in a private manner, and frequently when he went there, he would pretend to be going to some of the neighbors, on an errand, or to be going into the fields.  After getting out of sight of the house, he would steer a straight course for Haggard's house, especially if Haggard was from home.  At times when Haggard was from home, he would go there in the manner above described, and stay till twelve or one o'clok at night, and sometimes until day light.<br>
   If his intentions were evil, the Lord will judge him accordingly, but if good, he did not mean to let his left hand know what his right hand did.  The above statement of facts, I affirm to be true.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 254-57
Lucy Harris' Take on her Husband
Lucy Harris
29 Nov, 1833
   Being called upon to give a statement to the world of what I know respecting the Gold Bible speculation, and also of the conduct of Martin Harris, my husband, who is a leading character among the Mormons, I do it free from prejudice, realizing that I must give an account at the bar of God for what I say. Martin Harris was once industrious attentive to his domestic concerns, and thought to be worth about ten thousand dollars. He is naturally quick in his temper and in his mad-fits frequently abuses all who may dare to oppose him in his wishes. However strange it may seem, I have been a great sufferer by his unreasonable conduct. At different times while I lived with him, he has whipped, kicked, and turned me out of the house. About a year previous to the report being raised that Smith had found gold plates, he became very intimate with the Smith family, and said he believed Joseph could see in his stone any thing he wished. After this he apparently became very sanguine in his belief, and frequently said he would have no one in his house that did not believe in Mormonism; and because I would not give credit to the report he made about the gold plates, he became more austere towards me. In one of his fits of rage he struck me with the but end of a whip, which I think had been used for driving oxen, and was about the size of my thumb, and three or four feet long. He beat me on the head four or five times, and the next day turned me out of doors twice, and beat me in a shameful manner. The next day I went to the town of Marion, and while there my flesh was black and blue in many places. His main complaint against me was, that I was always trying to hinder his making money.
   When he found out that I was going to Mr. Putnam's, in Marion, he said he was going too, that they had sent for him to pay them a visit. On arriving at Mr. Putnam's, I asked them if they had sent for Mr. Harris; they replied, they knew nothing about it; he, however, came in the evening. Mrs. Putnam told him never to strike or abuse me any more; he then denied ever striking me; she was however convinced that he lied, as the marks of his beating me were plain to be seen, and remained more than two weeks. Whether the Mormon religion be true or false, I leave the world to judge, for its effects upon Martin Harris have been to make him more cross, turbulent and abusive to me. His whole object was to make money by it. I will give one circumstance in proof of it. One day, while at Peter Harris' house, I told him he had better leave the company of the Smiths, as their religion was false; to which he replied, if you would let me alone, I could make money by it...
   With regard to Mr. Harris' being intimate with Mrs. Haggard, as has been reported, it is but justice to myself to state what facts have come within my own observation, to show whether I had any grounds for jealousy or not. Mr. Harris was very intimate with this family, for some time previous to their going to Ohio. They lived a while in a house which he had built for their accommodation, and here he spent the most of his leisure hours; and made her presents of articles from the store and house. He carried these presents in a private manner, and frequently when he went there, he would pretend to be going to some of the neighbors, on an errand, or to be going into the fields. After getting out of sight of the house, he would steer a straight course for Haggard's house, especially if Haggard was from home. At times when Haggard was from home, he would go there in the manner above described, and stay till twelve or one o'clok at night, and sometimes until day light.
   If his intentions were evil, the Lord will judge him accordingly, but if good, he did not mean to let his left hand know what his right hand did. The above statement of facts, I affirm to be true.

Daniel J. Haggart...<br>
Preserved Harris...<br>
Martin Harris...
External Link
Population schedules of the fifth census of the United States, 1830, New York, pg 106
1830 Census
1830 Census
1830
Daniel J. Haggart...
Preserved Harris...
Martin Harris...
(Note:  Daniel J. Haggart's proximity to Martin's Harris' name in this 1830 census records indicates they were neighbors, perhaps with the Haggarts living on the Harris property. His wife's name was Magdaline Service, born in Dundas, Canada, as shown by the death certificate of her son. The birth locations of their children in the 1850 census record indicate that they moved to Ohio sometime between 1829 and 1832. According to the Wayne Sentinel, in May of 1831 Martin Harris left Palmyra with "Several families, numbering about fifty souls." In 1835 the son Alexander Haggart was born in Willoughby, 3 miles away from Kirtland, where all subsequent children were also born. The 1840 Census and 1850 Census both place the Haggart family in Willoughby.)

   I have been acquainted with Martin Harris, about thirty years.  As a farmer, he was industrious and enterprising, so much so, that he had, (previous to his going into the Gold Bible speculation) accumulated, in real estate, some eight or ten thousand dollars.  Although he possessed wealth, his moral and religious character was such, as not to entitle him to respect among his neighbors.  He was fretful, peevish and quarrelsome, not only in the neighborhood, but in his family.  He was known to frequently abuse his wife, by whipping her, kicking her out of bed and turning her out of doors &c.  Yet he was a public professor of some religion.  He was first an orthadox Quaker, then a Universalist, next a Restorationer, then a Baptist, next a Presbyterian, and then a Mormon.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 260-61
Statement of G. W. Stodard
G. W. Stodard, concurred by Richard H. Ford
28 Nov, 1833
   I have been acquainted with Martin Harris, about thirty years. As a farmer, he was industrious and enterprising, so much so, that he had, (previous to his going into the Gold Bible speculation) accumulated, in real estate, some eight or ten thousand dollars. Although he possessed wealth, his moral and religious character was such, as not to entitle him to respect among his neighbors. He was fretful, peevish and quarrelsome, not only in the neighborhood, but in his family. He was known to frequently abuse his wife, by whipping her, kicking her out of bed and turning her out of doors &c. Yet he was a public professor of some religion. He was first an orthadox Quaker, then a Universalist, next a Restorationer, then a Baptist, next a Presbyterian, and then a Mormon.

   This Harris, who is or has been second in authority among the Mormonites, was an industrious farmer, living near this village, who had been unfortunate in the choice of a wife, or she had been in that of a husband. Like his leader, he gives to their preachers the power to preach and put their proselytes under water by authority of the new revelation. He has whipped his wife and beaten her so cruelly and frequently, that she was obliged to seek refuge in separation....  He is considered here, to this day, a brute in his domestic relations, a fool and dupe to Smith in religion, and an unlearned, conceited hypocrite, generally. He paid for printing the Book of Mormon, which exhausted all his money and most of his property. Since he went to Ohio he has attempted to get another wife, though it is believed he was frustrated in this design by the discovery of his having a living wife here.
Full Source
External Link
Origin, rise, and progress of Mormonism. pg 290
Jesse Townsend Letter
Jesse Townsend
24 Dec, 1833
   This Harris, who is or has been second in authority among the Mormonites, was an industrious farmer, living near this village, who had been unfortunate in the choice of a wife, or she had been in that of a husband. Like his leader, he gives to their preachers the power to preach and put their proselytes under water by authority of the new "revelation." He has whipped his wife and beaten her so cruelly and frequently, that she was obliged to seek refuge in separation.... He is considered here, to this day, a brute in his domestic relations, a fool and dupe to Smith in religion, and an unlearned, conceited hypocrite, generally. He paid for printing the Book of Mormon, which exhausted all his money and most of his property. Since he went to Ohio he has attempted to get another wife, though it is believed he was frustrated in this design by the discovery of his having a living wife here.

   In the second month following, Martin Harris and his wife were at my house.  In conversation about Mormonites, she observed, that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it was all false and a delusion.  To which I heard Mr. Harris reply: What if it is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!.  I was both an eye and an ear witness of what has been stated above, which is now fresh in my memory, and I give it to the world for the good of mankind.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 254
Observation from Abigail Harris
Abigail Harris
28 Nov, 1833
   In the second month following, Martin Harris and his wife were at my house. In conversation about Mormonites, she observed, that she wished her husband would quit them, as she believed it was all false and a delusion. To which I heard Mr. Harris reply: "What if it is a lie; if you will let me alone I will make money out of it!. I was both an eye and an ear witness of what has been stated above, which is now fresh in my memory, and I give it to the world for the good of mankind.

   He met one day in the streets of Palmyra, a rich man, whose name was Martin Harris, and addressed him thus; I have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet in the street to give me fifty dollars, to assist me in doing the work of the Lord by translating the Golden Bible. Martin being naturally a credulous man, hands Joseph the money...<br>
   In April, 1830, I again asked Hiram for the stone which he had borrowed of me; he told me I should not have it, for Joseph made use of it in translating his Bible. I reminded him of his promise, and that he had pledged his honor to return it; but he gave me the lie, saying the stone was not mine nor never was. Harris at the same time flew in a rage, took me by the collar and said I was a liar, and he could prove it by twelve witnesses. After I had extricated myself from him, Hiram, in a rage shook his fist at me, and abused me in a most scandalous manner. Thus I might proceed in describing the character of these High Priests, by relating one transaction after another, which would all tend to set them in the same light in which they were regarded by their neighbors, viz: as a pest to society.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pgs 246-47
Willard Chase Account
Willard Chase, witnessed by Fred'k Smith
11 Dec, 1833
   He met one day in the streets of Palmyra, a rich man, whose name was Martin Harris, and addressed him thus; "I have a commandment from God to ask the first man I meet in the street to give me fifty dollars, to assist me in doing the work of the Lord by translating the Golden Bible." Martin being naturally a credulous man, hands Joseph the money...
   In April, 1830, I again asked Hiram for the stone which he had borrowed of me; he told me I should not have it, for Joseph made use of it in translating his Bible. I reminded him of his promise, and that he had pledged his honor to return it; but he gave me the lie, saying the stone was not mine nor never was. Harris at the same time flew in a rage, took me by the collar and said I was a liar, and he could prove it by twelve witnesses. After I had extricated myself from him, Hiram, in a rage shook his fist at me, and abused me in a most scandalous manner. Thus I might proceed in describing the character of these High Priests, by relating one transaction after another, which would all tend to set them in the same light in which they were regarded by their neighbors, viz: as a pest to society.

   25 And again: I command you, that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.<br>
   26 Nor seek thy neighbor’s life.<br>
   27 And again: I command you, that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelation, circa Summer 1829 [D&C 19]
1829 Revelation
Joseph Smith, Jr.
summer, 1829
   25 And again: I command you, that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.
   26 Nor seek thy neighbor’s life.
   27 And again: I command you, that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God
(Note:  This revelation, directed to Martin Harris, was later canonized by the LDS church and exists today as D&C 19:25-26)

   Levi Lewis states, that he has been acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, and that he has heard them both say, adultery was no crime. Harris said he did not blame Smith for his (Smith’s) attempt to seduce Eliza Winters &c.;
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 268
Levi Lewis Statement
E. D. Howe
1834
   Levi Lewis states, that he has "been acquainted with Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris, and that he has heard them both say, adultery was no crime. Harris said he did not blame Smith for his (Smith’s) attempt to seduce Eliza Winters &c.;"

   It has been made known to one, who has left his wife in the State of New York, that he is entirely free from his wife, and he is at pleasure to take him a wife from among the Lamanites. It was easily perceived that this permission was perfectly suited to his desires. I have frequently heard him state that the Lord had made it known to him, that he is as free from his wife as from any other woman; and the only crime I have ever heard alleged against her is, she is violently opposed to Mormonism. But before this contemplated marriage can be carried into effect, he must return to the State of New York and settle his business, for fear, should he return after that affair had taken place, the civil authority would apprehend him as a criminal.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 220
Ezra Booth Letter
Ezra Booth
1831
   It has been made known to one, who has left his wife in the State of New York, that he is entirely free from his wife, and he is at pleasure to take him a wife from among the Lamanites. It was easily perceived that this permission was perfectly suited to his desires. I have frequently heard him state that the Lord had made it known to him, that he is as free from his wife as from any other woman; and the only crime I have ever heard alleged against her is, she is violently opposed to Mormonism. But before this contemplated marriage can be carried into effect, he must return to the State of New York and settle his business, for fear, should he return after that affair had taken place, the civil authority would apprehend him as a criminal.

   These things had all occurred before I talked with Joseph respecting the plates. But I had the account of it from Joseph, his wife, brothers, sisters, his father and mother. I talked with them separately, that I might get the truth of the matter. The first time I heard of the matter, my brother Presarved Harris, who had been in the village of Palmyra, asked me if had heard about Joseph Smith, jr., having a golden bible. My thoughts were that the money-diggers had probably dug up an old brass kettle, or something of the kind. I thought no more of it. This was about the first of October, 1827. The next day after the talk with my brother, I went to the village, and there I was asked what I thought of the Gold Bible! I replied, The Scripture says, He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is foolishness unto him. I do not wish to make myself a fool. I don't know anything about it. Then said I, what is it about Joe's Gold Bible! They then went on to say, that they put whiskey into the old man's cider and got him half drunk, and he told them all about it. They then repeated his account, which I found afterwards to agree substantially with the account given by Joseph. Then said I to them, how do you know that he has not got such gold plates! They replied, 'Damn him! angels appear to men in this enlightened age! Damn him, he ought to be tarred and feathered for telling such a damned lie!' Then I said, suppose he has told a lie, as old Tom Jefferson said, it did not matter to him whether a man believed in one god or twenty. It did not rob his pocket, nor break his shins. What is it to us if he has told a lie? He has it to answer for if he has lied. If you should tar and feather all the liars, you would soon be out of funds to purchase the material.<br>
   I then thought of the words of Christ, The kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. I knew they were of the devil's kingdom, and if that is of the devil, his kingdom is divided against itself. I said in my heart, this is something besides smoke. There is some fire at the bottom of it. I then determined to go and see Joseph as soon as I could find time.<br>
   A day or so before I was ready to visit Joseph, his mother came over to our house and wished to talk with me. I told her I had no time to spare, she might talk with my wife, and, in the evening when I had finished my work I would talk with her. When she commenced talking with me, she told me respecting his bringing home the plates, and many other things, and said that Joseph had sent her over and wished me to come and see him. I told her that I had a time appointed when I would go, and that when the time came I should then go, but I did not tell her when it was. I sent my boy to harness my horse and take her home. She wished my wife and daughter to go with her; and they went and spent most of the day. When they came home, I questioned them about them. My daughter said, they were about as much as she could lift. They were now in the glass-box, and my wife said they were very heavy. They both lifted them. I waited a day or two, when I got up in the morning, took my breakfast, and told my folks I was going to the village, but went directly to old Mr. Smith's. I found that Joseph had gone away to work for Peter Ingersol to get some flour. I was glad he was absent, for that gave me an opportunity of talking with his wife and the family about the plates. I talked with them separately, to see if their stories agreed, and I found they did agree. When Joseph came home I did not wish him to know that I had been talking with them, so I took him by the arm and led him away from the rest, and requested him to tell me the story, which he did as follows. He said: 'An angel had appeared to him, and told him it was God's work.'... Joseph had before this described the manner of his finding the plates. He found them by looking in the stone found in the well of Mason chase. The family had likewise told me the same thing.<br>
   Joseph said the angel told him he must quit the company of the money-diggers. That there were wicked men among them. He must have no more to do with them. He must not lie, nor swear, nor steal. He told him to go and look in the spectacles, and he would show him the man that would assist him. That he did so, and he saw myself, Martin Harris, standing before him. That struck me with surprise. I told him I wished him to be very careful about these things. 'Well,' said he, 'I saw you standing before me as plainly as I do now.' I said, if it is the devil's work I will have nothing to do with it; but if it is the Lord's, you can have all the money necessary to bring it before the world. He said the angel told him, that the plates must be translated, printed and sent before the world. I said, Joseph, you know my doctrine, that cursed is every one that putteth his trust in man, and maketh flesh his arm; and we know that the devil is to have great power in the latter days to deceive if possible the very elect; and I don't know that you are one of the elect. Now you must not blame me for not taking your word. If the Lord will show me that it is his work, you can have all the money you want. While at Mr. Smith's I hefted the plates, and I knew from the heft that they were lead or gold, and I knew that Joseph had not credit enough to buy so much lead. I left Mr. Smith's about eleven o'clock and went home. I retired to my bedroom and prayed God to show me concerning these things, and I covenanted that if it was his work and he would show me so, I would put forth my best ability to bring it before the world. He then showed me that it was his work, and that it was designed to bring in the fullness of his gospel to the gentiles to fulfill his word, that the first shall be last and the last first. He showed this to me by the still small voice spoken in the soul. Then I was satisfied that it was the Lord's work, and I was under a covenant to bring it forth.<br>
   The excitement in the village upon the subject had become such that some had threatened to mob Joseph, and also to tar and feather him. They said he should never leave until he had shown the plates. It was unsafe for him to remain, so I determined that he must go to his father-in-law's in Pennsylvania. He wrote to his brother-in-law Alvah Hale, requesting him to come for him. I advised Joseph that he must pay all his debts before starting. I paid them for him, and furnished him money for his journey. I advised him to take time enough to get ready, so that he might start a day or two in advance: for he would be mobbed if it was known when he started. We put the box of plates into a barrel about one-third full of beans and headed it up. I informed Mr. Hale of the matter, and advised them to cut each a good cudgel and put them into the wagon with them, which they did. It was understood that they were to start on Monday; but they started on Saturday night and got though safe. This was the last of October, 1827. It might have been the first of November.
Full Source
External Link
Tiffany's Monthly, Vol 5, No 4, Mormonism - No. II, pgs 167-70
Martin Harris Narration taken by Joel Tiffany
Martin Harris
Aug, 1859
   "These things had all occurred before I talked with Joseph respecting the plates. But I had the account of it from Joseph, his wife, brothers, sisters, his father and mother. I talked with them separately, that I might get the truth of the matter. The first time I heard of the matter, my brother Presarved Harris, who had been in the village of Palmyra, asked me if had heard about Joseph Smith, jr., having a golden bible. My thoughts were that the money-diggers had probably dug up an old brass kettle, or something of the kind. I thought no more of it. This was about the first of October, 1827. The next day after the talk with my brother, I went to the village, and there I was asked what I thought of the Gold Bible! I replied, The Scripture says, He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is foolishness unto him. I do not wish to make myself a fool. I don't know anything about it. Then said I, what is it about Joe's Gold Bible! They then went on to say, that they put whiskey into the old man's cider and got him half drunk, and he told them all about it. They then repeated his account, which I found afterwards to agree substantially with the account given by Joseph. Then said I to them, how do you know that he has not got such gold plates! They replied, 'Damn him! angels appear to men in this enlightened age! Damn him, he ought to be tarred and feathered for telling such a damned lie!' Then I said, suppose he has told a lie, as old Tom Jefferson said, it did not matter to him whether a man believed in one god or twenty. It did not rob his pocket, nor break his shins. What is it to us if he has told a lie? He has it to answer for if he has lied. If you should tar and feather all the liars, you would soon be out of funds to purchase the material.
   "I then thought of the words of Christ, The kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. I knew they were of the devil's kingdom, and if that is of the devil, his kingdom is divided against itself. I said in my heart, this is something besides smoke. There is some fire at the bottom of it. I then determined to go and see Joseph as soon as I could find time.
   "A day or so before I was ready to visit Joseph, his mother came over to our house and wished to talk with me. I told her I had no time to spare, she might talk with my wife, and, in the evening when I had finished my work I would talk with her. When she commenced talking with me, she told me respecting his bringing home the plates, and many other things, and said that Joseph had sent her over and wished me to come and see him. I told her that I had a time appointed when I would go, and that when the time came I should then go, but I did not tell her when it was. I sent my boy to harness my horse and take her home. She wished my wife and daughter to go with her; and they went and spent most of the day. When they came home, I questioned them about them. My daughter said, they were about as much as she could lift. They were now in the glass-box, and my wife said they were very heavy. They both lifted them. I waited a day or two, when I got up in the morning, took my breakfast, and told my folks I was going to the village, but went directly to old Mr. Smith's. I found that Joseph had gone away to work for Peter Ingersol to get some flour. I was glad he was absent, for that gave me an opportunity of talking with his wife and the family about the plates. I talked with them separately, to see if their stories agreed, and I found they did agree. When Joseph came home I did not wish him to know that I had been talking with them, so I took him by the arm and led him away from the rest, and requested him to tell me the story, which he did as follows. He said: 'An angel had appeared to him, and told him it was God's work.'... Joseph had before this described the manner of his finding the plates. He found them by looking in the stone found in the well of Mason chase. The family had likewise told me the same thing.
   "Joseph said the angel told him he must quit the company of the money-diggers. That there were wicked men among them. He must have no more to do with them. He must not lie, nor swear, nor steal. He told him to go and look in the spectacles, and he would show him the man that would assist him. That he did so, and he saw myself, Martin Harris, standing before him. That struck me with surprise. I told him I wished him to be very careful about these things. 'Well,' said he, 'I saw you standing before me as plainly as I do now.' I said, if it is the devil's work I will have nothing to do with it; but if it is the Lord's, you can have all the money necessary to bring it before the world. He said the angel told him, that the plates must be translated, printed and sent before the world. I said, Joseph, you know my doctrine, that cursed is every one that putteth his trust in man, and maketh flesh his arm; and we know that the devil is to have great power in the latter days to deceive if possible the very elect; and I don't know that you are one of the elect. Now you must not blame me for not taking your word. If the Lord will show me that it is his work, you can have all the money you want. "While at Mr. Smith's I hefted the plates, and I knew from the heft that they were lead or gold, and I knew that Joseph had not credit enough to buy so much lead. I left Mr. Smith's about eleven o'clock and went home. I retired to my bedroom and prayed God to show me concerning these things, and I covenanted that if it was his work and he would show me so, I would put forth my best ability to bring it before the world. He then showed me that it was his work, and that it was designed to bring in the fullness of his gospel to the gentiles to fulfill his word, that the first shall be last and the last first. He showed this to me by the still small voice spoken in the soul. Then I was satisfied that it was the Lord's work, and I was under a covenant to bring it forth.
   "The excitement in the village upon the subject had become such that some had threatened to mob Joseph, and also to tar and feather him. They said he should never leave until he had shown the plates. It was unsafe for him to remain, so I determined that he must go to his father-in-law's in Pennsylvania. He wrote to his brother-in-law Alvah Hale, requesting him to come for him. I advised Joseph that he must pay all his debts before starting. I paid them for him, and furnished him money for his journey. I advised him to take time enough to get ready, so that he might start a day or two in advance: for he would be mobbed if it was known when he started. We put the box of plates into a barrel about one-third full of beans and headed it up. I informed Mr. Hale of the matter, and advised them to cut each a good cudgel and put them into the wagon with them, which they did. It was understood that they were to start on Monday; but they started on Saturday night and got though safe. This was the last of October, 1827. It might have been the first of November."

   The persecution however became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester and going with my wife to Susquehanna County in the State of Pennsylvania. While preparing to start (being very poor and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise) in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us in our affliction. Mr Harris was a resident of Palmyra township Wayne county in the State of New York and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834], pgs 10-11
Joseph Smith 1838 Account
Joseph Smith, Jr.
1838
   The persecution however became so intolerable that I was under the necessity of leaving Manchester and going with my wife to Susquehanna County in the State of Pennsylvania. While preparing to start (being very poor and the persecution so heavy upon us that there was no probability that we would ever be otherwise) in the midst of our afflictions we found a friend in a gentleman by the name of Martin Harris who came to us and gave me fifty dollars to assist us in our affliction. Mr Harris was a resident of Palmyra township Wayne county in the State of New York and a farmer of respectability. By this timely aid was I enabled to reach the place of my destination in Pennsylvania

   Joseph Smith, Jr. Martin Harris and others, used to meet together in private, a while before the gold plates were found, and were familiarly known by the name of the Gold Bible Company. They were regarded by the community in which they lived, as a lying and indolent set of men and no confidence could be placed in them.<br>
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 251
Henry Harris Affidavit
Henry Harris
1833-34
   Joseph Smith, Jr. Martin Harris and others, used to meet together in private, a while before the gold plates were found, and were familiarly known by the name of the "Gold Bible Company." They were regarded by the community in which they lived, as a lying and indolent set of men and no confidence could be placed in them.

   Martin Harris was a man who had acquired a handsome property, and in matters of business his word was considered good; but on moral and religious subjects, he was perfectly visionary - sometimes advocating one sentiment, and sometimes another.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 261
Testimony of 51 Smith neighbors
51 Smith Neighbors
4 Dec, 1833
   Martin Harris was a man who had acquired a handsome property, and in matters of business his word was considered good; but on moral and religious subjects, he was perfectly visionary - sometimes advocating one sentiment, and sometimes another.

   The reading had proceeded for some time, when the candle began to spit and splutter, sometimes almost going out, and flashing up with a red-blue blaze. Here was a phenomenon that could not be mistaken. To say that the blaze had been interrupted by the flax shives that remained in the tow wicking, would not do; but Martin Harris arrived at a conclusion across lots: Do you see that, said he, directing his remark to me and the old lady, who sat beside him. I know what that means; it is the Devil trying to put out the light, so that we can't read any more.
External Link
The Prophet of Palmyra, Thomas Gregg, 1890, pgs 42-43
Devil in the flickering candle
Stephen S. Harding
Feb, 1882
   The reading had proceeded for some time, when the candle began to spit and splutter, sometimes almost going out, and flashing up with a red-blue blaze. Here was a phenomenon that could not be mistaken. To say that the blaze had been interrupted by the flax shives that remained in the tow wicking, would not do; but Martin Harris arrived at a conclusion "across lots:" "Do you see that," said he, directing his remark to me and the old lady, who sat beside him. "I know what that means; it is the Devil trying to put out the light, so that we can't read any more."

   A man by the name of Harris, of a visionary turn of mind, assisted in the translation, and afterwards Oliver Cowdery.  By the aid of Harris' property, the book was printed; and it is affirmed by the people of that neighborhood, that at first his motives were entirely mercenary, -a mere money speculation.
External Link
Truman Coe to Mr. Editor, Ohio Observer (Hudson, Ohio), 11 August 1836
Truman Coe Account
Truman Coe
11 Aug, 1836
   A man by the name of Harris, of a visionary turn of mind, assisted in the translation, and afterwards Oliver Cowdery. By the aid of Harris' property, the book was printed; and it is affirmed by the people of that neighborhood, that at first his motives were entirely mercenary, -a mere money speculation.
(Note:  No image of the original is available online. Please contact me if you have any information regarding it. This article was reprinted on August 25, 1836 in the Cincinnati Journal and Western Luminary, shown here.)

   Martin Harris, a farmer near Palmyra, visited the Smiths while he was yet in doubt concerning the doctrines of Mormonism. One night, while he was in his room, curtained off from the single large room of the interior, there appeared to him no less a personage than Jesus Christ. Harris was informed that Mormonism was the true faith, and Van Camp knows that it was a log house, although no vestige now remains, because Harris told him that his celestial visitor was lying on the beam overhead!
Full Source
External Link
Lippincott's Magazine 26:152, pgs 198-99
Martin Harris Conversion according to Frederic G. Mather
Frederic G. Mather
Aug, 1880
   Martin Harris, a farmer near Palmyra, visited the Smiths while he was yet in doubt concerning the doctrines of Mormonism. One night, while he was in his room, curtained off from the single large room of the interior, there appeared to him no less a personage than Jesus Christ. Harris was informed that Mormonism was the true faith, and Van Camp knows that it was a log house, although no vestige now remains, because Harris told him that his celestial visitor was lying on the beam overhead!

   The reader will notice that on a preceeding page I spoke of a confidential friend to whom Mr. Smith mentioned the existence of the record 2 or 3 years before it came forth. This was no other than Martin Harris one of the Witnesses to the book of Mormon after it was translated To him Joseph desired me to go and one afternoon as he wished to see him But this was an errand that I somewhat disliked for his wife was a peculiar sort of a woman one that was habitaully of a very jealous temperment and being hard of hearing She was always suspicious of some secret being in agitation that was designedly kept from her hearing on this account I would rather not go unless I could approach her upon the subject before I spoke to him about it Joseph consented to this and I went to Mr Harris away according to his request<br>
   When I arrived there I carefully detailed the particulars of the finding record as far as wisdom dictated and necessity demanded in order to satisfy the woman’s mind but she did not wait for me to get through with my story till she commenced urging me to receive a considerable amount of money which she had at her own command a kind of private purse which her husband permited her to keep to satisfy her peculiar disposition— She also had a sister in the house who was extremely anxious to help me to r 5 dollars in money I told her I came on no such buisness that I did not want  her money that Joseph would attend to his own affairs that I would like to speak to Mr. Harris a moment and then I would return home as my family would soon be expecting me back She said that she was determined to assist in the buisness and she knew that he would want money and she could spare $200 as well as not but finally she went with me to her Husband & told him I wanted to speak to him he said he was not going to stop his work for said he I am now just laying the last brick of this hearth you see this is the last work that I have to do for one year on the House or about the house or on the farm and when this is done I am going away to hire a hand to work a year for me as I shall travel 12 month before I settle myself at home again he soon left and after being gone a short time he came and told me that he was now a free man his hands were altogether untied to go and come and do as he pleased. I told him in short the errand on which I had come— he said he would see Joseph in a few days— Yes said Mrs Harris and I am coming to see him too and I will be there tuesday afternoon and stop over night accordingly She came as soon she came in and was well seated She began to importune My Son as to the truth of what he said now declaring that she would see the Gold plates if he really had any and she was resolved to help him in publishing them.<br>
   he told her that She was mistaken that She could not see them and as he was not permitted to exhibit them to any one except those whom the Lord will appoint to testify of them and as to assistance I always prefer dealing with men rather than their wives This highly displeased Mrs  Harris for She was a woman who piqued herself upon her superiority to her husband— well now Joseph said She are you not telling me a lie can you look full in my eye and say before God that you have in reality found that record as you pretend he said indifferently why yes Mrs Harris I would as soon look into your face and say so as not if you would be at all gratified by it<br>
   well Now Joseph said She I will tell what I will do If I can get a witness that you do speak the truth I will beleive it and I want to do something about the translation and I mean to help you any way She went to bed and in the morning told us a very remarkable dream She said that a personage had appeared to her the night before and said to her that inasmuch as she had disputed the servant of the Lord and said that his word was not to be believed and asked him many improper questions that she had done that which was not right in the sight of God Now said behold here are the plates look upon them and believe she then described the record minutely and again said that She had made up her mind as to what she would do that She had in her possession 28 dollars that her mother gave her just before she died when She was on her death bed Joseph should take that and if he would he might give his note but he should certainly accept of it on sone terms this last proposition he acceeded to in order get rid of her importunities...<br>
   Alvin and Joseph were one day in Palmira at a public house doing some buisness with the landlord When Mr. Haris entered the room there was many strangers present when he came in he walked up to My Son giving his said how do you do Mr Smith then taking a bag of silver from his pocket Said here Mr Smith is $50 I give it to you to do the Lords work with. “No said he I give it to the Lord for his own work No said Joseph we will give you a note and Mr Hale I presume will sign it with me yes replied Alva I will but Mr Harris presisted that he would give the money to the Lord and called upon all present to witness to the fact that he gave it freely and did not demand any compensation or return for the same that it was for the purpose of helping Mr Smith to do the Lord’s work
External Link
The Joseph Smith Papers, Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, pgs 71-74
Lucy Smith Account
Lucy Mack Smith
1844-45
   The reader will notice that on a preceeding page I spoke of a confidential friend to whom Mr. Smith mentioned the existence of the record 2 or 3 years before it came forth. This was no other than Martin Harris one of the Witnesses to the book of Mormon after it was translated To him Joseph desired me to go and one afternoon as he wished to see him But this was an errand that I somewhat disliked for his wife was a peculiar sort of a woman one that was habitaully of a very jealous temperment and being hard of hearing She was always suspicious of some secret being in agitation that was designedly kept from her hearing on this account I would rather not go unless I could approach her upon the subject before I spoke to him about it Joseph consented to this and I went to Mr Harris away according to his request
   When I arrived there I carefully detailed the particulars of the finding record as far as wisdom dictated and necessity demanded in order to satisfy the woman’s mind but she did not wait for me to get through with my story till she commenced urging me to receive a considerable amount of money which she had at her own command a kind of private purse which her husband permited her to keep to satisfy her peculiar disposition— She also had a sister in the house who was extremely anxious to help me to r 5 dollars in money I told her I came on no such buisness that I did not want her money that Joseph would attend to his own affairs that I would like to speak to Mr. Harris a moment and then I would return home as my family would soon be expecting me back She said that she was determined to assist in the buisness and she knew that he would want money and she could spare $200 as well as not but finally she went with me to her Husband & told him I wanted to speak to him he said he was not going to stop his work for said he I am now just laying the last brick of this hearth you see this is the last work that I have to do for one year on the House or about the house or on the farm and when this is done I am going away to hire a hand to work a year for me as I shall travel 12 month before I settle myself at home again he soon left and after being gone a short time he came and told me that he was now a free man his hands were altogether untied to go and come and do as he pleased. I told him in short the errand on which I had come— he said he would see Joseph in a few days— Yes said Mrs Harris and I am coming to see him too and I will be there tuesday afternoon and stop over night accordingly She came as soon she came in and was well seated She began to importune My Son as to the truth of what he said now declaring that she would see the Gold plates if he really had any and she was resolved to help him in publishing them.
   he told her that She was mistaken that She could not see them and as he was not permitted to exhibit them to any one except those whom the Lord will appoint to testify of them and as to assistance I always prefer dealing with men rather than their wives This highly displeased Mrs Harris for She was a woman who piqued herself upon her superiority to her husband— well now Joseph said She are you not telling me a lie can you look full in my eye and say before God that you have in reality found that record as you pretend he said indifferently why yes Mrs Harris I would as soon look into your face and say so as not if you would be at all gratified by it
   well Now Joseph said She I will tell what I will do If I can get a witness that you do speak the truth I will beleive it and I want to do something about the translation and I mean to help you any way She went to bed and in the morning told us a very remarkable dream She said that a personage had appeared to her the night before and said to her that inasmuch as she had disputed the servant of the Lord and said that his word was not to be believed and asked him many improper questions that she had done that which was not right in the sight of God Now said behold here are the plates look upon them and believe she then described the record minutely and again said that She had made up her mind as to what she would do that She had in her possession 28 dollars that her mother gave her just before she died when She was on her death bed Joseph should take that and if he would he might give his note but he should certainly accept of it on sone terms this last proposition he acceeded to in order get rid of her importunities...
   Alvin and Joseph were one day in Palmira at a public house doing some buisness with the landlord When Mr. Haris entered the room there was many strangers present when he came in he walked up to My Son giving his said how do you do Mr Smith then taking a bag of silver from his pocket Said here Mr Smith is $50 I give it to you to do the Lords work with. “No said he I give it to the Lord for his own work No said Joseph we will give you a note and Mr Hale I presume will sign it with me yes replied Alva I will but Mr Harris presisted that he would give the money to the Lord and called upon all present to witness to the fact that he gave it freely and did not demand any compensation or return for the same that it was for the purpose of helping Mr Smith to do the Lord’s work
(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.)

   Joseph then went to Palmyra; and, said he, I there met that dam fool, Martin Harris, and told him that I had a command to ask the first honest man I met with, for fifty dollars in money, and he would let me have it. I saw at once, said Jo, that it took his notion, for he promptly gave me the fifty.
Full Source
External Link
Mormonism Unvailed, E.D. Howe, pg 236
Peter Ingersoll Account
Peter Ingersoll
2 Dec, 1833
   Joseph then went to Palmyra; and, said he, I there met that dam fool, Martin Harris, and told him that I had a command to ask the first honest man I met with, for fifty dollars in money, and he would let me have it. I saw at once, said Jo, that it took his notion, for he promptly gave me the fifty.

   He was one of the earliest, if not, in truth, the only real believer. He was a religious monomaniac, reading the Scriptures intently, and could probably repeat from memory nearly every text of the Bible from beginning to end, giving the chapter and verse in each case. His superstition and cupidity were both appealed to in this matter. Though he unreservedly gave in his adhesion to the book as of divine appointment, he was by no means so prompt in his willingness to bear the whole cost of printing it, for he was proverbially a covetous, money-loving man, but an honest and benevolent one. His habit had been to look out for the best chances in a bargain, and it was natural that he should desire further opportunity for examination and consideration, and also for trying his influence in proselyting -- the latter object being with a view to judging of the question of reimbursement, should he advance the money required
Full Source
External Link
Origin, rise, and progress of Mormonism : biography of its founders and history of its church : personal remembrances and historical collections hitherto unwritten pgs 40-41
Pomeroy Tucker Description
Pomeroy Tucker
1867
   He was one of the earliest, if not, in truth, the only real believer. He was a religious monomaniac, reading the Scriptures intently, and could probably repeat from memory nearly every text of the Bible from beginning to end, giving the chapter and verse in each case. His superstition and cupidity were both appealed to in this matter. Though he unreservedly gave in his adhesion to the book as of divine appointment, he was by no means so prompt in his willingness to bear the whole cost of printing it, for he was proverbially a covetous, money-loving man, but an honest and benevolent one. His habit had been to look out for the best chances in a bargain, and it was natural that he should desire further opportunity for examination and consideration, and also for trying his influence in proselyting -- the latter object being with a view to judging of the question of reimbursement, should he advance the money required

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