Early Washington Co. Pennsylvania Histories with
References to Spalding, Rigdon, Mormonism, etc.

Solomon Spalding's "Temperance Inn" and Residence (1814-16) at Amity, PA

Alfred Creigh's comments (excerpts)

Creigh, Alfred: History of Washington County
(Harrisburg: B. Singerly, Pub., 1870, 71)

Title page
Chapter 1
Chapter 5   Mormonism   Campbellites

Transcriber's comments   1781 map   1792 map

Alfred Creigh's 1879 newspaper article  |  1882 History of Washington Co. excerpt
McFarland's 1910 20th Cent. Hist. excerpt  |  Forrest's 1926 Hist. Wash. Co. excerpt













Whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future preponderate over the present,
advances us in the dignity of thinking beings. -- Dr. Johnson.




[ ii ]

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1870, by


in the Office of the Clerk of the District Court of the United States in and for
the Western District of Pennsylvania.


[ iii ]











B Y   T H E I R   F E L L O W - C I T I Z E N,

ALFRED CREIGH.                  

                ELLENDALE  VILLA,
                WASHINGTON.  PA.,  June 29, 1870.

[ 5 ]


(this page not yet transcribed)


6                                                   PREFACE.                                                  

(this page not yet transcribed)


[ 7 & 8 ]




Spottsylvania County; its boundaries -- Orange County -- Frederick County; its boundaries -- Augusta County; its boundaries -- District of West Augusta -- Justices' Courts -- Oath of allegiance -- Oath of supremacy -- The test oath -- Oath of abjuration -- Youghiogheny County; its boundaries, courts, and court-houses, and punishments -- Pillory and stocks described -- Whipping-post and dunking-stool -- Ohio County; its boundaries and court-house -- Monongalia County -- Courts and roads -- Orphan children -- Taverns -- Continental money -- Ferries -- Attorneys-at-law -- Sheriffs and deputy-sheriffs -- Surveyors -- Military officers -- Grist-mills -- Salts -- Cotton, and wool cards -- Counterfeit money -- Allegiance -- Naturalization -- Passports -- Benevolence of Youghiogheny County -- Marriage extraordinary -- Reflections   pg. 009



History of Pennsylvania, from the date of its charter to the present time, embracing a list of all the Indian titles to lands -- Historical and statistical facts -- The date of the formation of each county of the State, with the number of acres and population in each, and a list of the Governors from the accession of William Penn, its proprietor, in 1681 to 1870   pg. 027.



Divisions by the formation of townships -- Its original and present townships and boroughs -- Its present boundaries with topographical and geographical description and its streams -- Its early religions element and the religious agreement of 1788 -- Marriage custom and ceremony -- School-houses.   pg. 039



A brief history of the Provincial Conference -- The Constitution of 1776; the Council of Censors; the Convention of 1789; the Constitution of 1790; the action of the Legislature of 1825; with regard to a convention, and the vote of the people; the Convention of 1837; the Constitution of 1836, and the full proceedings of the Supreme Executive, from 1781 to 1791, which relates to Washington County.   pg. 054



The history of the Townships and Boroughs in their chronological order, detailing interesting events in each -- Also the history of churches and the present state of education in each township and borough.   pg. 87



Members of Congress -- Senators and Representatives --President Judges --Associate Judges and Deputy Attorney-Generals -- Attorneys-at-Law -- Prothonotaries -- Registers -- Recorders -- Clerk of the Courts -- Sheriffs -- Coroners -- Commissioners -- Clerks to Commissioners -- Treasurers -- Auditors -- Notary Public -- Directors of the Poor -- Deputy Surveyor- General --Justices of the Peace   pg. 250.



Brig.-Gen. Clark's expedition in 1781 -- Col. David Williamson's expedition in 1782 -- Col. William Crawford's expedition in 1782 -- Whiskey insurrection in 1791-4 -- Outrage on the Chesapeake Frigate, 1807 -- War of 1812 -- Texas Revolution, in 1836 -- Mexican War in 1846 -- Southern Rebellion in 1861.   pg. 278






The date of the earliest settlements by Virginians and Pennsylvanians -- The difficulties between the Governors of both States arising from these settlements -- The names of the first settlers -- The various acts of Capt. Connolly as the representative of Virginia in claiming Fort Duquesne (Pittsburg) as within Virginia -- His treason -- Commissioners appointed by both States to run a temporary line until the Revolutionary War would terminate -- The action of both States approving of the same, and the necessity of erecting Washington County.   pg 3



Its full history -- the line run by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon -- the claim of Pennsylvania -- the claim of Lord Baltimore -- the appointment of commissioners -- the labors of Mason and Dixon ended in 1767 -- new commissioners appointed in 1783 by the States of Virginia and Pennsylvania -- letter from Joseph Reed on the scientific apparatus to be used -- report of the joint-commissioners -- report of the Pennsylvania commissioners -- cost of running the line -- the western line of Pennsylvania run by commissioners appointed by both States, and the report of the commissioners thereupon -- the origin of the Pan Handle in West Virginia.   pg. 24



Names of all the tribes of North America in 1764 -- Those inhabiting Western Pennsylvania and adjoining territory -- letters on the Indian wrongs from 1765 to 1780 -- Rice's fort -- Letters from Dr. J. C. Hupp on Miller's block-house -- Captivity and escape of Jacob Miller, and the cruel murder of five of Miller's friends -- Vance's fort -- Well's fort -- Lindley's fort   pg. 38



[ 09 ]



Spottsylvania County; its boundaries -- Orange County -- Frederick County; its boundaries -- Augusta County; its boundaries -- District of West Augusta -- Justices' Courts -- Oath of allegiance -- Oath of supremacy -- The test oath -- Oath of abjuration -- Youghiogheny County; its boundaries, courts, and court-houses, and punishments -- Pillory and stocks described -- Whipping-post and dunking-stool -- Ohio County; its boundaries and court-house -- Monongalia County -- Courts and roads -- Orphan children -- Taverns -- Continental money -- Ferries -- Attorneys-at-law -- Sheriffs and deputy-sheriffs -- Surveyors -- Military officers -- Grist-mills -- Salts -- Cotton, and wool cards -- Counterfeit money -- Allegiance -- Naturalization -- Passports -- Benevolence of Youghiogheny County -- Marriage extraordinary -- Reflections

To trace the history of Washington County from its primitive existence, the historian should give facts, but the inferences and reflections should be left to the render. It will be our province, therefore, to examine into the history of the colony of Virginia from its first settlement on the 25th day of March, 1584, to the 23d day of August, 1785, at which date the commissioners of the States of Virginia and Pennsylvania entered into conciliatory measures whereby that portion of Western Pennsylvania claimed by Virginia became vested in our own State.

Our chartered rights, therefore, are deduced from charters granted by the reigning King of England, either to the colony of Virginia in 1584, or to the colony of Pennsylvania in 1681, as the records will demonstrate.

In 1584 Sir Walter Raleigh obtained letters patent for discovering unknown countries, by virtue of which he took possession of that part of America which he afterwards named VIRGINIA, in honor of Queen Elizabeth. He attempted its settlement, but failed. He took an active part in many enterprises in England; and, among the number he endeavored to place Arabella Stewart on the throne, and for this conspiracy was tried and condemned, on November 17, 1603, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Notwithstanding his conviction and sentence, he was not executed, but was confined in


10                               HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                              

(pages 10-86 not yet transcribed)

[ 87 ]



The history of the Townships and Boroughs in their chronological order, detailing interesting events in each -- Also the history of churches and the present state of education in each township and borough.

(this page not yet transcribed)


88                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  


In the original record of this county its name is written "Aim-well." At the date of its organization, July 15th, 1781, it was bounded on the north by Strabane township, east by Bethlehem township, south by Morgan township (a township of Greene County since 1796). and on the west by Donegal.

Its present boundaries are South Strabane on the north, Morris and Franklin on the west, West Bethlehem on the east, and Greene County on the south. On the 19th of June, 1838, part of Amwell was annexed to Strabane township, and at the May term of court in 1856, the township lines between Amwell and Morris were changed and confirmed. It is centrally distant from the borough of Washington ten miles. Its population in 1860 was 2042, of which seven were colored. Its greatest length is ten miles, breadth four and one-half miles.

This township is drained by the north fork of Tenmile Creek; by the little North fork and Bane's fork of the same creek. It contains four stores, one distillery, and ten schools, employing five male and five female teachers, the former receiving thirty-eight dollars and thirty-eight cents, and the latter thirty-three dollars and five cents each per month, with five hundred and nineteen scholars, of which two hundred and eighty-six are males and two hundred and thirty-three are females -- the tuition costing each scholar per month eighty; three cents. Amount of tax levied for building purposes, four hundred and thirty-eight dollars and ninety-five cents -- total amount levied for school purposes, two thousand four hundred and thirty-nine dollars and fourteen cents; amount received from the State appropriation one hundred and eighty-three dollars and thirty cents. The towns are AMITY and CLARKTOWN (TEN-MILE VILLAGE).

Amity is about ten miles from the county seat, and is on Bane's fork of Ten-mile Creek and on the road leading from Washington to Waynesburg, containing thirty-four dwellings, two stores, a Presbyterian church * under the care of Rev. J. W. Hamilton, and a Methodist Protestant church, the pastor of which is Rev. F. A. Day.

This town was located about the year 1790 by Daniel Dodd, Esq., a brother of the Rev. Thaddeus Dodd, who owned the land, formed the plan, and numbered the lots. The position being central, on main thoroughfare to Greene County, a hewed log Presbyterian church, stores, tavern, and dwelling houses were soon erected. At that early date the churches were destitute of heating apparatus, and the church-going members sat in their pews with their great coats and mittens, while the women were muffled up -- not in furs, but in home-made dresses and comfortable shawls. Here we may remark that both before and after preaching by Rev. Dodd, the male part of the congregation used to resort to the tavern to warm themselves [this place] being now occupied as a private dwelling by Squire [Clutter, no tavern] being licensed in the place. In those early days athletic

* see pp. 217, 218.


                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   89

sports were much more in vogue than at present; long bullets, the ball alley, and target shooting were the favorite exercises, and the party losing paid their forfeit by ordering drinks for all hands.


The village of Amity, in all coming time, will be regarded as the Mecca of Mormonism. It was in the year 1816 that the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth College, settled in this rural village, with a view to banish ennui. He was (what is familiarly known as) an antiquarian, and travelled far and near to investigate, scientifically, Indian mounds, and everything else connected with American antiquities, for the purpose of tracing the aborigines to their original source, a portion of one of the lost tribes of ancient Israel. While pursuing these investigations, and to while away the tedious hours, he wrote a romance, based upon fiction; his investigations and history at the same time leaving the reader under the impression that it was found in one of these mounds, and through his knowledge of hieroglyphics he had deciphered it. As time and circumstances would permit, he would often read to his friends in Amity portions of his fabulous and historical romance.

Rev. Spaulding resolved to publish it under the name of "The Manuscript Found," and actually entered into a contract with a Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburg, to publish the same, but from some cause the contract was not fulfilled. The manuscript remained in the possession of Mr. Patterson between two and three years before Mr. Spaulding reclaimed and recovered it. In the mean time a journeyman printer of the name of Sidney Rigden copied the whole of the manuscript and hearing of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s, digging operations for money through the instrumentality of necromancy, resolved in his own mind that he would turn this wonderful manuscript to good account and make it profitable to himself. An interview takes place between Rigden and Smith, terms are agreed upon, the whole manuscript undergoes a partial revision, and in process of time, instead of finding money, the find CURIOUS PLATES, which when translated, turn out to be the GOLDEN BIBLEBOOK OF MORMON, which was found under the prediction of Mormon in these words (see Mormon Bible, p. 504): "Go to the land Antum, unto a hill which shall be called Shin, and there I have deposited unto the Lord all the sacred engravings concerning this people." Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, certify that they have seen these selfsame plates which were deposited by Mormon -- that they were faithfully translated by the gift and power of God, because God's voice declared unto them, that the work was true, and to place the testimony of truthfulness beyond a peradventure, eight witnesses, viz.: Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, John Whitmer, Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hiram Smith, and Samuel H. Smith (almost all of the witnesses belonging either to the Whitmer or Smith


90                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

family), testify that Joseph Smith, Jr., the translator, showed them the plates of gold, that they handled them with their own hands, saw the curious engravings, and that the plates were of curious workmanship. Such is the account of the most stupendous imposture which has been perpetrated for many centuries, but more especially upon so intelligent a nation as the American people. An imposture at which the religious world stands amazed, paralyzing the marriage vow, and defying the power of the general government.

To place this question beyond the possibility of a doubt, and to demonstrate the fact that the Book of Mormon was originally written in Amity, Washington County, Pa., I shall take the testimony of living witnesses, whose characters are beyond reproach, and beloved by the entire community as persons whose veracity cannot be questioned, and whose intelligence has no superior. The testimony I shall offer is a letter from the Rev. J. W. Hamilton, pastor of the Presbyterian church in Amity, Pa. -- a letter from Joseph Miller, Sr., the intimate and confidential friend of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and lastly, a letter from the wife of Rev. Spaulding, which was originally published thirty-one years since, or in 1833.


Some time since I became the owner of the book of Mormon. I put it into the hands of Mr. Joseph Miller, Sr., of Amwell township. After examining it he makes the following statement concerning the connection of Rev. Solomon Spaulding with the authorship of the book of Mormon.

Mr. Miller is now in the seventy-ninth year of his age. He is an elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. His judgment is good and his veracity unimpeachable. He was well acquainted with Mr. S. while he lived at Amity. He waited on him during his last illness. He made his coffin, and assisted to bury his remains where they now lie, in the Presbyterian graveyard at Amity. Re also bailed Mr. S.'s wife when she took out letters of administration on his estate.

Mr. Miller's statement may be relied on as true.     J. W. Hamilton.


When Mr. Spaulding lived in Amity, Pa., I was well acquainted with him. I was frequently at his house. He kept what is called a tavern. It was understood that he had been a preacher; but his health failed him and he ceased to preach. I never knew him to preach after he came to Amity.

He had in his possession some papers which he said he had written. He used to read select portions of these papers to amuse us of evenings.

These papers were detached sheets of foolscap. He said he wrote the papers as a novel. He called it the "Manuscript Found," or "The Lost Manuscript Found." He said he wrote it to pass away the time when he was unwell; and after it was written he thought he would publish it a novel, as a means to support his family.

Some time since, a copy of the book of Mormon came into my hands. My son read it for me, as I have a nervous shaking of the hands that prevents me from reading. I noticed several passages which I recollect having


                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   91

heard Mr. Spaulding read from his "Manuscript." One passage on the 148th page (the copy I have is published by J. O. Wright & Co., New York) I remember distinctly. He speaks of a battle, and says the Amalekites had marked themselves with red on the foreheads to distinguish them from the Nephites. The thought of being marked on the forehead with red was so strange, it fixed itself in my memory. This together with other passages I remember to have heard Mr. Spaulding read from his "Manuscript."

Those who knew Mr. Spaulding will soon all be gone, and I among the rest. I write that what I know may become a matter of history; and that it may prevent people from being led into Mormonism, that most seductive delusion of the devil.

From what I know of Mr. Spaulding's "Manuscript" and the book of Mormon, I firmly believe that Joseph Smith, by some means, got possession of Mr. Spaulding's "Manuscript," and possibly made some changes in it and called it the "Book of Mormon."           JOSEPH MILLER, SR.
March 26, 1869.



Joseph Miller, Esq., an old and highly respected citizen of Amwell township, sends us by hand of Rev. J. W. Hamilton, of Amity, the following communication, which originally appeared in a magazine entitled the Evangelist of the True Gospel, published at Carthage, Ohio, in 1839.

Mr. Miller has, on various occasions heretofore, furnished us with many interesting incidents connected with the career of Solomon Spaulding, and the origin of the so-called Mormon Bible. The present contribution, which consists of a statement from the wife of Mr. Spaulding, seems to furnish conclusive evidence that the "Manuscript Found," written by her husband, and the "Book of Mormon," are one and the same.
Origin of the "Book of Mormon," or "Golden Promise." -- As this book has excited much attention, and has been put 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 has found its way into a church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some of its members with 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 Spaulding, 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 arrested the attention of the new settlers, and became objects


92                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding 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, and to have been recovered from the earth, and assumed the title of "Manuscript Found." The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. S. 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 Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with the work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it read.

From New Salem we removed to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Here Mr. S. found an acquaintance and 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, 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. Spaulding's manuscript, and to copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all who were 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 woman-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 all the older inhabitants as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding 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 held a


                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   93

meeting and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, 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. This 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.


The 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 Congregational Church, Monson.
D. R. ELY, [sic.]        
Principal of Monson Academy. 


I have been favored with the following description of Clarktown, or Tenmile Village, by J. C. Milliken, M. D., one of our most successful physicians in this county: --

This town is situated in the southern part of the county, near the line of Greene County, on North Tenmile Creek. It is one of our neatest country villages, with one main street and another running across it at nearly right angles; the houses are generally neatly painted, with yards in front ornamented with evergreens, shrubbery, and flowers. The town contains one large flour and saw-mill, one blacksmith shop, one dry-goods store, one carriage and wagon factory, one shoemaker shop, two physicians, and a population of about two hundred and twenty. It contains a Masonic lodge, and a school-house capable of containing one hundred scholars, in which the usual branches are taught nine months in the year.


Of the early settlers in this part of the county, as well as the adjoining county of Greene, we desire to speak. The first settlers were squatters who purchased the land from the native Indians for a gun. trinket, or gewgaw, of whom were John Rutman and Dennis Smith, the former dying at the age of ninety-nine and the. latter at


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                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   193

On the 27th of November, its third meeting was held in the court-house, and ten persons were added. On January 23, 1832, Rev. A. Bryan was assisted by Rev. Milton Bird, and six persons received. February 24, 1832, an election for ruling elders was held. Peter Wolfe, Moses Little, and A. M. S. Gordon were elected and ordained ruling elders. December 25, 1832, John Hewitt and Andrew Bell were elected and ordained elders. 1835, June 14, the church dedicated by Rev. Alfred Bryan. September 21, 1835, James McDowell; March, 1838, James Guttery, Ezekiel Tharp, and William Smith; 1844, Odel Squier; 1851, William Smith, were elected elders.

March 24, 1832, Samuel McFarland, Alex Ramsey, John Wilson, William Smith, were elected trustees. March 24, 1846, William Smith, Matthew Friffin, Joseph Martin, and Ezekiel Tharp. January 11, 1858, Hugh Munnel, John Guthery, James McElree, and H. B. McCollum.

The first Board of Trustees were authorized to procure a house of worship.

In 1834, Samuel McFarland erected the church ediface on Belle Street, from voluntary contributors and his own private funds, and in 1856, it appears the church was in debt to him $970. The reason given on the records why the church did not prosper, was their failing in their contract on this occasion, and also promising preachers more than they gave them.

The ministers who have been ordained as pastors were Rev. S. M. Aaston, Rev. J. Shook, Rev. J. Eddy, Rev. Milton Bird, Rev. A. T. Reese, Rev. W. E. Post, Rev. S. E. Hudson, Rec. S. Murdock, Rev. P. Axtel, Rev. Robert Martin, Rev. J. C. Thompson, Rev. A. S. Robertson, Rev. Frederick Wall, Rev. John R. Brown, Rev. Weaver, and Rev. John Edmiston.

In 1867, from a variety of causes, the church did not meet, there being no pastor, and the people united with other churches. The building is rented to the Disciple Church.


Before giving a history of the different church organizations in this county, we would prefix the following account of this religious denomination:--

In their associated oeganization they are called the Church of Christ, or the Christian Church, but in their individual religious capacity "Disciples of Christ." As early as 1803 a church was constituted in the Pigeon Creek settlement under the labors of Rev. Matthias Luce, the Rev. Speers, and others, taking the Holy Scriptures for their rule of faith and practice. The record itself styles this organization "The Gospel Church." This church was afterwards called the Baptist church, the cause of its origin being brought about by Rev. Charles Wheeler, who, in an effort to introduce the creed of that denomination, said, "Those that subscribed to the creed


194                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

would be known and recognized as the regular Baptist Church of Pigeon Creek, those who would not, as Campbellites."

In 1807, Rev. Thomas Campbell emigrated to the United States (a member of the General Associate Synod of Scotland) and was received by the Presbytery of Chartiers. So zealous was he in the advocacy of the all-sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures designed expressly for the edification and perfection of the Christian church, that he felt it to be his duty to remonstrate against the doctrines and commandments of men in the form of creeds, confessions, and catechisms, arguing therefrom that Protestant denominations had usurped more or less the forms, the teachings, and the preachings of the divinely commissioned apostles. This teaching was opposed by his co-presbyters, and on the 17th of August, 1809, a meeting was held on the head waters of Buffalo, in this county, in which a declaration and address of the Christian Association of Washington was adopted "for the sole purpose of promoting simple evangelical Christianity free from all mixture of human opinions and inventions of men." In its declaration, this society "by no means considers itself a church, nor does it at all assume to itself the powers peculiar to such a society, nor do the members as such consider themselves as standing connected in that relation, nor as at all associated for the peculiar purposes of church association, but merely as voluntary advocates for church reformation. Notwithstanding these principles as announced in the declaration and address, we find here, on the 4th day of May, 1811, organized a number of those who belonged to the (Buffalo) Christian Association, into a church with no other creed but the Bible.

While upon this subject, we may remark that at a meeting of the Synod of the Presbyterian Church, held October 4, 1810, Rev. Thomas Campbell, formerly a member of the Associate Synod, but representing himself as a member of the Christian Association of Washington; applied to be taken into Christian ministerial standing. The records show that Rev. Mr. Campbell was heard at length, but the Synod unanimously resolved that however specious the plan of the Christian Association, and however seducing its professions, as experience of the effects of similar projects in other parts has evinced their baleful tendency and destructive operations on the whole interests of religion by promoting divisions instead of union, by degrading the ministerial character, by providing free admission to any errors in doctrine, and to any corruptions in discipline, while a nominal approbation of the Scriptures as the only standard of truth may be professed, the synod are constrained to disapprove the plan and its natural effects. It was also resolved that Rev. Mr. Campbell's request to be received into ministerial and Christian communion cannot be granted. The Synod's disapprobation was not on account of moral character, but on account of his peculiar views, as being inconsistent with the standards of the Presbyterian church.

Afterwards Rev. Thomas Campbell sought to persuade his brethren to a stricter observance of the literal teachings of the New


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Testament. Meeting, therefore, with opposition, and being driven to a closer examination of the Scriptures, he continued to impart the light which dawned upon his own mind to his hearers, and following out their own convictions they soon found themselves drifting away, not only from church standard, but from every other organization built upon what they styled a human platform. He found all his proposals to his Presbyterian friends as embodied in the Buffalo declaration and address rejected, and himself and friends cut off from all church privileges, hence they sought a closer union to Christ, by announcing that they believed that the primitive apostolic mode of worship could be attained without the embittered feelings of selfishness engendered by sectarian strife. Consequently, on the 4th of May, 1811, a number of those who had belonged to the Christian Association were organized into a church with no other creed but the Bible.

At this meeting Thomas Campbell was appointed elder, his son Alexander was licensed to preach the gospel, and John Dawson, George Sharp, William Gilchrist, and James Foster were chosen deacons.

Upon the basis of the declaration and address, elder Thomas Campbell formed two congregations, one at Cross Roads, six miles northwest of Washington, Penna., and the other on Brush Run, eight miles southwest of the same place.

This denomination has the following churches in Washington County, one in Washington, formerly at Martinsburg, two miles east of the borough, one at Pigeon Creek, one at Maple Creek, one at Peters Creek, one at West Middleton, one at the Dutch Fork, one at Independence, and one at West Findley.


The church in Washington worships regularly in the Cumberland Presbyterian church, having leased the same for this purpose. It was originally organized at the house of Richard B. Chaplin, in Washington, on Thursday evening, the 12th day of May, 1831. The persons present on that occasion were Richard B. Chaplin, Samuel Marshall, Henry Langley, Frederick Huffman, and Franklin Dunham, Mrs. Sophia Chaplin, Jane McDermot, Hannah Acheson, and Hannah Marshall, who, after mature deliberation, formed themselves into a church, having for their rule of faith and practice the Holy Scriptures, and submitting themselves to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles. They also appointed R. B. Chaplin and Samuel Marshall to preside at their meetings for worship and to administer the ordinances.

On May 15, 1831, the church met at R. B. Chaplin's house for the first time, and the brethren and sisters broke the loaf and partook of the wine, in commemoration of the sufferings and death of Christ. Since which time they continued to meet at the house of Samuel Marshall, and the school-house on the farm of Henry Vankirk, Sr., four miles south of Washington, until the fall of 1836, when they


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Joseph F. McFarland's comments (excerpts)

McFarland, Joseph F.20th Cent. Hist. of Wash. Co.
(Chicago: Richmond-Arnold Pub. Co., 1910)

Title page
Rigdon & Spalding   Campbellites
Rigdon the Baptist   Book of Mormon

Transcriber's comments   1781 map   1792 map




Washington and Washington County


R e p r e s e n t a t i v e   C i t i z e n s







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History of the Quaker, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Cumberland Presbyterian and United Presbyterian Denominations.

William Penn, in his quaint Quaker language, instructed his agents in Pennsylvania, that: "Since there was no other thing I had in my eye in the settlement of this province next to the advancement of virtue than the comfortable situation of the inhabitants therein, and for that end * * * ordained that every township consisting of 5,000 acres should have ten families at the least, to the end that the province might not be a wilderness as some others yet do by vast vacant tracts of land * * * I do hereby desire my trusty commissioners * * * to take the greatest care that justice and impartiality be observed towards all in the disposal of land, as well in reference to qaulity and quantity, that what is right in the sight of God and good men may always be preferred, for it is the best and lastingest bottom to act and build upon. Given at Worthington Place, in Old England, the 24th day of the 11th month, 1686."

His agents succeeded in bringing in plain people, who became the small land owners looking for liberty of conscience and worship. These Washington County settlers were in early days most zealously illiberal and were originators of much confusion and distraction.

A birds-eye view of the religious settlements shows the Quakers, or Friends, as a small transient company settling near the southeastern corner of our county and flitting across the southern border, soon to disappear entirely -- the Presbyterians setting their feet firmly on all sides of the central or county seat, and cohesively working outward, covering all the county except the southeast and southwest; the United Presbyterians coming up from many distracted bodies and uncertain groups into one large undivided close communion; the Cumberland Presbyterians springing up from a great need, caused largely by the fervor of one young man, James McGrady, whose early studies and theological training was in Hopewell Township; the Baptists making a most early start along Tenmile Creek and unwillingly giving birth to the Campbellite branch -- these same Campbellites in their efforts to set aside all sects and creeds creating a new sect, this new sect giving instruction to their fellow laborer, Sidney Rigdon, born on Washington County soil, by which he became mistakenly inspired to create a new religion founded on a fictitious tale, written by a resident of this county, giving a Mormon people, which the inhabitants of Washington County will not concede to be Christians, and whose practices would not be tolerated within this county. These Latter Day Saints have no organization in the county, yet they have an offshoot here of three local associations calling themselves "The Church of Jesus Christ," and have among their the president of that organization in the United States, and have also the official paper or publication of that body. A heavy sprinkling of Methodists with two divisions, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Dunkards, Catholics, Jews, Bohemians and others teach with freedom in this county.

Carlyle has said, "A man's religion is the chief fact with regard to him." Another has said, "It was the staunch religion of the best of the early settlers that made this country worth coming to." The high resolves and determination of these early settlers is indicated in many instances, two of which we will mention...

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The land in all this region was known as the "Redstone Country" or "Redstone" in the early days. The name was applied to Redstone Creek (Pierre-Rouge) by the French in the beginning of Monongahela river history and map-making, and is thought to have been first given by the Indians. The burning leaves setting fire to the coal found in the hillside, produced red-hot coals or redstone. An ancient mound or earthworks, such as gave rise to the belief that they were the works of a mound-building race superior to the red man whom the settlers found here, stood near the mouth of this creek. It was known as "Old Fort," "Old Fort at Redstone" and "Redstone Old Fort."

This name still clung to the English fort built there in 1758 or 1759 (The Old Towne, 1883). The name was not only adopted by the Quakers to denote an association of congregations in this region, as "Redstone Quarterly Meeting," but there was a Presbytery of Redstone, the Redstone Baptist Association and the Redstone Methodist Circuit.

Friends from eastern Pennsylvania, new Jersey and northern Delaware, came in about 1787, finding goodly land which the Virginians were eager to leave after they discovered that Pennsylvania would control this Redstone country.

The first purchase of land for a Quaker meeting-house was in 1792, on Two-Mile Creek in East Bethlehem Township, containing ten acres conveyed by James Townsend to trustees for the society of the people called Quakers of Westland Meeting for the purpose of a meeting-house, burying-ground and other necessary purposes for the use of said society. This society of the "Westland Friends" or "Westland Monthly Meeting" held its last meeting and disbanded in 1864, the members being transferred to Salem Monthly Meeting, Ohio, the nearest meeting of the Quaker Society. The names of those so transferred included 49 males and 42 females with the families of four of them, for all children of Quaker birth were considered a part of the society. Of the 91 transferred, 21 were Cleavers. The land was sold in 1866 to William Fisher, Amos G. Cleaver and Joseph Farquhar, because the members had been unable to maintain a meeting, and the greater part of the ten acres was in 1902 conveyed to the Westland Cemetery Association.

It is possible that some of the persons dismissed were members of an adjoining "meeting" for the Friends had four and a quarter acres in West Pike Run Township where they had a "Pike Run Meeting-house" on land purchased in 1797; and a "Fallowfield Meeting-house"

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on four and one-quarter acres of land in Allen Township purchased in 1799; and there was a Society of Quakers having a meeting-house in East Finley Township on one acre and seven perches of land purchased in 1811 from a Quaker named Samuel England, "on the dividing ridge between the waters of the Ten-Mile and Wheeling Creeks," lying along Ryerson's road. All of these houses ceased to be used by the Society of Friends during the first half of the last century or shortly after. The cause of much dissension among the Quakers was the teaching of Elias Hicks, which divided many of these meetings into what was called Hicksites and the Orthodox Quakers.

Both the Pike Run Meeting-house, located in Pike Run Township, and the Fallowfield Meeting-house, located in Allen Township, were conveyed away by trustees for the special purpose appointed by the "Westland Monthly Meeting" of East Bethlehem Township. The deed from Jesse Kenworthy, Jonathan Knight and Joseph H. Miller, trustees, to Samuel D. Price, made in 1858 conveying Pike Run Meeting-house and lot, (there being a frame house thereon at that time), stated that the Westland Monthly Meeting was "a branch of and in Unity with Ohio Yearly Meeting of Friends in Unity and Epistolary Correspondence with the ancient yearly meeting of the people called Quakers of London and Dublin and with all the yearly meetings of the said people so in Unity and Correspondence in America."

The Hicksites who were taught that "the devil had no existence, and if we did right our heaven was here," had a church building on this same lot and it required a special act of Legislature in 1863 and another set of trustees and a new deed to convey the title of "the two divisions of the Society of Friends."

Two of the best known Quakers in this county were Jonathan Knight, the celebrated engineer and statesman of East Bethlehem Township, and Job Johnson, the friend of education of East Pike Run Township, or that part of it now California.

The religion of such people was quiet and unobtrusive, but stern and unyielding in the government of themselves. They were opposed to fighting and slavery and to display of dress or wealth. It is said that the first generation of their descendants was not quickly aroused to sympathy with and to become members of other religious organizations. This was not strange, for the austere manner of form in worship, seating male and female separated by the aisle of the church, the silent and long waiting for the spirit to move one to speak or lead in other devotion, all tended to repress sympathy and excitement....

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[This region had just passed through that great spiritual revival at the beginning] of the century, during which Washington County had some very special experiences. The facts concerning those wonderful revivals are almost beyond belief now. The preaching in all the old churches and out under the trees was intensely earnest, vast concourses of people gathered and remained for days. The first campmeeting in Christendom was held in Kentucky in July and August, 1799, arising from the spiritual efforts of Rev. James McGready, a former student of Rev. Joseph Smith, of Upper Buffalo, and Dr. John McMillan, of Chartiers. The greatest campmeeting ever held in Washington County was at this same Upper Buffalo when 10,000 people assembled in "The overwhelming conviction and deep distress of awakened sinners, the extraordinary play of sympathetic emotion evincing itself so often in that strange phenomenon, the falling exercise," is worthy of study by the historian and psychologist as the most important and interesting chapter of early history. In a volume published in 1802, entitled "Surprising Accounts of Revivals of Religion in the United States," etc., may be found a letter which had been addressed in 1799 to a friend in Philadelphia, by a gentleman residing in Washington County, giving a full account up to that day. In the Western Missionary Magazine for 1803 is a fuller and later account, prepared and published by the Presbytery of Ohio. From these and other original sources full histories are given in Elliott's "Life of Macurdy" and in [Rev. Joseph] Smith's "Old Redstone." ...

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The Cumberland Presbyterians can trace their origin to Rev. James McGready, who studied under Rev. Joseph Smith at his home or pioneer academy near Buffalo Village, and with Rev. John McMillen. He was born in Pennsylvania and was taken by his parents to South Carolina from whence he returned and got his education and theological and spiritual training in Washington County. He was licensed to preach by the Redstone Presbytery in 1788, while Washington County was still in its jurisdiction. To his agency is attrivuted the great spiritual awakening which arose in Kentucky and swept through the wilderness and even up into the state of New York. About 1786 he accidently overheard two friends expressing their opinion that he was a mere formalist, "a stranger to regenerate grace." "This led him to earnest self-examination and prayer, and at a sacramental meeting near the Monongahela River he found the new spiritual life which his friends had declared he lacked. This new experience transformed his whole life. Thenceforth he made it his mission to arouse false professors, to awaken a dead church, and warn sinners and lead them to seek the new spiritual life which he himself had found. In North Carolina, whither he went as pastor, extensive revivals were kindled. His ministry also aroused fierce opposition. He was accused of "running people distracted," diverting them from necessary avocations, "creating needless alarm about their souls." The opposers, we are told, went so far at one time as to tear away and burn his pulpit, and send him a threatening letter written in blood."

In 1796 McGready moved to Logan County, Kentucky, into a region long known as Cumberland or Cumberland County. Many Presbyterians from the east had finished their Indian warface, which had raged during the Revolution and afterward, and were absorbed in felling forests and opening farms. French infidelity had been growing there, as indeed it had in much of the west and along the Atlantic coast, and much of the preaching was cold discussion of doctrines. McGready wrote a paper which was signed by himself and some faithful members of his congregation covenanting to engage at certain times in fasting and paryer for the conversion of sinners in Logan County and throughout the world, the form of which is given in "Presbyterians," by Hayes, page 453. The almost immediate result was the sweeping revival above indicated which was opposed by infidels, wicked men, and his brethren in the ministry who sought to restrain what they thought was disorderly and fanatical proceedings. Opposition continued until the revivalists were separated into a small Presbytery of their own called Cumberland, and finally suspended from the ministry in the Presbyterian denomination. This branch and the close adherents to the old Confession of Faith became entangled over questions of divine sovereignty and the decrees of predestination and election. The chief alleged cause of the separation was the revival methods licensing young men to preach who had not attained the usually required literary and theological training and who seclined to accept the idea of "fatalism," or "infant damnation," which they thought was taught in the Westminister Confession of Faith. Reconciliation was found to be impossible. McGready moved away and became a traveling missionary in Indiana and elsewhere under comission from the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church. He died at Henderson, Ky., in 1817, aged 60 years.

The Cumberland Presbyterian Church was organized in Dixon County, Tennessee, almost a century ago, in 1810, in which year the first Presbytery was constituted. The church increased so rapidly that in three years it was necessary to divide the Presbyteryinto three Presbyteries and form Cumberland Synod. In 70 years it grew from one Presbytery to 117, from four ordained ministers to about 400, and about 120,000 communicants. The later growth has been strong. The contribution to missionary causes in 1906 amounted to nearly $120,000.

The introduction of Cumberland Presbyterianism into Pennsylvania was in 1829, when two missionaries, Revs. M. H. Bone and John W. Ogden, preached at Washington among other places. Members of the Upper

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[ 178 ]


The Baptist and Christian Denominations.


The first Baptist church constituted west of the mountains was named Great Bethel, at Uniontown, in 1770. It had six members at its origin. These people held that bpatism by immersion was a prerequisite of membership, and stood valiently for liberty of conscience in worship, or soul liberty -- not merely toleration but entire freedom for themselves and others in worship and doctrine.

The Baptists stood for the independence of the local church, recognizing but one Head and the Bible as His revealed will as its only law. The complete separation of church and state was insisted upon, and they claim to have been leading factors in having Virginia freed from alliance with the Church of England, and inserting in the United States Constitution of 1787 and its first amendment the clauses permitting the free exercise of religious establishments and freedom from a religious test for officeholders. For three or four centuries the Baptists had issued appeal after appeal, addressed to the king of England, the parliament and the people, in behalf of soul liberty. The Nonconformists, John Bynyan and others, had been imprisoned in England, and the Puritans, after resisting religious oppression in England, had persecuted, imprisoned and fined some Baptists in Massachusetts and even publicly whipped one of them, causing Roger Williams to seek safety for fourteen weeks among the Indians in the wilderness.

"From Rhode Island the cause of religious liberty had spread throughout the New England colonies, and Rev. Henry Crosbye (Crosley) and the Suttons were the heralds that brought it from New Jersey to western Pennsylvania, while John Corbley at the same time carried it fresh from the jails of Virginia."

The persecution from which Roger Williams fled was practiced in Massachusetts by the Congregationalists who composed the state church in that colony. John Corbley was imprisoned in Culpeper jail, Virginia, because the church of England was the state church of that colony. He fled over the mountains in 1768 into what afterwords became Washington County. The promoters of the Baptist church in Washington County were the Banes and others, who came from virginia to Ten Mile Creek that year. No doubt they assembled for worship in the forst McFarland or Keith near by before they had their first business meeting of which minutes can be found, which was December 1, 1773. At that date they met at the dwelling of Enoch Enochs. Samuel Parkhurst was elected clerk.

The Ten Mile Baptist seems to have been the first congregation of any denomination in Washington County to procure a regular pastor. They called Rev. James Sutton, February 4, 1774. They held their first communion on the first Sabbath in May, but before the next appointed communion the few members were scattered for the summer on account of the Indians, and the pastor moved over the mountains until fall.

The Baptist denomination insists that believers are the only proper subjects, and that immersion is the only proper mode of baptism. Infant baptism and sprinkling is not according to scripture. The Bible is the soul and sufficient rule of faith and practice. The government of the Baptists provides for a selection of a pastor by the congregation and the local churches are independent.

The several congregations are grouped in "associations," which hold annual meetings of representatives from each congregation within a limited district. The first association west of the mountains was called Redstone Baptist Association. Its first meeting was at Goshen church, just across the present Greene County line, held October 7, 1776, just after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and five years before Redstone Presbytery of the Presbyterians held its first meeting at Pigeon Creek. Six churches were represented at this meeting of the Redstone Association. Among these were Ten Mile (now in Amwell Township). represented by Rev. James Sutton, David Enochs and Robert Bennett; Pike Run, in the township of that name, but now extinct, represented by William Wood and David Ruple. Two others of the six churches were west of the Monongahela and therefore in what was once Washington

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County, so they are here mentioned, to wit: Goshen, at Gerards Fort (now in Greene County, but very near the Washington County line), represented by Rev. John Corbley (above mentioned), John Gerard and Jacob Van Veter; Forks of Yough at Peters Creek (now Library, Allegheny County), represented by Samuel Luellen and John McFarland. Rev. John Corbley was elected moderator of this first meeting and William Wood clerk. Rev. John Corbley was afterwards pastor at Ten Mile and was the only Bpatist minister on the original board of trustees of the Washington Academy, in 1881. This Washington Academy was the beginning of Washington College.

"Redstone was the second association organized in Pennsylvania, with the first being the Philadelphia Association in 1707, and it fairly eclipsed the eastern body in the number and ability of its ministers. Its annals contain the names of many eminent divines, whose preaching and theological controversies left a profound impression on the times." Among these was David Phillips, a prominent pastor during the Whiskey Insurrection, and a little later Thomas and Alexander Campbell. At the tenth annual meeting held at Uniontown the year that village was incorporated as a borough there were fifteen churches. In 1806 [at] the meeting at Cross Creek in Brook County, Virginia, the number of churches had increased to twenty-nine. For over 30 years Redstone was the only Baptist Association west of the mountains, its territory extending down into Virginia and over into Ohio. One hundred years ago it had 41 churches and mission stations, with 1,323 members. The churches then in Washington County were, Peters Creek, Monongahela, at the south of Maple Creek, Ten Mile, Horse Shoe Bottom, Monongahela Glades, Plum Run, Kings Creek, Cross Roads, Pigeon Creek and Bates Fork of Ten Mile. Some of these may not have been in the present boundaries of the county. The earliest known records of this Redstone Association (Baptists) is deposited with the Carnegie Library, Pittsburg, Pa., and does not go back farther than the year 1809. It is stated, however, that Rev. John Corbley planted and preached to Baptist churches along the south border of the county for 30 years prior to his death in 1803. His name stands out as the most prominent in this section. From his efforts in organizing the churches in Greene County, just over the Washington County line, in 1773, there sprang up many other churches, so that there are today more Baptists in Greene County according to its population than there are in any other county of Pennsylvania. (A. J. Sturgis on Early Baptist Churches.)

The Baptists would have been much stronger in number if the two Campbells had been less given to argument. Their declaration of articles was made in 1809, but this did not tend so much to split up this denomination as their preaching against the opinions laid down in the "Philadelphia Confession of Faith," which had been adopted by the association. After declaring against creeds and man-made rules, they attached themselves and their Brush run church to the Baptists. After several years' trial the Redstone Association in 1824, "Resolved, that this Association can have no fellowship with the Brush church," and two years later refused to restore those "persons at Brush Run."

The Washington church, led by Rev. Charles Wheeler, who was then its pastor and, being conscientiously opposed to receiving a salary, was supporting himself by teaching as principal in the Washington Academy, was seriously affected by the Campbellite faction. This congregation on October 9, 1824, "resolved that it was not bound by the Philadelphia Confession of Faith or any other human confession, but by the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as their only guide of faith and practice." Its views were declared to be heterodox by the Redstone Baptist Association and it was also excluded from fellowship in 1826. An internal war immediately took place in Redstone Association and this same year 14 churches in Washington County and near by withdrew from that association because it refused to alter its constitution, or dissolve, and at a meeting in Washington on the second Lord's Day of November, 1826, organized a new association. This was no union with the Campbell faction, for the Washington church kept up the partition bars and nearly twenty years later resolved to strike off the names of all members known to be Campbellites.

The Baptists have now 19 churches in Washington County, four churches north of Washington, including two at Canonsburg and one at Finleyville, four in Washington, and eleven south and east of Washington, including one at Monongahela, with membership nearing two thousand.


The large and active denomination known as the Christian Church, or Disciples of Christ, were in early years also known as Campbellites, and some of them in Ohio were called Scottites. These latter names were of ministers closely connected with the origin of the church whose members first called themselves Disciples of Christ, to distinguish themselves from those denominations which were following creeds or rules formed for church government. This organization has had a phenomenal growth and claims today over 1,330,000 members, 6,500 ordained ministers and 11,000 houses of worship in the United States alone.

Thomas Campbell came to America in 1807, by a 35 days' trip on board ship. He had been raised under the ritualistic services of the Episcopal Church, but these being too cold and formal for the youth, he abandoned

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the church of his parents, united with and became an authorized minister of the Seceder Church in Scotland. He located at Washington, Pennsylvania, and began preaching as a Seceder to the Scotch-Irish, in Washington County, but soon relaxed in observances of the strict forms and was censored by the Chartiers Presbytery, and afterward by the synod of that denomination; the principal and perhaps sole offense being that he invited to the communion table those not members of the Seceder organization. He withdrew from that body but continued to preach in the county in groves and farm houses, alleging that the troubles and controversies among the professed followers of Jesus Christ were over matters and opinions outside the Bible.

In 1809 he and Gen. Thomas Acheson and others formed themselves into a society, "The Christian Association of Washington, Pa." They erected a log building for services at the crossroads about three miles south of the present village of Hickory. Among the hills near this place he wrote a "Declaration and Address," which met the approval of the chief members of this peculiar society and covered 54 closely printed pages. He cut loose from all rules and declared "that as the divine word is equally binding upon us all, so all lie under an equal obligation to be bound by it and it alone, and not by any human interpretation of it, and that therefore no man has a right to judge his brother, except in so far as he manifestly violates the spirit of the law. Our desires, therefore, for ourselves and our brethren would be that of rejecting human opinions and the inventions of men, as of any authority, or as having any place in the Church of God, we might forever cease from further contentions about such things, returning to and holding fast by the original standard, taking the divine word alone for our rule, the Holy Spirit for our teacher and guide, to leade us to all truth, and Christ alone as exhibited in the word, for our salvation that, by so doing, we may be at peace among ourselves, follow peace with all good men and holiness, without which no man shall see God."

Alexander Campbell, eldest son of Thomas, was about 21 when he arrived from Scotland with his father's family. He at once adopted his father's liberal views and the following summer his father had him exhorting and then preaching. This same year, 1810, a frame building for this society was contemplated in Hopewell Township, a few miles southeast of West Middleton, and two miles above the mouth of Brush Run. The society or association held meetings at the Cross Roads south of Hickory, and at Brush Run. It would seem the father was pushing the young man, for it is reported that he preached 106 sermons in Washington County and eastern Ohio during his first year. He was only practicing, for he was not yet licensed. Yet his fight against the sects, books of government and discipline interested the people, for they had enough Irish blood here to enjoy a row, even if it should be among the churches.

Thomas Campbell desired some church connection and applied to the Presbyterian Synod of Pittsburg, which met at Washington October 14, 1810. His request to be taken into Christian and ministerial union was refused, as he had no intention of complying with the regulations and government of that organization. This laxity of doctrine and restiveness under the governing rules of Presbyterianism was the reason which had prevented the Presbyterians in this County from filling up their churches with foreign-educated preachers heretofore. They were not to let down the bars now for one who was, by them, considered a free ranger and "who opposed creeds and confessions as injurious to the interests to the interests of religion." The society which Campbell was heading held semi-annual meetings in addition to the frequent weekly preaching services. Up to May 4, 1811, it does not appear that any test of membership to this society or association was required; many who attended were members of some denominational church and many were not of any church. At this date the society organized into a church by appointing Thomas Campbell elder. Alexander was also licensed by some person or authority, to preach the Gospel. The next day this church held its first communion and six weeks later the first sermon was heard in the new Brush Run meeting house, near the place where a temporary stand had been used by the [preacher] for a year. Alexander preached on both occasions.

Thomas Campbell had been baptizing infants as well as believers, and was indifferent as to the manner. There was no pool at Cross Roads, but in less than 20 days after the Brush Run meeting-house was occupied, Brush Run waters were srirred by the first immersions made by Father Campbell. The excitement of impending War of 1812, or fear of the water or other cause led many sympathizers to hold back from entering into membership with the church and they now had enrolled only about thirty.

On New Year's day of 1812 Thomas Campbell regularly set apart his son Alexander by ordaining him as a minister of the Gospel. They called it the ancient gospel and endeavored to have a "Thus saith the Lord" for all their acts. Alexander led his father on to the decision that baptism was only to be administered to believers, because he did not find in the Bible any command establishing infant baptism, although he searched for it seriously on account of his first-born child. This soon led both into the conviction that immersion was the only form of baptism authorized, and that they must be immersed. They obtained the officiating services of

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Elder Mathias Luce of a Baptist church in Washington County and were immersed in the deep pool in Brush Run, June 12, 1812. Seven hours was spent in explanations by the subjects of immersion, and in performing the act by the Baptist elder and his assistant, Elder Henry Spears. Soon the majority of the members were immersed.

Among those who dropped away from the association about this time was Gen. Thomas Acheson above mentioned, a member of the firm of Thomas and David Acheson, with stores in Washington, Muddy Creek (Carmichaels), West Liberty, Cincinnati, and Natchez. He had come from Scotland in 1786, where he had been an early neighbor of Thomas Campbell, Thomas Acheson, with his brother David, purchased lots on South College Street, opposite the present chapel of the First Presbyterian Church and erected the frame dwelling house for Rev. Campbell when he brought his family to Washington in 1809. Gen. Acheson was an officer in the local militia, but became a major general in the war during his service in 1812-1814.

The loss of Acheson and others was more than made up by the fellowship with the Baptists, brought about by the idea of baptism by immersion only, which is the great distinctive feature of that denomination. Upon their application the Brush Run Church, with Alexander Campbell, were received into the Redstone Association of the Baptist Church in 1813, but not without opposition. This would seem to be only a confederacy with this church, for it could not agree and subscribe to the Philadelphia Confession of Faith of September 25, 1747, which the Redstone Association had formally accepted. The younger Campbell was heard in many of the Baptist pulpits, of which there were a goodly number in the eastern part of Washington County, but few in the western. The people heard him gladly, but the ministers were not to his liking. Their suspicions of his "rejection of any formulated statement as to what the Scriptures taught, and minor differences about the purpose or efficacy of baptism," made them watchful.
This rock, baptism, has been the cause of much religious, social and political disorder, leading into war and bloody slaughter. In reading the history of the Baptists, and Aanabpatists 300 years before, or the perilous time of the Reformation, of Minister Zwingli, Melchior Hofmann, Jan Matthys and others, young Alexander Campbell struck the rock. Here is where he found the ideas which doubtless he laid before Sidney Rigdon, afterward of Mormon notoriety, in an all-night consultation a few years later. Their studies taught them of Jan Matthys, who succeeded Hofmann as a factional leader, who claimed to be a prophet "but had little use for the Scriptures; his most casual conceits were understood to be inspired of God. * * * A theocracy was established and Matthys sent forth his apostles to convert the world. * * * Matthys was slain in a small sally in which he invited a small company of his friends, with a promise that one should put a thousand and two should put ten thousand to flight. He was succeeded by Jan Benkles of Leyden, who introduced polygamy and had daily revelations. The enormities which he perpetuated shocked the civilized world." This seed developed afterward in the minds of Rigdon and Smith, and history repeated itself by producing the Mormon Church.

The opinions of the Campbell attachment to the Bpatists of Redstone Association, received disapproval in 1816, when Thomas Campbell presented a letter "from a number of baptized professors residing in Pittsburg, requesting union as a church of this association." Campbell was upon motion invitd to take a seat in the association, but the reply to those Pittsburgers who met regularly in his school room on Liberty Street was, "The request cannot be granted." Thomas Campbell soon left his school and attempted church organization at Pittsburg, and with his family settled at Newport, Kentucky, leaving his son attached to the Baptists in Washington County.

For almost five years Alexander Campbell conducted school which he called "Buffalo Seminary," located near where the Presbyterian, Rev. Joseph Smith, had done similar work for young men 40 years before. Each tried to train workers for the faith as they saw it. The Baptists' church of Washington assisted Campbell's school by taking up a collection for one under his tuition in 1821. This same year Sidney Rigdon and his brother-in-law, Adamson Bentley, a Baptist preacher, had the long night consultation with Alexander Campbell above referred to, and Campbell and Rev. Walter Scott of Pittsburg, met and were mutually surprised to find their views were alike as to the remedy for the evils and disputes arising over the creeds of denominations. It was on Campbell's recommendation that Rigdon received a call to the Baptist church in Pittsburg in 1822.

Rigdon was found guilty of "holding and teaching the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, and many other abominable heresies," by a ciuncil held in the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, October 11, 1823, and was excluded from the church and deposed from the ministry. He had heard both the Campbells preach their new doctrines at the Redstone Association meeting the previous year and in his efforts to imitate them went wild with ideas which afterward crop out in the words and actions of Joseph Smith and his Mormon followers. For the charges filed against him see "Three Important Movements," page. 19.

Two months before Rigdon's exclusion Alexander Campbell transferred his membership and that of his congregation (Wellsburg, Va., Baptist) from the Redstone

182                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

Association where there was a lack of sympathy, to the Mahoning Baptist Association, of Ohio. The history of the First Baptist Church at Washington (1904) says he was forced out of the Redstone Association by the "hard shell" faction. He seems to have become a leader in the Mahoning Association, and on August 23, 1827, Sidney Rigdon was invited to a seat in the annual meeting of that association, at New Lisbon, Ohio, and preached the sermon the first evening. Rigdon's home was then in Kirtland, Ohio. He had received a call in June, 1826, to a Baptist church at Mentor, Ohio, and preached here and in other congregations, decrying creeds. Two years later these two men, whose budding into manhood had taken place less than 20 miles apart and within the original limits of Washington County, separated finally, one to carry forward the great and worthy "Church of Christ," the other to produce the powerful and dangerous "Latter Day Saints," or Church of Mormon. Rigdon had nursed the idea of the early church mentioned in Acts, and insisted that all property of church members be held in common. Alexander Campbell's reply embittered Rigdon beyond reconciliation. He became jealous of the influence of Campbell and his ally, Scott, and claimed that he had done as much to originate the Campbellite "sect" as Mr. Campbell, although Campbell and Scott were getting all the honor of it.

One very significant passage pointing to the authorship of the Mormon Bible was written ten years later by Rigdon, and it is as follows: "One thing has been done by the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. It has puked the Campbellites effectually. * * * The Book of Mormon has revealed the secrets of Campbellism and unfolded the end of the system." (The Story of the Mormons, page 62.) The former close fellowship between Campbell and Rigdon is shown by the long letter, February 4, 1831, just after Rigdon began his Mormon preaching, in which Thomas Campbell addressed him as "for many years not only a courteous and benevolent friend, but a beloved brother and fellow laborer in the Gospel -- but alas, how changed, how fallen." Alexander Campbell, writing of the Book fo Mormon, says: "He (the author) decides all the great controversies, infant baptism, the Trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, pennance, church government, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the questions of Free Masonry, republican government and the rights of men."

)ne year after Rigdon was curbed by Campbell, the Mahoning Association of Eastern Ohio was by vote disbanded, and this would appear to be the formal and final separation between the followers of Campbell and the Baptists, although it is stated in "Three Important Movements," page 16, that the Disciples remained in union with the Baptists of western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio until fellowship was withdrawn from them, first by the Redstone Association in 1826, by the Beaver Association in 1828, and in 1832 by the Dover Association of Virginia. From this time the Disciple Church grew rapidly, aided very much by the college established at Bethany, W. Va., near Washington County, in 1840, by Alexander Campbell, and by Pleasant Hill Female Seminary, developed by Mrs. Jane McKeever, his sister, and continued by her son, Thomas Campbell McKeever, located in Independence Township, Washington County, Pa., where it had a life total of 21 years.

At the death of Alexander Campbell in 1866 the Disciple Church had over 300,000 members. In the 1900 census it is given 10,528 churches, 6,339 ministers and 1,149,982 members. The rapid growth may be largely attributed to organized work in enlarging, which began about 1885. "The term Christian or Disciple, once adopted as a protest against sectarianism, has, by force of circumstances, become the name of a very distinct and powerful denomination, and immersion, adopted as a liberalizing practice, became in time a barrier against others who were equally entitled to the name Christian." It is strictly congregational in its polity, and maintains voluntary associations for missionary purposes only.

In Washington County in 1904 there were seventeen congregations and 2,092 members, with church property valued at $94,250. By far the largest congregation and one of the largest of any denomination in the county is the one in Washington. Not many are located north of the county seat. It is related by Miss Sturgeon in her "History of Raccoon Church" (in Robinson Township) that Alexander Campbell attempted to organize a society in accordance with his peculiar belief within the bounds of Raccoon, and succeeded in gathering quite an audience before Rev. Moses Allen comprehended the situation. At all later meetings Allen was to the front to join in the dispute of that day and to protect his ten-mile-square area from the encroachments of opposing elements. It was well perhaps for his peace of mind that he prevailed on his hearers not to listen to the Campbells. To illustrate their powerin argument or persuasiveness this article is closed with the statement that Mrs. Katherine Duane Morgan, grandmother of Mrs. Helena C. Beatty, present librarian and corresponding secretary of our Washington County Historical Society, was so convinced by a sermon of Thomas Campbell that she, a Methodist, insisted when 70 years old that she be conveyed out to Bethany, Va., to be immersed by him.


[ 183 ]


"The book, the book, the book." These were the last words of the man whose wildest ambition in life had been gratified, but the golden apple was snatched from his grasp, and he was doomed to spend an ordinary lifetime in disappointed seclusion. He had created a new religious society known as the Mormons, and was its leading orator or preacher. This man, Sidney Rigdon, was born within the limits of Old Washington County, as originally constituted, and but a few miles from its present line. The book he referred to had been originally written as fiction by Solomon Spaulding, a resident of Washington County, and called by him "Manuscript Found," but it was afterwards revised as is now generally believed, and added to by Rigdon and perhaps others, and called the Mormon Bible [or] the "Book of Mormon." The fact that Rigdon was born and reared on what had been Washington County soil and was intimately associated with Thomas and Alexander Campbell and that Spaulding lived for a period and died in Washington County, makes it necessary to give space to this subject in this history.

This organization, which had its own candidate for President of the United States within fourteen years after its origin, which has for many years been looked upon by many as a great peril to the United States (having the balance of power in the votes of several states of the Union) was founded upon the "Book of Mormon" and the visions of one Joseph Smith.

Whether this society organization in the last century be a religious delusion or a bold fraud, it presents problems that have caused great bloodshed and have thwarted the best intentions of our wisest politicians, and its history of conflicting statements would fill large volumes.
From the little old trunk, about the only asset Solomon Spaulding left at Amity at his death in 1816, some manuscript was taken. Of the manuscript all that is at present available is at Oberlin College, Ohio. It has no resemblance to the "Book of Mormon" or to the readings of Spaulding from his "Manuscript Found," as heard by his neighbors. All who heard him read, who have expressed themselves, say so. Oberlin's President once wrote that he could detect no resemblance in general detail between the manuscript in his College and the "Book of Mormon." This gave much satisfaction to the Mormons, who spread his statement throughout Christendom, placing upon it their own construction. This brought a denial from President Fairchild when he wrote as follows:

"With regard to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding now in the library of Oberlin College, I have never stated, and know of no one who can state, that it is the only manuscript which Spaulding wrote, or that it is certainly the one which has been supposed to be the original of the Book of Mormon. The discovery of this manuscript does not prove that there may not have been another which became the basis of the Book of Mormon. The use which has been made of statements emanating from me as implying the contrary of the above is entirely unwarranted.
"(signed) JAMES H. FAIRCHILD."

The following extract is from a letter sent by Abner Jackson from Canton, Ohio, to John Aiken, Esq., of Washington, Pa., in 1880, and now in the Washington County Historical Society rooms. He writes: [note: condensed version follows, see also first published version.]
"It is a fact well established that the book called the 'Book of Mormon' had its origin from a romance that was written by Solomon Spaulding, in Conneaut, in Ashtabula County, Ohio, about the years 1809 to 1812. At a previous date he had been a preacher.

Spaulding moved to Richfield, N. Y., and started a store, near where my father lived, about the beginning of the present century. Later he sold his store and moved to Conneaut, where, about the beginning of the War of 1812, he commenced to write his famous romance called by him 'Manuscript Found.'

"This romance Mr. Spaulding brought with him on a visit to my father's a short time before he moved from Conneaut to Pittsburg. At that time I was confined to the house with a lame knee and so I was in company with them and heard the conversation that passed between them. Spaulding read much of his manuscript to my father, and in conversation with him explained his views of the old fortifications in this country, and told him how he was led to write his romance.

"A note in Morse's Geography suggested it as a


184                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

probability that our Indians were descendants of the lost tribes of Israel. Said Morse: 'They might have wandered through Asia, up to Bering Strait and across the strait to this continent.'

"Besides there were habits and ceremonies among them that resembled some habits and ceremonies that were existing among the Israelites of that day; then the old fortifications and earth mounds containing so many kinds of relics and human bones and some of them so large, altogether convinced him that they were a larger race and more enlightened and civilized than are found among the Indians who are with us today.

"These facts and reflections prompted him and he determined to write his romance, purporting to be a history of the lost tribes of Israel. He begins the story with their departure from Palestine or Judea, takes them up through Asia, points out their hardships, exposures and sufferings, tells howthey built their craft for crossing over the strait, and then after their landing he gives an account of their divisions and subdivisions under different leaders; but two parties controlled the balance. One of these was called the Righteous Worshipers and Servants of God. These organized with prophets, priests and teachers for the education of their children and settled down to cultivate the soil, and to a life of civilization. The others were Idolaters. They contended for a life of idleness; in short, a wild, wicked, savage life. They soon quarreled and then commenced war and continued to fight on, except at very short intervals. Sometimes one party was successful and sometimes the other until finally a terrible battle was fought, which was conclusive. All the Righteous were slain but one, and he was chief prophet and recorder. He was notified of the defeat in time by Divine authority, told when and where and how to conceal the record and he was to see that it should be preserved, concealed and brought to light again at the proper time for the benefit of mankind. So the recorder professed to do and submitted to his fate.

"I do not remember what the fate was. He alone was alive of all his party. I do not remember that anything more was said of him. Spaulding's Romance professed to find it where the recorder concealed it, in one of those mounds, one of which was but a few rods from Spaulding's residence.

Spaulding later moved to Pittsburg, where he expected to have his romance printed, but in this he failed. The next we heard of them was by report. Spaulding moved to Amity, Washington County, Pa., and in a short time he died and was buried there and his wife and daughter went to her brother's, Sawyer C. [sic - Lawyer ?] Sabine, Onondagp Valley, Onondago, County, N.Y.
"When I was returning from Clarksburg, W. Va., to my home in New Brighton, Beaver Co., Pa., A. D. 1840, I passed through Amity, found the grave of Spaulding and copied from the headstone the following inscription:

LIFE ON OCT. 20TH, A. D. 1816.

"Kind cherubs guard the sleeping clay
Until the great decisive day,
And saints complete in glory rise
To share the triumphs of the skies."

"Spaulding frequently read his manuscript to the neighbors and amused them as he progressed with his work. He wrote it in Bible style, "And it came to pass" occurred so often that some called him "old Come to Pass."

"So much for Spaulding.

"Now for the Book of Mormon.

"The first account of the 'Book of Mormon' that I saw, was a notice in my father's newspaper, stating that Joseph Smith, Jr., professed having dreamt that an angel had appeared to him and told him to go and search in a place named Palmyra, N. Y., and he would find a gold leaf Bible. Smith was incredulous and did not go until the second or third time he said he dreamt the same thing. Then he went and to his surprise, he found the golden Bible according to his dreams. But it was written in a language that was so ancient no one could read it or tell the language in which it was written. Some little time after, it was stated in the paper, that an angel had consented to read and explain it to Joseph Smith and he should repeat it to a third person who should write it in plain English, so that all might read the new Bible and understand its import. Some time after, in 1830, the book was published at Palmyra, N. Y., called the 'Book of REvelation,' the 'Book of Mormon." This purports to be a history of the lost tribes of Israel. It begins with them just where the Romance did and it follows the romance very closely; it is true there are some alterations and additions, enlarging the production somewhat, without changing its main features. The 'Book of Mormon' follows [the] Romance too closely to be a stranger. In both some persons bearing the same names appear, as Maroni, Mormon, Nephites, Moroni, Lama, Lamanites, and Nephi. Here, then, we are presented with romance, second, called the 'Book of Mormon,' telling the same story of the same people, traveling from the same place in the same way having the same difficulties, to the same destination, with the same wars and so many battles with the same results, with thousands upon thousands slain. Then see the Mormon account of the last battle, at Cumorah, where all the Righteous were slain. These were called Nephites, the others were called Lamanites

* A new headstone has recently been erected with the old inscription.


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(see Moroni's account of the closing scene). 'And now it came to pass that a great battle was fought at Cumorah. The Lamanites slew all the Nephites except Moroni. He said 'I will write up and hide the records in the earth and whither I go it mattereth not.' The 'Book of Mormon,' page 344, third American edition. How much it resembles the closing scene in the 'Manuscript Found.' The most singular part of the whole matter is it follows the Romance so closely with this difference: the first claims to be a romance; the second claims to be a revelation of God -- a new Bible!

"When it was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old Esquire Wright heard it and exclaimed, 'Old come to pass is come to life again.' Here was the place where Spaulding wrote and read his Romance to the neighbors for their amusement and Esq. Wright had often heard him read from his Romance.

"This was in 1832, sixteen years after Spaulding's death. This Esq. Wright lived on a farm just outside of the little village. I was acquainted with him for twenty-five years, lived with my brother on Wright's farm when I was a boy and went school in the village. I am particular to notice these things to show that I had an opportunity of knowing what I am writing about. * * *

"I have seen both of these productions, heard Spaulding read much of his Romance to my father and explain his views and reasons for writing it. I also have seen and read the Book of Mormon and it follows Spaulding's Romance too closely to be anything else than a borrowed production from the Romance. * * *
                (Signed)                       ABNER JACKSON."
    Canton, O.,   Sept. 20, 1880.

There is no evidence anywhere that Spaulding's rewritten manuscript was ever in the possession of anyone but Sidney Rigdon after Spaulding's death in 1816. Spaulding had written two or three books or pamphlets on different subjects, the most important of which in his own estimation was "Lost Manuscript Found," or a name similar to this. This manuscript had occupied much of his time in preparation previous to his removal to Pittsburg in 1812, where he had expected to have it printed and from the sale pay his creditors. The manuscript was left at the printing and book binding establishment of Robert Patterson, of Pittsburg, but like the other productions of Spaulding was never printed. When it was submitted to Mr. Patterson by his foreman, Silas Engles, the suggestion was made that the author furnish the funds or good security to pay the printer. The poverty of Spaulding may have prevented the printing. Spaulding removed to Amity in 1814, after residing in Pittsburg for about two years. John Miller, of Amwell Township, who knew Spaulding at Amity, made his coffin and helped bury him, says Spaulding told him there was a man named Sidney Rigdon about the office of Patterson and they thought he had stolen the manuscript. In 1832, a year or so after the appearance of the Book of Mormon, Rev. Cephas Dodd, physician and pastor at Amity, who attended Spaulding in his last illness, took Mr. George M. French, of Amity, to Spaulding's grave and there expressed positively, his belief that Sidney Rigdon was the agent who had transferred Spaulding's manuscript into the Book of Mormon. This was prior to the public discussion or printing on that subject. Such a conclusion must have arisen only if Rev. Dodd was possessed of a personal knowledge of what he considered reliable information creating a connection of Sidney Rigdon with Spaulding's manuscript. His conviction, if not on independent evidence, must have been on information received from Spaulding.

Sidney Rigdon was born Feb. 19, 1793, in Piney Fork, on Peter's Creek, St. Clair Township, nor far from the village of Library, Allegheny County, Pa., from six to twelve miles from Pittsburg. He remained on the farm till the death of his father in 1810. Rigdon was twenty-four years old when Spaulding died. He joined the Baptist Church near Library, May 31, 1817, and began to talk in public on religion soon after. In 1818 he was studying theology with Rev. Andrew Clark, of Sharon, and in March 1819, was licensed there as a preacher by the Baptists. The following months he moved to Warren, Ohio, and resided with Rev. Adamson Bentley, later of Disciple or Christian Church fame, and in June, 1820, married Mrs. Bentley's sister.

It has been asserted that Rigdon was frequently around the printing or book binding office of Patterson, and some say he was employed there, but this has been denied as a thing impossible. It is evident that, living within less than twelve miles of Pittsburg it would be strange if he was not more or less in the city and did not make acquaintances there, especially if he was, as his friends say, ambitious and lazy. Conclusive proof is found in the statement of Mrs. R. J. Eichbaum; that she was the daughter of John Johnson, and was the regular clerk of her father as postmaster in Pittsburg from 1811 to 1815, when she married and her connection with the office ceased the next year. She remembers J. Harrison Lambdin, a lad who was in the employ of Rev. Robert Patterson, and there was an evident intimacy between him and Rigdon. "They very often came to the office together. I particularly remember that they would come there the hour on Sabbath afternoon when the office was required to be open, and I am sure the Rev. Mr. Patterson knew nothing of this or he would have put a stop to it. I do not know what position, if any, Rigdon filled in Mr. Patterson's printing office, but I am well assured he was * A new headstone has recently been erected with the old inscription.

186                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

there a great deal of the time, if not constantly, while I was a clerk in the postoffice. I recall Mr. Engles saying Rigdon was 'always hanging around the printing office.' He was connected with the tannery before he became a preacher, though he may have continued the business while preaching."

It has been insisted that Rigdon was not employed in Patterson's printing business. This fact is immaterial as he may have been temporarily employed by Robert Patterson, or his firm, in other business, for, by the Pittsburg Directory, published in 1815, Robert Patterson was wholesale and retail book seller and stationer, S. E. corner Wood and Fourth streets, and there was a steam paper-mill in the town, "owned by Robert Patterson & Co., in which great quantities of excellent paper are made, and of all varieties." Patterson may have been an employer of Rigdon and not have known it, as his own business and that of the company was extensive and the town of Pittsburg then had an estimated population of upwards of 9,000.

Rigdon took charge of a small Bpatist congregation in Pittsburg in 1822. He had been there only a few months until his preaching of peculiar doctrines dissatisfied the people and he was excluded from the ministry by a council of the Baptist ministers on October 11, 1823. * His location and business for the next three years are not definitely shown. In the Story of the Mormons (Linn, 1902, page 60) it is stated that Rigdon was a tanner for a couple of years and that he announced his withdrawal from the church in 1824. He preached as an undenominational exhorter in Bainbridge, Ohio, and was called to Mentor in 1826. He became a stated minister of the Disciple Church about the year 1827, and preached with Thomas Campbell at Schalerville, Ohio, in 1828.

In 1820 Alexander Campbell, who was then a Baptist, called him "the great orator of the Mahoning Association." In 1821, with Alexander Campbell, he spent almost all night in religious discussion and in 1828 fell out with the Campbells over the doctrine of Community of Goods. About this time the air was thick with news of a new religion and a new Bible among the Ohio Disciples. Rigdon, between 1827 and 1830, then a Campbellite minister in Ohio, preached new matters of doctrine which were afterwards found to be included in the Mormon Bible. His preaching the duty of bringing all your possessions and laying them at the Apostle's feet was one of the charges which led to his removal from the Pittsburg church. This absorbing of all wealth by the rulers of the Mormon Church is one of the strongest corner stones of that organization.

Rev. John Winter, M. D., known to many in western Pennsylvania, testified that he was in Rigdon's study in Pittsburg in the winter of 1822-1823; that Rigdon took from his desk a large manuscript and said in substance, "A Presbyterian minister, Mr. Spaulding, whose health failed, brought this to the printer to see if it would pay to publish it. It is a romance of the Bible." Rev. A. J. Bonsall, Lit. D., recently pastor of the Baptist church in Rochester, Pa., and now, or recently, in Allegheny, Pa., states that Doctor Winter, who was his stepfather, often referred to this incident, saying that the manuscript purported to be a history of the American Indian, and that Rigdon said he got it from the printers. Mrs. Mary W. Irvine, of Sharon, Pa., Doctor Winter's daughter, says: "I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon's having Spaulding's manuscript; that he said he got it from the printer to read as a curiosity. As such he showed it to my father, but then seemed to have no intention of using it, as he evidently afterward did. Father always said that Rigdon helped Smith in his scheme by revising and transforming this manuscript into the Mormon Bible,

As late as 1879, a Mrs. Amos Dunlap, of Warren, Ohio, wrote of having visited the Rigdons when she was young and of his taking a large manuscript from his trunk and becoming greatly absorbed in it. His wife threatened to burn it, but he said, "No, indeed, you will not; this will be a great thing some day." **

That Rigdon knew at least two years beforehand that the Mormon Bible was coming out and of its being founded on golden plates, is proved by a letter of his brother-in-law, Rev. Adamson Bentley, *** the celebrated Disciple preacher in Ohio, and by Darwin Atwater, to whom Rigdon spoke with great interest of a mound book soon to be published.

It is necessary to introduce Joseph Smith, a poverty-stricken, uneducated boy, who could not write legibly, who had a weak reputation for truth and who had obtained considerable notoriety as a secret treasure and money hunter by the use of a "peep stone" and by stories of dreams and visions. He was born in New York, near the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania [sic - Vermont?], in 1805, so reported, and was 25 years old when he had the Book of Mormon printed, in Palmyra, New York. Rigdon had joined with the Campbells in preaching against all sects, and Smith proclaimed that no sects were right and all creeds an abomination. Those views were expressed before the publication of the book. At what date these men first met or heard of each other is not known.

Smith's statements are numerous and sometimes contradictory. Even the date he gives as his birth cannot be accepted as true, for it does not agree with the statement

* Three Important Movements (by Rev. W. A. Stanton, D. D., 1907, page 19.
** Three Important Movements (Stanton, page 38.)
*** Bentley went into the Mormon association, but soon withdrew [sic].

                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   187

made by the renowned Thurlow Weed. This well-known editor states in Scribner's Magazine (1880), Vol. 20, page 616, that Joseph Smith was about 30 years of age when he came to him at Rochester, New York, to have printed a book, from which he read until Weed became weary of what he called "the incomprehensible jargon." He returned again with Harris, who agreed to furnish the money, but the editor had discovered that Smith "was a smooth, scheming fellow who passed his time in taverns and stores in Palmyra, without visible means of support," and refused him. Weed says the book was afterward published in Palmyra.

According to the date given by Smith, he would only be a boy of 20 years when Weed saw him, and if Smith could be believed, he did not get possession of the material -- plates -- from which to make a book until two years after he went to Weed to have it published.

Another link in the Mormon chain was Parley Parker Pratt, who was said to be two years younger than Smith, a tin peddler born in New York State. In 1826 he spent a few months in Wayne County (formerly Ontario County), New York, where Smith was at that time getting much notoriety as a peep-stone money and treasure hunter by newspapers published in several counties in southern New York and northeastern Pennsylvania. Pratt was then well acquainted with the Wells family, neighbors and friends of these Smiths. This same year Pratt went to Amhurst, O., about fifty miles from Kirtland, and Rigdon went a second time to Ohio in the region near Cleveland, and became an itinerant Disciple preacher at Bainbridge, Mantua, Kirtland, Mentor, Chester, New Lisbon, and Warren. The date of the first meeting of Pratt and Rigdon is nowhere given, but may be inferred from Pratt's address in 1843 or '44, relating a vision he had on his way to his future home in Ohio in which he said an angel visited him in a humble cottage, who held the keys of mystery and showed him the future of Mormonism; its cities with inhabitants from all parts of the globe.

In 1827, Pratt went back from Ohio to New York to marry, and on July 4, reached his Aunt Van Cott's and "opened his religious views" to his future wife. In September he married and on September 22nd, a heavenly messenger appeared to Smith revealing the location of the golden plates. Smith says this was the angel Maroni. Perhaps he was mistaken, and it was only Pratt -- or was it Rigdon. It would be interesting to know what were these religious views that man, who had not yet made a profession of religion, was conveying from Ohio to New York State.

In October, Pratt went back to Ohio and shortly after, was converted under the preaching of Rigdon, then a Campbellite, and commenced preaching, evidently preparing for his part soon to come off. A mysterious stranger afterwards appeared at Smith's, and after his visit, or about that time, began the translation of the plates. No name for this stranger was given to the neighbors. About this time Rigdon was away from his Ohio home on several long visits, leaving word that he had gone to Pittsburg. Abel Chase, a near neighbor of Smith, says he saw Rigdon at Smith's at different times with considerable intervals between. Lorenzo Saunders, another neighbor, testifies, "I saw Rigdon at Smith's several times, and the first visit was more than two years before the book appeared." J. H. McCaulay, in the History of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, states: "It is a matter too well known to admit argument that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and Sidney Rigdon were acquainted for a considerable time before Mormonism was first heard of."

The time had come when the old manuscript could be brought forth, for Robert Patterson, of Pittsburg, was unfamiliar with its contents, J. Harrison Lambdin, his clerk and former close acquaintance of Rigdon, had died August 21, 1825, and Silas Engles, the foreman who had examined Spaulding's manuscript with a view of printing it had died July 17, 1827. The mysterious golden plates with their hieroglyphics, the imaginary objects created by Solomon Spaulding, were translated by Joseph Smith alone, because, according to his revelations, no mortal could behold them but himself and live. Smith claimed to be receiving revelations from June, 1828, to June 1829. From behind curtains he would doctate translations made by using two magic stones, and Martin Harris, who was expected to supply the money for the printing, was the scribe. The scribe's wife considered the work folly, and burned what her husband had laboriously written. This was in 1828. Ten months passed when there were no translations. Some translations were made, and written by Smith's wife. Oliver Cowdery appeared April 7, 1829, and the work of writing was again begun, and was completed by him. The book was ready for the press in June, and copyrighted, June 11, 1829.

Tucker, the proofreader, says it was a difficult work to get a copy intelligently in print. It took eight months. There were no punctuation marks. The book was issued from the press in the summer of 1830.

The title page, as taken from "The Book of Mormon," found in the Historical Society of Washington County, ends as follows:

Author and Proprietor.

Printed by E. B. Grandin, for the author. 1830.


188                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

It is a significant fact that later editions of this book do not give Joseph Smith the credit of being "Author and Proprietor." *

There was no demand fpr the Book in Palmyra. It was now a ripe time for the preachers Rigdon and Pratt, of Ohio, to be astonished by its appearance. That summer Pratt left Ohio to visit in New York, going by way of Buffalo and by canal boat. His own account of the trip says, "It cost all our money and some articles of clothing." He left his wife at Rochester, saying he had work to do, "How long, I know not, nor the nature of it." He walked ten miles to the home of Mr. Wells, and proposed to preach in the evening, and Wells and he circulated the news of the appointment. He visited an old Baptist deacon named Hamlin, who told him of a strange book in his possession just published. He writes that "The next morning I saw the book for the first time, and as I read the Spirit of the Lord was upon me and I knew the book was true as plainly and as manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists."

Pratt visited in Palmyra, spent the night with Hyrum Smith, as Joseph had not returned from Pennsylvania. In the morning Pratt returned to preach the gospel of Alexander Campbell, after being presented with a copy of the book by Hyrum Smith. He preached the doctrine of the Disciples that night and the following night, and then returned to the Smith's and thnce to Whitmer's in Seneca County the next night, and took his Mormon Baptism the following night. On the next Sabbath, he attended a Mormon meeting and preached a Mormon sermon at the house of Borroughs. Speaking of this trip, he says, "My work is now complete for which I took leave of my wife at the canal boat some two or three weeks before."

At one time he had said, "I was very prejudiced against the Book." At another time he said, "I bore testimony of its truth to the neighbors who came in there the first day that I sat reading at the house of an old Baptist deacon named Hamlin." There are various reports of the time of his conversion and that he did not see Joseph Smith until a month after. In October, 1830, Pratt, being still in New York and having converted his relatives, revelations from the Lord through Joseph Smith directed him to go with Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson into the wilderness and preach to the Lamanites (Indians). As Pratt had sold some of his clothing, Smith's sister and others "began to make for those who were thus set apart, the necessary clothing, most of which had to be manufactured out of raw material." Pratt left his wife with his newly found brethren, took leave of friends, and in October, started out on foot on the 370 miles to Kirtland, Ohio, preaching by the way even to the Indians. The principal Lamanite they were after was Sidney Rigdon, and at their first interview with him, Pratt requested the privilege of preaching Mormonism in Rigdon's pulpit and received a ready consent. Rigdon's conversion was an easy task soon finished with baptism. By the end of November, Rigdon had visited at Smith's home in New York State, and on December 7th, received a special revelation through Smith, that he was the messenger sent before to clear the way. He preached in Smith's neighborhood.

The next month, January, 1831, Rigdon returned to Ohio bringing Smith with him, where they soon had control of a congregation at Kirtland, the home and congregation of the late Disciple Rigdon. Pioneers in a ciuntry where there was little to give variety in their life were easily influenced by any religious excitement. At no time was there more wide-spread interest in the speedy coming of Christ and the Day of Judgment than during the years when the organization of the Mormon Church was taking place. The Disciples expected it.

There are many yet living in Washington County who can recall the dread they had as little children when hearing the fireside talk of the Millerites predicting the early destruction of the world. Many thousands became Second Adventists, believing the interpretation of biblical prophecies by William Miller, of Washington County, New York, declaring in 1831 to 1833 the destruction of the world as certain to take place in 1843, and many other thousands shuddered as they thought, "if it be true, what shall I do?"

The Mormon Church was now organized with Joseph Smith as president, prophet, and seer, and Rigdon and Williams as chief counselors. Smith was jealous of his sole right to receive revelations and it was not long until there was dissatisfaction on this point. From this time onwards, Rigdon, the religious minister, was at the mercy of Joseph Smith, the receiver of visions and revelations. It was said by one of the members of the organization that when they wished a revelation on any subject, they were sure toi receive what they wanted. The Mormon Bible became of little importance and the church structure was built on Smith's revelations, which were absolute, and from which there was no appeal.

Whitmer, a prominent member in the early organization, wrote that "Rigdon was a thorough Bible scholar and a man of fine education and a powerful orator. He soon worked himself deep into Brother Joseph's affections and had more influence over him than any other man living. He was Brother Joseph's private counselor and his most intimate friend and brother for some time after they met. * * * Rigdon was the cause of almost all the errors which were introduced while he was

* Creigh's History of Washington County, 1891, speaks of another edition published by J. O. Wright & Co. of New York.

                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   189

in the church. The high priest was a revelation according to their erring desires."

A friend of both said, "Rigdon did not possess the native intelligence of Smith and lacked his determined will." They had been together only about six months when Smith had a revelation, August, 1831, as follows: "And now behold I say unto you, I, the Lord, am not pleased with my servant Sidney Rigdon. He exalted himself in his heart and received not my counsels, but grieveth the spirit, wherefore his writing is not acceptable unto the Lord."

As early as 1832, Smith described Rigdon as "delirious." This may have been after March 25th of that year, when both were mobbed, tarred and feathered, and Rigdon was dragged by the heels so he could not raise his head from the frozen ground.

The idea of polygamy was early introduced by Smith. One of his followers says, "Joseph taught me the principal of plural marriage and I was married to him for time and eternity. In consequence of the ignorance of most of the Saints as well as the people of the world on this subject, it was not mentioned only privately between the few whose minds were enlightened on the subject." The idea included not merely that one man should have more than one wife, but that each wife should be "sealed" to a man other than her own husband, either a living man or a dead Saint, and that without such form or ceremony she could not be saved in the next world.

Rigdon was finally driven from the church in 1843, and when Smith was assassinated in 1844, during his candidacy for President of the United States, his final expulsion occurred through the influence of Brigham Young, who then became leader, and who openly taunted him before the council, saying, "Sidney says he will tell our secrets, but I say, 'tit for tat,' if he tells our secrets, we will tell his."

Rigdon established a paper in Pittsburg and attempted to establish another church but the Pittsburg people ridiculed his visions and revelations. He claimed to have a body of followers in a room in Pittsburg during the great fire in Pittsburg in 1845 when a large part of that city was burned, and that the angels in the room left the room and changed the direction of the winds and saved the city from complete destruction. His life's work was ended and he lived a disappointed, solitary life with relatives until his death in New York in July, 1876. He never revealed, so far as is known, his connection with the book, although he claimed he had written a statement of some kind which he had not been able to get published. It would seem that the fearsome oaths of Mormonism forever intimidated him.

At the census of 1900, the Mormon Church is said to have 325,000 members, of which 20,000 are outside the United States, and students of the subject claim that with the balance of power in so many states, the Mormon people are the most threatening danger in our nation.


Earle R. Forrest's comments (excerpts)

Forrest, Earle R.: History of Washington County
(Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1926)

Title page
Rigdon & Halcyonites   Solomon Spalding
A. S. Root #1   A. S. Root #2

Transcriber's comments   1781 map   1792 map









The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company


                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   595

1811, in a deep pool in Buffalo Creek, two miles from the mouth of Brush Run, on the David Bryant farm.

In 1818, Rev. Alexander Campbell opened a school for young men, which he called Buffalo Seminary, located near the school taught by the Rev. Joseph Smith four years before. This school continued for about five years. It is interesting to note at this point that the old Pleasant Hill Female Seminary, near West Middletown, was founded by Mrs. Jane McKeever, a sister of Alexander Campbell.

While in Washington Alexander Campbell resided in a two-story log house which stood at the corner of South College Street and East Strawberry Avenue. It was razed about 1905. The church in which he preached while here is still standing, but it is now a garage. It stands in West Wheeling Street, and is the property of Dr. George Kelly. About eight years ago an addition was erected in front and it is now used as the Robinson garage.

In 1821, Sidney Rigdon held many sessions with Rev. Alexander Campbell, and as a result Rigdon received a call to the Baptist church in Pittsburgh in 1822, but on October 11, 1823, he was excluded from that church and deposed from the ministry. Rigdon, with Joseph Smith was one of the founders of the Mormon Church; and it was through Rigdon, according to those opposed to the Mormons that Smith secured the famous "Manuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding, upon which the Book of Mormon is alleged to have been based. More will be found in another chapter on this subject.

The result of the early teachings of Thomas and Alexander Campbell is the Christian Church of the United States today; and Bethany College, at Bethany, West Virginia, one of the educational institutions of that denomination, was founded by Alexander Campbell, after he left Washington County.

Several religious organizations known as the Halyconites, Rhodianites and New Light sects existed in old Finley Township about 1807. The leader of the Halyconites was a man named Sergeant, who professed to have received a revelation from heaven, through an angel, in which he declared it was communicated to him that there was no hell. He preached throughout that section for three years and had many followers. He was afterwards arrested and imprisoned at Cumberland, Maryland, for forgery. This was the death blow to the Halcyonites.

Among the followers of Sergeant in Finley Township was an old lady named Rhoda Fordyce, who now came forward, and in addition to the doctrine that there was no hell taught that it was possible for people to live entirely on a vegetable diet such as parched corn, sassafras buds, and other vegetables and herbs, for a certain number of days after which they would be transformed bodily to heaven. This sect was called the Rhodianites.

A man named Parker, who attempted to carry out this doctrine, was starved to death in the Fordyce woman's house. She kept the body concealed in her house for three days and three nights, after which he was missed by the neighbors, who broke in the door of the dwelling and found the body.

The forming of a chain was another doctrine taught by the Fordyce


596                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

woman. This ceremony required a man and a woman to make a chain. Each was sewed in a separate sack by the Fordyce woman, with only their heads out and their arms tied together against the body, after which they were brought before Mrs. Fordyce as inspector general, and if they stated that they had slept innocently together they became a link in the chain of the Rhodianite Church. Tradition says that many husbands were separated from their wives to form a link in this organization.

The New Lights, made up of converts of the Halcyonites and Rhodianites, grew very strong in that section after the downfall of Mrs. Fordyce. They believed in immersion as the true mode of baptism, and that Christ was not equal to God. They also believed in washing each other's feet at their communion. This sect increased very rapidly and were strong in Southwestern Washington County for several years where they held both camp and bush meetings both in Pennsylvania and in West Virginia.

(remainder of page not transcribed)


636                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

a log meeting house was erected on the road from Pittsburgh to Brownsville, seven miles from the latter place. Rev. Robert Ayers, the first minister, preached to this congregation until 1803. The church was remodled in 1821, but the members died or became scattered and it passed out of existence; and the church long ago fell in ruins.




Who wrote the Book of Mormon has long been a disputed subject between Gentiles and followers of Joseph Smith. It is not the purpose of the author to enter into any lengthy discussion of this subject. It is of sufficient interest to us to know that Rev. Solomon Spaulding, the reputed author of the Book of Mormon spent his last years in Washington County and is buried in the old church yard at Amity.

Those who claim that Rev. Spaulding wrote what was afterwards the Book of Mormon, aver that it was simply the a work of fiction from which he expected to derive considerable income. The fact that he did write a book under the title of "The Manuscript Found" is an established fact but whether this was really the basis of the Book of Mormon," is the subject which has long v=been in dispute.

Solomon Spaulding was born in Ashford, Connecticut, in 1761, and served in the Revolutionary Army after which he studied divinity and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1875 [sic -1785?]. He was a man given to historical researches but was evidently not much of a success as a preacher, for he gave up the ministry while living at Cherry Valley, New York. Later he moved to Conneaut, Ohio, where he was in partnership with Henry Lake in an iron foundry. The ancient mounds in that vicinity were of great interest to him and he set some of his men to work making excavations. His daughter in after years stated that she recalled very vividly how excited he became when he heard that the workmen had exhumed some human bones, portions of gigantic skeletons, and other relics. These discoveries eventually gave him the idea of writing a fanciful history of the ancient races of this country. "The Manuscript Found" was the title of this book.

In after years when the "Book of Mormon" was published, people living in the vicinity of Conneaut, declared that it was very similar in its character and theme to Spaulding's story, which he had read to them while a resident of Conneaut.

Mr. Spaulding moved with his family to Pittsburgh in an effort to find a publisher for the work. It was taken to Patterson's Printing Office,

[ 637 ]

Monument over the grave of Solomon Spaulding at Amity

The old house still standing at Amity, in which Solomon Spaulding died in 1816.
Spaulding was the author of "The Manuscript Found," from which it is alleged
that the Book of Mormon was copied by Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith.


638                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

who spoke well of the story to its author but was not willing to publish it. A short time later, Mr. Spaulding moved to Amity, Washington County, where he died, October 20, 1816.

The house in which Mr. Spaulding and his family lived at Amity, is still standing and is now owned and occupied by A. E. Bolton, the village blacksmith, who has lived there for more than 50 years. The house is one of the historic points of interest in Washington County and many people interested in the authorship of the Book of Mormon, have made long journeys to Amity to visit this ancient building. Today it stands in a very dilapidated state of repair. The porch which formerly extended across the entire front of the building, has fallen away and many of the weather-boardings are only hanging by one end.

Mr. Spaulding lies buried in the church yard near by. Originally there was erected over his grave a plain sandstone marker, but with passing years, this was entirely carried away piece by piece by relic hunters, until in 1899, it had entirely disappeared and even parts of it under the ground had been dug up. The location of the grave would have been lost but for the fact that several old men living in that vicinity, remembered it and could even dig down and find what was left of the tombstone. Everyone in the Amity section and for that matter in all of Washington County, firmly believes that Mr. Spalulding's manuscript was the original of the Book of Mormon. In 1905, the people of Amity by popular subscription, raised a sum of money to erect a substantial granite marker over the grave before its location should be entirely lost. The original subscription [sic - inscription?] on the first headstone had been preserved and this was placed on the monument. It was unveiled September 26, 1905, with appropriate ceremonies which were attended by hundreds of people.

Among the persons present that day was Elias F. Dodd, of Van Buren, a man then well past eighty years of age. Mr. Dodd's father had personally known Solomon Spaulding and had heard him read portions of his manuscript at Amity. Mr. Dodd on the occasion of the dedication stated that his father had related to him passages from the Spaulding manuscript which he claimed were almost identical with the Book of Mormon.

Many other persons, years before, who had known Spaulding personally both [at] Amity and Conneaut had made this same statement and this leads to the nation-wide dispute over the origin of the Mormon Bible, but Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" has disappeared utterly if it ever did resemble the Book of Mormon. In fact from a non-prejudiced viewpoint, there is a great deal of doubt as to whether Spaulding's manuscript actually was the basis of the Mormon religion.

After Mr. Spaulding's death in 1816, the widow and daughter went to live with Mrs. Spaulding's brother, W. H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, New York. Among the effects of Mr. Spaulding which his widow took with her, was an old trunk containing his papers. In later years the daughter stated that there were sermons and other papers and that she saw a manuscript closely written, tied up with some stories her father had written for her. On the outside of this manuscript was written the title "Manuscript Found."

Mrs. Spaulding next went to her father's house in Connecticut leaving this old trunk at her brother's. In 1820, she married a Mr. Davison and


                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   639

the trunk was sent to her home then in Hartwick, New York. The daughter married a man named McKinstry in 1828 and her mother afterwards made her home with the daughter at Monson, Massachusetts, until her death in 1844.

About 1834, Mrs. Davison, Spaulding's widow, was visited at Monson by D. P. Hurlbut, a former Methodist who had joined the Mormons and had later been expelled by them. He claimed that he had been sent by a committee to get the "Manuscript Found" to compare it with the Mormon Bible. He carried a letter of introduction from her brother and Mrs. Davison gave him an introduction to George Clark in whose house at Hartwick she had left the trunk, instructing Mr. Clark to permit Mr. Hurlbut to have the manuscript. Mr. Hurlbut did find a manuscript in this trunk but whether it was actually the "Manuscript Found," will never be known. He had promised to return it to Mrs. Davison but he failed to keep his word.

In May, 1839, the Boston Recorder published a detailed statement from Mrs. Davison in which she set forth what she knew of the "Manuscript Found." Her statement in regard to the manner in which it came into her possession, follows:

"Here (in Pittsburgh) Mr. found a friend and acquaintance in the person of Mr. Patterson, who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that, if he would make out a title-page and preface he would publish it, as it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do. Sidney Rigdon, 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, became acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and copied it. 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 he removed to Amity where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved."

The Mormons were greatly agitated over this statement and pronounced the letter a forgery, later securing a statement from Mrs. Davison in which she declared she did not write it. This was probably the beginning of the dispute of the authorship of the Book of Mormon; a dispute which will remain unsettled for all time.

Rev. Dr. Austin, who had secured the interview from Mrs. Davison came back with a counter-statement made up from notes of a conversation he had had with her. Other statements followed from both sides, some claiming that Mrs. Spaulding had written the letter and others, that she had not.

Sidney Rigdon, himself, under date of May 27, 1839, wrote to the Boston Journal and denied all knowledge of Solomon Spaulding and declared that there had been no printer named Patterson in Pittsburgh during his residence there, although he knew a Robert Patterson who had owned a printing shop in that city. He then attacked D. P. Hurlbut and E. D. Howe, the author of "Mormonism Unveiled." It is generally admitted by those opposed to Mormonism, that if the Spaulding history stood on a no


640                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

firmer foundation than Mrs. Davision's statement, it would be exceedingly weak, but there is more to it.

In describing his recollections of the story of "Manuscript Found," John Spaulding, a brother of Solomon, said, "It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribe. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till they arrived in America, under the command of Nephi and Lehi. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations, one of which he denominated Nephites, and the other Lamanites. Cruel and bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain -- I have recently read the 'Book of Mormon' and to my great surprise, I find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc., as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style, and commenced about every sentence with 'and it came to pass,' or 'now it came to pass,' the same as in the 'Book of Mormon,' and, according to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter."

Many other people came forward and declared that they remembered names and incidents in the history and that they are exactly as appear in the Book of Mormon. Joseph Miller of Amity, who was well acquainted with Spaulding, stated on February 6, 1879, that he had heard portions of the "Manuscript Found" read by Spaulding himself and that he had read the Mormon Bible to compare the two. Another man from Amity who declared that he had heard Spaulding read from a manuscript, was Redick McKee. In the Reporter of April 21, 1869, Mr. McKee said, "I have an indistinct recollection of the passage referred to by Mr. Miller about the Amlicites making a cross with red paint on their foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in battle."

Rev. Abner Judson [sic - Jackson?] of Canton, Ohio, whose father had known Spaulding at Conneaut, wrote to the Reporter under date of January 7, 1881, and sais, "He wrote it in the Bible style. 'And it came to pass,' occurred so often that some called him 'Old Come-to-pass.' The 'Book of Mormons' follows the romance too closely to be a stranger. When it was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old Esquire Wright heard it and exclaimed, 'Old-come-to-pass' has come to life again.'"

Of course, the testimony of all these witnesses while simple might be said to be very strong. On the other hand, they are all prejudiced against the Mormons as are most people of today and they will give undue weight to testimony which in the minds of the unprejudiced might not be of much importance. Now we come down a little to the other side. The question of what became of the "Manuscript Found" has never been satisfactorily solved.
At the present time, there is in the library at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, a manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding. Asariah S. Root, librarian of the college, informed the author that "this manuscript is apparently not the original of the Book of Mormon. At any rate, it resembles it very little in the names used or in the incidents of the story. The only value which the manuscript, in our possession, can have bearing on the question of the origin of the Book of Mormon, is


                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   641

that it shows a specimen of his work. I suppose we are not to conclude that Solomon Spaulding wrote only one manuscript story and that therefore the question may still be open as to whether he wrote some other story besides the one in our possession."

Now the manner in which it came into the possession of Oberlin College is rather peculiar. The late president James H. Fairchild, of Oberlin College was seeking information on the anti-slavery question about 1885. E. D. Howe, already mentioned as the author of Mormonism Unveiled, had sold his printing establishment at Painesville, Ohio, long before the Civil war to L. L. Rice, an anti-slavery editor for many years. Mr. Rice afterwards moved to the Hawaiian Islands and President Fairchild requested him to look over his old papers in search of anything of interest on the anti-slavery question that might be of value to Oberlin College. One result of this search, was an old manuscript bearing this certificate: "The writings of Solomon Spaulding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller, and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen are now in my possession. "D. P. HURLBUT."

It was announced to the world that Spaulding's long lost "Manuscript Found" had been discovered and that it bore no resemblance to the Book of Mormon. This manuscript was afterwards published by the re-organized chuech of Jesus Christ of Lamoni, Iowa, in defense of the story of the origin of the Book of Mormon.

However, this was not the original "Manuscript Found" according to those opposed to Mormonism. Mr. Howe had made no effort to conceal his possession of it. Hurlbut, who secured the manuscript from Mrs. Davison, was in Howe's employ, and later in his book "Mormonism Unveiled" says with reference to this manuscript. "This is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twenty-four rolls of parchment in a cave on the banks of Conneaut Creek, but written in a modern style, and giving a fabulous account of a ship's being driven upon the American coast, while proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short time previous to the Christian era, this country then being inhabited by the Indians."
Of interest in this same connection is another letter written by Mr. Root, of Oberlin College, February 17, 1926, which explains the manner in which the Spaulding manuscript came into possession of the college. This letter follows:

The manuscript in the possession of this library, which was written by Solomon Spaulding, was found by Mr. L. L. Rice, in Honolulu, Hawaii, among his papers in 1885 when he was looking them over at the request of our President Fairchild, who was spending a few weeks on the island, and who asked him to look among his papers and see if he had any anti-slavery material which he could give him for our then-forming anti-slavery collection.

I am not sure that Mr. Rice recalled how the manuscript came into his possession, but it seems to have been somewhat in this fashion: Sometime, I think in the '40s he purchased the "Painesville Telegraph," and probably, among the things in the office passed on to him was the manuscript. This manuscript seems to have come into the possession of the

642                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

"Painesville Telegraph" in the '30s, at the time when they were publishing Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," one of the first books written against Mormonism.

At that time, as set forth in the book "Mormonism Unveiled," the reading of the Book of Mormon, [which] as you recall, appeared in 1830, led many people living in the vicinity of Conneaut, a little east of Painesville, to declare that it was a copy of a manuscript by Solomon Spaulding, which they had heard him read.

Mr. Spaulding himself was at that time dead, but these Painesville people apparently were interested enough to trace up his heirs and learn from them that a trunk containing some manuscripts of Spaulding's had been left in West Amity, Pennsylvania [sic - Hartwick, New York?]. They accordingly obtained permission, went there, searched the trunk, and apparently found this manuscript, which was brought to Painesville, identified by various people as being a manuscript of Spaulding's, but said by the people of Conneaut not to be the manuscript which was, in their opinion, the origin of the Book of Mormon, that manuscript being in biblical phraseology, with frequent repetitions of the words "and it came to pass" -- a characteristic which is not true of this manuscript. Apparently, therefore, this manuscript which we have, has been recognized from about 1839 or 1840 as not being the manuscript of Spaulding's which was said to have been the original of the Book of Mormon.

A copy of this manuscript has been made and both branches of the Mormon Church have published it under the title "Manuscript Found" which does not appear anywhere upon the story itself.
In 1880, Mrs. Ellen E. Dickenson, a great niece of Spaulding, visited D. P. Hurlbut at Gibsonburg, taking Oscar Kellog as a witness of the interview. Mrs. Dickenson states in her book "New Light on Mormonism" that Mr. Hurlbut became very much excited at her visit. He spoke of securing a manuscript for Mr. Howe at Hartwick but he declared that he believed he had burned it with some other papers belonging to Howe. When asked the direct question if it was Spaulding's manuscript, he replied, "Mrs. Davison thought it was; but when I just peeked into it, here and there, and saw the names Mormon, Moroni, Lamanite, Lephi, I thought it was all nonsense. Why, if it had been the real one, I could have sold it for $3,000; but I just gave it to Howe because it was of no account.' During this interview, Mrs. Hurlbut begged her husband to tell what he knew but he gave no answer. Later he wrote to Mrs. Dickinson with reference to the manuscript and said, "I did not examine the manuscript until after I got home, when upon examination, I found it to contain nothing of the kind, but being a manuscript upon an entirely different subject. This manuscript I left with E. D. Howe."

From this it will be seen that Hurlbut contradicts himself and his word is really not to be relied upon. It has always been an open question as to how Spaulding's manuscript or story came into the possession of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon religion, if it ever did come into his possession, which of course, will always be in doubt despite claims to the contrary.

Joseph Smith was a man of little education but he was intelligent and very smart, notwithstanding the claims of his enemies to the contrary.


                  HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                   643

It has been alleged by them that Smith did not have the ability to produce such a work as the Book of Mormon and that there must have been some master-mind behind it. This may be true.

Sidney Rigdon who was closely associated with Joseph Smith in founding the Mormon Church, was a native of Allegheny County and lived near Library, not far from Findleyville. He resided in Pittsburgh for a time during which he frequented the shop of Patterson's Printing office where Spaulding's manuscript had been left. It is claimed by some that he stole the manuscript, copied and then returned it to the office. This is hardly probable. The manuscript if it was the original of the Book of Mormon, was of considerable length and no man without some very definite object in view would attempt to copy it. At that time, Mormonism had not been dreamed of.

The first edition of the Book of Mormon, as published by Joseph Smith at Palmyra, New York, in 1830, contains 588 pages of about 450 words to the page. This would make a manuscript of more than 26,000 words, which is unreasonable to suppose that any man would copy in long hand out of pure pleasure. Of course, it is possible that Rigdon read parts or possibly all of the story while in Patterson's office. While it is doubtful if he ever read all of it, he may have glanced through it enough to give him an idea of the story. Providing, of course, that the "Manuscript Found" in the Hawaiian Islands in later years was not Spaulding's "Manuscript Found."

When a young man Rigdon was a minister in the Baptist Church and preached until 1821, when he accepted a call to a small Baptist Church in Pittsburgh. If course, this was long after Spaulding's Manuscript had been taken from Patterson's Printing office by the author who died in 1816. It is claimed that Rigdon had access to the manuscript prior to that time when he was living on his father's farm near Library and frequently went to Pitytsburgh. It is claimed by the Mormons who have investigated the subject that Spaulding moved from Pittsburgh to Amity in 1814, and that Rigdon first visited Pittsburgh in 1822. However, there is considerable evidence to show that he loafed around Patterson's Printing office before 1816.

It was afterwards claimed by Rev. John Winter, who taught school in Pittsburgh when Rigdon preached there and was acquainted with the latter, that Rigdon once showed him a large manuscript which he said a Presbyterian minister named Spaulding had brought to the city for publication. That conflicts again with what are generally admitted to be facts for it has never been disputed that Spaulding took his manuscript to Amity with him. Mrs. Spaulding declared that it was in his possession and among his effects at the time of his death and was taken by her when she moved to New York state. Thus it would be impossible for Rigdon to have had it in his possession in Pittsburgh, in 1822, and there can be scarcely any doubt that the actual solution to this, providing, of course, that Spaulding's manuscript is the original of the Book of Mormon, is that Hurlbut secured two manuscripts. The one, the original of the "Manuscript Found" and the other, the manuscript that was found in the Hawaiian Islands. In this case, Hurlbut either destroyed the "Manuscript


644                   HISTORY  OF  WASHINGTON  COUNTY                  

Found" or sold it to the Mormons. The latter theory has been frequently advanced but the truth will never be known and the real origin of the Book of Mormon will remain a myster for all time to come.

(pages 644-646 not yet fully transcribed)


[ 647 ]

Village of Amity. The first house on the left is the house in which Solomon Spaulding,
claimed to have been the real author of the Book of Mormon, lived. Spaulding died
in this house and is buried in the cemetery nearby.



Transcriber's Comments

Alfred Creigh's 1870 book

Creigh states that Solomon Spalding was "an antiquarian, and travelled far and near to investigate, scientifically... American antiquities, for the purpose of tracing the aborigines to their original source... the lost tribes of ancient Israel." While there may be some general element of truth to this statement, Creigh gives no source for it and its value in reconstructing Spalding's beliefs and activities is uncertain.

The same might be said of Creigh's remark, that Spalding "actually entered into a contract with a Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburg, to publish the same [manuscript book], but from some cause the contract was not fulfilled." His source for this latter information was apparently Spalding's old friend, Joseph Miller, Sr. of Amity.

Creigh promises to provide "the testimony of living witnesses" regarding the Spalding authorship claims, but only supplies the 1869 statement of Joseph Miller, Sr. This originally appeared in the Washington, PA Reporter, on April 8, 1869. Creigh's reading of Miller's letter apparently provided him with the idea of including the Spalding authorship claims in the history of Washington county that he was then still writing. Creigh's use of the 1869 Miller statement helped to preserve and popularize Miller's unique recollections of Solomon Spalding's brief residence in the village of Amity. Little else appeared in print in western Pennsylvania concerning Spalding and the old claim that he wrote the Book of Mormon, until Creigh himself expanded upon his earlier account with an enlarged article, published by Robert Patterson, Jr. in the Feb. 12, 1879 issue of the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Banner.

Robert Patterson, Jr. was at least marginally involved in investigations of the Spalding claims as early as November of 1878, when the Rev. Samuel Williams contacted Patterson about his father's contact with Spalding in Pittsburgh c. 1812-1816. Through Williams Patterson soon came into contact with the highly motivated Spalding claims researcher, James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City and much of Cobb's enthusiasm for this line of research seems to have quickly rubbed off onto Patterson. Whether Patterson solicited the Feb. 12, 1879 article from Creigh, or whether it was Creigh who first approached Patterson on that matter remains unknown. At the very least the interests of both Creigh and Patterson regarding the Spalding authorship claims appear to have converged early in 1879. From that point forward it would be Robert Patterson, Jr. who carried forward the primary research on the subject in western Pennsylvania.

(view 1792 map of the county)


Transcriber's Comments

Joseph F. McFarland's 1910 book

(under construction)


Transcriber's Comments

Earle R. Forrest's 1926 book

(under construction)

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