Cornelia (Mrs. A. G.) Paddock
Letter of March, 15, 1885 from Mrs. Alonzo. G. Paddock to Thomas Gregg (Original in Chicago Historical Society Mormon Mss Collection, film 298)
She wrote Gregg an earlier letter on March 3, 1882. His response has not survived, but her first letter is also preserved in the CHS Library. Mrs. Paddock was the author of the three fictional works which generally portrayed the Mormons in an unfavorable light.
Mrs. A. G. Paddock
26 Seventh East St. Salt Lake
Salt Lake, [Mar. 15, '85]
Mr. Th. Gregg
Your letter of the 9th inst. is at hand and contents noted. I have not the time at present to go into details, but will answer your questions as far as I am able to. The names of the two leaders of the Mountain Meadow massacre indicted with Lee are Isaac C. Haight and John M. Higbee. Haight was President of the Stake of Zion in which the massacre occured. The persons mentioned on page 351 of Madame LaTour were a Mr. and Mrs. Lyod. Lyod was a
druggist. I do not know his Christian name or that of his wife, but might get both from a friend who knew the family. Mrs. Lyod afterwards married a man named Clark. Clark was a Gentile, a man of considerable wealth, and I think at one time a member of Congress. I cannot give you the real name the LaTours, because I have promised members of the family that I would not. As stated in the preface, I have blended their history with that of others. D. H. Wells was indicted for complicity in four murders. He was mayor of Salt Lake at the time, and it was on this account that Judge McKean admitted him to bail instead of placing him under arrest. I could not give
you the particulars in relation to these murders without consulting the records of the Third District Court, where the indictments were found. I do not wish you to make public use of Mrs. Clark's name. She is still living here, and I suppressed her name in my book out of regard for her friends through whom her story came to me. As to the manner in which the Spaulding Mss. came into Smith's possession, that is a secret which I think he shared with none but his immediate co-laborers. The account most generally accepted is that of its falling into Rigdon's hands when
he worked in the office of the paper to which it had been sent for publication; just how it came into Smith's hands is, however, not a matter of great moment, since we have the published testimony of Spaulding's widow and of nearly a dozen of his old neighbors as to the identity of the MS with the contents of the Book of Mormon. -- As to your last question, I have put my books on Mormonism into narrative form because I knew they would be more generally read if offered to the public in the guise of a story. I am very much pressed for time, and this must be my excuse for not answering your queries more fully.
Respectfully, Cornelia Paddock
Thomas Gregg was the author of The Prophet of Palmyra (1890). He was gathering information for his book when corresponding with Mrs. Paddock.
Cornelia Paddock was the authoress of such Mormon expose books as: In the Toils, or, Martyrs of the Latter Days (1879), The Fate of Madame LaTour, Tale of Great Salt Lake (1881), and Saved at Last From Among the Mormons (1881).
Unfortunately, for Thomas Gregg, Cornelia was not able to supply him with any particular information regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon. She says: "As to the manner in which the Spaulding Mss. came into Smith's possession, that is a secret which I think he shared with none but his immediate co-laborers..." If any of the less "immediate" associates of Smith knew the details of the alleged secret, the story did not leak down so far as the circles in which Mrs. Paddock traveled. Probably this means that ladies like Sarah Pratt, the estranged wife of Apostle Orson Pratt and late sister-in-law of Parley P. Pratt, had no family gossip to share on that subject.
The 1880 Federal Census for Utah shows her living in Salt Lake City, with her "miner" husband, Alonzo G. Paddock, and their four children. See Richard S. Van Wagoner's "Sarah M. Pratt: The Shaping of An Apostate" (in Dialogue, Vol. 19, No. 2), for further information on Cornelia.