|Eber Dudley Howe 1798-1885||
Founder of The Painesville Telegraph
Document: 1831 Letter to William W. Phelps of Canadaigua, NY
Source: mentioned in Mormonism Unvailed (1834) pp. 273-275.
[reconstruction: the original document does not survive]
Painesville, Ohio, Jan. 11, 1831.Mr. William Wine Phelps, --
Dear Sir, --
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Note: Howe's Jan. 11, 1831 letter resulted in this response from Mr. Phelps:
Canandaigua, Jan. 15, 1831.Dear Sir -- Yours of the 11th, is before me, but to give you a satisfactory answer, is out of my power. To be sure, I am acquainted with a number of the persons concerned in the publication, called "Book of Mormon." -- Joseph Smith is a person of very limited abilities in common learning -- but his knowledge of divine things, since the appearance of his book, has astonished many. Mr. Harris, whose name is in the book, is a wealthy farmer, but of small literary acquirements; he is honest, and sincerely declares upon his soul's salvation that the book is true, and was interpreted by Joseph Smith, through a pair of silver spectacles, found with the plates. The places where they dug for the plates, in Manchester, are to be seen. When the plates were said to have been found, a copy of one or two lines of the characters, were taken by Mr. Harris to Utica, Albany and New York; at New York, they were shown to Dr. Mitchell, and he referred to professor Anthon who translated and declared them to be the ancient shorthand Egyptian. So much is true. The family of Smiths is poor, and generally ignorant in common learning.
I have read the book, and many others have, but we have nothing by which we can positively detect it as an imposition, nor have we any thing more than what I have stated and the book itself, to show its genuineness. We doubt -- supposing, if it is false, it will fall, and if of God, God will sustain it.
I had ten hours discourse with a man from your state, named Sidney Rigdon, a convert to its doctrines, and he declared it was true, and he knew it by the power of the Holy Ghost, which was again given to man in preparation for the millennium: he appeared to be a man of talents, and sincere in his profession. Should any new light be shed on the subject, I will apprise you. Respectfully,
Document: 1834 Letter to Isaac Hale of Harmony, PA
Source: The Susquehanna Register, IX (May 1, 1834) p. 1
Mr. Isaac Hale, --
Dear Sir, -- I have a letter with your signature, post-marked Dec. 22, 1833 -- addressed to D. P. Hurlbut, on the subject of Mormonism. I have taken all the letters and documents from Mr. Hurlbut, with a view to their publication. An astonishing mass has been collected by him and others, who have determined to lay open the imposition to the world. And as the design is to present facts, and those well authenticated, and beyond dispute, it is very desireable, that your testimony, whatever it may be, should come authenticated before a magistrate.
Your letter has already been pronounced a forgery by the Mormons, who say you are blind and cannot write, even your name. I hope no one have attempted to deceive us: deception and falsehood in this business will do no good in the end, but will help build up the monstrous delusion. We look upon your connexion with Smith, and your knowledge of facts as very important, in the chain of events, -- and if it be your desire to contribute what facts you know, in so desirable an undertaking, I hope you will without delay, have drawn up a full narative of every transaction wherein Smith, jun'r. is concerned and attest them before a magistrate -- This is our plan.
E. D. HOWE.
Document: Unverified 1877 News Item on E. D. Howe's personal papers
Source: Chicago Tribune, Dec. 26, 1877
"Can you tell me," said I, "whether the late E. D. Howe left any papers behind him; and if so where they may be found?"
"He did not leave many," said the relative, "and some of those he did leave have been destroyed."
"Where can those left be found?"
"They are in my possession."
"Would you have any objection to showing them?"
A tin box containing a considerable number of old private letters, a few old deeds, and some scraps of manuscript was brought out, and I was given permission to go through it...
Document: 1879 Letter to Robert Patterson, Jr. of Pittsburgh, PA
Source: Schroeder's 1901 pamphlet, p. 10 (original lost?)
"I am very certain he (Hurlburt) never had any Manuscript Found to sell to anybody." "Whatever Mormons may say, I think Hurlburt was perfectly honest in all his transactions here."
Document: 1879 Letter to Robert Patterson, Jr. of Pittsburgh, PA
Source: Theodore A. Schroeder Papers, Madison, WI
Painesville, Sept. 24 '79.Dear Sir,
I have been hesitating and pondering for some time over your list of queries in regard to Hurlbut and the Mormon Bible -- whether I could add any more light on that long forgotten subject, and what I shall write will be very short indeed.
First.-- I have no theory or opinion now any farther than what is in my book.
2. I don't suppose that Spalding ever made a duplicate of his MS., and if left at the office of P. & L. it was never taken away by him.
3. Can't suppose anything about it.
4. Can't reconcile other persons' recollections of things that took place 45 years ago.
5. My recollection is that he never said a word to me about returning the MS. that he brought me, as it was of no earthly importance as far as the Mormon Bible was concerned.
6. Never any correspondence with Mrs. Davison.
7. I never knew that he promised to return it, as he represented to me, as stated in the book, that he never saw her after he got it.
8. Suppose it was consumed by fire. I probably paid him as he stated.
9. Farther I know nothing about this business. I am very certain he never had any MS. Found to sell to anybody.
10, & 11, & 12th. He immediately left this vicinity, and I never saw him again for 30 years. Whatever Mormons may say, I think Hurlbut was perfectly honest in all his transactions here.
"What I wrote of Mormonism, I yet see nothing to retract. I gave to the exposure of that vile imposition all the best energies of my life, and it must now stand for what (it) is worth.
Note: Howe's Sept. 24, 1879 letter responsed to the this inquiry from Mr. Patterson:
Pittsburgh, Pa., Sept. 12th, 1879.Mr. E. D. Howe
I take the liberty of addressing you on a matter connected with the early history of Mormonism, as you were the first, and are still the most frequently quoted, authority on that subject. I have endeavored in vain to secure a copy of your book. The one shown to me at your house on the 20th ult. is the only copy I have ever seen, and I sincerely regret that I had not the good fortune to meet you at that time.
My attention was invited a few months ago by James T. Cobb, Esq., of Salt Lake City, to the generally accepted Spaulding-Rigdon theory of the origin of the Mormon Bible; and the request was made that I would aid him, if in my power, in collecting whatever evidence may yet be attainable towards demonstrating beyond the possibility of a doubt the truth (or the falsity) of the prevailing belief. He probably wrote to me because it was my father (Rev. Robert Patterson) to whom the Spaulding Manuscript is said to have been submitted for publication.
In endeavoring thus to assist him I called upon Mr. D.P. Hurlbut at Gibsonburg, O., Aug. 19th, and I enclose a copy of the statement which I took down from his lips and which he signed, as containing all that he knew with reference to the Spaulding Manuscript. Mr. Hurlbut was also anxious that I should see you, and that I should write to him an account of my interview with you. As I failed to see you, I intended writing to you at once; but a pressure of other engagements had prevented until now.
Mr. Hurlbut states, as you will see, that he received at Monson from Mrs. Davison herself the Spaulding Manuscript which he delivered to you. In our conversation he stated very emphatically that he was `absolutely sure of one thing: he had never received from Mrs. Clark, or from any one but Mrs. Davison, any manuscript of Spalding's; and from Mrs. Davidon only the one mentioned in his statement.' I reminded him that you had published a different version of the way in which he obtained it; but my reminder seem-ed to make no impression upon him. At the same time he spoke in the highest terms of your book, his last copy of which was destroyed, with all his other books, papers, and household effects, by fire some years ago.
I also told Mr. Hurlbut, frankly, that I had seen the statement published, though without any authority given for it, that he had sold the real `Manuscript Found' to the Mormons for $400. He indignantly repelled the charge and with no little excitement mentioned several circumstances (his being put under bonds by Joe Smith to keep the peace, his life being threatened by the Mormons, &c.,) to show the improbability of any such alleged bargain and sale.
It will generally be regarded as hopeless, at this late date, to renew the attempt to trace up the lost manuscript, and yet so much would be gained for the cause of truth and the overthrow of a monstrous delusion, by its recovery, that I feel like helping Mr. Cobb in a last effort in this direction. The first step toward this end must be the gathering up of every shred of information about the mysterious loss of this important document. I write now to solicit your aid.
1. Please give your own theory as to what probably became of Mrs. Davison's copy of her husband's romance -- the 'Manuscript Found.'
2. Do you suppose that Spaulding must have sent a duplicate of his manuscript to the office of Patterson & Lambdin, which was never returned to the author? -- (Mr. Jos. Miller, of Amity, Pa., affirms that he remembers Mr. Spaulding to have so stated, and even at that early date to have suspected Rigdon of purloining it; but Mrs. Davison's letter published in 1839 is in conflict with this statement.)
3. Or do you suppose that Rigdon (or someone else) made a copy of the manuscript before it was returned to Spaulding?
4. How do you account for Mr. Hurlbut now stating that he received from Mrs. Davison herself at Monson the Manuscript brought to you, and that he never received any Spaulding manuscript from any other person anywhere?
5. Did Mr. Hurlbut inform you that the manuscript was to be compared with the Mormon Bible and was then to be returned to Mrs. Davison?
6. Did you inform Mrs. Davison that this document was not the `Manuscript Found'? Or did Mr. Hurlbut so inform her? If neither, why was she not informed? And if informed, how long after the receipt of the manuscript was she written to? And what (if any) was her reply?
7. Why was not the manuscript returned, as promised by Hurlbut? Would not this have been the surest, speediest, and almost the only way of enlisting her in an effort to secure for you the real 'Manuscript Found'?
8. What became of the manuscript brought by Mr. Hurlbut?
When I told Mr. Hurlbut that it would be considered remarkable that, after spending so much time, labor, and money in trying to prove that the Book of Mormon originated in the Spaulding Manuscript, he would so suddenly discontinue his efforts, and not even read the manuscript which he had in his hands, to see whether or not it proved the plagarism, -- he replied that he had suddenly fallen in love with the young woman whom he married in just six weeks after first seeing her; that he was anxious to settle down and obtain a home for her, and therefore sold out his interest in the book to you for $50 cash and 500 copies of the book, to be delivered when published. He then immediately went to farming and has been thus engaged ever since. As he voluntarily referred me to you, I beg to ask --
9. Does this statement agree with your knowledge and recollection of facts?
Also, as he has been charged with selling the real 'Manuscript Found' to the Mormons for $400, and in this way obtaining the funds for starting in life, permit me to ask --
10. Is there any foundation for the suspicion that he must have obtained money in this way to buy a farm?
11. Or did he have means from other sources for this purpose? Or did he first rent a place, and by labor and industry become finally owner of a farm?
12. Where did he first settle in 1834. When did he remove, and where was his next settlement?
These questions may seem impertinant, but it is for the interest of Mr. Hurlbut himself that all unjust imputations should be effectively removed, and (I may add) as speedily as possible, since those who can now testify in his favor will soon all be gone.
13. Can you suggest any persons in Otsego County, N.Y. (or elsewhere) who might possibly be able to give information in regard to the lost document, -- as to when and where it was last known to be in existence?
I am sorry to inflict so long a letter upon you, and it will save you trouble if you will number your replies so as to correspond with my questions (of which I will retain a copy); a few words then may suffice for your answers. But all the help you can render will be gratefully received.
Document: 1880 Letter to D. P. Hurlbut of Gibsonburg, OH
Source: New Light on Mormonism (1885) p. 259
D. P. Hurlbut
Dear Sir: -- Just received your line, calling my attention to an article in Scribner, on the origin of that old Mormon Bible. Hardly a year passes that I do not receive more or less inquiries, some of which seem to reflect on your honesty in regard to the manuscript obtained from that wonderful old trunk, that was all explained truthfully in a book I published, as I then believed, and have ever since, that Spaulding`s "Maunscript Found" was never found or received by you; I have no manner of doubt, but altogether a different manuscript on a very different subject. It was in my possession till after the publication of "Mormonism Unveiled," and then disappeared and lost, I suppose, by fire. I suppose this is all I need say on that subject. I was glad to hear that you are still in the form. I am now eighty-two years old, enjoying very good health. Hoping never to hear any more about that old Mormon imposition.
Yours, very truly,
E. D. Howe.
Document: Report of a mid-November 1880 interview with E. D. Howe
Source: New Light on Mormonism (1885) pp. 72-73
He agreed to give Hurlburt five hundred copies of his book ("Mormonism Unveiled"), which agreement he kept, and that was the last he ever saw of him.
The manuscript he received from Hurlburt he said was "lying around" his printing-office for twenty years; he "considered it of no account, and did not know what became of it."
I asked if he did not agree to return it to Mrs. Davison, to which he replied:
"Perhaps I did; but it wa'n't of no account, so I did not think of it."
"You used it in your "Mormonism Unveiled?"
"Well, yes; there it was of some use."
I then told him what Hurlburt had said of Howe's connection with the matter.
He grew very red in the face, and remarked:
"Well, Hurlburt is not to be relied on."
I asked if he would make a sworn statement that the words "Mormon, Maroni, Nephi, and Lamenite" were not in the manuscript which Hurlburt gave him by agreement.
"No, I will not swear to it; but I'll answer questions, and my word is as good as Hurlburt's any day."
"You ought, for your own sake, to make a statement to answer him."
He made an odd reply.
"Hurlburt was always an unreliable fellow; he went lecturing in this neighborhood."
"Mr. Howe, did you send Hurlburt to get 'The Manuscript Found?'"
"Yes, I did, and the idea was proposed to me by him."
"Do you think the manuscript was burned in your office?"
"I don't know; it got lost," he replied.
"The whole matter, then, is between you and Hurlburt.Is there a possibility that the original Spalding manuscript will yet come to light?"
"No, I don't think so," he replied, earnestly; "the Mormons had too much at stake to let it exist."
"Then you think Hurlburt destroyed it?"
"I believe he had two manuscripts -- the original one and another -- the one he gave me, which had no resemblance to the 'Book of Mormon.'"
"Do you think Spalding wrote a story from which Rigdon and Smith made the 'Book of Mormon?'"
"Certainly I do," emphasizing the words...
Document: 1881 Letter to Thomas W. Smith of Chicago, IL
Source: Saints' Herald, XXVIII:17 (Sep. 1, 1881) p. 269
Sir: -- Your note of 21st is before me, and I will answer your queries seriatim.
1st. -- The manuscript you refer to was not marked on the outside or inside "Manuscript Found." It was a common-place story of some Indian wars along the borders of our Great Lakes, between the Chicagoes and Eries, as I now recollect -- not in Bible style, but purely modern.
2d. -- It was not the original "Manuscript Found," and I do not believe Hurlbut ever had it.
3d. -- I never saw or heard read the "Manuscript Foundl" but have seen five or six persons who had, and from their testimony, concluded it was very much like the Mormon Bible.
4th. -- Never succeeded in finding out any thing more than was detailed in my book of exposure published about fifty years ago.
5th. -- The manuscript was destroyed by fire forty years ago.
I think there has been much mist thrown around the whole subject of the origin of the Mormon Bible and the "Manuscript Found," by the several statements that have been made by those who have been endeavoring to solve the problem after sleeping quietly for half a century. Every effort was made to unravel the mystery at the time, when nearly all the parties were on earth, and the result published at the time, and I think it all folly to try to dig out anything more.
Document: Report of an August 1883 Howe interview (given
E. L. Kelley?)
Source: Public Discussion...(Braden Kelley Debate), (1884) p. 83
A. Yes, he brought one; but it was not the one we wanted; it only told about some tribes of Indians and their wars along the Lakes here and pretended to be the writings of some shipwrecked crew. It was the wars of the Winnebagoes, Chicagoes or Niagaries, I believe.
Q. Why did you not publish it?
A. Because it did not do us any good.
What do you know personally about the Book of Mormon and the Spaulding story being the same?
A. I don't know anything.
Q. Why did you publish a work claiming that the Book of Mormon was the Spaulding Romance?
A. Because I could better believe that Spaulding wrote it than that Joe Smith saw an angel.
Q. Are those your grounds?
A. Yes, sir, they are; and I want you to understand that you can't cram the Book of Mormon down me.
Q. Do you swallow the Bible?
A. That is my business.
Q. Have you not published a pamphlet which does not endorse the Bible?
A. Yes, I have.
Document: Report of a July 1884 Howe interview (given
A. B. Deming)
Source: Naked Truths About Mormonism I:1 (Jan. 1888) p. 1 col. 6
Mr. Howe was a man of superior mind and intelligence and universally respected by those who knew him. He would converse with the utmost freedom on all subjects but Mormonism, when he became guarded in his expressions and refused to talk on the subject. He told me his sister Harriet was a Mormon and stock in the ledger of Jo Smith's bank stands in her name. Mrs. Howe was originally a Baptist and followed Rigdon (whom she greatly admired) into Disciple doctrine and [then] Mormonism. Mr. Howe said after prophet Jo Smith's back-house scrape, she lost confidence in him and in Mormonism. I was at Mr. Howe's [home] fifty or sixty times from five minutes to six hours each time and became much attached to himself and [----]. I inquired if the Mormons did not try to prevent the publication of "Mormonism Unveiled." He said W. W. Phelps, who formerly published an anti-Masonic paper at Canandaigua, N. Y., called, but that he looked at him pretty sharp and he did not stay long. Howe's paper was anti-Masonic.
Document: 1885 Statement given to A. B. Deming
Source: Arthur B. Deming Papers, Chicago Historical Society Library
(published in Naked Truths About Mormonism, II:1)
Witnessed by:A B Deming E.D. Howe
F W Roger[s]
Painesville Lake Co Ohio Apr 8th 1885
Two lines erased before signature
Document: 1885-86 information on Eber D. Howe
Sources: contemporary newspapers, etc.
Lewis L. Rice letter from Hawaii
Saints' Herald May 16, 1885
March 28th, 1885
Mr. Joseph Smith: -- The Spaulding Manuscript in my possession came into my hands in this wise. In 1839-40 my partner and myself bought of E. D. Howe the Painesville Telegraph...
Mr. Howe says when he was getting up a book to expose Mormonism... he obtained it [the Oberlin MS] from some source, and it was inadvertently transferred with the other effects of his printing office... L. L. Rice
Joseph F. Smith letter from Hawaii
Deseret News July 14, 1885
May 11, 1885
Editor, Deseret News: ... [quoting Lewis L. Rice] "Mr Howe thinks he has a claim upon it, but I have told them all they cannot have it..."
Joseph F. Smith letter from Hawaii
Deseret News July 21, 1885
June 24, 1885
Editor, Deseret News: ... Among those who have written Mr. Rice for the manuscript were Eber D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, (since which Mr. Rice informs us he had a stroke and was supposed to be on his death-bed) ... Mr. E. D. Howe laid claim to it on the ground that when he sold his printing establishment to his brother, from whom it was turned over to Messrs. Rice and Winchester, in 1839, the manuscript was inadvertently turned over to them with the office. He further states in his letter that the manuscript was left in his office by D. P. Hurlbut, pending efforts to obtain evidence against the Book of Mormon...
NYC Independent Jan. 7, 1886