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Charles W. Spalding
Spalding Memorial
(Chicago: APS, 1897)

  • Title Page
  • Josiah (1729-1809)
  • Solomon (1761-1816)

  • Wheelock Biography
  • Parish Biography

  • Transcriber's Comments  

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    "To live in Hearts we leave behind is not to Die."




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    1158. Elizabeth, b. Aug. 21, 1759;  m. Barzillai Spalding [2060].
    1159. Anna, b. Aug. 27, 1761; m.  John Stevens.
    1160. PHINEAS 5 [385], (Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1 ), b. March 25, 1726, in Plainfield, Conn.; d. Aug. 18, 1751. The widow of Phineas m. a Mr. Stow, of Granville, Mass. Mrs. Stow had a daughter Sarah, who m. John Bancroft, of said Granville. Phineas had a sister Abigail, who m. a Mr. Hall and resided about a day's journey from Lanesborough, Mass.
    1161. Oliver,
    1162. Jesse,
    1163. Catharine; m. John Hicklin; d. 1803, in Middletown, Conn.
    1163. Jonas [2819], b. April 6, 1750, O. S.
    1165. REUBEN 5 [385], (Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1 ), b. Feb. 26, 1728, in Plainfield, N.H.; d. Jan., 1765, in Tyringham, Mass.; m. Mary Pierce, Oct. 1, 1747; she was the daughter of Timothy and Mary Pierce; was born Nov. 15, 1728, and d. 1826, in Sharon, Vt. After his marriage they removed to Plainfield, Conn., and he there taught school for a number of years. He then bought a farm in Tyringham, Mass., where he died.
    1166. Mary, b. June 19, 1748; m. Ebenezer Parkhurst, res. Sharon, Vt.; they had nine children.
    1167. Azel [2823].
    1168. Reuben [2833]; b. Dec. 15, 1758.
    1169. Pedew, a daughter, who d. about four years old.
    1170. Phineas; d. when about four years old. 

    1171. JOSIAH5 [387], (Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1, b. Dec. 7, 1729, in Plainfield, Conn.; he d. Dec. 18, 1809, at Ashford, Conn., aged 80; m. Priscilla Paine, Dec. 24, 1755; she was born Aug. 31, 1735, and d. Oct. 19, 1817, aged 87.

    Josiah Spalding served in the war of the Revolution, because according to the Records of the State of Connecticut, he was an invalid pensioner. He was a Lieutenant, and drew his pension in Windham Co., Conn. Their two oldest children were b. in Plainfield, Conn.; the others in Ashford, Conn. 
    1172. Priscilla, b. Oct. 24, 1756; m. Lemuel Warren; she d. June 13, 1835.
    1173. Reuben [2846], b. Dec. 20, 1758.
    1174 Solomon [2855], b. Feb. 20, 1761.
    1175. Elisha [2857], Feb. 28, 1763.
    1176. Josiah [2866], b. March 12, 1765.
    1177. Cynthia, b. April 2, 1767, m. James Howe; she d. Nov. 3, 1857.
    1178. Ephraim [2868], b. Sept. 29, 1769.
    1179. Solenda, b. Aug. 30, 1771; m. Newell Spalding [2883]; she d. Oct. 27, 1853.
    1180. John [2872], b. Jan. 10, 1774.
    1181. Abigail, b. March 28, 1778; m. Samuel Henry; she d. Nov. 28, 1819, in Bloomington, N. J.


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    2833. REUBEN 6 [1168], (Reuben5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1), b. Dec. 15, 1758, in Tyringham, Mass.; d. Sept. 15, 1849, in Sharon, Vt., aged 91 years; m. Jerusha Carpenter, of Sharon, Vt., June 21, 1785; she was b. June 24, 1768, in Coventry, Conn.; she d. Dec. 7, 1827.

    Reuben Spalding was Sergeant in Company of Capt. Jesse Safford in what is now Vermont. Reuben Spalding served in Capt. Wetherby's Co., Col. Wyman's Regt., service in New York State, 1776. He was in Capt. Peter Clark's Co., Ticonderoga alarm, 1777, serving nine days. He was also in Capt. Lee's Co., Rhode Island Expedition, 1778.

    Dea. Spalding entered the town of Sharon, Vt., on the 16th of September, 1769, and took up his residence on the farm which he occupied at his death, making a period of eighty years. At the time of his settlement there were only seven families in town, and no inhabitants in Royalton, Barnard, or Pomfret. In consequence his early life was passed amidst the hardships and sufferings incident to pioneers of the wilderness, and had much influence, no doubt, in forming that energy and fearlessness of character for which he was well known. He was a soldier of the Revolution, and drew a pension. His personal history is identified with the history of the place of his residence. He knew it all, and was himself a part. He had twelve children, nine sons and three daughters -- a circle that was unbroken until November, 1847, when he was called to mourn the death of Dr. Jason C. Spalding. That event called together under the paternal roof the whole family, and presented not a faint picture of "olden times." There was seen the beauty and power of religion: the aged father, venerable for his gray hairs, and yet more for his love and fear of God, like a patriarch, stood beside the remains of the departed one, and urged upon the living, with great fervor of spirit, faithfulness in the service of that God in whom he trusted.

    Dea. Spalding had been a member of the Congregational church sixty-one years, during forty-two of which he sustained the office of deacon. He loved "the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." Having become a member very soon after the church was organized, he had been with it through all its seasons of prosperity and adversity, and was prominent among the few upon whom devolved the responsibility of supporting the Gospel.

    His interest was a growing interest. Whilst old age removed him from the busy and attractive scenes of the world, it did not abate his devotedness to the cause of Christ. For that, there was a growing love; it


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    was the theme of thought and conversation; the Bible was his daily companion; he loved the doctrines of grace; and the church, of which he was an honored member, is a witness to his faithfulness.

    He always took a deep interest in the welfare of the town and state, and was called upon many times to fill various offices of trust, being Justice of the Peace for more than half a century.

    Children all born in Sharon, Vt.
    2834. Pierce [6349], b. Feb. 9, 1786.
    2835. Polly, b. Aug. 12, 1788; 1st, m. Benjamin Vail, March 10, 1805; he d. Aug. 5, 1807; 2d, m. Oliver Fales, Aug. 15, 1814; she d. May, 1864, at Sharon, Vt.
    2836. John [6354], b. Jan. 16, 1790.
    2837. James [6360], b. March 20, 1792.
    2838. Eunice, b. Sept. 24, 1794; m. Gaius Leonard, Aug. 6, 1816; res. Ripen, Wis., where she d. Jan. 26, 1879.
    2839, Susan, b. Oct. 25, 1796; m. Thomas Lovejoy, March 2, 1818, res, Royalton, Vt.; she d. Jan. 10, 1871.
    2840. Phineas [6370], b. Jan. 14, 1799.
    2841. Jason-Carpenter [6375], b. April 29, 1801.
    2842. Azel [6381], b. March 29, 1803.
    2843. Levi [6385], b. Sept. 9, 1805.
    2844. Reuben [6395],b.July 22, 1807.
    2845. Charles [6399], b. Aug. 23, 1812.

    2846. REUBEN 6 [1173], (Josiah5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1), b. Dec. 20, 1758, in Plainfield, Conn.; d. April 13, 1832; was buried in Eastford, Conn.; m. Hannah Peabody, Nov. 25, 1784; she was b. Aug. 31, 1758; d. March 9, 1823; res. Pomfret, Conn.

    2847. Abigail, b. May 19, 1786; d. March 2, 1788.
    2848. Reuben [6404], b. May 24, 1788.
    2849. Azubah, b. Oct. 19, 1790; d. June 7, 1810.
    2850. Josiah [6410], b. Feb. 24, 1793.
    2851. Erastus [6411], b.June22, 1795.
    2852. Lorancy, b. Oct. 30, 1797; m. Joseph Russell, June 14, 1820; he d. Dec. 7, 1865, aged 78; she d. May 8, 1832; res. Pomfret, Conn.
    2853. Phila, b. Nov. 5, 1799; d. Aug. 19, 1801.
    2854. Priscilla, b. April 29, 1802; d. Jan. 24, 1843; unmarried.

    2855. SOLOMON 6 [1174], (Josiah5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1), b. Feb. 20, 1761, at Ashford, Conn.; d. Sept. 10, 1816, aged 55, in Pittsburg, Pa.; other authority says Amity, Washington Co, Pa.

    "Solomon Spalding served in the Revolutionary war as a private in Capt. John William's Co., Col. Obadiah Johnson's Regt.; entered service Jan. 8, 1778. He read law with Judge Zephaniah Swift, of Windham, Conn., but on change of religious views, sought the ministry, and entered the sophomore class at Dartmouth College at the age of twenty-one. Graduating there in 1785, he studied divinity, and became a licentiate of


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    the Windham, Conn., Cong. Association, Oct. 9, 1787; preached eight or ten years, and, being in this time ordained an evangelist, received several offers to settle, that were declined, owing to ill health. In 1795, he was married, and soon after went, into business with his brother Josiah, at Cherry Valley, N.Y., but both removed the store to Richfield, N.Y., in 1799. Here they purchased large tracts of land in Pennsylvania and Ohio, to superintend which Solomon moved to Salem, Ohio, but the war of 1812 deranged their plans and caused great losses. Josiah, then visiting his brother found him in poor health and low spirits, writing a work of fiction, suggested by the opening of a mound, in which was discovered human bones and some relies indicative of a former civilized race. He entitled his work a 'Manuscript Found,' and in it imagined the fortunes of the extinct people. Josiah left him thus employed. Not long after, probably in 1814, Solomon went to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he was followed by Sidney Rigdon, then a printer and afterwards a noted Mormon. He told his employer of Spalding' s novel, who borrowed the manuscript, and offered to print it. This was refused, and the author wandered to Amity, the place of his death. His widow returned to New York with the manuscript, and while absent from home, a stranger called on her and desired to examine it, that he might confirm or refute a report current in the West, that it had become the Mormon bible. She permitted him to visit her house and obtain it from a certain chest. He went and reported that he could not find it. Mrs. Spalding never saw it after this. The probability is, that Rigdon copied the work at Pittsburg, and that the stranger purloined the original to avoid a future exposure. The uniform testimony of those who read the work is, that the basis, and in great part, the form thereof, now constitute the Mormon bible. And thus a clergyman was most unwittingly and innocently the medium of a delusion, whose dimensions have become so large, and its impostures so monstrous."

    [Dartmouth Alumni, p. 39.]    

    The above facts are embodied in a letter from his brother, given below:

    EASTFORD, Jan. 6 1855.

    REV. SIR: -
    I received your letter of the 21st of December requesting me to give you a sketch of my brother Solomon's life. I should be pleased to oblige you satisfactorily, but my recollection and faculty of mind is so much impaired with age and infirmity, being within two months of ninety years of age, I can give but a broken narrative.

    He was born 1761. In the first part of the Revolutionary war he was in the army or at work on the farm. I do not recollect when he commenced study for education at High School, nor how long he continued there; but when he left there he went to study with the celebrated Zephaniah Swift to prepare for the practice of law. How long he studied with him I do not recollect; but before he got through, his mind changed from law to gospel and he left and went to college; but when I do not recollect. I believe he was in college about three years. He did not study


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    theology at any public school after he left college.

    When he left college he was out of health, and was so for years. He was approbated to preach as a Congregationalist, and followed that calling a number of years, but never settled, on account of his health, though often urged. In 1795 he married. I went to Cherry Valley and commenced merchandising. I had no wife. He followed soon after with his wife and joined me in partnership. He left the store to my care. He took the charge of an academy and preached occasionally for a while. We continued in Cherry Valley about four years, and then we moved our store sixteen miles, to Richfield. We soon after went into a large speculation in new land in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and after a few years he moved out there with his wife; she never had any children. He sold a large amount of land on credit, principally to people in Ohio.

    The war that broke out with England seriously affected that country. That circumstance, with some other misfortunes that happened, placed us in difficult circumstances. We were under the necessity to make great sacrifices to pay our debts. I went to see my brother and staid with him some time. I found him unwell, and somewhat low in spirits. He began to compose his novel, which it is conjectured that the Mormons made use of in forming their bible. Indeed, although there was nothing in it of Mormonism or that favored error in any way, yet I am apprehensive that they took pattern from it in forming their delusion. You may find my reason in what follows. In the town where he lived, which I expect is now called Salem, Ohio, there is the appearance of an ancient fort, and near by a large mound, which, when opened, was found to contain human bones. These things gave it the appearance of its being inhabited by a civilized people. These appearances furnished a topic of conversation among the people. My brother told me that a young man told him that he had a wonderful dream. He dreamed that he himself (if I recollect right) opened a great mound, where there were human bones. There he found a written history that would answer the inquiry respecting the civilized people that once inhabited that country until they were destroyed by the savages. This story suggested the idea of writing a novel merely for amusement. The title of his novel, I think, was "Historical Novel," or "Manuscript Found." This novel is the history contained in the manuscript found. The author of it he brings from the Old World, but from what nation I do not recollect; I think not a Jew; nor do I recollect how long since, but I think before the Christian Era. He was a man of superior learning suited to that day. He went to sea, lost his point of compass, and finally landed on the American shore; I think near the mouth of the Mississippi River. There he reflects most feelingly on what he suffered, his present condition and future prospects; he likewise makes some lengthy remarks on astronomy and philosophy, which I should think would agree in sentiment and style with very ancient writings. He then started and traveled a great distance through a wilderness country inhabited by savages, until he came to a country where the inhabitants were civilized, cultivated their land, and had a regular form of government, which was at war with the savages. There I left him and never saw him nor his writings any more.

    He soon after moved to Pittsburg, in Pennsylvania, where he lived awhile and then moved farther, to a place where he died. His widow then returned to the State of New York, and lived there awhile and then came to Connecticut. She informed me, if I recollect right, that my brother continued his history of the civilized nation and the progress of the war until the triumph of the savages to the destruction of the civilized government. Likewise she informed me that soon after they arrived at Pittsburg a man followed them, I do not recollect his name, but he was afterwards known to be a leading Mormon. He got into the employment of a printer, and he told the printer about my brother's composition. The printer called and requested the privilege of taking it home to read. He, my brother, let him take it; he kept it some time, and then he urged him, my brother, to let him print it. He, my brother, would not consent, but took it back, and she said that she brought it to New York and put it into a chest where she lived. And at a time when she was from home a stranger called upon her and requested her to let him see the novel that her husband composed. He said that he lived at the West, and it was reported there that it gave rise to Mormonism; if not true he wished to counteract the report. She told him that he might go to the house; it was in a chest, he might take it and examine it.

    He went to the chest, and I think she told me that he said that he could not find


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    it, but it has never been found since, But what use could they make of it? I never saw the Mormon bible but once, and then only for a minute, no time to examine it. I have but little knowledge of Mormonism; I have been out of the way of it. You, sir, no doubt, have more knowledge; but if I have been rightly informed, there is a striking resemblance between the first start and introduction of the Mormon bible and my brother's novel. They both claimed that the manuscripts from which they pretend they copied were of very ancient date and written by men that came here from the old world. The Mormon bible was not published until after my brother's death.

    Yours respectfully,                              
    JOSIAH SPALDING.        

    The following is a copy of a letter written forty years ago, and published in the Telegraph:

    ORIGIN OF MORMONISM. -- An Interesting Old Letter Written Forty Years Ago --
    Light Shed Upon the History of the Book of Mormonism Rigdon's Claims Confuted.

    [To the editor of the Telegraph.]

    The most direct and important testimony which has yet been given, bearing upon this question, is the letter of the widow of Rev. Solomon Spalding, which was published in the Boston Recorder, in its issue of April 19, 1839, only nine years after the appearance of the Book of Mormon. It has been repeatedly reprinted, but there are many of the present generation who have not seen it, and who will peruse it with deep interest. Especially will this be the case in this city and vicinity, which may be regarded as the birthplace of this great impostor. The prefatory note from Rev. John Storrs, at that time (1839) pastor of the Congregational church in Holliston, Massachusetts, fully explains the occasion for writing this letter, and the appended testimonials of Rev. Messrs. Ely and Austin, of Monson, Massachusetts, emphatically sustain the reliability of Mrs. Davidson.

    HOLLISTON, April 8, 1839.

    Dear Sir: As the pastor of the Congregational church and Society in this town, I have had occasion to come in contact with Mormonism in its grossest form. Consequently I have been led to make inquiries relative to its origin, progress, and, so far as they have any, the peculiar sentiments of its votaries. My object in this has been, as a faithful pastor, as far as possible, to arrest the i progress of what I deem to be one of the rankest delusions ever palmed on poor human nature.

    However, not supposing that the readers of the Recorder would be interested in the i details of Mormonism in general, I send you for publication in your valuable periodical, the following communication, as a paper of unusual importance, giving a certified and sufficiently well attested and true account of the "Book of Mormon," or "Golden Bible," as it is sometimes called, on which the whole system mainly depends. And here, perhaps it should be said, that the leaders of the delusion pretend that the book was dug out of the ground, where it had been deposited for many centuries; that it was written on certain metallic plates in a peculiar character or hieroglyphic; that the finder, a man of money-digging memory, who was accustomed to look into the ground by aid of a peculiar stone, was in a similar manner enabled to read and translate it. Hence it is sometimes called the Mormon bible, But not such was its origin, according to the following communication.

    The occasion of the communication coming into my hands is as follows: Having heard incidentally that there was a lady in Monson, Massachusetts, whose husband, now dead, was the author of the book, I requested in a note, Rev. D. R. Austin, principal of Monson academy, to obtain of her, for my benefit, and to be used as I should think proper, a certified account of its origin with her husband, for the character of which lady I wished the venerable Dr. Ely and himself to vouch. The following highly satisfactory document came in reply:


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    You are requested to insert it in the Recorder; not so much because it will interest the majority of your readers, but that the facts well attested may be laid up in memory, and the number of your paper containing them being kept, may afford the means to an enlightened community to refute so great an imposition on the world.

    I would not only respectfully bespeak its publication in the Recorder, but in other papers; I would it were published throughout the land. For many Mormons are straggling throughout the country, endeavoring to propagate their notions and with some success with a peculiar class of people. The origin of this pretended revelation being thus completely authenticated, may save many minds from delusion, fanaticism and ruin.

    Yours respectfully,


    As this book has excited much attention, and has been put [forth] by a certain new sect, in the place of the sacred Scriptures, I deem it a duty which I owe to the public, to state what I know touching its origin.

    That its claims to a divine origin are wholly unfounded needs no proof to a mind unperverted by the grossest delusions. That any sane person should rank it higher than any other merely human composition is a matter of the greatest astonishment; yet it is received as divine by some who dwell in enlightened New England, and even by those who have sustained the character of devoted Christians.

    Learning recently that Mormonism had found its way into a church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some of its members with some of its gross delusions, so that excommunication has been necessary, I am determined to delay no longer doing what I can to strip the mask from this monster of sin, and to lay open this pit of abomination.

    Rev. Solomon Spalding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage he resided in Cherry Valley, New York. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio; sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated upon Conneaut Creek. Shortly after our removal to this place, his health sunk, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers, and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spalding being an educated man, and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement and furnish employment for his lively imagination, he conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity of course would lead him to write in the most ancient style, and as the Old Testament is the most ancient book in the world, he imitated its style as nearly as possible. His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbors. This was about the year 1812. Hull's surrender at Detroit occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited among them.

    It is claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation[s], and to have been recovered from the earth, and assumed the title of "Manuscript Found." The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. Spalding progressed in deciphering "the manuscript," and when he had sufficient portion prepared, he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled, from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people, and could be easily recognized by them. Mr. Solomon Spalding had a brother, Mr. John Spalding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with the work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it read.


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    From New Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. Here we found a friend in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. P., who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time and informed Mr. S. that if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit.

    This Mr. S. refused to do for reasons which I cannot now state. Sidney Rigdon, one of the leaders and founders of the sect, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spalding's manuscript, and to copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington County, Pa,, where Mr. S. deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, of Monson, Mass., with whom I now reside, and by other friends.

    After the "Book of Mormon" came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spalding's former residence, and the very place where the 'Manuscript Found' was written. A [Mormon] preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the "Book of Mormon." The historical part was immediately recognized by the older inhabitants as the identical work of Mr. S., in which they had all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spalding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot and expressed in the meeting his deep sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great that the inhabitants had a meeting and deputed Dr. Philaster [[sic.]] Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spalding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive.

    This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, which was signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright and others, with all of whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided in New Salem.

    I am sure that nothing could grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition, doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to the purposes of delusion. Thus an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been constructed into a new Bible, and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics as divine.

    I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and its author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.


    Rev. Solomon Spaulding was the first husband of the narrator of the above history. Since his decease she has been married to a second husband by the name of Davidson. She is now residing in this place, is a woman of irreproachable character, and an humble Christian, and her testimony is worthy of implicit confidence.
    A. ELY, D.D., pastor of the Congregational Church, Monson.
    D.R. AUSTIN, principal of the Monson Academy.
    Monson, March 1, 1830. [sic, 1839]


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    The above has been carefully compared with a transcript taken from the files of the Boston Recorder, to secure an accurate copy of so important a document. A typographical error occurred in the Recorder, in which "Mormon preacher" was printed "woman preacher." The correction has been made on the authority of Rev. D. R. Austin, who acted as amanuensis for Mrs. Davidson.
    Pittsburg, March 25.

    The history of the Book of Mormon, as it is generally accepted by unbelievers in Joseph Smith, is thus told by the Springfield Republican:

    Remarkable local testimony has been discovered by the "Republican" sustaining the charge that the religion of Joe Smith and Brigham Young had its origin in a romance written by Rev. Solomon Spalding, of Ohio, half a century or more ago. The story is furnished by Mr. J. A. McKinstry of Longmeadow, a son of the late Dr. McKinstry, of Monson, and grandson of Rev. Mr. Spalding. Rev. Mr. Spalding's widow, who afterward became Mrs. Davidson, came east from Ohio to live with her daughter at Monson many years ago, bringing the manuscript of his romance with her. She died some twenty-five years ago, but before her death a plausible young man from Boston came to see her and get the Spalding writing. It was a time of considerable excitement concerning the Mormons, and he claimed to represent some Christian people who wanted to expose Mormonism. He therefore begged the loan of the manuscript for publication. Much against the wishes of Mrs. Dr. McKinstry, Mrs. Davidson consented to let her husband's unpublished romance go. Nothing was ever heard from it again, and the family have always considered that the bland young gentleman was an agent of Brigham Young to destroy this convincing evidence that Joe Smith's Mormon bible was of very earthly origin.

    The story of how Rev. Mr. Spalding came to prepare his romance, which Mr. McKinstry remembers as a child to have seen, is fresh and interesting. He was out of the active ministry in Ohio -- the name of the place Mr. McKinstry does not recollect, but it was near Palmyra, we believe -- running a small iron foundry; and being a man of literary tastes employed his leisure moments in weaving a romance. It was a time when the work of the mound-builders was creating wide interest, the implements of cookery and war being unearthed, showing the existence of a forgotten race. This furnished the inspiration for the chronicles of the story-writer. He entitled his production "Manuscript Found," the idea being that the romance woven by the ex-preacher was dug up out of one of the mounds in the region. It was a history of ancient America, not all written at once, but at leisure spells, and as the fancy fell to him Mr. Spalding would add to it. His writing was no secret in the neighborhood. In that then frontier region, with few opportunities for literary enjoyment, Mr. Spalding was prevailed upon to read his production to his neighbors as it progressed. It was written in bible phraseology, and made as quaintly olden as possible, so as to carry out the conceit of its alleged mound origin. Among the attentive listeners at these readings were Joe Smith and Sidney Rigdon, the same who founded Mormonism. Not only did Smith hear the manuscript read, but on one occasion, as Mrs. Davidson frequently testified before her death, he borrowed it for a week or so, giving as a reason that he wanted to read it to his family, who had been unable to attend on Mr. Spalding's readings. Not long afterward, it will be remembered, Smith claimed that an angel had revealed to him the existence of a buried history of aboriginal America, the plates of which it is alleged were dug up, and the book of Mormon made as a translation of their inscriptions, The widow of Mr. Spalding and her daughter, Mrs. Dr. McKinstry, of Monson, compared the Smith bible with the pastor's romance, and they were essentially the same. The similarity was so overwhelming as to leave no doubt that Smith copied in full Rev. Mr. Spalding's writing, and made out of it bodily his divine "revelation."

    The character of the minister's romance was such, and his elaboration of it so thorough, as to strike the fancy of Smith, who was given to the mysterious. His family had been noted for divination, treasure-seeking, etc., and so Joe found Mr. Spalding's work


    260                                     THE  SPALDING  MEMORIAL.                                    

    just in his line. That the results of his appropriation of it have been so stupendous was always a great cross to Mr. Spalding's good widow, Mrs. Davidson. She mourned that, even innocently, her husband should have been the means of foisting upon the world so great an evil. This was the real reason of her willingness to allow the manuscript to be taken to Boston for publication. It is to be regretted that her family have not better preserved Mrs. Davidson's recollections of her husband's writing, now forever lost to the world. Enough has been handed down, however, to establish beyond doubt the truth of the claim that here was the source of Joe Smith's "inspiration." Mrs. Davidson's story has long been familiar to leading men of Monson, and so impressed was the late Rev. Dr. Ely with it that he prepared a considerable account of it years ago.

    He m. Matilda Sabin, of Pomfret, Conn. They had no children, but adopted one.
    2856. Matilda Sabin.
    2857. ELISHA 6 [1175], (Josiah5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1), b. Feb. 28, 1763, in Ashford, Conn.; d. June 11, 1834, in Monroe, Ohio; m. Urania Woodard, July 1, 1789; she was b. Aug. 17, 1766; d. April 22, 1846. He settled in Chelsea, Vt., about the year 1787 or 8. In the fall of 1823 he moved to Conneaut, Crawford Co., Pa., with his family and lived with his brother John, until the spring of 1824, when he settled in Monroe, Ashtabula Co., Ohio, where he resided the remainder of his days.
    Children all born in Chelsea, Vt.
    2858. John, b. May 18, 1790; d. June 5, 1821, in Chelsea, Vt.
    2859. Solenda, b. Jan. 3, 1792; d. April 7, 1821, in Chelsea, Vt.
    2860. Abigail, b. Jan. 17, 1794; d. May 16, 1867, in Monroe, Ohio.
    2861. Cynthia, b. Jan. 9, 1797; m. Francis Kellogg, Jan. 16, 1826; he was b. Feb. 25, 1795; d. Aug. 5, 1852; she d. Nov. 8, 1862, in Monroe, Ohio.
    2862. Elisha, b. April 15, 1799; d. Dec. 21, 1837, in Monroe, Ohio.
    2863. Solomon [6416], b. Aug. 22, 1801.
    2864. Josiah [6420], b. Sept. 3, 1803.
    2865. Urania, b. Aug. 11, 1806; m. John Haviland, Aug. 9, 1849; res. Monroe, Ohio. 

    2866. JOSIAH 6 [1176], (Josiah5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1), b. March 12, 1765, in Ashford, Conn. (other authority, March 31, 1765); d. Nov. 16, 1859, aged 94 yrs. 8 mos. 4 days; m. Jemima Bosworth, Nov., 1806; she d. Aug. 23, 1837, aged 71; res. and d. in Eastford, Conn., formerly a part of Ashford, Conn.

    At the birth of his son, Josiah, he lived in Richfield, N.Y.; about 1818 he moved back to Ashford, Conn.  

    2867. Josiah; he was their only child, and d. unmarried.
    2868. EPHRAIM 6 [1178], (Josiah5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1), b. Sept. 29, 1769, in Ashford, Conn.; d. March 19, 1815;

    1st, m. Betsey Gilbert, of Sunderland, Mass.; she d. March 29, 1801; 2d, m. Hannah Farnham, of Ashford, Conn.
    2869. Cynthia.
    2870. Betsey.
    2871. Solomon [6427], b. Nov. 4, 1802.

    2872. JOHN 6 [1180], (Josiah5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1), b. Jan. 10, 1774, in Ashford, Conn.; d. March 22, 1857, in Lisle, DuPage Co., Ill. m. Martha Denison, April 5, 1802; she d. Dec. 11, 1864. He settled in Conneaut, Crawford Co., Pa.; about 1842 he moved with his family, except his eldest son, to Illinois, where he and his wife died at an advanced age. He was a farmer, and his sons were all farmers. In his religious views he was a close-communion Baptist.

    The first five children were born in Richfield, N.Y.; the others born in Conneaut, Crawford Co., Pa.

    2873. Iola, b. Jan. 16, 1803; m. Orsamus Hewitt, June 30, 1825; he was b. April 26, 1805; d. Feb. 15, 1860; res. Cass, Du Page Co., Ill.
    2874. Emeline, b. May 9, 1804, d. March 11, 1820.
    2875. Matilda, b. April 3, 1806; m. John McMellen; she d. May 8, 1855.
    2876. Daniel-Denison, b. Oct. 3, 1807.
    2877. Mary, b. March 6, 1810; d. Dec. 4, 1856.
    2878. Martha-Geer, b. March 13, 1812; 1st, m. Henry-C. Cross, Oct. 9, 1844; he d. Jan. 6, 1847; 2d, m. Luther-Clark Lee, March 4, 1849; res. Aurora, Ill.
    2879. John [6431], b. Sept. 14, 1814.
    2880. Ephraim [6435] ,b.Jan. 10, 1817.
    2881. William, b. Oct. 27, 1819.
    2882. Sarah-Ann, b. July 25, 1821; m. Malcolm-Dunbar Morton, April 15, 1847; res. Vinton, Iowa. 

    2883. NEWELL 6 [1183], (Josiah5, Ephraim4, Edward3, Benjamin2, Edward1); d. Nov. 11, 1849, aged 80; 1st, m. Sally Joslin, Jan. 4, 1796; she d. March 20, 1798; 2d, m. Abigail Franklin, Jan. 5, 1800; she d. Feb. 14, 1818; 3d, m. Solinda Spalding, Oct. 7, 1818; she d. Oct. 27, 1853; she was the daughter of Josiah Spalding [1171]; res. Eastford, Conn.

    2884. Olive, b. Dec. 4, 1800; m. Cyrus Brown, April 9, 1819; res. Mystic, Conn. and Worcester, Mass.
    2885. Danforth-Keyes, b. March 23, 1802; res. Pomfret, Conn.; unmarried.
    2886. Maly-Bennett, b. March 8, 1804; m. Thomas-Watson Delphi, Dec. 25, 1828; res. Willington, Conn.
    2887. Azubah, b. Sept. 27, 1805; m. William Barber, March 5, 1823; res. Thompson, Conn.
    2888. Lydia, b. April 4, 1808; d. March 18, 1810.
    2889. Abigail, b. Jan. 21, 1810; d. Jan., 1816.
    2890. Benjamin-Franklin [6439] b.Apri123, 1812.
    2891. Lorissa-Bennett, b. Dec. 29, 1815; Ist, m. Hezekiah Congdon, June 4, 1838; he d. Oct. 26, 1842; 2d, m. Welcome-B. Lewis, April 20, 1863; res. Mystic, Conn.
    2892. Joseph-Raymond [6440], b. March 23, 1817.

    (the remainder of this text has not yet been transcribed)


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