Dale R. Broadhurst's ‘The Spalding Saga’

Chronology  |  Fairchild's Letters  |  L. L. Rice's Letters  |  Fairchild's Writings

The 1884 Discovery in Hawaii
Episode Eleven in the Spalding Saga

(this section is under construction)

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John Whitney home, where the MS was found in 1884

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Mary S. Rice Whitney
(photo taken in 1919)

Lewis L. Rice.

b. March, 1801; Otsego Co., N. Y
m. 5 Jan 1823; Portage, OH Chloe Pratt m. 26 Jul 1832; Ravenna, , OH Sarah Coleman (b: 16 May 1799)

1840 Census: Summit Twp: Northampton, OH (probably actually lived in Painesville)

1850 Census: Columbus, Franklin, OH 1860 Census: Columbus, Franklin, OH 1870 Census: Columbus, Franklin, OH

1879 -- came to Honolulu only son: Rev. Wm. Rice of New York, died: April 14, 1886
aged 85 years, 1 month


Mary Sophronia Rice
b. 29 Nov 1837; Cleveland Cuyahoga, OH
m. 5 Aug 1869, Oberlin, Lorain, OH
John Morgan Whitney
d. 22 Feb 1825; Honolulu, Oahu, HI

letters to James H. Fairchild --

Feb. 16, 1887 July 30, 1887

The Descendants of John Whitney, Who Came from London, England, to Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1635. by Frederick Clifton Pierce (Chicago: 1895)

[pages 600-601]

DR. JOHN MORGAN WHITNEY (Moses A., Moses, Samuel, Samuel, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, John, John), b. 1 Oct 1835; Marlboro, VT m. 5 Aug 1869; Oberlin, Lorain, OH Mary Sophronia RICE, b. Nov. 29, 1837.

John Morgan WHITNEY was born in Marlboro, Vt., Oct. 1, 1835, in the home of his grandfather. At two years of age he was taken by his parents to Strongsville, O., but on the death of his mother soon after their arrival, he was brought back to his uncle, Stephen WHITNEY, in Marlboro, where he remained two or three years. He then went to live with his father in Strongsville, O. After his father's second marriage his older brother, Locke, was brought from his uncle, William WHITNEY'S, in Rowe, Mass., and for the first time they knew each other as brothers. A few years of school and the father took his family to the new state of Illinois. The home was not far from the river DuPage; upon its meadows deer were then more plentiful than cattle, so that scarcely an hour in the day during the summer there could not be seen several; often thirty or forty were counted at a time. In the waters were found the most enticing fish that ever inveigled a boy from work. The first school of the three months was taught by the father. The next three months the following year was taught by a young man who sat with his cap on with a rod by his side long enough to reach the head of the farthermost boy, and when any one disturbed him in his reading "PAINE'S Age of Reason" and similar works, he was given a cut across the head and shoulders, and the reading continued. The next year a school-house was built and an excellent teacher was engaged.

After the father's death, the two boys went back to Strongsville to their guardian's, Mr. Jubal Whitney. Here they enjoyed the privileges of excellent schools and were by them prepared to enter the preparatory department of Oberlin college. By teaching winters, with some assistance they easily carried forward their education. During the summer vacation of 1856, Locke being in Strongsville, the town was visited with dysentery as an epidemic. The scourge was so fatal that none dare venture to care for the sick outside of the family. One family could find no one to care for them, and he volunteered his help, and, being overworked by his studies, soon fell before the destroyer, in the twenty-first year of his age -- a young man of great promise. The complete failure of John's health compelled him to relinquish study for several years. During the war he obtained a clerkship in the quartermaster's department of Tennessee, and was there until the war closed.

He came home, studied dentistry under Dr. J. F. SIDDALL, of Oberlin, O., and graduated from the dental college of Pennsylvania. During the summer of 1869 he was married to Mary S. RICE, of Oberlin, and took for his wedding tour a trip to Honolulu, Hawaiian island. Here he commenced the practice of dentistry, the second dentist in the Islands after Dr. John Mott-Smith's arrival in 1851.

After four years he returned with his wife to Columbus, O., where he took a course and graduated from the Starling Medical college of that city. He opened an office for the practice of dentistry in Cleveland, where he had two children born to him. Finding the weather too severe for health, in the fall of 1876 he returned with his family to Honolulu, where he has been in the successful practice of his profession ever since; res. Honolulu, Hawaiian Is.

Note: 1910 Hawaii Census shows John living in Honolulu. John is listed in his wife's will, dated May 19, 1924 -- presumably still living then.


Mary Louise b. Sept. 27, 1874; Cleveland, Cuyahoga, OH d. Dec. 13, 1879 -- prob. in Hawaii

William Locke b. Feb. 8, 1876; Cleveland, Cuyahoga, OH m. c. 1898; Saida Mae Sutton d. bet. 1910 -1924; Honolulu, Oaho, HI

Ada Rice b. July 25, 1877 (adopted -- prob. in Hawaii, c. 1880) m. c. 1897; Mr. Weinrich (he died before 1910) 1910 census shows her on Oaho d. aft. 1825


Whitney W. Weinrich b. c. 1900 d. aft. 1925

Sidney J. Weinrich b. 18 Jun 1909 d. 25 Sep 1998

Ann (adopted) b. c. 1910 d. aft 1824

William Holden Rice
b. 4 Jan 1841; Painesville, Lake, OH
1862: Graduated B.A., Oberlin College
1865: Graduated from Oberlin Theological School
1869 ordained Presbyterian minister
1870s: Member of the Cong. Council in Genesee, Illinois. 1870s-80s Preached in Brooklyn, Ohio, Mt. Carroll, IL, 1880s: Washington DC, Vernon, NY, Addison, NY 1890s: Benton Harbor, MI.

m. 25 Apr 1867; Oberlin, Lorain, OH
Libbie P. Kinney


Lewis George Rice
b: 6 Feb 1868; Oberlin, Lorain, OH
d. 29 Aug 1868; Oberlin, Lorain, OH

Harold Kinney Rice
b: 8 Dec 1869; Oberlin, Lorain, OH

Not to be confused with William Hyde Rice (1846-1924) the Governor of Kauai.

Addison, Steuben, NY -- 1885-87 , , OH -- 1890

1901 - Nov 8 letter written from Panchau St. Honolulu

1900 and 1910 census show William H. Rice: Lihue District, Island of Kauai d. between 1910 and 1924, prob. Hawaii

Lewis L. Rice edited The Lorain County News from March 1, 1864 until October, 1865. Mr. Rice was the only editor of The News during the Civil War that was never a student of Oberlin College (Williams Brothers, 65). He came to the paper with 42 years of experience in the business, managing and editing abolitionist newspapers (Williams Brothers, 66).

Rice's credits included editing The Ohio Star.

He was the publisher and editor of The Cleveland Whig from August 20, 1834 until 1837. In January of 1835 Rice was joined by another veteran of the news business, R. Penniman. In 1836 Penniman and Rice began publishing The Cleveland Gazette, which later became The Cleveland Daily Gazette. They sold both The Whig and The Gazette to Charles Whittlesey and A. H. Lewis on January 3, 1837 (Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, 2nd Edition, Ed. David D. VanTassel and John J. Grabowski [Bloomington and Indianapolis, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1996]).

In 1839 Rice became the editor of the Painesville Telegraph (Emilius O. Randall and Daniel J. Ryan, History of Ohio: The Rise and Progress of An American State, vol. 3 [New York: The Century History Company, 1912] 401).

L. L. Rice took over as the editor and publisher of The Ohio American which was an organ of the anti-slavery Liberty Party. He worked for The Ohio American from September 19, 1844 to August 28, 1845.

In August the paper moved from Ohio City, just outside Cleveland, to Cleveland proper and the name was changed to The Cleveland American. Rice stayed with this paper until May 28, 1847 (Encyclopedia of Cleveland History). Lewis L. Rice, who was an attorney, also served as the private secretary to Ohio Governor Chase. After Rice edited The Lorain County News he moved to Columbus, Ohio where he served as the Superintendent of Public Printing for the state of Ohio during the next twelve years. Rice finally retired to Oberlin (Williams Brother, 66).

Rice should be most remembered in connection with the Spaulding papers. When Lewis Rice took over as editor of The Painesville Telegraph in 1839 he acquired many papers including the manuscript of Solomon Spaulding. Spaulding was one of the early Mormons. Some Christians who opposed the founding of this denomination speculated that the Book of Mormon was a plagiarism of Spaulding's works. Spaulding's works had been missing for a number of years, therefore it was impossible to prove the plagiarism. Rice turned the papers over to James Fairchild, President of Oberlin College, when he realized their significance in 1884. Fairchild subsequently read the manuscript and discredited the charges of plagiarism leveled against the Book of Mormon in a speech in 1884. The Solomon Spaulding Manuscripts are now in the possession of Oberlin College. This work is considered by some to be part of the Book of Mormon (Randall and Ryan, 401-404).


A  Chronology  of  the
Oberlin  Spalding  Manuscript

Part One: 1811-1878

1879-1883    1884    1885    1886    1887-1899    1900 on  

Solomon Spalding, while residing in New Salem, Ohio, supervises the opening of an Indian mound. Ancient artifacts discovered in the excavation greatly interest him. Somebody in New Salem has a dream about there being some ancient records in mound. Solomon Spalding is influenced by New York Governor DeWitt Clinton's theories that the American mound-builders were actually ancient Romans and that elephants roamed the ancient Americas. According to the
1839 recollection of his widow, Spalding now conceives "the idea of giving an historical sketch of" the ancient Americans, the "long lost race" which had built the strange old mounds found in places like Conneaut township, Ohio.

To concoct this "historical sketch," Spalding combines plot elements supplied by the local dreamer with then contemporary theories regarding the mound-builders, and begins to compose a short, untitled story. This unfinished and admittedly "sketchy" story was apparently the document that would later be discovered in 1884, by Lewis L. Rice, in Honolulu. In her 1839 testimony, Spalding's widow tells how "he progressed in his narrative;" calls that narrative a "historical romance" (instead of a sketch); and says that he " imitated" the ancient-sounding "style" he found in "the Old Testament." Although these fragments of testimony do not add up to an account of Solomon Spalding first writing a "sketch" and then "progressing" to the writing of a different "historical romance" in the "style" found in "the Old Testament," her account might allow for that interpretation of this little known man and his writings.

1812 (late spring?)
Solomon Spalding's brother Josiah visits him at New Salem and while there reads Solomon's still unfinished mound-builder romance. About a year after the death of her husband, Solomon Spalding's widow would inform Josiah (
see ahead: 1817) that his brother had finished his story of ancient America. This cannot be said of Spalding's "Roman" story -- at least not in the draft that has survived as the Oberlin Spalding manuscript Josiah would years later record this experience in a letter to the Rev. George Chapman (see ahead: Jan. 6, 1855).

1812 (summer)
Solomon Spalding reportedly informs a few of his neighbors that he has abandoned the writing of his first "Roman" story and is composing a lengthier story of the ancient Americans, set at an earlier period in history and written in the style of the biblical ("King James") scriptures. He commences reading episodes from this new epic (his infamous "Manuscript Found") to his neighbors in their periodic evening social gatherings at his home.

1812 (fall)
Solomon Spalding leaves New Salem and moves to Pittsburgh, taking his untitled "Roman" story and his other writings along with him. The Spalding holograph now on file at Oberlin College bears many signs of corrections and re-copying; Spalding may have done that re-writing either before or after leaving New Salem.

1813-14: (winter)
After failing in a temporary job of selling art prints in Pittsburgh, Solomon Spalding apparently leaves his wife and adopted daughter behind in Pittsburgh (sewing uniforms for the army troops in the War of 1812), while reportedly spends the winter with the Wilson family near the town of Washington. During this period Spalding was seen writing on his historical fiction. He may have been revising his "Roman" story into the version now on file in the Oberlin College Library. But, more likely, he was revising his "Manuscript Found," after having its initial draft refused for publication in Pittsburgh.

1814: (summer & fall)
Solomon Spalding returns to Pittsburgh and lives there with his wife and adopted daughter until October, they move to nearby Amity, Pennsylvania. He takes the untitled "Roman" story with him and it remains unfinished, among his personal papers thereafter.

1816: Oct. 20
Solomon Spalding dies at Amity. His "Roman" story of the ancient mound-builders becomes the property of his widow, Matilda, along with the rest of his meager estate.

1816-17: (winter)
At about this time Solomon Spalding's widow, Matilda, reportedly takes one of his manuscripts to the Rev. Robert Patterson, Sr., in Pittsburgh, asking if Patterson would publish it for one half of the profits. While this may manuscript have been a finished version of Spalding's "Roman" story, it seems much more likely that the widow brought Rev. Patterson the final draft of the "Manuscript Found," a re-written version of her late husband's story that the Patterson brothers had not previously seen. Rev. Patterson reportedly declines to publish this particular fictional work. This account was first related in the
Oct. 15, 1876 issue of the Saints' Herald. It contains this recollection by a Mormon who later interviewed Patterson: "after he [Robert Patterson, Sr.] had due time to consider it, he determined not to publish it. She [the widow] then came and received the manuscript from his hands, and took it away."

1816-17: (winter)
Solomon Spalding's widow carries his fictional writings and various other personal papers to the home of her brother, the William H. Sabine residence in Onondaga Hollow, Onondaga Co., New York. According to the Spalding's adopted daughter, Matilda Spalding McKinstry, (see ahead:
Apr. 3, 1880) she and her foster mother made this move "directly after his death." However, it is possible that the widow's obligations and activities in Pennsylvania prevented the relocation until the first part of 1817.

By this time, at least, Spalding's unfinished "Roman" story, along with his other fictional writings, personal papers, sermons, etc. are packed in an old, hair-covered trunk. While this trunk is at the Sabine residence, its contents are occasionally examined by Spalding's widow and her adopted daughter (the future Matilda McKinstry), but no mention is made in existing sources of any body then reading through the unfinished "Roman" story. Mrs. McKinstry's description (from 1880) are: "We carried all our personal effects with us, and one of these was an old trunk, in which my mother had placed all my father's writings which had been preserved... There were sermons and other papers, and I saw a manuscript, about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some of the stories my father had written for me." Mrs. McKinstry would later identify the document by saying: "On the outside of this manuscript were written the words, "Manuscript Found." Whether or not she was actually recalling and describing the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript has been a matter of controversy since the 1880s.

Spalding's widow, Matilda, lives in the State of New York, for "a while" (according to her brother-in-law, Josiah Spalding) "and then came to Connecticut" on a visit. The widow probably made this journey in 1817. It was about then (according Mrs. McKinstry's 1880 statement), "After we had been at my uncle's for some time, my mother left me there and went to her father's house at Pomfret, Connecticut..." Josiah was then living in that same area. He would later report of the widow, that "She informed me, if I recollect right, that my brother continued his history of the civilized nation and the progress of the war until the triumph of the savages to the destruction of the civilized government." This conclusion to the story is missing from the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript. However, it matches well with the conclusion of the Book of Mormon.

If what the widow actually said to Josiah was that her husband "continued to work at writing a history of a civilized nation" in ancient America, then her report would correspond to
the testimony attributed to the Conneaut witnesses in E. D. Howe's book: "This old M. S. [Spalding's "Roman" story] has been shown to several of the foregoing witnesses, who recognise it as Spalding's, he having told them that he had altered his first plan of writing, by going farther back with dates, and writing in the old scripture style, in order that it might appear more ancient. They say that it bears no resemblance to the 'Manuscript Found.'" This explanation of what the widow said to Josiah would also correspond with the Dec. 1833 testimony of Aaron Wright: "Hurlbut is now at my store I have examined the writings which he has obtained from said Spaldings widowe [i.e., the "Roman" story] I recognise them to be the writings handwriting of said Spalding but not the manuscript I had refferance to in my statement before alluded to [the "Manuscript Found"] as he informed me he wrote in the first place for his own amusement and then altered his plan and commenced writing a history of the first settlement of America the particulars you will find in my testimony dated August 1833."

Spalding's widow returns from her 1817 visit in Connecticut and resumes living with her daughter in the William H. Sabine home in Onondaga Hollow. Among the other residents in the home at that time is
Ann Marie Treadwell, the headmistress of the local academy (1800-c.1888 -- md. Lewis H. Redfield, 1820). While boarding with the Sabines, Ann Marie hears "the family talk of a manuscript in their possession... [that the late] Rev. Mr. Spaulding, had written." Although she never reads the story, "its substance was so often mentioned, and the peculiarity of the story, that years afterward, when the Mormon Bible was published" Ann Marie would read it and see the resemblance between it and Mrs. Spaulding's account of 'The Manuscript Found.'" While the story that Miss Treadwell remembered being discussed in the Sabine home may have been Spalding's "Roman" story, it is difficult to imagine that even repeated references to the content of that sketchy, unfinished story would cause anyone to recall much "resemblance" between it and the Book of Mormon.

1819: Nov. 2
Solomon Spalding's widow marries a Mr. John Davison of Cooperstown and becomes Matilda Spalding Davison. The couple lives in or Cooperstown and (according to Mrs. McKinstry's 1880 statement) Mrs. Davison has some of her possessions transported to her in Otsego Co., New York from her brother's residence in Onondaga. Among those possessions is the "old hair trunk" containing Spalding's "Roman" story, a copy of his "Manuscript Found" and other personal papers.

1828 (winter?)
Matilda Spalding Davison's adopted daughter marries Dr. Oliver W. McKinstry of Monson, Massachusetts (apparently at Cooperstown). The wedding occurred in 1828 but the exact date remains unknown. At some point after her marriage, Mrs. McKinstry (according to her 1880 statement) "went there [Monson] to reside." This relocation probably occurred late the following year -- according to the church records, Matilda Spalding McKinstry joined the Monson Congregational Church in December 1829, by "profession," indicating that she was a Congregationalist in New York, before she moved to Monson.

A few months after her daughter left Otsego Co., New York, to live in Monson, Massachusetts, Matilda Spalding Davison apparently experiences marital difficulties with her husband, Mr. John Davison, in Cooperstown, and (according to Mrs. McKinstry's 1880 statement) leaves him and eventually moves to Monson herself. A few months prior to her moving to Monson, Mrs. Davison takes her possessions and moves into the home of her younger cousin and her husband, Mrs. and Mr. Jerome Clark of nearby Hartwick, Otsego Co. Matilda Spalding Davison spends the winter of 1830-31 with the Clark family. At this time she places one of her old trunks (containing her late husband's writings and personal papers) in the care of Mr. Jerome Clark During this period she allows people to read some of her late husband's writings, which she has with her.

1831: (winter-spring)
While Matilda Spalding Davison is living with the Jerome Clark family at Hartwick, during the first weeks of 1831, they are visited for a period by Mr. Clark's future daughter-in-law,
Miss Nancy Brace. During the course of her visit Mrs. Davison loans Miss Brace one of her late husband's manuscript to read. The girl reads "a part of it" and then returns it. If Nancy Brace Clark's 1881 testimony can be believed, Mrs. Davison (some time before the widow left there during the first half of 1831) tells the girl that material from this manuscript provided "the origin of the Mormon Bible."

It is difficult to imagine that Matilda Spalding Davison was so aware of incipient Mormonism (which was only then beginning to be reported in the newspapers) that she could guess that one of her husband's stories provided the basis for that strange new religion -- and then move off leaving that literary evidence practically unprotected. If there is any truth in this account, it appears far more likely that this notion was communicated to Nancy three years later, when D. P. Hurlbut came to the Clark residence to procure Solomon Spalding's writings. BY that time Matilda Spalding Davison was long gone -- she reportedly left the Clarks during the Spring of 1831 and she is not known to have ever returned.

1831: (spring-summer)
Mrs. Davison leaves New York, "intending to send for it," but the trunk and its contents (including Spalding's "Roman" story) remain with the Clark family in Hartwick along with other items of her furniture. A year or two later, after she has relocated to Monson and is living with her adopted daughter, Mrs. Davison writes to Jerome Clark, "to sell her effects... and remit to her the proceeds." After Jerome does this, her "old trunk still remained in the garret," holding some of her late husband's writings (including his "Roman" story).

1832: Feb. 14-15
Elders Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde preach from the Book of Mormon at
New Salem (soon to be re-named Conneaut) and Solomon Spalding's old neighbor, Nehemiah King, is reminded of Spalding's fictional writings. From this incident (and from the local reaction to Mormon conversions in the area) springs forth the Solomon Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon.

1832: (fall or winter?)
Nehemiah King (Solomon Spalding's old neighbor) dies at New Salem. Following his passing it appears that the Solomon Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon were chiefly championed by other of Spalding's old neighbors, like Aaron Wright and Henry Lake. Elders Samuel H. Smith and Orson Hyde failed to make any Mormon converts in New Salem, but they had better success in the adjacent county of Erie, in Pennsylvania. Within a few months (according to LDS missionary
Jared Carter) a "great opposition" arose in the Conneaut Creek area and some of these new members deserted the Mormon cause. This "great opposition" may have been based, in part, upon the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. No information has survived from this period to indicate whether those authorship claims were then dependent upon Spalding's old associates' memories of the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript or the more famous "Manuscript Found."

"Not long after" Matilda Spalding Davison moved (in the first half of 1831) to Monson, some news (according to Mrs. McKinstry's 1880 statement) of Mormonism, "and the report that it had been taken from... 'Manuscript Found'" reached the McKinstry home in Monson. Probably this "report" came from a correspondent among Mrs. Davison's old neighbors in the Conneaut area. Insufficient information has been preserved to firmly establish whether this "report" was based upon elements of "Mormonism" resembling some thematic elements in Spalding's "Roman" story (polygamy, seer stones, buried ancient records, divine revelation, etc.) -- but, it seems more likely (as McKinstry says) that the more biblical sounding "Manuscript Found" was the Spalding writing in question. Assuming that Mrs. Davison really did hear such a "report" connecting her late husband's writings with the text of the Book of Mormon, she was apparently half-convinced of there being such a connection long before D. P. Hurlbut ever came to visit her. This account seems to render incorrect the date, at least, of Nancy Brace Clark's 1881 testimony (see above: (
spring 1831, in which Nancy says that Mrs. Davison knew of this probable connection before she moved to Monson.

1833: Apr. 1-2
LDS missionary D. P. Hurlbut
arrives in Erie Co., Pennsylvania. Here he soon learns of Solomon Spalding's writings on the ancient Americans and that some residents of the Conneaut area have connected those writings with the text of the Book of Mormon. Hurlbut probably first heard of the Spalding authorship claims from Mr. Lyman Jackson in Erie County during the first days of April. It was perhaps this early also, that Mr. Jackson informed Hurlbut of details in Spalding's untitled "Roman" story (see ahead 1840).

1833: Apr. 6
LDS missionary D. P. Hurlbut is
assigned by Hyrum Smith to be the proselytizing companion of Elder Orson Hyde (who has preached Mormonism in New Salem on Feb. 14-15, 1832). The two elders carrying out missionary work in Erie Co., Pennsylvania. It was perhaps shortly after this assignment that D. P. Hurlbut encountered people living on the border, near New Salem, Ohio, who were then advocating the Solomon Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship. It still has not been documented whether these claims were then based upon those persons' recollections of Spalding's "Roman" story or the reportedly more biblical sounding "Manuscript Found."

1833: mid-May
LDS missionary D. P. Hurlbut likely first meets Solomon Spalding's brother, John Spalding, and John's wife, Martha, while preaching Mormonism in
Crawford Co., Pennsylvania. John would have known something about his brother's "Roman" story, but there is no record of his saying anything about its unique plot and features.

1833: July-Aug.
The recently excommunicated D. P. Hurlbut returns to Erie Co. Pennsylvania and gives
public lectures condemning the Mormon Church. He has an opportunity here to further study Solomon Spalding claims for Book of Mormon authorship and he may have first mentioned Spalding's writings in public during these lectures. Hurlbut apparently ends up this anti-Mormon lecture tour in Crawford Co. about the middle of August. Almost certainly at this time D. P. Hurlbut solicits his first two Spalding authorship claims statements -- from Solomon Spalding's brother, John Spalding, and John's wife, Martha.

If D. P. Hurlbut based his research and explanation of the Spalding authorship claims upon reports of the Oberlin "Roman" story romance, he (and/or others) must have begun fabricating testimony saying that the "Manuscript Found" resembled the Book of Mormon at about this time. If he inherited those purportedly false claims from the so-called "Conneaut witnesses" themselves, then perhaps their purportedly false assertions concerning the content of the "Manuscript Found" were crafted before this time. In any case, the written testimony of John Spalding and his wife Martha Spalding must date from about this period. John says of his late brother's writings: "The book was entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' of which he read to me many passages. -- 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 tribes. 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." Martha says this of Solomon, shortly before he left Ohio for Pittsburgh: "he was then writing a historical novel founded upon the first settlers of America... the company which first came off from Jerusalem. He gave a particular account of their journey by land and sea, till they arrived in America, after which, disputes arose between the chiefs, which caused them to separate into different lands, one of which was called Lamanites and the other Nephites... I have read the Book of Mormon... the historical part of it is the same that I read and heard read... the phrases of 'and it came to pass,' &c. are the same."

It is quite obvious that these two witnesses' testimony could not have been derived from Spalding's "Roman" story, except in a few of the most general features they testify to recollect. Either they have told definite lies; or D. P. Hurlbut fabricated their testimony; or they told the truth. The particular details each deponent recounts could not have honestly arisen from a "faulty memory" of the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript's contents -- not even with "a little judicious prompting" from D. P. Hurlbut.

1833: late Aug.
D. P. Hurlbut returns from Pennsylvania to Kirtland and calls a
public meeting to discuss the problem of Mormonism. He solicits money from concerned residents, to finance his intended trip eastward, where he expects to gather further information on the secret origin of the Book of Mormon, etc. Hurlbut then no doubt exhibits his written statements from John and Martha Spalding to a select few anti-Mormons. They accept the intriguing possibility that the Book of Mormon was really derived from Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" (so-called by John Spalding) and agree to employ Hurlbut to look up facts and testimony potentially destructive to Mormonism.

1833: late Aug.
D. P. Hurlbut leaves his residence in Kirtland and
begins a journey by stagecoach to locate the missing fictional writings of Solomon Spalding -- which he perhaps believes are still in the keeping of William H. Sabine in New York. Upon his way to the East, Hurlbut stops over in Conneaut township, Ashtabula Co., and calls a meeting of concerned citizens in New Salem. There he secures more statements from old associates of Solomon Spalding and raises more money to cover his travel expenses. From New Salem he probably next travels to Pittsburgh seeking useful documents and testimony, then continues on to the Palmyra area of New York to solicit more of the same.

Years later, Matilda S. McKinstry would testify: "then came to us [the McKinstry family, including Matilda Spalding Davison) direct an account of the Mormon meeting at Conneaut, Ohio, and that, on one occasion, when the Mormon Bible was read there in public, my father's brother, John Spaulding, Mr. Lake and many other persons who were present, at once recognized its similarity to the "Manuscript Found," which they had heard read years before by my father in the same town." This is a garbled account of what actually happened. Although D. P. Hurlbut had been a Mormon, he was excommunicated at this time. The lecture Hurlbut gave "at Conneaut, Ohio" was not "Mormon meeting, but rather, an anti-Mormon meeting. "Mr. [Henry] Lake and many other persons who... recognized" the Book of Mormon's "similarity to the 'Manuscript Found,'" may indeed have been present at Hurlbut's New Salem meeting -- but, if John Spalding was then present, it was by design and invitation from Hurlbut, not by accident.

The account later provided by McKinstry is a conflation of the events of two different meetings held in Conneaut township: the Feb. 14-15 preaching of Mormon Elders Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith, mistakenly joined with the mid Sept. 1833 anti-Mormon meeting and lecture called by D. P. Hurlbut. It is unlikely that John Spalding (who lived almost a day's travel away, in the Conneaut area of Pennsylvania) was accidentally present at either the 1832 meeting or the 1833 meeting -- unless invited by D. P. Hurlbut to come and speak at the latter gathering.

1833: late Aug.
During the course of his stop-over in the Conneaut region of Ashtabula and Erie counties, D. P. Hurlbut solicits at least five more statements. Unlike the written testimony he obtained a few weeks earlier from John and Martha Spalding, Hurlbut is careful to have dates affixed to this second series of primitive affidavits. Hurlbut obtains the written statements of
Aaron Wright, Nahum Howard, and Oliver Smith at this time.

1833: early Sept.
It is possible that D. P. Hurlbut secured the statement of Oliver Smith at the very end of August and then obtained that of
John N. Miller at the very beginning of September. Both men lived just across the state line from New Salem, in Erie Co., Pennsylvania. However, if both the dates and place names on these statements are accurate, then Hurlbut found interviewed Oliver Smith on the Ohio side of the border (in August), then interviewed Henry Lake (also in Ohio, but in early September), and, finally, he obtained the statement of John. N. Miller (also in early September), the only statement marked as being taken in Pennsylvania.

If the content of the seven existing statements taken by D. P. Hurlbut at this time (that of Artemus Cunningham may have come later) are full of lies, fabricated testimony, or the effects of faulty memory supplemented by "prompting," then knowledge of the time, place, and order in which they were written down may lead to uncovering further evidence of this dishonesty. On the other hand, if the content of the statements is basically reliable, then the accumulation of that same knowledge may be beneficial in determining the interrelationship of Spalding's "Roman" story and his "Manuscript Found." For, it is well evident that none of these 1833 deponents quote from or describe with any accuracy the Oberlin Spalding manuscript.

1833: Sept.-Oct.
D. P. Hurlbut probably takes
a side-trip down to Pittsburgh at this time, returning to pursue his journey on the road east, below the Great Lakes, near the end of October. Hurlbut likely left Buffalo on or about Oct. 31.

1833: Nov. 1-2
Although the exact sequence of events at this point is unclear, it appears that D. P. Hurlbut next travels by stagecoach (it is becoming too cold for canal boat travel), through Batavia, and arrives in Palmyra, Wayne Co., New York about Nov. 1. If Hurlbut himself believes the testimony about the "Manuscript Found," as written in the Conneaut witnesses' statements, the question must be asked, Why does he stop in Palmyra? If he knows that the testimony is false, then his probable purpose in locating Spalding's writings is simply to destroy them, so that they cannot be consulted and cited as proof against the Spalding authorship claims. If this notion is feasible, then he stops in Palmyra in order to gather at least some minimal testimony hostile and destructive to Joseph Smith's family. On the other hand, if he truly believes the testimony in his statements, then he stops in the Palmyra area to interview people (like Lyman Cowdery) who may have seen or heard something supportive of the Spalding authorship claims. In such a case, the anti-Smith testimony, while perhaps gratifying in some sense, is practically useless to Hurlbut's supposed primary objective on this trip.

1833: Nov. 3-15
D. P. Hurlbut spends almost two weeks in the Palmyra area, soliciting testimony of local residents damaging to the Mormon Smith family. What is strange about this activity and its results is that he either asks about and/or hears nothing connecting Sidney Rigdon with the origin of Mormonism. Rigdon's name had been mentioned in this connection as early as 1830 and in 1831 James Gordon Bennett had conducted interviews in the same area, coming up with testimony purportedly linking the secret activities of Rigdon with the authorship of the Book of Mormon and the birth of the Mormon religion. The testimony D. P. Hurlbut collects is strangely silent on this important point.

1833: Nov. 16-27
There is a 12 day cessation in Hurlbut's taking of statements in the Palmyra area. This is evidently the time when D. P. Hurlbut traveled to the East to obtain Solomon Spalding holographs. On about
Nov. 17 or 18, D. P. Hurlbut calls on William H. Sabine in Onondaga Hollow, New York .No doubt Hurlbut had heard, while passing through the Conneaut region, that Spalding's widow had lived in this part of the state between 1817 and 1829 and that her possessions had once been in the William H. Sabine home. If so, he is disappointed to find that none of Spalding's writings remain in Sabine's keeping. Even so, Hurlbut's visit with Sabine (an admitted anti-Mormon who had probably read some in his late brother-in-law's manuscripts) is not a total waste. D. P. Hurlbut obtains from Sabine directions to the widow's residence in western Massachusetts, as well as a letter of recommendation, written by Mr. Sabine and requesting that the widow loan Hurlbut her husband's old writings.

1833: Nov. 21-22
At about this time D. P. Hurlbut
arrives in Monson, Hampdon Co., Massachusetts and calls upon Matilda Spalding Davison at the home of her son-in-law, Oliver W. McKinstry. Here he finds only some stray papers of Solomon Spalding's -- no fictional historical manuscripts. This must have been a disappointment to the anti-Mormon researcher, but he was fortunate enough to obtain a letter from the widow (Mrs. Davison), requesting that her cousin's husband, Mr. Jerome Clark of Hartwick, New York, loan him some of Solomon Spalding's old writings, which the widow had left behind in Clark's keeping.

Having taken so many pains to obtain testimony in the Palmyra area, it seems very strange that D. P. Hurlbut did not bother to solicit similar testimony from Mr. Sabine, Mrs. Davison, Mrs. McKinstry, or members of the Jerome Clark family. It is possible that he did procure statements from these people, about their recollections of Solomon Spalding and his writings. But, if so, such testimony has never been mentioned or otherwise documented; not even in the slightest instance. The closest thing to it may be a few odd remarks, attributed to Mrs. Davison in Eber D. Howe's 1834 book -- remarks which Hurlbut apparently relayed to Howe but which are also mostly unsubstantiated and somewhat suspect, as to their integrity and veracity

1833: Nov. 25-26
At about this time, D. P. Hurlbut
arrives in Hartwick, Otsego Co., New York and calls upon Mr. Jerome Clark. He receives the contents of Mrs. Davison's "old hair trunk" from Mr. Jerome Clark. Exactly what those contents were remains in doubt, but all reliable sources agree that Hurlbut leaves the trunk empty. Apparently Clark fails to make out a list of the various items Hurlbut now takes away with him. Clark may have later written to Mr. Davison and informed her that he gave one of her late husband's manuscripts to Hurlbut, as she had instructed. The question of whether or not Clark wrote such a confirmation is raised by the ambiguity of the words in Mrs. McKinstry's 1880 statement: "We [Mrs. Davison and Mrs. McKinstry] afterwards heard that he [D. P. Hurlbut] had received it [the "Manuscript Found"] from Mr. Clark, at Hartwicks, but from that time we have never had it in our possession." It remains uncertain whether her words, "from Mr. Clark," indicate that Jerome Clark sent the confirming message -- but, probably it was not him. More like it was D. P. Hurlbut who wrote to Mrs. Davison. She herself seems to say this (see ahead: Jan. 31. 1834).

1833: Nov. 26-30
D. P. Hurlbut, now in possession of Spalding's old "Roman" story manuscript and other items from Spalding's personal papers, travels from Hartwick to the Palmyra region of western New York. Years later a very dubious claim would be published, saying that William H. Sabine was with Hurlbut when he obtained the documents in Hartwick. Actually, there is no reliable evidence to support the notion that he was with Sabine at this time, or that he stopped to consult with Sabine as he passed through the Syracuse area. While traveling by stagecoach through central New York state, Hurlbut no doubt examines the Spalding writings now in his possession very carefully. It is likely that what he now has somehow influences is actions when he arrives back in the Palmyra area and resumes interviewing more old neighbors of the Joseph.

1833: Dec. 1-12
D. P. Hurlbut continues to solicit statements about the Joseph Smith family in the Palmyra area. While he is doing this, Josiah Jones, one of his anti-Mormon associates back in Kirtland, writes to Hurlbut at Palmyra and advises him to quickly return to Geauga Co. and present his research findings to the "Committee" of anti-Mormons who financed most of his expedition to the east. Hurlbut receives this message a few days later and passes it along to the editor of the local Wayne Sentinel, who prints it
on Dec. 6, under the title "The Mormonites."

1833: Dec. 13
D. P. Hurlbut prepares to leave town for Ohio, but before he departs he composes and delivers a news release for the editor of the Wayne Sentinel, requesting him to say that Hurlbut had "succeeded in accomplishing the object of his mission..." The article credits Spalding (alluded to but unnamed) as the author of the Book of Mormon. Although Hurlbut has taken no known testimony during this trip that links Sidney Rigdon to the origin of the Book of Mormon, he nevertheless credits Rigdon with the final authorship (or editorship) of that volume, saying: "The original manuscript of the Book [of Mormon] was written... by a respectable clergyman... but the author died soon after it was written... The pretended religious character of the work has been superadded by some more modern hand -- believed to be the notorious Rigdon. These particulars have been derived by Dr. Hurlbert [sic] from the widow of the author of the original manuscript."

If D. P. Hurlbut fabricated (or helped fabricate) the purportedly false testimony of the Conneaut witnesses, then it is odd that he waited so long to match up the name of Sidney Rigdon to the "pretended religious character" of Spalding's "Manuscript Found." Assuming for a moment that the Conneaut witnesses' testimony was false, where they speak of the "religious" parts of the Book of Mormon not being present in the "Manuscript Found" they knew of, it would seem that it would have been to Hurlbut's advantage to add in the name of Sidney Rigdon to their statements then and there. The announcement of Hurlbut's having "succeeded in accomplishing the object of his mission" is very closely followed in his news release by the Book of Mormon authorship information and it can only be taken to mean that Hurlbut had succeeded in proving that the "respectable clergyman," Spalding, wrote the book (or, at least the non-religious parts of it). The question must be asked, What was Hurlbut's proof -- certainly not the New York statements he had taken; and certainly not the fragmentary verbal testimony he later passed on from Spalding's widow; and certainly not the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript. None of this is proof -- nor do the known extant Conneaut witnesses' statements add up to incontrovertible proof. "Incontrovertible proof" would have been the "Manuscript Found," certified to be a pre-1828 holograph of Solomon Spalding.

1833: Dec. 20
D. P. Hurlbut's press release regarding the authorship of the Book of Mormon
is finally published in the weekly Wayne Sentinel. Reprints and paraphrases of these extraordinary allegations soon circulate among curious readers far beyond the limits of western New York. By this time Hurlbut has already left Palmyra on the stagecoach and is perhaps arriving back home in Kirtland.

1833: c. Dec. 20-21
D. P. Hurlbut
returns home to Kirtland and conducts several public lectures in the area. During these meetings he exhibits a manuscript entitled "Manuscript Found," which resembles the Book of Mormon text and which Hurlbut attributes to the pen of Solomon Spalding. He also meets with the anti-Mormons who funded his research and exhibits to them what he claims is Spalding's "Manuscript Found," as well as Spalding's unfinished "Roman" story.

1833: c. Dec. 21
Hurlbut threatens in public
to destroy Mormonism. The ill-chosen words of his vengeful tirades are taken by the Kirtland Mormons as direct threats against the life, well-being, and property of their leader, Joseph Smith, Jr. About this same time D. P. Hurlbut swears out a complaint with a Justice of the Peace (probably in Painesville), against Joseph Smith, Jr., alleging physical assault by the Mormon leader. Assuming that his complaint was based upon a real assault (Joseph Smith, Jr. was known to engage in such behavior when sufficiently aroused) it is possible that the incident occurred in Kirtland, between the Kirtland Temple building site and the Methodist meeting-house, after Hurlbut's lecture there was concluded. Although it is pure speculation, it is also possible that Elder Martin Harris attended the lecture, was present during the scuffle afterward, and dismissed the Kirtland constable (called to break up the fight) by telling him that Smith had been drinking -- that he even drank too much in the days when he was "translating" the Book of Mormon. At least Harris was brought before a meeting of the Kirtland Council a few weeks later for having been involved in some such affair. It is not known whether or not the Justice of the Peace who supposedly took Hurlbut's complaint on this occasion ever made out a warrant for Smith's arrest.

1833: Dec. 21
Joseph Smith, Jr. registers a complaint with Kirtland Justice of the Peace, John C. Dowen, against Hurlbut, for threatened murder. It is likely that Smith files his charge at this time based upon the same presumed incident in Kirtland as motivated Hurlbut to register a complaint against him.

1833: Dec. 27
Justice of the Peace Dowen records Smith's complaint in his docket book. He probably issues a warrant for Hurlbut's arrest at about this same time.

1833: c. Dec. 28-29
D. P. Hurlbut avoids arrest in the Kirtland area by traveling to Conneaut township, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. There he exhibits the unfinished "Roman" mound-builder romance to several of Spalding's old neighbors. He gets confirmation from Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, John N. Miller and others that the handwriting in the "Roman" story is that of Solomon Spalding. He apparently does not attempt to exhibit there the alleged "Manuscript Found" that he had displayed in and around Kirtland.

The question arises, If Hurlbut has both a copy of Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" and Spalding's "Roman" story in his possession at the end of December, why does he take only the latter document with him to be certified by the Conneaut witnesses? It seems very strange that he would first exhibit "Manuscript Found" in public, and then, only a few days later, suppress such remarkable evidence from the knowledge of the very witnesses who gave him the information necessary for him to go and track it down in New York. There are three possible explanations for this strange activity by D. P. Hurlbut: (1) He never had a real "Manuscript Found" in Solomon Spalding's handwriting -- what he exhibited in and around Kirtland was a forgery or a misrepresented document; (2) He had the real "Manuscript Found" a few days earlier, but no longer possessed it by the end of December; (3) He had the real "Manuscript Found" but hid it away from the public following a major change in his plans -- a change that came over him at about the same time the warrant was issued for his arrest.

c. 1833: Dec. 29-30
Aaron Wright and others tell Hurlbut that Solomon Spalding informed him that the unfinished "Roman" story had been written by him for his own amusement. Some of them say that Spalding then altered his plan and began writing a different story, giving a fictional history of the first settlement of America. They tell Hurlbut that Spalding altered his first plan of writing, by going farther back with dates and writing in the old scriptural style, in order to make his second story appear more ancient. Spalding's neighbors see no resemblance between the "Roman" story and Spalding's second, "Manuscript Found" story, which they had previously testified read much like the Book of Mormon.

1833: Dec. 31
Aaron Wright provides the visiting D. P. Hurlbut a letter for his anti-Mormon associates -- explaining the relationship of Spalding's "Roman" story to his second story, the "Manuscript Found." Hurlbut leaves a draft copy of the letter with Wright and takes the final draft to his anti-Mormon business partners in the Kirtland area. What became of the final draft remains unknown; a rough draft was retained by Aaron Wright, passed down into the family of his son-in-law, and was donated to the New York Public Library in 1914.

The letter written by Aaron Wright was probably intended for a member of the "committee" of anti-Mormons which had financed Hurlbut's research travels in the east. No matter which member of that committee first read this message, its effect would have been devastating to that group's plans -- all the Conneaut witnesses could certify to was a Spalding story that seemed to have nothing in common with the Book of Mormon. It seems probable that Hurlbut either temporarily suppressed this letter from the anti-Mormon committee, or that he offered some excuse whereby he was able to defer producing the "Manuscript Found" and having it certified in the same way the handwriting of the "Roman" story had been certified. Had Hurlbut handed over this letter at the beginning of 1834, it is very doubtful that the anti-Mormon committee members would have supported him in his Jan. 13-15 pre-trial hearing (by supplying James A. Briggs as his attorney) or would have worded their "To the Public" newspaper announcement as they did (see ahead: (
Jan. 31, 1834).

1834: Jan. 4
D. P. Hurlbut returns to the Kirtland area and is arrested upon the Dowen warrant, issued in response to Joseph Smith, Jr.'s complaint. He is arraigned before Painesville Justice of the Peace William Holbrook, but the hearing is postponed for two days. Hurlbut is taken by Kirtland constable Stephen Sherman to Kirtland township, and held there in custody for two days. The population of Kirtland village at this time is perhaps more than half LDS. While it may be an exaggeration to say that D. P. Hurlbut is handed over to the Kirtland Mormons, his experience there is a miserable one. Where Hurlbut's research materials are stored during his confinement is not know -- possibly he placed them temporarily in the keeping of John C. Dowen -- years latter Dowen would testify that he read through this material, including the copy of the "Manuscript Found" Hurlbut supposedly recovered.

1834: Jan. 6
Constable Sherman again appears before Judge William Holbrook with Hurlbut in custody. The hearing is postponed a second time, to Jan 13, 1834, in Painesville. Hurlbut is placed in transferred from the Kirtland Constable, into the custody of Constable A. Ritch of Painesville. It is possible that he was placed under house arrest, rather than jailed during the waiting period. It appears that Hurlbut still enjoyed the confidence of the anti-Mormon committee at this point. One of their members, James A. Briggs, takes on the task of being Hurlbut's legal counsel for the upcoming hearing.

Hurlbut probably uses the situation he is now in to delay handing over the promised "Manuscript Found" to the anti-Mormon committee. It is also probable that some of its members were beginning to fear that Hurlbut was a very unsavory character -- one who might take all the money they had given him and turn over practically nothing in return.

1834: Jan. 13-15
D. P. Hurlbut's hearing in Painesville, Ohio (before two Justices of the Peace), finally begins. Apparently the substance of Hurlbut's complaint against Smith is noticed by the court and considered in combination with Smith's complaint against Hurlbut; this unusual action perhaps requires that there be two judges in attendance. James A. Briggs acts as Hurlbut's attorney, while William H. Bissel, Esq. is Smith's lawyer, as is usual in such cases. Several of Smith's supporters testify against Hurlbut, and (perhaps somewhat unexpectedly on the part of the judges) sufficient evidence is produced against Hurlbut to make it mandatory that he appear before the Ohio Court of Common Pleas, to be held at the county seat at the end of March. Hurlbut is perhaps restricted to Painesville township, under the original arrest order. There is no record of his being released under a monetary bond at this time, so he is probably remanded into the custody of one of his more reputable associates.

1834: Jan. 18
The Ohio Guernsey Times reprints D. P. Hurlbut's news release from the Dec. 20th issue of the Wayne Sentinel, accompanied by no editorial comments. This is perhaps an indication that he is engaged in no activity worthy of mention in the newspaper.

1834: late Jan.
At this point D. P. Hurlbut no doubt gathers together his anti-Mormon search materials for quick disposal. If he ever had the real "Manuscript Found" in his possession he almost certainly no longer retains it now. If he has really been writing his own anti-Mormon book he finalizes the contents now, perhaps eliminating a lengthy section about the "Manuscript Found." Actually, Hurlbut's "book" probably consists of little more than his research notes and the various statements solicited from witnesses in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The only Spalding writings he has now is the "Roman" story and a couple of stray personal papers. Still, there is no evidence available that indicates that Hurlbut had yet handed over to anyone the Dec. 31 Aaron Wright letter or other certification documents he may have previously procured.

1834: Jan. 31
The Painesville Telegraph prints a notice, entitled "To the Public," in which local anti-Mormon committee members pledge to publish Hurlbut's research and to present positive evidence linking Solomon Spalding to the authorship of the Book of Mormon. There is good reason to believe that this is the point at which Hurlbut finally loses the confidence of this committee. He does not turn over to them any Spalding manuscript resembling the Book of Mormon and perhaps the only certification they see now is the useless Dec. 31 Aaron Wright letter. The committee kills the notice in the Painesville Telegraph; it runs on Feb. 1, but after that no further mention of the committee or its announced projects ever appears in any Ohio newspaper.

1834: early Feb.
D. P. Hurlbut, still under order to appear before the Ohio Court of Common Pleas in about 60 days, separates himself from the local anti-Mormons' efforts to publish a book exposing the true origin of Mormonism. His financial aid from that group has dried up, so he turns his research materials over to Eber D. Howe, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, for $50 and a promise of 500 copies of the anti-Mormon book Howe intends to publish. Although E. D. Howe would later say that he had instigated or supervised Hurlbut's research activities, it seems that the two men never worked together. Howe attended one of Hurlbut's lectures, before the Feb. 4th arrest, but he was not a known member of the anti-Mormon committee. His own plans for an anti-Mormon book may have not been firmly established when Hurlbut appeared in his office and offered to give Howe all his findings.

E. D. Howe now receives Spalding's "Roman" story, an unfinished old letter of Spalding's, and a collection of affidavits and testimony statements from Hurlbut. There is no "Manuscript Found" among the materials transferred to Howe -- or, if there was, neither Howe nor Hurlbut ever admit to it. The more realistic scenario for this exchange is that Hurlbut allows Howe to glance at the "Roman" story manuscript, inspect the certification penned in on its last page, and that is all the reading of it he gets -- until he pays Hurlbut the $50. But, if he feels that Hurlbut has cheated him by palming off a totally useless Spalding manuscript along with the rest of the papers, Howe soon gets his revenge. Not long thereafter, E. D. Howe sees a subscription list Hurlbut is passing about, in an attempt to get buyers for his 500 copies of the anti-Mormon book Howe intends to publish. Howe copies down the names from the list and later sells these people their copies from his own stock, before Hurlbut can reach them and deliver his copies for payment.

1834: early Feb.
With Hurlbut's anti-Mormon "evidence" in hand, E. D. Howe employs Esak Rosa to combine that material along with substantial additional copy of his own -- information, allegations, and various bits of anti-Mormon gossip that is largely gleaned from past issues of Howe's own Painesville Telegraph. E. D. Howe does, however, take the trouble to interview the Conneaut witnesses again -- to confirm their testimony and assure himself of the actual events surrounding Spalding's authorship of the "Roman" story -- the only piece of fiction he has obtained from Hurlbut.

For unstated reasons, E. D. Howe neglects to contact Spalding's widow or other useful witnesses to help better establish the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon. In fact, Howe does not even make use of all the statements or affidavits turned over to him by Hurlbut. Practically no truly "new" information is included in Howe's Mormonism Unvailed when the book is published a few months later. In other words, excluding the old, anti-Mormon verbiage gleaned from sources like past issues of the Telegraph, and excluding the statements and allegations D. P. Hurlbut had already disclosed to the public in his Dec. 1833 lectures, Mr. Howe seems to have published very little else that was especially damaging to the Kirtland Mormons. He may have avoided contacting Spalding's widow, for fear she would bring hostile action against him for not being able to return the "Manuscript Found" she believed Hurlbut made off with. Or, he may have written down a few notes describing the "Roman" story and then lost track of it in the clutter of his office -- being unable to locate the document he is too embarrassed to contact the widow, even to solicit more information potentially helpful to the success of his planned book.

1834: Apr. 9
D. P. Hurlbut and Joseph Smith, Jr. appear before the court of common pleas in Chardon Ohio, After the hearing of testimony, the court orders Hurlbut to post the sum of $200 assuring his promise to keep the peace (in regard to any actions against Joseph Smith, Jr.) for the term of 6 months.

1834: Apr. 27
Hurlbut marries Maria Woodbury in Kingsville, Ashtabula Co., Ohio. The man is not known to ever involve himself in any anti-Mormon activities thenceforth.

1834: June
D. P. Hurlbut and his bride move to Erie Co., Pennsylvania, leaving behind the Spalding "Roman" story and Hurlbut's other materials with E. D. Howe in Ohio. Hurlbut subsequently makes no known attempt to get Howe to return Spalding's papers to his widow in Massachusetts. It was probably at about this time that Spalding's widow first writes to Hurlbut, inquiring as to the fate of her trunk's contents. She never receives an answer from him.

1834: Summer and Fall
E. D. Howe begins printing his Mormonism Unvailed. He probably runs off a few pages here and there, whenever he has free time. A substantial portion of the print run is left unbound for another five years. Mormon official William W. Phelps calls on Howe, urging him to give up the project. Howe practically ceases to publish anti-Mormon articles in his newspaper, but he continues printing Mormonism Unvailed.

1834: Nov. 28
E. D. Howe prints the last signature of his book, the chapter on the Spalding authorship claims. Perhaps he held off in printing this chapter, hoping that some conclusive evidence of those claims would fall into his hands. However, its content is substantially just what D. P. Hurlbut gave him ten months before. Howe advertises the publication of Mormonism Unvailed, with a minuscule ad in the Painesville Telegraph. However, he strangely gives the book no other publicity within the pages of his paper. With the appearance of Mormonism Unvailed, the reading public at last hears about Spalding's "Roman" story. Howe clearly differentiates between that sketchy, unfinished story and the longer, more finished and important "Manuscript Found," as testified to by Spalding's old neighbors.

1834: early Dec.
Howe begins sales of his book, utilizing a copy of D. P. Hurlbut's subscription list that he obtained surreptitiously. Howe sends 500 of the books to Hurlbut in Erie Co., Pennsylvania. Hurlbut is unable to dispose of the books and finally sells them for a very low price at an auction.

1835: Jan. 1
Eber D. Howe gives up the editorship of the Painesville Telegraph and turns over control over to M. G. Lewis, first as assistant editor and then as managing editor. Soon afterward E. D. Howe turns the ownership of the paper over to his brother Ashel Howe, Through his brother, E. D. still retained a financial interest in the paper. In 1836 Edward Jacques would become editor, with Ashel Howe continuing on as publisher. During this period Spalding's "Roman" story apparently remained forgotten on the shelves of the printing office.

Spalding's widow no doubt obtains either a copy of Mormonism Unvailed or a detailed account of its contents. Hurlbut apparently writes her a brief letter, saying that the Solomon Spalding writings he recovered did not read as he had hope they would, and that none of them would be published. She realizes that E. D. Howe (who mentioned her late husband's "Roman continues in his book) must now be in possession of Solomon's writings. The widow repeatedly applies for the return of her husband's manuscripts, but she receives no reply from Howe. In later years Howe would inform questioners that Spalding's "Roman" story had been probably been destroyed in a fire in the printing office.

The Painesville Telegraph editorship passes from Mr. Jacques to a Mr. Hanna. E. D. Howe retains his financial interest in the business.

Philander Winchester and Lewis L. Rice take over the Painesville Telegraph, with Rice assuming the editorship. Rice is unaware that, along with all the other material in the office, he is receiving the neglected Spalding "Roman" story.

L. L. Rice leaves the Telegraph and eventually settles in Columbus Ohio, working first as the private secretary to Governor Chase and later as the state supervisor for public printing. Rice becomes active in anti-slavery issues and eventually moves to Oberlin, Ohio, a hotbed of abolitionist activity and an important stop along the "underground railway" ex-slave trail.

Benjamin Winchester, a Mormon elder, publishes The Origin of the Spalding Story in Philadelphia. In this booklet Winchester provides first-hand remembrances of Hurlbut's early anti-Mormon activities. He tells that while Hurlbut was on his LDS mission to Erie Co., Pennsylvania, he learned of Spalding's writings from a Mr. Jackson. Jackson (apparently Lyman Jackson) recalled one of Spalding's manuscripts as being "a very small work, in the form of a novel... an account of a race of people who originated from the Romans, which Mr. S. said he had translated from a Latin parchment that he had found," Here Winchester roughly describes the mound-builder story but adds no information beyond what he might have easily read in E. D. Howe's 1834 summary of the story.

Jonathan Baldwin Turner's
Mormonism in All Ages is published in New York. In his book Turner quotes both Howe and Spalding's widow -- telling how Solomon Spalding's "Roman" story was recovered from Mr. Clark's residence; how Spalding altered his writing plan and produced the "Manuscript Found," etc. On pp. 212-214 of his book, Turner offers the unique theory that Spalding's "Manuscript Found" was stolen by Joseph Smith, Jr. from the "old hair trunk" at Hartwick, some time between its being moved there (late 1830) and Hurlbut's arrival on the scene (late Nov. 1833). Professor Turner here appears to overlook the fact that Joseph Smith, Jr. had some (or all) of the Book of Mormon text in his possession as much as three years before Matilda Spalding Davison moved her belongings from Cooperstown to Hartwick. However, he leaves himself a loophole in the chronology by saying, " The trunk and manuscripts were, then, in this vicinity from 1820 to 1832 [sic], and of course during the four years of Smith's life, on which he is so silent, as it regards himself. He was, in reality, loitering about these regions, as we learn from other sources." If, then, Turner's proposition is to be taken seriously, the theft of her husband's manuscript must have taken place during Mrs. Davison's residence in or near Cooperstown with Mr. John Davison. If this was the case, it must necessarily invalidate the 1880 testimony of Nancy Brace Clark, who said she read parts of the "Manuscript Found" at Hartwick during the spring of 1831.

1851: June
In an article, entitled "
The Yankee Mahomet," an anonymous writer cites Spalding's widow as the source for a story similar to the speculation offered by Jonathan B. Turner in 1842 -- saying that the "Manuscript Found," may have been stolen from Spalding's widow long before D. P. Hurlbut came to borrow it. The reporter says: "She {Matilda Spalding Davison] remembers, however, that the above-mentioned trunk contained quite a number of writings, at the time when she left it at Onondaga hollow; and although no one was known to have visited it between 1817 and 1832 [sic], it was found, by examination in the latter year, to contain but one manuscript, and that unimportant. The fact that Smith was near this vicinity and engaged in questionable business at the time, during which his revelations were in course of preparation, seems therefore, in connection with the others above mentioned, to show that he himself purloined the manuscript." This conjecture offers a most unlikely explanation of things. It calls for a very young Joseph Smith, Jr. (eleven years old in 1817; thirteen when the widow remarried and moved to Otsego Co. in 1820) to steal a manuscript which he apparently had no particular use for, at a time when his reading ability was no doubt too undeveloped to even comprehend its contents. Nevertheless, the suspicion that Smith stole the manuscript during these early days was, apparently, part of the tradition in the Spalding family -- Ellen E. Dickinson picked up this notion and made it part of her 1885 book.

1855: Jan. 6
Josiah Spalding, Solomon's brother, writes
a letter to Rev. George Chapman for the Solomon Spalding entry in Chapman's 1867 book Sketches of the Alumni of Dartmouth College. Chapman uses some of the information in Josiah's biographical sketch of Solomon but does not print his description of his late brother's "Roman" story. Josiah's statement is later printed in full in Samuel J. Spalding's 1872 Spalding Memorial.

In his letter to Chapman, Josiah tells of a visit he made from Richfield New York to New Salem, Ohio to visit Solomon shortly after the beginning of the War of 1812. This could have been any time after Nov., 1811, but was most likely happened during the spring of 1812. When he reached New Salem Josiah found his debt-ridden brother "unwell and somewhat low in spirits." Josiah tells that Solomon had recently begun to compose an historical novel that was still unfinished when Josiah visited. He then gives a description of the story, describing in considerable detail the opening chapters of the "Roman" story. Josiah says that several years later Solomon's widow informed him that her husband concluded his story, telling of a war in which the savages destroyed the ancient American mound-builders.

This late recollection of Josiah's is remarkable. He remembered the essentials of the "Roman" story, after only a brief exposure to it; and this memory remained intact decades later. Josiah's feat of literary memory demonstrates a very important fact. Major criticism has been leveled against Spalding acquaintances in the Conneaut region, by some historical writers who assert that their memories of the details of Spalding's "Manuscript Found" are very unreliable, twenty years having passed between when they heard the story and when they gave their testimony. Josiah's statements shows that good recall of the details of a Spalding story could be retained in the memory of his readers or auditors for many years after they encountered his fictional writings. Josiah is even careful to note that the particular story he saw was not about the Jews (or tribes of Israel). He gives many details not provided in the Howe's 1834 summary. He had no access to the "Roman" story itself, which was then in the unwitting possession of L. L.. Rice. If Josiah could remember the details of a certain Solomon Spalding fictional work so well, after 40 years, why couldn't other witnesses be trusted to retain similarly reliable memories, after the passage of only 20 years?

1859: May?
Lewis L. Rice's daughter, Mary S. Rice graduates from Oberlin College, practically the first major U. S. college to graduate female students. After graduation she marries Dr. John M. Whitney and moves with him to Honolulu, Hawaii. During this time L. L. Rice was living in the Oberlin area and probably had the Spalding "Roman" story with him, among his belongings.

A 20 year period with no known special developments in regard to the "Roman" story manuscript Mr. Rice unknowingly had it with him in Ohio.


A  Chronology  of  the
Oberlin  Spalding  Manuscript

Part Two: 1879-1884

1811-1878    1884    1885    1886    1887-1899    1900 on  

Following the death of his wife, Lewis L. Rice moves from Ohio to Honolulu, Hawaii and lives with his daughter and her husband. When he moves he unknowingly takes along Spalding's "Roman" story in one of his steamer trunks.

1879: Aug. 19
Robert Patterson Jr. secures permission from Solomon Spalding's heir(s) and visits D. P. Hurlbut in Gibsonburg, Ohio. Rev. Patterson is unable to retrieve any Spalding holographs from Hurlbut, but he does obtain a statement from the man, regarding his 1833 procurement of the Spalding "Roman" story from Jerome Clark. Hurlbut says he did not read the manuscript materials he obtained from Clark, but took the writings to Painesville and immediately turned them over to E. D. Howe. The alibi and chronology here given by Hurlbut disagrees with practically all other known sources respecting his activities during the last weeks of 1833.

Hurlbut says that Howe took Spalding's writings, agreeing to the condition of their eventually being returned to Spalding's widow, Hurlbut almost certainly lied about not looking at the story and about giving it immediately to Howe, upon his arrival back in Ohio. Ample evidence exists, showing that Hurlbut exhibited some of Spalding's writings to several different persons, shortly after returning to Kirtland from the east, in late Dec. 1833. Hurlbut apparently did not take Spalding's "Roman" story to New Salem and show it to the witnesses there until the end of December, several days after his return to Ohio.

1880: Feb.
In a letter published in the Pittsburgh Leader, Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr. tells of his visit with Hurlbut at Gibsonburg and reproduces his written statement.

1880: Apr. 3
Matilda Spalding McKinstry provides a lengthy statement (on her foster father's writings, etc.) for her relative, Ellen E. Dickinson. Dickinson would later include this statement as part the article submitted by her to Scribner's Monthly.

1880: Aug.
Matilda Spalding McKinstry's statement (see above:
Apr. 3, 1880) is published in the August issue of Scribner's Monthly. This article (compiled by Ellen E. Dickinson) publicizes the Spalding authorship claims to an extent which they have never previously been popularized.

1880: Aug. 3
Matilda Spalding McKinstry writes
a letter to James T. Cobb of Salt Lake City, in which she says: "Hurlbut may have received in addition to "Manuscript Found" some fragment tied up with the bundle, which fragment he passed over to Mr. Howe, retaining the one [manuscript] of real importance for personal use.... I feel that any communication from my self to "Mr. H[urlbut]" -- would be of no avail. If he stole the papers, he would not criminate himself by owning it." This sentiment reflects the continuing view of the extended Spalding family in those days -- that D. P. Hurlbut had recovered the Manuscript Found" in 1833, along with Spalding's "Roman" story, and that he retained the former (for sale to the Mormon leaders), while palming off the latter work upon E. D. Howe in Feb. 1834.

1880: Aug. 7
Eber D. Howe writes to D. P. Hurlbut after having received a letter from him. Howe says that the "Roman" story manuscript given him by Hurlbut nearly 50 years before was not Spalding's "Manuscript Found," "but altogether a different manuscript on a very different subject." Strangely enough, Howe also says that he did not receive the "Roman" story into his possession until after he published his book (at the end of Nov. 1834).

1880: Nov. 13
Ellen E. Dickinson interviews D. P. Hurlbut in Gibsonburg and obtains a second statement he made for publication. [1881 Scribners?] In 1885 Dickinson would publish the essentials of her interview with Hurlbut. As is the case much of her anti-Mormon reporting, it cannot always be trusted in its details, but there is no reason to doubt that she did conduct the reported interview.

Hurlbut reportedly tells Dickinson that when he found that Spalding's "Roman" story was not identical to the Book of Mormon (and "amounted to nothing"), he gave it to E. D. Howe. If Dickinson's reporting can be trusted, Hurlbut then contradicted himself by saying he had recovered a Spalding manuscript that contained some Book of Mormon names.

1880: Nov.-Dec.
Mrs. Dickinson visits E. D. Howe at Painesville. She would later report (in her 1885 book) the details of her interview with him. The Spalding manuscript Howe admitted once having in his possession he says had "no connection with Mormonism." Howe recalls that Spalding's "Roman" story was left lying around the Telegraph office for many years. He says he did not know what happened to it -- he was not certain whether it was burned in a fire, or if he had simply lost track of it.

1881: Jan. 10
D. P. Hurlbut writes up a signed statement for Ellen E. Dickinson. In it he claims not to have examined the Spalding writings he obtained in New York until after he returned to Ohio (at the end of 1833). According to Hurlbut, when he finally looked at these writings, he discovered that what he had was not the basis for the Book of Mormon, but a story "upon an entirely different subject." He says, "this manuscript I left with E. D. Howe, of Painesville... with the understanding that when he had examined it he should return it to the widow. Said Howe says the manuscript was destroyed by fire..."

1881: July 26
In a letter written to RLDS Apostle Thomas W. Smith, E. D. Howe says that the Spalding manuscript given him was not marked "Manuscript Found," was not written in the old biblical style, and was only a story about old Indian wars. Howe says he thinks that particular manuscript was "destroyed by fire forty years ago."

1882: ??
Boyd Crumrine's History of Washington County is published in Philadelphia. Pages 425-438 are devoted to "Solomon Spalding and the Book of Mormon," a section written by Robert Patterson, Jr. On page 430 Patterson quotes from Howe's 1834 summary of the Spalding "Roman" story, making a weak comparison of it to the Book of Ether. Patterson says "That two plots so much alike should originate so nearly about the same time and place in two different minds seems incredible." This is arguably the first positive comparison of textual similarities in Spalding's known writings and the Book of Mormon story. Patterson sends an off-print of this article to Joseph Smith III, President of the RLDS Church.

1883: Jan. ??
RLDS President Joseph Smith III responds to Robert Patterson, Jr. by publishing his "The Spaulding Story Re-examined," first in the Church newspaper and then as a separate tract. On page 9 he quotes E. D. Howe on the contents of the manuscript brought to him (by D. P. Hurlbut in 1834) in Painesville. President Smith dismisses the possibility that the Book of Mormon was based upon any Spalding story. Smith bases his judgment upon the fact that the reported "Roman" story was the only Spalding manuscript ever discovered and that it bore little similarity to the contents of the Book of Mormon.


A  Chronology  of  the
Oberlin  Spalding  Manuscript

Part Three: 1884

1811-1878    1879-1883    1885    1886    1887-1899    1900 on  

1884: early Apr.
While attending the annual RLDS Spring Conference at Stewartsville, Missouri. President Joseph Smith III reportedly experienced a night-time vision or dream in which he saw "a manuscript... on which were clearly written the words, 'Manuscript Story.' While Smith would later refer obliquely to this experience in an 1885 letter (see ahead: Aug. 3, 1885), he did not record the particulars of this dream until many years later -- recording them during the second week of October, 1913, not long before his death.

1884: Summer
James H. Fairchild, the third president of Oberlin College (while on vacation in California) learns that his friends have arranged for him to take a brief sight-seeing trip to the Hawaiian Islands. He takes passage on a ship for the islands.

1884: Aug. 8
President Fairchild arrives in Honolulu and is provided accommodation in the home of Dr. and Mrs. John M. Whitney in the suburb of Punahou. He there meets his old friend (Mrs. Whitney's father), Lewis L. Rice, a former newspaper editor and printer from Ohio, who had once taken a prominent role in the campaign against slavery. Fairchild asks Rice to locate (and donate to Oberlin College) any old anti-slavery documents he might still possess. Rice promises Fairchild that he will make a search through the trunks he brought over from Ohio.

1884: Aug. 18-30
President Fairchild takes a side-trip to the island of Hawaii. During his absence Lewis L. Rice searches through his possessions to locate anti-slavery documents to give to Fairchild.

While conducting this search Rice discovers in one of his trunks an old package in brown wrappers which he had previously noticed but had never opened. In looking it over he finds that it is a long-forgotten manuscript story concerning the American mound-builders and certified as being the writing of Solomon Spalding. Rice, who had been well acquainted with the Mormons in Ohio, realizes the evident connection between this manuscript and the old anti-Mormon claims saying that the Book of Mormon was a modern, purely human production.

One morning (in late August 1884) Lewis L. Rice informs his daughter, "A wonderful thing has happened to me today. I have found the Spalding manuscript among my papers, all of which I supposed I had destroyed." For the next 19 months (until shortly before his death) Rice believes he has recovered the original "Manuscript Found" which anti-Mormons claimed was the basis for the Book of Mormon. Rice has no knowledge of Hurlbut's having taken this manuscript in 1833 and given it to E. D. Howe in 1834. Nor does Rice realize that the contents of Spalding's "Roman" story have already been reported and discussed to a considerable extent in books and articles. His lack of information in this respect gives Rice a somewhat incomplete and false impression of exactly what the document is that he now has in his possession. Not until several months later will Mr. Rice gain enough knowledge on this matter to understand that what he has discovered is not something new and totally unheard of. Rice at first simply assumes that the "Roman" story was brought to him to publish at some early point in his days as a newspaper editor and that he had forgotten all about it.

During Fairchild's absence Mr. Rice obtains a copy of the Book of Mormon (probably from the Mormon missionaries at Laie, on Oahu) and he superficially compares the LDS book with the "Roman" story. Rice sees no significant similarities between the two works and understandably concludes that they are in no way related. Only a few months later does Rice mention that he has read through the Book of Mormon more carefully and extensively.

In subsequent developments L. L. Rice would make several statements in letters relating his opinion of there being no relationship between Solomon Spalding's "Roman" story and the Book of Mormon. Rice's good reputation as a career newspaper editor and as the person who first inspected the "Roman" story gave his statements the appearance credibility in the eyes of a reading public, largely uninformed on this topic. Defenders of the historicity and divinity of the Book of Mormon, of course, found good support for their own views in these preliminary statements offered by Mr. Rice. His initial views on the nature of the "Roman" story and its probable identity with the infamous "Manuscript Found" were quickly copied and put into print by the Latter Day Saint leaders -- as offering solid proof that Solomon Spalding did not write the Book of Mormon. L. L. Rice's qualifications in making seemingly definitive statements about the "Roman" story, the "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon were not especially trustworthy. From what he says in his first statements in this affair, it is clear that Lewis L. Rice had little literary or religious understanding of the Book of Mormon book and even less knowledge of what the Spalding authorship claims were all about. There is no indication in any of his early statements that Mr. Rice ever consulted any of the many books and articles detailing the "Spalding-Rigdon theory" and available to readers in 1884. Indeed, it is improbable that very much of this kind of literature was within his reach for consultation and study in the isolated and undeveloped Hawaiian Islands. In his brief comparison of the two texts Rice apparently did not even notice the fact that both the Spalding story and the Book of Mormon were purported histories of an ancient, light-skinned, pre-Columbian civilizations which were eradicated in tremendous and incredibly bloody wars with the American savages. Rice did not pick up on the fact that both works tell similar stories of a providential but threatening stormy ocean crossing that results in colonization of the New World by highly civilized Old World people. Rice obviously did not make a very careful comparison of the two texts.

1884: Aug.
At about the same time Rice was pondering over his discovery, a lengthy report was published that detailed the Braden-Kelley Debate held in Kirtland, Ohio earlier that same year. In this published report considerable attention is paid by the two debaters (Rev. Clark Braden and Elder E. L. Kelley) to the so-called "Spalding-Rigdon theory for book of Mormon authorship. Braden had taken note of E. D. Howe's report of the "Roman" story and expressed the view that it was, to some extent, a rough draft for Spalding's "Manuscript Found," a subsequent piece of fiction that closely resembled parts of the Book of Mormon. If L. L. Rice had been able to read the arguments provided by Braden in this newly published report, he would have realized that his supposedly unique find in Hawaii was an already well known Spalding story and that it was considered by some investigators to have an indirect relationship to the Book of Mormon narrative. Unfortunately, the obvious connection between Mr. Rice's remarkable discovery in Hawaii and Rev. Braden's arguments in reference to that same manuscript during the recent debates held in Ohio, did not become a matter of public knowledge for several more months.

In the meanwhile, a series of news releases and supposedly authoritative articles on Rice's discovery in Hawaii hit the public press. All of this publicity and some of its unwarranted effects came about mostly due to the actions of one individual, Mr. Rice's friend, James H. Fairchild. What particular knowledge President Fairchild had of Mormonism, the Book of Mormon and the Spalding-Rigdon theory prior to August of 1884 remains unknown. From a close inspection of Fairchild's known remarks upon these subjects, it appears that his knowledge in this respect was quite limited and that he himself went through a learning process as he attempted to account for what L. L. Rice had discovered at Honolulu. As President of Oberlin College Fairchild was in correspondence with persons throughout the world, including former Oberlin students living in Utah. His contact with and knowledge of the Mormons was likely limited to his personal correspondence and occasional reading in history and religion.

1884: late Aug.
At this time Lewis L. Rice first discloses his manuscript find to persons outside of his immediate family, At some point he shows the work to various Honolulu friends including the Rev, Serene Bishop, the Rev. C. M. Hyde, and Judge McCully of the Supreme Court, Bishop and Hyde were later to write articles on the discovery, Whatever their thoughts on the matter later, at this time they did not influence Rice to believe that his discovery was in any way connected with the Book of Mormon,

1884: Aug. 31
James H. Fairchild, having returned from his side-trip, has a Sunday dinner with the Whitney family, to say "good-bye" and check to see if L. L, Rice has located any anti-slavery documents for him. During a noon-time dinner with the family, Lewis L. Rice tells Fairchild of his manuscript discovery. Fairchild is quite surprised and somewhat elated. He and Rice look the document over and agree that it is a genuine Solomon Spalding production. This conclusion they base mostly upon the certificate D. P. Hurlbut had written in, on the manuscript's final page. Fairchild is scheduled to leave Hawaii the next day and he has only an hour to read through the work. In the short time available for study, Fairchild concludes that the "Roman" story found by L. L. Rice bears no resemblance to the Book of Mormon. Rice had by then procured a copy of the Mormon book and the two men were able to consult that text for some quick comparisons. Fairchild would later say of Spalding's "Roman" story, that he "compared it with the Book of Mormon and could find no trace of identity or even essential resemblance between them." Fairchild would not have an opportunity to continue his one hour's worth of textual inspection for several more months. Lewis L. Rice, on the other hand, continues to have both texts available in front of him for consultation -- he later admits to reading through the Book of Mormon more carefully than he and Fairchild could possibly have done together on Aug. 31, 1884.

Fairchild accepts Rice's notion that the manuscript is totally unrelated to the Book of Mormon. He states at the time: "I spent an hour in looking it through, It bears no resemblance to the book of Mormon, except that it is a rambling story of about the same literary merit, manifestly written by a man of limited education, but some thought, purporting to give the history of the Indians of New York, Kentucky & Ohio -- their wars &c, The book would be a gratification to the Mormons, as putting an end to the story that their book is a reprint of Solomon Spaulding's manuscript."

Neither man seemingly knows anything about the summary of this same Spalding story, given by E. D. Howe in his 1834 book and reproduced over the following 50 years in several other histories of the Mormons. Fairchild and may have been vaguely aware of the general testimony given in 1833 by the Conneaut witnesses, but the two men's awareness of such things obviously did not extend to their realizing that those same Conneaut witnesses had testified that there was a second Solomon Spalding tale of ancient Americans, written in the scriptural style, separate and different from his "Roman" story.

Instead of holding open the possibility of there being some kind of connection between Spalding and the Book of Mormon, Fairchild instead turns to speculating about what "gratification" the Rice discovery might hold for the Latter Day Saints. Probably President Fairchild was then already planning to make a timely public announcement of this unusual find -- an announcement that could be of considerable strategic value to both the embattled polygamist Mormons in Utah and to the less numerous RLDS, whom Fairchild knew from his college's proximity to Kirtland.

1884: Sept. 1
James H. Fairchild sails from Honolulu, leaving behind the anti-slavery documents given him by Rice, to be shipped to Oberlin at a later date. Fairchild probably also then suggested that Rice transfer the newly discovered Spalding manuscript to Oberlin College, along with those same anti-slavery materials. Fairchild returns to the States, having viewed the mound-builder romance for only one hour. It is doubtful he had access to any books or articles on Mormon history or the Spalding authorship claims while making his brief inspection of the "Roman" story the day before. Until he could consult reference sources in a major library (or be supplied with additional information from associates like L. L. Rice), President Fairchild had only his memory and his brief journal entry to rely upon in forming any opinions of what Rice's find really was and what (if any) relationship it might have to the Book of Mormon,

1884: Sept.-Dec.
Rice continues to keep the "Roman" story in his possession. His friends in Hawaii (like the Rev. Charles M. Hyde and the Rev. Sereno Bishop) continue to inspect the curious manuscript, but the discovery is not yet widely reported.

1884: Oct.-Nov.
During this time the Rev. Sereno Bishop writes a fairly objective report on the Spalding manuscript in Rice's possession. For some unknown reason this article is delayed in publication; it finally appears in print over a year later (see ahead: Sep. 10, 1885). Before the end of the year (probably in late Nov.) Lewis L. begins to make a handwritten transcript of the Spalding document. He did not complete this work until about the end of May, 1885. What eventually became of this document remains unknown.

1884: Nov. ?
Lewis L. Rice becomes curious about the D. P. Hurlbut certificate written on the last page of the manuscript. He writes a letter to his son, the Rev. William H. Rice of Addison, New York and asks him to contact someone in Ohio, to determine some facts about the "Roman" story. He tells William about Hurlbut's certificate and its mention of Aaron Wright, Oliver Smith, and John N. Miller. Rice asks his son to confirm these names as being those persons who actually knew Solomon Spalding. L. L. Rice also gives his son the impression that "the best scholars in Hawaii" express no doubt that the manuscript is a Spalding original, that it is written in the "scriptural narrative style," and that it was "similar in style to the 'Book of Mormon,' but is not identical with it in any part."

1884: Nov. ?
Fairchild, having returned from Hawaii to Ohio, announces the Rice discovery at a Congregationalist clergy meeting in Cleveland.

1884: early Dec.
William H. Rice carries out his father's request and writes a letter to the postmaster at Conneaut, Ohio -- the location name mentioned on the first page of the "Roman" story. William H. Rice asks for information on the three persons named in Hurlbut's certificate and provides a little information on the newly discovered Spalding manuscript. By a most opportune coincidence, the postmaster of Conneaut (Mr. Keyes, the son of the Elias Keyes who took over the abandoned Spalding-Lake iron forge at New Salem) is visited at this very time by an investigator of Mormon history, Arthur Buel Deming. Deming had recently served as the moderator in the Braden-Kelley debate on Mormonism, held in nearby Kirtland. At the opening of that debate Deming was retained by the Rev. Clark Braden to travel about the region and gather first-hand documentation on the Mormons. Deming's employment with Braden quickly evolved into a private crusade by the former, to uncover information and testimony which would render a "death-blow to Mormonism." On Dec. 9th, in the course of his continuing investigation, Deming asks Postmaster Keyes to inform him of any information relative to the Mormons which might come his way. Deming departs Conneaut for his temporary residence in Painesville, Ohio. By a strange coincidence, Postmaster Keyes receives the letter sent to him by William H. Rice at this same time. Or, perhaps he had received it a few days before but was only able to locate the letter after Deming left town. This letter Keyes forwards to Deming in Painesville, probably after he had written back to Rev. William H. Rice and told him that the men named in Hurlbut's certificate had once been actual residents of the area.

1884: Dec. 8
President Fairchild' writes his first letter from Oberlin to Lewis L. Rice in Honolulu. Fairchild asks Rice for permission to describe the Hawaii manuscript discovery in a public notice he intends to publish soon.

1884: Dec. 9
Arthur B. Deming, in Springfield, Erie Co., Pennsylvania, calls upon Rachel Miller Derby, the daughter of the late Conneaut witness John N. Miller. Rachel provides Deming with a short statement about her father and D. P. Hurlbut. In it she says: "I well remember D. P. Hurlbut coming to our house about fifty years ago and his telling father that he was taking evidence to expose Mormonism, and hearing him read from the "Book of Mormon." Frequently father would request Hurlbut to stop reading and he would state what followed and Hurlbut would say that it was so in the "Book of Mormon." He expressed great surprise that father remembered so much of it. Father told him that the "Manuscript Found" was not near all of Spaulding's writings..." Rachel's description of the interaction between her father and D. P. Hurlbut is unexplainable if John N. Miller was recalling passages from Spalding's "Roman" story, rather than from what he remembered of the "Manuscript Found."

1884: Dec. 10
Arthur B. Deming, having returned to Painesville from Springfield, receives the forwarded William H. Rice letter. Deming He immediately obtains information from local residents on the old Ohio newspaperman, L. L. Rice, and discovers that Rice had been the editor of the Painesville Telegraph in 1839-1840, only a few years after E. D. Howe had retired from editing the same newspaper. Deming had recently interviewed Howe extensively -- with special reference to the Spalding writings and Howe's brief encounter with D. P. Hurlbut. Deming is thus able to reconstruct the historical connections between Spalding's widow, D. P. Hurlbut, E. D. Howe and L. L. Rice. Deming also guesses correctly that Rice must have obtained the manuscript from Howe fifty years previous. At this point, however, Deming possesses so little information about the manuscript discovered by Rice in Honolulu that he remains uncertain whether the "Roman" story Howe had summarized in his 1834 book is the same thing Rice has uncovered.

1884: Dec. 10
A. B. Deming takes it upon himself to answer the William H. Rice letter to Postmaster Keyes. He informs Lewis L. Rice's son whom the "Hurlbut" mentioned in the 1833 certificate was; that the other names in that certificate were old times residents of the Conneaut area; and his [Deming's] reconstruction of how L. L. Rice must have obtained possession of Spalding "Roman" story. Deming suggests to William that he request his father to send the manuscript at once to the States where Deming can consult its contents. Deming also shares with Rev. Rice the little known fact that "D. P. Hurlbut was a Methodist preacher in Ontario County, N. Y."

Thus, by an amazing stroke of fate, one of the most active investigators of the Spalding authorship claims for the origin of Book of Mormon became among the very first persons outside of Hawaii to learn about Lewis L. Rice's remarkable discovery. The timing of this lucky incident helps explain Deming's subsequent unusually energetic researching of the Spalding claims. He was beginning to believe that he might actually gain access to previously hidden information on Mormon origins -- information potentially destructive to Mormonism itself.

1884: Dec. 13
A. B. Deming learns of James H. Fairchild's involvement in the Hawaii discovery from Rice's letter. Deming writes his first letter to President Fairchild, to informing him his reconstruction of how L. L. Rice originally obtained possession of the manuscript. Deming also makes a most significant assertion -- that D. P. Hurlbut had briefly exhibited a Spalding manuscript in the Kirtland area and that Hurlbut had read excerpts from that manuscript during some lectures he gave in and around Kirtland. Deming claims that Hurlbut compared in public the manuscript he was exhibiting with the text of the Book of Mormon and that the two works were very similar in places. Deming says he has information on this exhibited Spalding manuscript, in regard to its size, description, etc. He asks Fairchild for specifics on the manuscript found in Hawaii.

1884: mid Dec.
L. L. Rice receives a letter from either his son William or from A. B. Deming, informing him that the persons named in Hurlbut's certificate were actual Conneaut residents at the time Spalding lived there.

1884: mid Dec.
Arthur B. Deming informs Eber D. Howe at Painesville of the Honolulu discovery. Deming would later report this conversation thusly: "I told Mr. E. D. Howe that word had been received from the Sandwich Islands that Spaulding's manuscript from which the "Book of Mormon" was made... Mr. Howe trembled and became greatly excited... he could not have been much more so if the Sheriff had read his death warrant... I finally read to him W. H. Rice's letter and that relieved his fears, for he said Rice used to edit the Telegraph and he probably [had] Conneaut story, which proved to be correct."

1884: Dec. 29
L. L. Rice receives Fairchild's first letter and sends him a reply. In his first letter to Fairchild Rice gives his friend permission to describe the "Roman" story in the article Fairchild intends to publish. Rice also says he has obtained information from Ohio confirming the identities of the three certifiers of Spalding's handwriting, as named in Hurlbut's certificate.

Rice also says that the Rev. Sereno Bishop had, several weeks since, written an article on the "Roman story" and had submitted it for publication to the New York Independent, a national newspaper devoted to contemporary issues in religion. Bishop's article (the first one written describing the 1884 Honolulu discovery and detailing particulars on the Spalding manuscript) was delayed in publication for a considerable period of time and did not appear in print until Sept. 10, 1885. Bishop would take an active role in subsequent events concerning the manuscript while it was still with Rice in Hawaii. Bishop advised Rice not to turn the original over to the local Mormon elders. He probably also assisted Rice in transcribing a copy of the "Roman" story -- a copy which was later given these same Mormon elders in Hawaii.

Disregarding the perhaps exaggerated report of William H. Rice (that his father reported it to have a "scriptural narrative style," and that it was "similar in style to the 'Book of Mormon,' but is not identical with it in any part"), Rev. Bishop was the first investigator of the "Roman" story text to recognize a few significant similarities between it and the Book of Mormon. Since Bishop's report of these similarities was delayed in publication, he had little change to influence the growing consensus of opinion -- a consensus saying that the texts had no similarities. Bishop even tried to convince L. L. Rice of the presence of these similarities, (see ahead: April, 1885). Had Bishop's article been published earlier his observations may have had a serious impact upon popular opinion in this instance. As it turned out, however, other opinions were widely publicized before his own report (by then very much out-of-date) saw light in September, 1885.


A  Chronology  of  the
Oberlin  Spalding  Manuscript

Part Four: 1885

1811-1878    1879-1883    1884    1886    1887-1899    1900 on  

1885: Jan. 2
Researcher Arthur B. Deming interviews John C. Dowen in Willoughby, Ohio. Dowen was a Justice of the Peace in Kirtland in 1833 and early 1834. He was the one who, upon complaint of Joseph Smith, Jr., made out the warrant for the arrest of D. P. Hurlbut, in late Dec. 1833. In his interview with Deming, Down says: "I heard Dr. P. Hurlbut... [at the end of 1833] deliver his first lecture in the Methodist Church in Kirtland, Ohio, on the origin of the Book of Mormon. He said he had been in New York and Pennsylvania and had obtained a copy of Spaulding's Manuscript Found. He read selection[s] from it, then the same from the Book of Mormon. He said the historical part of it was the same as Spaulding's Manuscript Found.... I read all of his manuscript, including Spaulding's Manuscript Found, and compared it with the Book of Mormon, the historical part of which is the same as Spaulding's Manuscript Found..." Deming probably intended to publish this statement in the third issue of his Naked Truths About Mormonism. The publication ended with its second issue (see ahead: Apr. 1888) and Mr. Dowen's statement ended up in Deming's papers at the Chicago Historical Society.

1885: early Jan.
James H. Fairchild publicizes a notice entitled, "Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon" in the Oberlin College journal, Bibliotheca Sacra for Jan., 1885. In a calculated piece of clever journalism Fairchild publishes the Rev. Delavan A. Leonard's "Mormonism," essay as a lead article in the same issue. He uses a portion of Leonard's article as a sort of straw-man, to be knocked-down in Fairchild's own "breaking news" report. Leonard repeated some of the typical anti-Mormon statements of the times, including the claim that a Solomon Spalding manuscript furnished the basis for the historical portions of the Book of Mormon. At the point in the text where Leonard repeats this assertion, the editor at Oberlin inserts a small note informing the Bibliotheca Sacra readers that President Fairchild has something important to disclose on this very subject on another page in the journal. It is no coincidence that President Fairchild prints his "breaking news" a few pages after those in which the Leonard's "Mormonism" piece appears. Fairchild uses Leonard to introduce the so-called "Spalding-Rigdon theory," and then presents his own pronouncement in a way calculated to produce a resolute impact upon the minds of the readers. The impression is conveyed that Fairchild is refuting the old Spalding claims in favor of the something like the traditional Mormon explanation for the origin of the Book of Mormon. While Fairchild does not credit the book as a divine production, he at least appears to use his "breaking news" of the 1884 discovery in Honolulu to discredit the most popular non-Mormon explanation of the book's origin. Thus Fairchild finally carries into effect the incipient machination he first disclosed in his Aug, 31st journal entry (where he stated that his publicizing the Honolulu discovery: "would be a gratification to the Mormons, as putting an end to the story that their book is a reprint of Solomon Spaulding's manuscript").

President Fairchild crafts his "breaking news" into a deceptively short (and seemingly objective) notice. The major point he wishes to make is that "the theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished." In order to substantiate this extraordinary conclusion, Fairchild tells about his recent visit with Rice, the manuscript discovered during that visit, and the fact that the document is a genuine Solomon Spalding holograph. Without any reference whatever to the various published references to Spalding's "Roman" story, Fairchild identifies it with Spalding's "Manuscript Found," the never published story often alleged to have formed the basis for the Book of Mormon. In making this unwarranted connection, President Fairchild (perhaps inadvertently) neglects to consider and weigh the evidence concerning the "Roman" story, as published in the past by E. D. Howe, Benjamin Winchester, Josiah Spalding, and others. In his announcing this crucial and seemingly conclusive identification, President Fairchild appears to destroy the entire basis for the Spalding authorship claims -- conveying his verdict that the "Roman" story resembles the Book of Mormon only in "that both profess to set forth the history of lost tribes."

Fairchild bases his conclusion (that there is no significant resemblance between the "Roman" story and the Mormon book) upon his assertion that "Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two, in general or detail. There seems to be no name or incident common to the two." Since Fairchild's 1884 inspection of the manuscript in Honolulu lasted for only one hour (without historical reference materials at hand for consultation), his Bibliotheca Sacra pronouncement can, at best, be taken only as his private opinion prior to any scholarly study. But, having constructed his opinion as a sort of footnote updating ideas expressed in the Rev. Delavan A. Leonard article, Fairchild conveys the strong impression of being a scholarly expert who has issued his summary of a definitive statement on the merits of the Spalding claims.

Having so worded and published this important announcement in his college's professional journal, President James H. Fairchild sets up some personal and professional obstacles in the way of his ever downplaying or significantly modifying his initial notice of this matter in the scholarly literature. Even so, Fairchild would subsequently modify his stand on the matter by writing several letters and articles providing additional insight into his evolving understanding of the Spalding authorship claims and the possible relevance of the "Roman" story to those claims. In this process of reevaluation Fairchild would eventually reach the point of his having to admit that some assertions of the Spalding claims advocates might well be valid ones. But even while undergoing this personal development of further understanding, Fairchild continued to defend the substance of his initial public notice. In the end, Fairchild hopelessly muddied the waters of Mormon history with speculation that sounded like scholarship and the attachment of his name to early reports which were never quite overshadowed by his later admissions. President Fairchild, in so muddying the waters of scholarly knowledge, did indeed give the Mormons the "gratification" had envisioned as early as his first encounter with the 1884 Honolulu discovery.

1885: Jan. ??
Joseph F. Smith, Second Counselor in the LDS Presidency departs Utah in secrecy for the Mormon mission in the Hawaiian Islands, traveling under the false name of "Mr. Speight." Later on (in April) he would to meet with L. L. Rice in Honolulu -- at that time Rice would say: "Mr. Speight came out here from Utah for the purpose of getting it [Spalding's "Roman" story].... Speight is a man of fine presence, evidently a man of talents and a man of consequence among his people." In all his dealings with Rice, Joseph F. Smith never informed the old gentleman of his true identity -- that he was the nephew of Joseph Smith, Jr. Although the facts of the matter are probably now unrecoverable, it is entirely possible that James H. Fairchild confidentially informed some Mormons (former Oberlin College students like members of the Snow family, perhaps) of the Honolulu discovery, during his 1884 return from Hawaii (overland through California and the West) to Oberlin, Ohio. If so, then perhaps Elder Smith knew of the recent manuscript discovery and L. L. Rice was correct in saying that the Mormon leader had come to Hawaii "for the purpose of getting it."

1885: Jan.-Feb.
Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice begins to get public exposure, both from the circulation of that well-known journal and in reprints of the notice carried by many different newspapers -- the most important of which was its reprinting in the New York Observer for Feb. 5, 1885. Although other, smaller circulation papers (such as the Grinnell, Iowa, Herald for Jan. 23, 1885) carried the notice earlier, its appearance in the Observer kept the news story alive for another month, while even more papers reprinted what the Observer had published.

1885: Jan. 30
Lewis L. Rice writes his second letter to James H. Fairchild. Rice tells of receiving a letter from Eber D. Howe of Painesville, who explained how Rice gained possession of Spalding's "Roman" story. Howe asks Rice to return the old manuscript to him, as he was the person from whom Rice inadvertently received the document. E. D. Howe had learned of the manuscript discovery from Arthur B. Deming in December of 1884. By this time Rice had also received the letter Deming had written to his son William and a second Deming letter addressed directly to him. It was in reading this second Deming letter that Mr. Rice first learned that Spalding's "Roman" story had long ago been identified as something other than Spalding's "Manuscript Found," the alleged foundation of the Book of Mormon. In his letter to Fairchild Rice tells him that he cannot understand the reason for so much popular interest in the 1884 Honolulu discovery. Even though both Deming and Howe realize at this point that the document Rice has is almost certainly not the infamous "Manuscript Found," both men desire to obtain the work for further inspection and study. Rice tells Fairchild that he has begun to look over the Book of Mormon. In reading through the book he still finds that he cannot believe Solomon Spalding could have written such a thing. What is especially interesting is, that at this point in his consideration of the subject, L. L. Rice credits the Book of Mormon authorship to Sidney Rigdon, a Mormon leader whom he had known personally, years before in Ohio. Rice would retain this conviction for the remainder of his life -- and would eventually expand his opinion to include Solomon Spalding's lost "Manuscript Found" as the major source for Rigdon's pseudo-scriptural composition.

1885: Feb. ?
Elder "Speight" (alias Joseph F. Smith) arrives in Honolulu on his secret mission. If he knows about Rice's manuscript discovery he does not betray that fact by attempting to contact the old gentlemen immediately.

1885: Feb. 18
Ellen E. Dickinson learns of 1884 Honolulu discovery (perhaps from reading reprints of the Fairchild notice in the newspapers, bit more likely from one of her contacts in Painesville or Conneaut, who heard of William H. Rice's letter of inquiry). Dickinson writes a letter to William H. Rice and asks him if the manuscript discovered in Hawaii was the one associated with D. P. Hurlbut's anti-Mormon activities. She also wishes to know for certain whether it is a genuine Spalding holograph.

1885: Feb. 19
Joseph Smith III receives a letter from R. J. Anthony in Salt Lake City containing a transcript of Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice. This is the first time that the RLDS leader learns that there is an old Spalding manuscript in Honolulu.

1885: Feb. 21
James H. Fairchild replies in a letter to Lewis L. Rice, offering to preserve the "Roman" story manuscript in the Oberlin College Library, if Rice will send it to him. In a concession which has now generally been forgotten, Fairchild says that he is perfectly willing to allow L. L. Rice to retain legal ownership of the Spalding document. Later, after Rice's death, Fairchild would refuse to live up to this agreement and blocked Rice's heirs from taking possession of the manuscript.

1885: Feb. 21
William H. Rice replies in a letter to Emily E. Dickinson, explaining how the "Roman" story presumably got to Hawaii. He says that his father still doesn't know exactly how he came to possess the document. William mistakenly says the story in Honolulu is written "in Scriptural narrative style." This oversight of the facts must have both confused and excited Dickinson -- until she read the document she could not be entirely certain that it was not the basis for the Book of Mormon. William H. Rice also relays information sent him by his father, saying that Rev. Dr. Hyde, Judge McCully and the best scholars in Honolulu have inspected the manuscript and agree that it is a genuine Spalding holograph. William says the manuscript is "similar in style to the Book of Mormon, but is not identical with it in any part." Although there is some truth in this statement, William does not say whether or not this was then his father's opinion, or perhaps that of one of "the best scholars in Honolulu," (such as the Rev. Sereno Bishop, perhaps). William further informs Dickinson that the manuscript in Honolulu has some Conneaut witnesses' names written in it, along with the name of D. P. Hurlbut's. William may have received some of his information regarding the manuscript directly from one of those "best scholars in Honolulu," since it is hard to believe that L. L. Rice himself would have told William that the "Roman" story resembled the Book of Mormon and was written in scriptural style.

1885: Feb. 24
Joseph Smith III writes a letter to James H, Fairchild, asking for facts on the 1884 Honolulu discovery and a copy of Fairchild's recently published notice. While the purpose of the RLDS leader in his writing a letter of inquiry to Fairchild is perfectly understandable, given the circumstances of the day, it is less understandable why LDS leaders were then not also pestering Fairchild with similar questioning letters. Perhaps the Utah leaders felt it was more important that they first attempt to gain possession of the "Roman" story for the Church, before they entered into any dealings with President Fairchild. If so, the question again arises as to whether Elder Joseph F. Smith knew of the 1884 Honolulu discovery before he ever departed for Hawaii.

1885: Feb. 27
James H. Fairchild replies in a letter to Joseph Smith III, telling Smith more about the 1884 Honolulu discovery. Fairchild says "I compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could find no trace of identity or even essential resemblance between them." Fairchild also says that he has since learned that another of Spalding's stories was the one credited as the basis for the Book of Mormon. This fact Fairchild must have first heard from Arthur B. Deming, though he could have also made the discovery by reading the old books on Mormonism held by the Oberlin College Library. President Fairchild makes an important modification of his earlier notice by saying to Smith: "the manuscript which I saw was not the source of the Book of Mormon. As to any other manuscript, I have no knowledge." Had Fairchild emphasized this point more strongly in presenting his Bibliotheca Sacra notice, he might have saved himself from considerable future vexation, both personally and professionally.

1885: Feb. ??
Ellen E. Dickinson writes to L. L. Rice in Honolulu and tells him she is Spalding's grand-niece; that she will soon be publishing a book on the origin of Mormonism; and that she desires to obtain the "Roman": story manuscript. If Rice will not send it to her she wants it sent to Spalding's daughter (that is, his adopted daughter, Matilda Spalding McKinstry) who is still living and with whom Dickinson maintains some contact.

1885: Feb. 24
Arthur B. Deming interviews Jacob Sherman in Willoughby, Ohio. Sherman says: "Myself and wife attended Hurlbut's lecture on Mormonism at the Presbyterian Church at the [Kirtland township] Center. He said he had been to New York and obtained a copy of the fiction written by Solomon Spaulding called 'Manuscript Found.' He read from it and the same from the "Book of Mormon," the historical part of which he said was taken from Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found... Mr. Deming read to me J. C. Dowen's statement. I have heard him many times speak substantially the same statements in conversation." Deming would later publish this statement in his Naked Truths About Mormonism (see ahead: Apr. 1888).

1885: Mar. 5
Arthur B. Deming interviews Charles Grover in Willoughby, Ohio. Grover says: "I heard D. P. Hurlbut lecture on the origin of the Book of Mormon in the Willoughby town hall in 1833 or 1834. He said that the object of his lecture was to show that the "Book of Mormon" was founded on a fiction written by Solomon Spaulding at Conneaut, O., in the early part of the century, which he called 'Manuscript Found'... He had obtained another copy from which he read selections and then read the same from the "Book of Mormon," the historical part of which was the same as Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found.'" Deming would later publish this statement in his Naked Truths About Mormonism (see ahead: Apr. 1888).

1885: early Mar. ?
Arthur B. Deming interviews William R. Hine in Chester, Ohio. Hine says: "I heard Hurlbut lecture in the Presbyterian Church in Kirtland [at the end of 1833]. He said he would, and he did prove that the "Book of Mormon" was founded on a fiction called "Manuscript Found," written by Solomon Spaulding, at Conneaut, Ohio... He said he had seen Mrs. Spaulding, and she said a good share of the Book of Mormon was the same as 'Manuscript Found,' which was written by her husband... Hurlbut said... Sydney Rigdon stole the copy left with the printer in Pittsburgh. Hurlbut had a copy of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" with him. He and others spoke three hours." Deming would later publish this statement in his Naked Truths About Mormonism (see ahead: Jan. 1888).

1885: Mar. 9
The Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr. sends a letter to James H. Fairchild and says he read the Bibliotheca Sacra notice. Patterson tells Fairchild that the 1884 Honolulu discovery is "not in any wise... inconsistent with the Rigdon-Spaulding theory" for Book of Mormon authorship. He sends Fairchild his 1882 article on the subject (an off-print from Crumrine's history) and asks Fairchild to read it over.

1885: Mar. 14
Lewis L. Rice writes his third letter to Fairchild, informing him of Dickinson's recent request to have the manuscript. Rice says he thinks E. D. Howe has the best claim on the "Roman" story, but that both Deming and Dickinson have specifically warned him not to let Howe have it. He also responds to Fairchild's earlier request for the same manuscript, by saying that he is "disposed to send it" to Fairchild in Ohio "for preservation in your college library" and adds: "perhaps I will send it with the anti-slavery documents..."

1885: mid Mar.
President Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice is reprinted in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Sunday Magazine for April. This republication by a major national magazine serves to both extend the period in which the 1884 Honolulu discovery is publicized and to give Fairchild's negative views regarding the Spalding authorship claims an even wider popular circulation.

1885: mid Mar.
Joseph Smith III writes his first letter to Lewis L. Rice and suggests to him that the "Roman" story manuscript be sent to the Chicago Historical Society for safe keeping.

1885: Mar. 19
Joseph Smith III writes a letter to Albert D. Hager of the Chicago Historical Society. In it he informs Hager that a potentially important Solomon Spalding manuscript was recently discovered in Hawaii and that Smith will try to convince Lewis L. Rice to send that document to the Society's Library for preservation. Smith makes this choice because he wants his people to inspect the document and because he doubts Mr. Rice would let the RLDS leader have the story.

1885: Mar. 21
The RLDS Saints' Herald reprints the Fairchild notice from Bibliotheca Sacra. Along with that notice the editor publishes R. J. Anthony's letter to Joseph III and Fairchild's letter to Joseph III, along with a short article on the Spalding-Rigdon theory. AS might be expected, the RLDS uses Fairchild's statements to defend the traditional Latter Day Saint negative viewpoint on the Spalding authorship claims.

1885: Mar. 23
The LDS Deseret Evening News reprints Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice from the April issue of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Sunday Magazine. The Mormon editor provides some accompanying short comments, using Fairchild's statement to defend the traditional Latter-day Saint negative viewpoint on the Spalding claims and saying that it provides "incontrovertible evidence" that the old story about Spalding having written manuscript "identical" to the Book of Mormon was just part of the anti-Mormons' "refuge of lies."

1885: Mar. 23
Elder George Reynolds (previously the Personal Secretary of Brigham Young) clips the Deseret News article and mails it to Elder Speight (Joseph F. Smith) at the Mormon mission center in Laie, Hawaii. Reynolds tells Joseph F. that news of the 1884 Honolulu discovery is now in the newspapers and magazines and that Joseph F. should contact Lewis L. Rice about the ultimate fate of the manuscript. Assuming that Joseph F. Smith was already aware of the 1884 Honolulu discovery, Reynolds' letter must have served as an incentive for him to try to procure the "Roman" story from Rice and transport it safely to Utah as quickly as possible.

1885: Mar. 23
Lewis L. Rice writes his first reply to Joseph Smith III, telling the RLDS leader how he came to possess the "Roman" story and how it was discovered among his possessions in Honolulu. Rice says "since Pres't Fairchild published the fact of its existence in my possession, I have had applications for it from half a dozen sources, each applicant seeming to think that he or she was entitled to it." Rice also tells Smith that the only similarity between the manuscript and the Book of Mormon is that their discovery stories are similar. This is a very important observation, and a realization which has thus far escaped the attention of Fairchild. However, Rice does not follow up on his discovery of this similarity and it is not further elucidated for a long period of time.

Besides the strange coincidence of the two texts' respective discovery accounts, Rice says "there is no similarity of style between them." Rice also details for Smith the ideas he had previously expressed to Fairchild: that he has now read all the Book of Mormon and cannot bring himself to believe that Spalding could have written such a book. Rice tells Joseph III: "no one who reads this manuscript will give credit to the story that Solomon Spalding was in any wise the author of the Book of Mormon. It is unlikely that anyone who wrote so elaborate a work as the Mormon Bible, would spend his time in getting up so shallow a story as this, which at best is but a feeble imitation of the other. Finally I am more than half- convinced that this is his only writing of the sort, and that any pretense that Spalding was in any sense the author of the other is a sheer fabrication. It was easy for any body who may have seen this, or heard anything of its contents, to get up the story that they were identical." Here L. L. Rice neglects to tell Smith that he thinks Sidney Rigdon was the author of the Book of Mormon, but he does try to account for the early testimony saying Spalding was the author -- by implicitly admitting that the two texts resembled each other superficially (at least) to the point that a person like D. P. Hurlbut could "get up the story that they were identical."

In making the latter statement, L. L. Rice provided great moral support to the Mormons. The one person who then had constant access to Spalding's "Roman" story was saying exactly the things they needed to conduct a seeming demolition of the Spalding-Rigdon theory. The RLDS (and later the LDS) could report that the current owner of the manuscript, a respected career newspaper editor, said that the Hawaii find was likely the only manuscript story ever written by Solomon Spalding and that it was just enough of a "feeble imitation" of the Book of Mormon to give some persons the notion that Spalding had written the Mormon scriptures. These words of Rice were sweet music to the Mormon ear.

Although Rice's description of the "Roman" story and its contents was valuable news at the time, his opinions regarding Spalding, the early witnesses of his writing attempts, and the identity of the document discovered in Honolulu with the practically legendary "Manuscript Found" were all just that -- opinions only, and not even educated opinions. Nevertheless, since he and his Honolulu friends were the only people who had read through Spalding's "Roman" story since 1834, Rice's testimony at this point in time carried great weight with the reading public. When Rice's words were coupled and published with Fairchild's statements the resultant impression created was that the old Spalding-Rigdon theory for Book of Mormon authorship was no longer a tenable one. This was the picture then being presented by publications like the Saints Herald and the Deseret News, despite the very real fact that no person with a good knowledge of the Book of Mormon and an equally good knowledge of the Spalding authorship claims had reported a detailed comparison of the two texts or the fact that the earliest witnesses reportedly disassociated Spalding's unfinished "Roman" story from the more extensive and scriptural-sounding "Manuscript Found."

1885: Apr. 16
Two Mormon Elders call on the John M. Whitney home in the Honolulu suburb of Punahou. They are introduce themselves to Lewis L. Rice, who discovers they are Mormons who know about his manuscript discovery. Rice asks them about their business in Hawaii and they identify themselves as Elder Enoch Farr and Elder Speight. Thus, from his very first exchange of words with Rice, Second Counselor in the LDS Presidency, Joseph F. Smith, tells lies to Rice, totally falsifying his name, his office in the Church, his blood relationship to Joseph Smith, Jr., and his reason for coming to the Hawaiian Islands. Perhaps Joseph F. Smith told such extensive lies because he did not want Rice to know exactly who he was, that he is wanted by the authorities for criminal acts back in the States, and that he possessed some inside information on the 1884 Honolulu discovery before the affair was ever announced in the public press. It may also be true that Smith did not trust Rice enough to tell him the truth. After all, Smith's polygamy was just as illegal and subject to prosecution in the Kingdom of Hawaii as it was in the United States.

L. L. Rice tells the two Utah Elders what he knows about the "Roman" story manuscript -- that he has already told James H. Fairchild that he intends to send the document to Oberlin for safe keeping. The Mormons tell Rice that they want the Spalding writings and are prepared to pay him for what he has. Rice later discloses that their offer at this time was for $100.00. After failing to purchase the Spalding writings and coming to the conclusion that they cannot obtain the original, the Mormons say that they at least need a copy of the "Roman" story. Rice shows them the manuscript and tells the two elders that he has already made a partial transcription of the story. Elder "Speight" then offers to purchase that transcription if Rice will consent to sell it. No decision is reached in this regard, but Rice feeds the Mormons' desire for having the story by saying he is certain the document in his possession is the one remembered among Solomon Spalding's old associates as the "Manuscript Found." The two Mormons finally leave, after securing Rice's promise that they may return again to read through the document and that he will at least consider their offer to buy the partial transcript Rice has made of the Spalding writings.

1885: mid Apr.
Lewis L. Rice consults some of his friends locally, on wisdom of taking the Mormon cash offer for the "Roman" story and the stray scraps of Spalding's writing that accompany the main manuscript. The Rev. Sereno E. Bishop advises Rice not to let the Mormons have the original. Bishop has noticed a few textual similarities between the "Roman" story and Book of Mormon and thinks the seemingly innocent-looking document is actually an artifact far too important to be entrusted to the Mormons. It is unclear whether Bishop viewed the "Roman" story as a sort of prototype for the pseudo-scriptural "Manuscript Found," but Bishop was obviously then holding open such a possibility. His opinions in this respect may have slowly influenced the thinking of Lewis L. Rice -- for Rice would later drop his objections against the Spalding-Rigdon theory and embrace those authorship claims wholeheartedly.

1885: late Apr.
Lewis L. Rice writes his fourth letter to James H. Fairchild and says that Elders Farr and Speight (Joseph F. Smith) called on him to obtain the "Roman" story manuscript. L. L. Rice has the impression that Speight is a high-ranking Mormon who has come directly from Utah to obtain his manuscript. Rice says that Speight asked him to write to President Fairchild and get his release so that the "Roman" story might be handed over to the Utah Church officials. Speight also asked that the manuscript be loaned to him, pending Rice's decision on the demanded sale. Rice says that Rev. Sereno E. Bishop thinks the manuscript may have some a relationship to the text of the Book of Mormon and that it should be deposited in the United States for safekeeping. Bishop advises it be sent to Oberlin. Rice also mentions that Joseph Smith III concurs in advising that the "Roman" story should be sent to the States for preservation.

1885: late Apr.
President Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice continues to be reprinted. It appears in the Eureka, California Western Watchman for April 25th. Fairchild begins to receive letters each week from people curious about the 1884 Honolulu discovery, some of whom share with him previously unknown details concerning certain elements of the Spalding authorship theory. This flow of correspondence to the Oberlin President continues for several years.

1885: Apr. 30
Joseph Smith III writes another letter to Lewis L. Rice, asking him to deposit the "Roman" story manuscript in some place where it will not be mutilated or used for evil purposes.

1885: Apr.-May
Lewis L. Rice completes his hand-written transcript of the "Roman" story manuscript. With this copy in his possession he feels safer about sharing the text of the story with readers in Hawaii and is also ready to disencumber himself of the original Spaldings writings then still in his possession.

1885: May 1
Elders Farr and "Speight" again call on L. L. Rice. He shares with them the contents of the various letters he has received from correspondents like Joseph Smith III, Arthur B. Deming, Ellen. E. Dickinson, E. D. Howe and Albert D. Hager, all of whom want the original of the "Roman" story sent to some safe depository in the States or to them personally. Rice tells the Mormons that he is firm in his decision to send the "Roman" story manuscript to Oberlin College. He then allows the two elders to read through the first few chapters of Spalding's writings. They leave with his promise that they can return and read more later. Rice still has not made a decision on selling them his own transcript.

1885: May 2
Joseph Smith III against writes to L. L. Rice. Smith again says he wants him to send the original of Spalding's "Roman" story to the Chicago Historical Society.

1885: early May
Lewis L. Rice loans the "Roman" story (the original, not Rice's transcript copy) to the Rev. Dr. Charles M. Hyde. Hyde inspects the document and then writes an article about the 1884 Honolulu discovery. Hyde describes the manuscript in his article and gives his opinion that it has no relationship to the Book of Mormon. He submits his article to the Boston Congregationalist for possible publication (see ahead: July 30, 1885)

1885: early May
Joseph Smith III writes to LDS Elder John M. Horner in Hawaii and requests that he go to the Whitney home and inspect the Spalding manuscript then being kept there. Horner was an "old-time" Mormon and apparently an old friend of the Smith family. Even though he is LDS, he is open to assisting the RLDS President in this regard. There is no evidence to show that Horner previously knew of Joseph F. Smith's visits with Rice or that he ever cooperated with Joseph F. Smith in the Mormons' attempts to obtain Rice's manuscript.

1885: May 11
Joseph F. Smith (Elder "Speight") writes a long letter to Charles W. Penrose for publication in the Salt Lake City Deseret News. Smith tells about his first two visits with L. L. Rice and quotes Rice as saying: "There is not one word nor sentence in it (the "Roman" story manuscript) in common with the Book of Mormon. The only possible resemblance is, they both purport to give an account of the American Indians." Smith also quotes Rice as saying that the document in his possession is indeed the infamous "Manuscript Found," and that it must be the only fictional story ever written by Solomon Spalding. Smith says: "Taking this statement as the unreserved judgment of an old editor and newspaper man, who has not only carefully read it and compared it with the Book of Mormon, but with his own hand copied about two-thirds of it, his opinion must be accepted..." While it is possible that Joseph F. Smith paraphrased Rice, leaving out any of his comments which might be seen as hostile to Mormonism, Smith's quotations of Rice appear to be fairly accurate ones. It goes without saying that the opinions then expressed by Rice were exactly the notions that the Mormon leader wished to convey to the skeptical world -- that Solomon Spalding only ever wrote one manuscript; that manuscript had been discovered, inspected and certified; and it was not the basis for the Book of Mormon. Thus, to the reader sympathetic to this line of selective reporting, the Spalding authorship claims must be false. Elder Smith later wrote a follow-up letter updating his continuing encounter with Lewis L. Rice (see ahead: July 14, 1885).

1885: May 12
Arthur B. Deming writes another letter to Lewis L. Rice, telling him that he has found the whereabouts of a copy of the "Manuscript Found" in the United States. Deming says he wants the "Roman" story manuscript in order to compare its handwriting with the other Spalding holographs which he hopes to have in his hands in a week or two. It is hard to say whether Deming was being honest in his message to Rice. If he was being honest, then it is possible that Deming himself was deceived in regard to there being a copy of Spalding's "Manuscript Found" available somewhere in the United States. It is possible that Deming had by this time contacted a son of the late D. P. Hurlbut (who died on June 19, 1883) and that Hurlbut's son promised Deming an inspection of the legendary Spalding story. If so, there is no evidence that Deming ever got to inspect such a Spalding holograph.

1885: May 14
L. L. Rice replied in a letter to Joseph Smith III, telling Joseph that he will soon be sending the "Roman" story manuscript to Oberlin College for safe keeping. Rice says he has completed a literal transcript of the manuscript which he will retain. He also says that the Utah Mormons probably have the right to a copy of the "Roman" story, if they promise to publish the text. He also mentions that Rev. Charles M. Hyde has written an article about the 1884 Honolulu discovery that will be published soon.

1885: May 14
President Fairchild writes another letter to Lewis L. Rice and suggests that Rice send the "Roman" story manuscript to Oberlin with Willie Bowen, a mutual acquaintance who will shortly be leaving Hawaii to travel to Ohio.

1885: May 16
The Saints' Herald again reprints Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice and along with it Lewis L. Rice's March 28th letter to Joseph III. Rice and Fairchild speak so loudly against the Spalding claims in these published letters that there is little need for the RLDS editor to add anything else in support of the old Mormon explanations for the origin of the Book of Mormon. Again, Fairchild's original idea has "come to pass" -- that the exposure of the manuscript discovered in Honolulu could prove a real "gratification" to the Latter Day Saints.

1885: mid May
Elder Horner visits L. L. Rice and reads the first part of the "Roman" story. Rice tells him that he is about to send it to Oberlin College where both friends and enemies of the Book of Mormon can examine it. Horner later tells Joseph Smith III that he does not consider the manuscript as being safe until it reaches Oberlin. He also mentions that the Utah Mormons have been there to get it. Given the fact that Horner was himself a member of the Utah Church, the concern he expresses about the manuscript's safety (implicitly connecting the danger to it with the actions of the Mormons in Hawaii) was likely a legitimate one.

1885: late May
The Utah Mormons again visit L. L. Rice and assent to his sending the "Roman" story manuscript to James H. Fairchild at Oberlin. Joseph F. Smith (Elder "Speight") inspects that manuscript (which had just been returned to Rice by Rev. Charles M. Hyde) and reads Solomon Spalding's fictional paragraph on polygamy in ancient America. Rice tells him that many years ago he had printed in one of his newspapers a romance called "Manuscript Found." Speight reads another of Arthur B. Deming letters, telling of visits to Howe and Hurlbut and urging Rice to send the "Roman" story original to his son William in New York. Deming reportedly tells Rice to keep his letters secret (especially from Rice's Utah Mormon visitors?).

1885: late May
Ellen E. Dickinson's New Light on Mormonism is published. The book contains reports of her personal interviews with E. D. Howe and D. P. Hurlbut, as well as their accounts of what the Spalding writings turned over to Hurlbut by Jerome Clark in 1833 really were and what became of them. In her book Dickinson reproduces the letter William H. Rice sent to her and briefly mentions the Spalding manuscript discovered in 1884 in Honolulu. Had Dickinson waited a few more months to publish her work she could have authored the first book on the Mormons providing details about the 1884 discovery in Honolulu and its potential impact upon the Spalding-Rigdon authorship theory. Although James H. Kennedy published a major work on the Mormons in 1888, he neglected to discuss the Spalding manuscript discovered in Honolulu. Arthur B. Deming attempted to address the discovery in his 1888 newspaper articles, but a coherent report of the discovery did not appear in book form until 1890, when Thomas Gregg published his Prophet of Palmyra. In the meanwhile, Dickinson herself had a letter published (see ahead: Jan. 7, 1886) in which she updated her position on the matter and George R. Gibson stated his views regarding the discovery a few months later (see ahead: Nov. 1886).

1885: late May
Lewis L. Rice writes a reply to Arthur B. Deming, telling him that the original of the "Roman" story will soon be sent to Oberlin, Ohio and that Deming can inspect it there. Rice still says he does not believe that there are any other Spalding manuscripts, but will admit that opinion to be an error if Deming can prove otherwise. This response by Rice perhaps indicates that his continuing consideration of the Spalding authorship claims was beginning to change his previously expressed conviction that Sidney Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon without utilizing any material from Solomon Spalding.

1885: May 20
The Deseret News reprints Lewis L. Rice's letter of March 28th from the Saints' Herald. The editor continues to express the LDS viewpoint, that the 1884 discovery in Honolulu "completely upsets the anti-Mormon theory that the Book of Mormon owed its origin" to a "story" once written by Solomon Spalding.

1885: May 30
Lewis L. Rice writes another letter to James H. Fairchild, saying he will send the "Roman" story to Oberlin with Willie Bowen if the man leaves for Ohio in the near future. Rice says that he has no objection to the "Roman" story being printed if anyone will pay publication costs. He also tells about his continuing encounters with the Mormons in Hawaii.

1885: June 2
Joseph F. Smith (Elder "Speight") again calls on Lewis L. Rice. (This may actually be the same visit that has been tentatively dated to "late May" -- see above). Rice informs the LDS leader that he is agreeable to letting the Utah Mormons print and distribute copies of the "Roman" story, using his own transcription for their text. Elder "Speight" agrees to this idea and offers to have the printing done in Salt Lake City if Rice will lend or sell him the transcript. Rice asks only for some copies of the printed story in return, saying that Rev. Charles M. Hyde and Rev. Sereno E. Bishop agree that there would be no harm in letting the Mormons print Spalding's writings, once the original holograph was safely received at Oberlin College.

1885: June 3
Lewis L. Rice writes another letter to James H. Fairchild, saying he agrees with Fairchild's suggestion, that Spalding's "Roman" story be published. Rice says the fragile original manuscript is already showing signs of wear from being handled so much by his visitors. The Utah Mormons have agreed to print it and Rice will let them take his transcript when he has heard back from Fairchild. He also says that he believes Elder "Speight" will return to Utah as soon as the printing agreement can be made. Rice relates that he does not now expect to make any profit on its publication but could have received $100 earlier (by selling the original to Elder "Speight").

1885: June 5 & 8
Robert Patterson, Jr. writes to James H. Fairchild, telling him that he should read and publish (in Oberlin College's Bibliotheca Sacra) a review of Ellen E. Dickinson's new book on Mormonism. Patterson's note of June 5th was forwarded to Fairchild by Dickinson's publisher; Patterson's June 8th letter tells more about Dickinson's book. In that letter Patterson says he was presented a copy of the RLDS Saints' Herald containing a reprint of Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice, and that Fairchild's report was cited as providing proof that the Spalding claims were false.

1885: early June
President's Fairchild's notice from the Bibliotheca Sacra is still being reprinted in various publications -- this time it appears in an issue of the Toledo, Ohio Blade.

1885: June 12
Lewis L. Rice writes another letter to James H. Fairchild, saying he herewith sends Spalding's "Roman" story manuscript (for personal delivery, by some friends traveling to Ohio) "for reference by anyone who may be desirous of seeing or examining it." Rice says he is retaining his literal transcription of the story, which he may give to the Utah Mormons to publish. By this point Rice is no longer so positive as he was before, that the manuscript he discovered among his papers is the only fictional work ever written by Solomon Spalding writing. Rice is also unsure that the 1884 Honolulu discovery truly dissolves all of the old Spalding authorship claims. Quite obviously Rice is in the process of changing his mind on the Spalding-Rigdon theory -- the information and opinions expressed to him by Arthur B. Deming, Sereno E. Bishop, Ellen E. Dickinson and others are beginning to cause Rice to re-examine his previously expressed opinions regarding the 1884 Honolulu discovery and its possible relationship to the origin of the Book of Mormon.

1885: June 15
Elder "Speight" (Joseph F, Smith) again calls upon Lewis L. Rice. Rice informs him that he has just sent the original "Roman" story to Fairchild in Ohio. He then proposes to let the Mormons have his transcript, if they will print it just as Rice has written it, recording all of Spalding's errors, cross-outs, etc. Elder "Speight" agrees to this proposition and says he will send copies of the published text to both Rice and Fairchild. Rice then agrees to draw up an agreement paper and that Elder "Speight" may call back to sign it later in the day.

When Elder Speight" returns to the Whitney home later that day, he finds that Rice has changed his mind about the concluding agreement and desires to first hear back from Fairchild one more time before signing the papers. Elder Speight" then requests to simply borrow Rice's transcript, since "the original is beyond our reach." Rice gives him the transcript on loan and Elder Speight" quickly carries it to the Mormon mission headquarters at Laie.

1885: June 15-21
Rice's transcript remains in the temporary possession of Joseph F. Smith and his associate Mormon elders. At Laie they divide up the pages of Rice's transcript among several elders and, after a few days, complete the work of copying Solomon Spalding's "Roman" story. On June 21, Elder "Speight" again calls on Lewis L. Rice to return the borrowed transcript. He learns that Rice has now received word back from Fairchild and is ready to finalize the publishing agreement the two men had worked out earlier. Joseph F. Smith then signed the agreement papers using the false name of "Speight." This deception on his part, of course, rendered the agreement null and void, so far as the LDS Church had any obligation to carry out the terms as stated. Still not realizing how he was being deceived, Lewis L. Rice provides his "Roman" story transcript to Elder "Speight" on extended loan, agreeing that it may be sent to Salt Lake City for publication. Rice would pass away a few months later. There is no indication that Elder "Speight" ever lived up to his agreement to return the transcript to Rice or his heirs.

1885: June 22
James H. Fairchild writes another letter to Lewis L. Rice, telling him he has finally received the Spalding "Roman" story, carried to him personally by a Miss Flaxman from Hawaii. Fairchild agrees with the details Rice had previously worked out with Elder "Speight," allowing the Utah Mormons to print Rice's transcript of the manuscript.

1885: June 22
RLDS President Joseph Smith III goes on a missionary journey to Utah and the West. He is away from home until the end of the year. Either before this trip (or, more likely, after his return) President Smith met briefly met with Arthur B. Deming in the Chicago Historical Society Library. Neither man held a high opinion of the other and they are not known to have carried on any communication with each other regarding their mutual interests in Mormon history and the Spalding authorship claims.

1885: June 23
Joseph Smith III writes a letter to James H. Fairchild, saying that he has heard from Rice that the original of Spalding's "Roman" story will soon be in Fairchild's hands at Oberlin. Smith asks if Fairchild will allow the RLDS Saint's Herald to publish the "Roman" story. Smith also mentions that he is currently in Salt Lake City, ascertaining what he might be able to do that would be helpful during the anti-polygamy crisis still going on there.

1885: June 24
Joseph F. Smith writes a second letter to Elder Penrose at the Deseret News office telling of his more recent experiences regarding procurement of a copy of Spalding's "Roman" story. In both this and in his letter of May 11th, Smith uses the "Islander" pseudonym in allowing the Deseret News to print his reports from Hawaii. Anyone in Honolulu who was knowledgeable of Lewis L. Rice's recent encounters with the Mormons there would have quickly identified this "Islander" as the Mormon leader who called himself Elder "Speight." It was only years later that readers of these various accounts would have been assemble together enough information to realize that Joseph F. Smith, "Islander," and Elder "Speight" were all the same person.

1885: June 24?
Joseph F. Smith sends the Rice transcript from Hawaii to the Deseret News office in Salt Lake City with orders that it be quickly published and made available for sale. It is possible that Smith also sent along the copy of Rice's transcript he had made at Laie. The text(s) must have left Hawaii on the same ship that carried Smith's letter of June 24th to Editor Penrose -- possibly that letter was sent in the same package as Rice's transcript. The Hawaii mail was probably received in Salt Lake City about a month after it was sent. If the Spalding story had been printed in a timely manner after it was received (probably in early August) at the Deseret News office, the LDS edition of the old mound-builder romance would have been the first printed version set before the reading public. As events happen to work out, this was not done and in the meanwhile the RLDS Church secured a copy of the text from James H. Fairchild and quickly published the story. Joseph F. Smith later complained of there having been a "considerable delay on the part of the News in completing the work."

1885: July 7
James H. Fairchild writes to Arthur B. Deming and tells him that he now has the original of Solomon Spalding's "Roman" story in his possession at Oberlin. He invites Deming to come there to inspect it, if he wishes.

1885: July 10
Arthur B. Deming writes back from Chicago in his second letter Fairchild, telling him that he is glad to hear that the manuscript sent from Hawaii has been received at Oberlin. Deming hopes that Fairchild will keep the "Roman" story in a fire-proof safe so that it cannot be stolen. He tells the Oberlin College President that he had recently written to L. L. Rice, informing him of the discovery of a partial copy of the "Manuscript Found" in the United States, but that some people (the Mormons, evidently) had learned of Deming's to obtain this other Spalding document and that he was prevented from obtaining it. Deming claims that he was "betrayed," but he stops short of saying that Rice had divulged his confidential information to the Mormons. Even with these setbacks, Deming says he expects that within a few years he will be able to obtain this previously mentioned copy of Spalding's "Manuscript Found" -- "when one man dies," at Deming put it. Deming implores President Fairchild to keep all of this information a secret. He also says that he has seen two L. L. Rice letters printed in the Saints' Herald and is sorry that Rice "has expressed himself so favorable to Mormon views about Spalding's 'Manuscript Found.'" Deming informs Fairchild that he will soon call upon him at Oberlin and will then examine the "Roman" story manuscript.

Arthur B. Deming apparently suffered from mental illness in his later years. If he was not a paranoid person in the 1880s he was at least a highly imaginative and excitable person. This element of his personality no doubt inspired him to carry out important investigations of Mormonism and related matters that most researchers would have avoided. In conducting those kinds of investigations he may truly have crossed paths with some persons who were willing and able to thwart some of his plans and expectations. At the same time, Deming's apparent excitability and possible paranoia may have so colored his perception and communications as to render a good deal of what he had to say unreliable. The modern student of Mormon history would probably do well to consider much of what Arthur B. Deming reported concerning the Mormons, with a healthy measure of scholarly skepticism

1885: July 11
Lewis L. Rice writes another letter to James H. Fairchild, saying that he hopes Fairchild has now received the "Roman" story manuscript and that he is glad Fairchild approves letting the Mormons publish from the transcript.

1885: July 11
The Saints' Herald prints L. L. Rice's May 14th letter and John M. Horner's May 21st letter to Joseph III. Throughout the remainder of 1885 it was probably the readers of the Saints' Herald who came to know the most about the 1884 Honolulu discovery, the content of the Oberlin "Roman" manuscript, and the continuing impact of these things upon the old Spalding authorship claims.

1885: July 14
The Deseret Evening News prints Joseph F. Smith's May 11th letter from Honolulu under the name of "Islander" on its editorial page. The editor makes use of the Rice and Fairchild quotations supplied therein in support of traditional LDS claims regarding the origin of the Book of Mormon, and to prove that, "The Spaulding Romance... bear[s] no resemblance to the Book of Mormon."

1885: July 21
Joseph F. Smith's letter of June 24th (his second "Islander" letter) is published on the editorial page of the Deseret News in Salt Lake City. Although much was happening in the last half of 1885 relative to the manuscript discovered in Honolulu, the Deseret News refrained from saying anything else about the 1884 discovery, the content of the manuscript, or the Spalding claims, until more than four months had passed (see ahead: Dec. 4, 1885).

1885: July 22-23
RLDS leaders Edmund L. Kelley and William Kelley call on President Fairchild at Oberlin and obtain a transcript which he previously prepared for them.

1885: July 23
Elder William Kelley writes a letter to William W. Blair, Editor of the Saints' Herald, giving him detailed description of the Spalding manuscript at Oberlin College. He provides an outline of the story and supplies some quotes from its pages. Kelley says that the title penciled upon its wrapper -- 'Manuscript Story, Conneaut Creek' was probably added to that paper cover by D. P. Hurlbut in 1833. Unfortunately the cover wrapping which accompanied the Oberlin Spalding manuscript from Hawaii to Ohio was later discarded and the pencil handwriting is no longer available for comparison with known samples of the handwriting of D. P. Hurlbut, Solomon Spalding, etc. Possibly William was correct and it was Hurlbut who added the title. At least he did not label the contents "Manuscript Found." Perhaps he reserved that penciled-in title for the purported Spalding manuscript he had displayed during his lectures in and around Kirtland at the end of 1833.

1885: July 23
President Fairchild writes a letter to William W. Blair, at the RLDS Saints' Herald, saying he has given a transcript of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript to Elder Edmund L. Kelley.

1885: July 24
Elder Edmund L. Kelley writes a cover letter to William W. Blair, informing him that he is sending with the letter the transcript prepared by President Fairchild. Along with the transcript Oberlin Spalding manuscript, Edmund encloses a certificate of authenticity and some photographs of the document.

1885: July 30
The Rev. Charles M. Hyde's article (prepared in Honolulu in cooperation with his friend Lewis L. Rice) is finally published in the Boston Congregationalist, under the title: "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon? Solomon Spaulding Not Its Author." In his report Rev. Hyde describes the 1884 Honolulu discovery and gives some background information on L. L. Rice. He also briefly sketches the life of Solomon Spalding and provides a very short outline of early Mormon history and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Rev. Hyde Quotes at length from Eber D. Howe's 1834 book, thus revealing that he and Lewis L. Rice had Howe's old account available to them by early May of 1885, when Hyde completed his article. In the article Hyde tells of the first discovery, by D. P. Hurlbut, of what has since become the Oberlin Spalding manuscript. Hyde describes the document found in Honolulu and shows it to be the same one reported by Howe in 1834. Hyde notices that there is a beginning of a personal letter written on one of the manuscript pages and that the unfinished letter has an 1812 date. In all of this reporting, Rev. Hyde demonstrates that he conducted as extensive an inquiry into the Spalding-Rigdon theory as was then possible in remote Hawaii. In his article Rev. Hyde then makes this significant statement regarding the story discovered by L. L. Rice: "The story has not the slightest resemblance in names, incidents or style to anything in the Book of Mormon..., there is no attempt whatever to imitate Bible language." Hyde gives an outline of the manuscript chapters and provides some quotations as a sample of its contents and style.

Rev. Hyde was also the first person (since E. D. Howe) to notice and comment upon an old, unfinished Spalding letter which had been wrapped up with the manuscript. Whether D. P. Hurlbut found this letter inserted within the pages of the "Roman" story, or whether he found it elsewhere in the "old hair trunk" left with Jerome Clark, history does not recall. In any case, Hurlbut's actions in 1833-34 served to preserve the document and Eber D. Howe kept it with the "Roman" story manuscript after receiving Hurlbut's research materials in Feb. 1834. The draft latter is in Spalding's handwriting and in it he relates what are apparently his own views on religion and scripture. Hyde quotes from this letter and then says: "It is evident from an inspection of this manuscript, and from the above statements (in the Spalding letter) that whoever wrote the Book of Mormon, Solomon Spaulding did not... That Spaulding ever wrote any other romance seems to be disproved by the date, 1812, found in the latter part of this manuscript..." Hyde ends his article by expressing his opinion, that Joseph Smith, Jr. wrote the Book of Mormon himself.

In contrast to statements made by Fairchild and Rice (by then already extensively circulated in the public press), Hyde's article shows evidence of his having done some investigative research, both on Solomon Spalding and on the history and contents of the Book of Mormon. The main points of his conclusions are these: 1. In Hyde's opinion, Spalding's "Roman" story does not resemble the Book of Mormon in any significant way; 2. The views expressed in the unfinished Spalding letter could not be the same as the convictions held by the person who wrote the Book of Mormon; and, 3. the date of 1812, found on a page in the "Roman" story manuscript, indicates that it is unlikely that Spalding ever wrote any other stories -- apparently, because he left Ohio that same year and went off to publish his writings. The final point made by Rev. Hyde is his weakest; Spalding was in Ohio for at least three years prior to 1812 and remained there for most of that year as well. In fact, Spalding had plenty of time to write several stories before he left Ohio. The claims of the Spalding-Rigdon authorship theory, as generally articulated between 1834 and 1885, only call for Spalding to have written part of his "Manuscript Found" before he left Ohio and they only call for Spalding to have supplied the plot, characters, and a portion of the narrative which makes up the Book of Mormon.

Rev. Hyde's second point, regarding the incompatibility of Spalding's religious views with those who wrote the Book of Mormon, is not very strong one either. Solomon Spalding probably did not believe in the plenary, verbal inspiration of the Judeo-Christian scriptures, even as far back as when he ceased being an Evangelist for the Congregational Church. But, even so, he says in his unfinished letters that he admires much of the piety and morality taught by the Judeo-Christian scriptures and that he is perfectly content to allow those around him to believe in their divinity. Solomon Spalding expresses almost exactly similar views in the text of the Oberlin manuscript, where he tells a story of pretended divine revelation, a contrived religion, and fabricated scriptures, written by a religious elite for moral and social purposes. In Spalding's story, the top religious leaders palm off their contrived religion to the impressionable but ignorant mound-builders, as a divine revelation. An eccentric ex-minister, well versed in the Bible and holding the cynical and Deistic views evident in the unfinished letter, would be just the sort of person who might be expected to compose fictional, fabricated mound-builder scriptures (as Spalding does in his "Roman" story). It is not a great leap in logic to presume that the author of a fabricated appearance of Jesus Christ (such as the one in the book of Third Nephi) would also be an eccentric thinker, well versed in the Bible, and holding cynical views on the nature and purpose of religion. Only such a person -- one who advocates the fabrication of pseudo-scripture in order to infuse popular piety and morality into society -- might be expected to fabricate scripture in the first place. Such a fabrication of historical and religious "records", heavily overlain with the addition of radical Campbellite theology, commandments, exhortations, and prophecies, is precisely what one might expect to find in a production begun by the Rev. Solomon Spalding and finished by the Rev. Sidney Rigdon.

Hyde's other point, that the Oberlin manuscript does not resemble the Book of Mormon, is merely his opinion. Obviously the former text is neither identical to the latter one, or even basically foundational to its narrative. However, Hyde's inability to see any significant resemblance in the texts is an error on his part, as a close and critical comparison of the two works clearly demonstrates. Hyde was correct in his reporting, up to the point of realizing that the two works are not identical, do not have the same characters and do not have the exactly the same setting in the ancient Americas. Beyond this basic realization, the Rev. Charles M. Hyde, like some other subsequent investigators, fails to see that the person who wrote the "Roman" story in the Oberlin manuscript was also fully capable of writing much of the story found in the Book of Mormon. Rev. Hyde had no doubt read that Solomon Spalding had once written a text which read almost exactly like the Book of Mormon. When he saw that the Oberlin manuscript did not conform to this predetermined expectation, he looked no deeper into the two texts for examples of the thematic and phraseology similarities that indicated Spalding COULD have written lengthy parts of the Mormon book. Rev. Hyde had before him the same two texts in Honolulu as did Rev. Bishop, yet the two ministers came away from their respective comparisons of those two texts with different conclusions about the resemblance of the texts. Why was this so? Despite his historical research and his examination of the texts, Rev. Hyde just did not look deeply enough into the texts themselves. Like Rice and Fairchild he was unable to grasp the presence of subtle textual relationships and the presence of numerous thematic and phraseology similarities in the two works. Perhaps an experienced literary scholar, a person trained in the critical analysis of scriptural texts, might have seen a significant overlapping of the two texts. But Rev. Hyde was not a biblical scholar, trained in the historical-critical method; he was the head of a missionary training school.

1885: Aug. 3
Joseph Smith III writes a letter to William W. Blair, saying he is pleased to learn that the RLDS have obtained a copy of the Oberlin manuscript. He hopes it will be rushed into print along with a brief preface, and he mentions that if " we had not got it, I should have had a dream denied, as I had had an intimation the we would get it... the Reorganization has been so favored in its unearthing of things hidden heretofore." Joseph III is referring to the dream or vision he reportedly experienced at the 1884 RLDS Spring Conference in Missouri (see above: early Apr. 1884) -- in which he had a premonition that an old Spalding manuscript would soon be discovered. See the Saints' Herald of Jan. 28, 1936 for more information.

1885: Aug. 8
The Saints' Herald editor (W. W. Blair?) announces that the RLDS Church has a copy of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript and that the Herald will soon be printing the story. The announcement says that printing the old text will show its differences from the Book of Mormon, "thus proving they could not have had a common origin." The Herald also reprints Joseph F. Smith letter of June 24 from the Deseret News, along with Elder William H. Kelley's letter of July 23. The Herald editor remarks that "Solomon Spalding advocated polygamy on similar grounds as did Brigham Young." His probable meaning is that both President Young and Spalding only allowed polygamous marriage after application to the highest theocratic authority in the land. The Book of Jacob allows polygamy among the Nephites only when specifically commanded by God -- Spalding's fictional narrative calls for the permission of the King.

1885: Aug. 15
The Saints' Herald prints Joseph III's Aug. 3rd letter, along with two L. L.. Rice letters (those of May 14th and June 12, 1885). It also publishes Fairchild's letter of July 23rd, E. L. Kelley's letter of July 24th and a short article on the Oberlin manuscript. The article says "This newly found ''missing link' completes the chain of evidence which proves that the 'Manuscript Found' never was and never could be made the occasion, cause of the Book of Mormon." The editor supposes that the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript must be the same thing as the infamous "Manuscript Found." The Herald also features a reproduction of the opening pages of the Oberlin manuscript. These are printed as a "teaser" for the RLDS Spalding edition then on the presses at Lamoni and soon to be made available for sale. This printing in the pages of the Herald marks the lengthiest excerpts published from the Oberlin manuscript to date.

1885: Aug. 22
Robert Patterson, Jr. writes to President Fairchild, saying that he has seen a statement made by Fairchild printed in the Aug. 13th issue of the Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, stating that 'the Saints propose to print and publish it (the Oberlin MS.) at an early day -- to prove that the Spalding origin of the historical parts of the Book of Mormon is not true." Patterson proposes that Fairchild add his own preface to the upcoming RLDS edition, to inform the public of "the other side of the case" -- as provided in the information on the Spalding authorship claims which Patterson had previously sent to President Fairchild.

1885: Aug. 29
The Saints' Herald notes that the RLDS edition of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript will soon be available for sale and that no further printing of that story will appear in the Herald.

1885: Sept. 10
After many months delay, the Rev. Sereno E. Bishop finally sees his article published in the New York City religious paper The Independent, under the title: "Solomon Spalding's Manuscript Found at Honolulu." Rev. Bishop wrote this article in Oct. or Nov. 1884. It is unfortunate that Bishop's article did not see publication until long after Lewis L. Rice, President Fairchild and Rev. Hyde have had their views widely circulated in support of the notion that the Hawaii discovery disproved the Spalding-Rigdon theory. The opinions expressed in Hyde's article reflect the early understanding of Rice, that what he had discovered was Solomon Spalding's long-lost "Manuscript Found." But even with this misinformation in his hands, Bishop presents a relatively objective and noncommittal initial report of the 1884 Honolulu discovery, along with a good description of the document itself. Bishop passes along Rice's early notion that perhaps the manuscript had been given to him to publish years before and that he had subsequently forgotten the fact. If Bishop or a knowledgeable editor had thought to update the article before it appeared in the Independent, probably reporting errors like this one could have been eliminated.

Rev. Bishop truthfully reports that the "Roman" story is not written in biblical English, neither does it imitate ancient Hebrew idiom in more than a handful of passages. But after noting this linguistic dissimilarity between the "Roman" story and the Book of Mormon, Rev. Bishop goes on to report that both the manuscript and the Mormon scripture contain strangely unique character names -- also, that "both record a series of desperate wars; both narrate a voyage across the Atlantic in ancient times, and a settlement in North America," He also says that "further inquiry into its contents may be in order..." In forming his conclusions, Bishop neither confirms nor denies the Spalding authorship claims. He notices some of the similarities between the old manuscript's story and what he was able to comprehend from a brief reading of the Book of Mormon and then says that he is not in a position to say if there are more resemblances or not. After this article was written and mailed off to the States, Rev. Bishop advised L. L. Rice of a possible relationship between the manuscript and the Book of Mormon. Bishop was clearly aware that one of the texts might somehow depend upon the content of the other, but his study of them was not extensive enough to demonstrate any probable connection. Nevertheless, Bishop steered Rice away from handing his original or copy over to the Utah Mormons -- perhaps because he was afraid that such probable connections, if they existed, would become inaccessible to scholars if the Mormons had control over the text.

Coming so late in the sequence of events as it did, Rev. Bishop's "news report" was entirely outdated journalistically stale upon its publication. It saw few reprints, reviews, or quotations in the contemporary media and there seem to be practically no references to the piece in later studies of the Spalding authorship claims. Bishop's interesting report, with its special insight and objectivity, was buried and lost under the countless reprints of Fairchild's initial "news release" and the Latter Day Saints' continual quoting from Lewis L. Rice's preliminary opinions.

1885: Sept. 16
The Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr., assistant editor of the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Banner, publishes in that paper his article: "Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found.'" Patterson argues that the combined testimony of many past witnesses proves that Solomon Spalding wrote several different stories and so the document discovered in Honolulu need not be automatically identified as the "Manuscript Found." Patterson's thesis is somewhat weakened by the fact that he fails to identify the manuscript given to E. D. Howe in 1834 with the manuscript found in Honolulu.

1885: Sept. 18
Robert Patterson, Jr. writes another letter to President Fairchild and sends him a copy of the article he wrote for the Presbyterian Banner of Sept. 16th (in which Patterson refuted portions the Bishop article just released by the Independent, see above).

1885: Sept. 22
Robert Patterson, Jr. sends another letter to Fairchild, saying he received Fairchild's letter of Sept. 21st and that the manuscript recently described by Rev. Bishop in the newspapers is not the "Manuscript Found" reported by Solomon Spalding's old associates. Oddly enough, Patterson also doubts that the story discovered in Honolulu is the Spalding manuscript described in 1834 by Eber D. Howe and he gives Fairchild his reasons for that suspicion. The problem noticed here by Patterson is more one of appearance than of substance: Howe's synopsis of the "Roman" story was inaccurate in some of its details and that is what side-tracked Patterson's judgment.

1885: late Sept.
Robert Patterson, Jr. sends Lewis L. Rice a copy of his 1882 article on Spalding and the Book of Mormon. By this time Rice's opinion is beginning to shift from his original viewpoint, that Sidney Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon by himself. After reading Patterson's piece, Rice would finally begin to adopt the Spalding-Rigdon explanation for Book of Mormon authorship.

1885: c. Oct.
A. H. Guernsey's article, "Solomon Spalding and Joseph Smith" is published in The Library Magazine for July-Dec., 1885. Although Guernsey adds no new information he is one of the very few writers who pays any attention to Rev. Sereno E. Bishop's article (parts of which he reproduces, along with the opening pages of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript).

1885: Oct. 1
The Rev. Dr. William H. Whitsitt's article, "The Honolulu Manuscript and the Book of Mormon" is published in The Independent. Whitsitt responds to his reading of the Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice, as well as the articles published by Rev. Hyde and Rev. Bishop. In doing this Whitsitt downplays some of the arguments often associated with the Spalding-Rigdon theory, especially claims made in the statements made by Spalding's widow. He anticipates Patterson's objections on the identity of the manuscript E. D. Howe described in 1834 and the manuscript sent to Oberlin College and clears up the apparent discrepancies there with some insightful comments. In conclusion Whitsitt says "Mormon missionaries on the Island of Oahu are eager to publish the Honolulu book, in order to show that it has no connection with the Book of Mormon. Nobody ever claimed that such a connection existed, who had any kind of right to form a judgment. This entire investigation [of the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript] has no bearing of any sort upon the issue whether Spaulding was the author of the Book of Mormon. That question... must be judged upon its own merits..."

1885: Oct. 7
L. L. Rice writes a letter to Robert Patterson, in response to the 1882 article Patterson sent him. Rice replies: "It seems impossible after reading this pamphlet of yours, to come to any other conclusion than that Joe Smith or Rigdon, one or both, was the real getter-up of the Book of Mormon, with the aid of Solomon Spaulding's writings." With this statement Rice comes full circle from his initial and preliminary impressions (that the document he discovered in 1884 was the only thing Spalding ever wrote and that it provided proof that the Spalding authorship claims were false). However, by the time Rice came to these new understandings, his earlier statements had already been widely circulated in support of anti-Spalding claims arguments and some of those same statements were about to appear in the Preface of the RLDS edition of the Oberlin manuscript.

1885: late Oct.
James A. Briggs, having read in the newspapers lately something about the 1884 Honolulu discovery, writes a letter to his old friend in Hawaii, Lewis L. Rice, asking for further information.

1885: Oct. 31
The Saints' Herald reprints Rev. Hyde's article disclaiming the Spalding-Rigdon theory and adds a brief editorial notice that the RLDS Spalding edition has just been printed and is ready for sale -- as what the RLDS leaders allege to be the "Manuscript Found."

1885: Dec. 4
Lewis L. Rice writes a letter of reply to his old friend from Ohio, James A. Briggs. In his letter Rice informs Briggs, to some extent, about his discovering a Solomon Spalding manuscript among his papers in Honolulu the year before. He also tells Briggs: ""After the death of my wife in 1877, at Oberlin, I came out here to be with my daughter Mary (Mrs. Dr. Whitney). I have a pleasant home here -- am in good health for a man now eighty-five."

1885: Dec. 4
The Deseret News also reprints the Hyde article, while saying that the LDS edition of Spalding's "Roman" story will soon be ready for sale (its printing was finally completed about the first of Jan. 1886). The Deseret News Quotes L. L. Rice, James H. Fairchild and Rev. C. M. Hyde in support of traditional LDS charges against the Spalding-Rigdon theory. The paper says: "there was not the slightest connection between the two books and no similarity whatever in matter, purpose, narrative, names, language, style or anything else... The 'Spaulding story' is dead."

1885: Dec. 5
The RLDS leaders send President Fairchild some copies of their newly published "Manuscript Found" booklet. Probably copies were also mailed to L. L. Rice in Hawaii at about this same time.

1885: early Dec.
The RLDS Spalding edition becomes available for sale and the first copies are circulated. It is printed under the unwarranted and misleading title "Manuscript Found," in a blatant attempt by the RLDS leaders to identify the manuscript obtained by Hurlbut in 1833, given to Howe in 1834, re-discovered by Rice in 1884, and publicized by Fairchild in 1885 as being the fictional work remembered by Solomon Spalding's associates as providing the basis for the Book of Mormon. In the booklet's preface the RLDS reprint the letters from the Aug. 15, 1885 Saints' Herald and Fairchild's Bibliotheca Sacra notice.

1885: c. Dec. 7
President Fairchild receives his copies of the newly published RLDS Spalding booklet. He forwards one of these on to Robert Patterson, Jr. in Pittsburgh.

1885: early Dec.
The Richmond, Missouri, Democrat publishes a review of the RLDS Spalding edition, accepting and publicizing the unwarranted assertion that it disproves the Spalding-Rigdon theory. This welcome review is reprinted in the Saints' Herald.

1885: Dec. 9
Robert Patterson, Jr. writes a letter to Fairchild, thanking him for sending the copy of the RLDS "Manuscript Found" booklet he has just received. Patterson protests to Fairchild that this title is unjustified. Patterson also tells Fairchild that Lewis L. Rice has now accepted the Spalding-Rigdon theory and notes that the Rice letters printed in the new RLDS booklet were written before Rice came to understand the validity of the Spalding authorship claims. If Patterson hopes that Fairchild will publish a statement supporting these matters, he is mistaken.

1885: Dec. 27
The Pittsburgh Leader reviews the RLDS Spalding booklet by printing excerpts from a letter written by RLDS missionary, Mark H. Forscutt. In doing this the paper gives the impression that the Mormon arguments are valid ones and that the booklet must indeed be the infamous "Manuscript Found." Using the same reasoning that President Fairchild was beginning to express, the article chalks up the Spalding authorship claims to the faulty memories of those who heard the Oberlin manuscript read many many years before the Book of Mormon was published -- and then confused the two stories when they finally saw the Saints' scriptural book. This article was so friendly to the RLDS "party line" that the Church's leaders reprinted it in the Jan. 9, 1886 issue of the Saints' Herald.

1885: late Dec.
Arthur B. Deming leaves Chicago on a trip to Washington, D. C. He probably stops along the way to conduct research into the Spalding-Rigdon theory in the Pittsburgh area. he may have met with Robert Patterson, Jr. at this time. BY early Jan. he would reach Washington, D. C. and conduct interviews there (see ahead: early Jan, 1886).


A  Chronology  of  the
Oberlin  Spalding  Manuscript

Part Five: 1886

1811-1878    1879-1883    1884    1885    1887-1899    1900 on  

1886: c. Jan. 1
At about this time the first copies of the LDS edition of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript rolled off the Deseret News presses. Not long after this the staff mailed a stack of them to Lewis L. Rice in Honolulu. Probably Rice was in touch with some of the Mormons in Salt Lake City by this time. If not, perhaps elders living in Hawaii received and then delivered Rice's copies to him. He then either sent a copy to President Fairchild on Ohio or he arranged for the Mormons to do that for him.

1886: c. Jan. 1
James H. Fairchild publishes his "Mormonism and the Spaulding Manuscript" in the Bibliotheca Sacra for Jan., 1886. Here Fairchild takes advantage of the copy of Ellen E. Dickinson's book sent to him through the solicitation of Robert Patterson Jr. in June of the previous year. Fairchild notices and reviews the book in accordance with Patterson's request. Like Whitsitt before him he is able to tear apart this sometimes ill-written, unscholarly production and he does so with relish. As he had done a year before, Fairchild presents his critique of inaccuracies he has found in the work of another writer on Mormonism and uses this as a backdrop for his own pronouncements on the subject. In taking this approach Fairchild generally avoids much critical encounter with the work of an attentive researcher (like Patterson), or a true scholar (like Whitsitt), or an informed theorist (like Braden) and is able to present his own reporting, free from showing dependence upon the work of other writers.

In his review Fairchild shows a greater knowledge of Mormonism and the Book of Mormon than his remarks and actions previously appear to have demonstrated. No doubt he studied his subject matter a little before he wrote this article. President Fairchild attempts to makes an interesting point -- one indicative of his views and priorities -- in his saying that there is little reason to for him to concentrate his studies upon the true authorship of the Book of Mormon. He argues for this position "because Mormonism, as it exists at present, has so little connection with the Book of Mormon that such a discovery would scarcely disturb it." This remark is insightful but hardly addresses the matter at hand. That is, the question of where the Book of Mormon came from and why it was produced. If the Spalding-Rigdon explanation can offer any elucidation of Mormon beginnings, it should be studied, no matter how much or how little contemporary Mormonism makes use of Book of Mormon theology and teachings.

James H. Fairchild had boldly announced the death of the Spalding theory only a year before, knowing full well the effect his pronouncement could have upon public opinion at a time when the very existence of Mormon polygamy and theocracy was under serious attack. In this context, Fairchild's attempt to downplay the origin of the Book of Mormon (whether or not tied to a serious consideration of the old Spalding claims) makes little sense to the sincere and questioning scholar. It may be well supposed that Fairchild did not attempt to account for the origin of the Mormon scriptures, simply because he had chosen in advance not to go down that road. His decision not to engage in that research could not be attributed to lack of time or resources: he had an entire college of scholars close at hand, access to useful primary source materials in Ohio and elsewhere, as well as a bevy of would-be Mormon origins researchers communicating with him on a regular basis.

After more or less showing that Dickinson's book is founded upon a great deal of unsupported speculation and questionable source material, Fairchild goes on to present his own speculation -- that D. P. Hurlbut recovered a Spalding manuscript that corresponded in some of its general features with the testimony offered regarding the "Manuscript Found; but that the Spalding document he passed on to E. D. Howe (and Howe, inadvertently to L. L. Rice) "was clearly not the basis of the Book of Mormon." Fairchild sees Hurlbut as recovering only one manuscript story, while Dickinson sees him as recovering two or more and discarding the Oberlin manuscript as worthless. Fairchild sees the Oberlin manuscript as a work barely similar enough to the Book of Mormon to allow for it being confused with the Mormon book -- especially so by those witnesses who only vaguely recalled what they had seen or heard from dim memory but who had the Book of Mormon clearly before their eyes. Fairchild does finally concede (as had Rice already) that the 1884 Honolulu discovery does not conclusively prove there were no other Spalding fictional writings, or that Spalding did not write some other story entitled "Manuscript Found." But, even while grudgingly conceding this fact, Fairchild thinks there is not enough evidence available to establish this remote possibility as a firm probability. (Here Fairchild is correct in part at least, insufficient evidence had been presented to him by the beginning of 1886 for him to definitely conclude that the Oberlin manuscript was not the "Manuscript Found." If Fairchild would have had immediate access to all the potentially significant evidence collected up to that time, as well as a few important pieces which only became known later on, then he might have come to some different conclusion. Whatever merit any of the "evidence" presented by Dickinson and Patterson may have, it certainly does not add up to a firm and final proof that Solomon Spalding and Sidney Rigdon wrote the Book of Mormon.

Fairchild also notes that the unfinished Spalding letter found wrapped up with the Oberlin manuscript appears to argue against his having written a pseudo-scriptural book. His reasoning on this is point is wrong -- for the same reasons that the Rev. Charles M. Hyde's similar notions were wrong. But it would probably take a thorough scholar like William H. Whitsitt (or an unrelenting partisan and researcher like Clark Braden) to work his way through to this understanding. James H. Fairchild was no Whitsitt, by anyone's measurement. Fairchild used this book review to exercise his mind in preparing a more serious and extensive report on the Spalding-Rigdon theory. No doubt he was already researching that intended professional paper when he stopped (late in 1885) to write his review of Dickinson. The germs of his extended thesis are mostly evident in the review; Fairchild simply fleshed out and refined his 1885 statement without discarding any of his basic earlier conclusions, In performing this task Fairchild demonstrates no particular evidence of having gone back to the texts themselves for a closer look. With an original Spalding manuscript on file right at his fingertips, it might be expected that Fairchild would pen the definitive description and explanation of that particular text. He never even tried to do that. The most that he allowed himself, in carrying out the remainder of his reporting, was to be influenced in a few (mostly cosmetic) details by what he had handed him on silver platters by researchers like Dickinson, Patterson, and Whitsitt.

1886: Jan. 7
Ellen E. Dickinson's article, "Solomon Spaulding's Manuscript Found" is published by the Independent. She criticizes Bishop's published identification of the 1884 Honolulu discovery find as being Spalding's "Manuscript Found." Mrs. Dickinson quotes from her Howe and Hurlbut interviews (as published in her 1885 book) to support of the probability that D. P. Hurlbut obtained another manuscript in 1833, in addition to the one on file at Oberlin College -- that this second story taken by Hurlbut was the actual "Manuscript Found" written by Solomon Spalding. The Editor of the newspaper forwarded Dickinson's remarks to the Rev. Dr. William H. Whitsitt, along with the request that he respond to them. Thus the second half of the article consists of an editorial rebuttal penned by Whitsitt. In that response Whitsitt argues that "Manuscript Found" was "a generic title applied by Spalding to each of his writings in the department of American archaeology." Independently of any contact with the Rev. Clark Braden (the Campbellite minister and debater whose publishes views Whitsitt seems to ignore almost studiously), Rev. Whitsitt came to almost the same conclusions as had Braden some months before. Both men thought they detected evidence of a gradual evolution in Spalding various and interrelated writing schemes, in which he attempted to tell the story of the early inhabitants of the Americas. Although he accepts Mrs. Dickinson's conclusion that the Spalding writings discovered in Honolulu are not the "Manuscript Found," Whitsitt expends most of his energy in disagreeing with Dickinson over what became of that same "Manuscript Found." Whitsitt also censures Dickinson for her failure to deal with the apparent discrepancies between 1833 remarks attributed by E. D. to Spalding's widow and the widow's testimony as supposedly given in 1839. This response exposes Whitsitt's sometimes biting attitude to those not in agreement with him more than it helps demonstrate what should have been his primary purpose -- exposing the fact that the Oberlin manuscript is not Spalding's "Manuscript Found."

1886: early Jan.
James A Briggs receives L. L. Rice's letter of Dec. 4th and from it learns a little more about Rice's situation in Hawaii and his part in the 1884 Honolulu discovery. Briggs would quote from this communication from Rice in the letter he has published in the New York Tribune later in the month (see ahead: Jan. 29, 1886). Rice probably also informed Briggs in this that the RLDS Church was about to publish the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript. Presumably Briggs wrote back to Rice at this time and requested Rice to provide him with a copy of the published manuscript, as soon as it became available.

1886 early Jan.
Arthur B. Deming visits Washington, D. C. to interview Matilda Spalding McKinstry. He obtains a statement from her which he would later lose track of and never publish. In its place Deming solicits another statement from the elderly lady (see ahead: Nov. 2, 1886). While in the city Deming also confers with Redick McKee, an old friend of Solomon Spalding. He asks McKee to write a statement of his dealings with Solomon Spalding at Amity, seventy years before. McKee agrees to compile the statement, which he finishes a few days later (see ahead: Jan. 25, 1886) and sends to Deming in Chicago.

1886 mid Jan.
Mr. Redick McKee visits with Matilda Spalding McKinstry in Washington, D. C. He relates some of what she told him about her foster father and his writings in the statement he prepares for Arthur B. Deming (see ahead: Jan. 25, 1886)

1886: Jan. 25
President Fairchild spent the first part of 1886 working on his latest professional paper -- a paper in which he expected to destroy the old Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon and provide some idea about how the Spalding-Rigdon theory originated. In a meeting of the Congregational Club of Cleveland, "President J. H. Fairchild, of Oberlin opened the first discussion of the evening on 'The Spaulding Manuscript and the Book of Mormon.'" According to Fairchild's presentation of this preliminary version of the professional paper: " In 1830-32, twenty years after Spaulding left Conneaut, Mormon preachers appeared in considerable numbers in Northern Ohio, and aroused much attention in the neighborhood of Conneaut. When the Mormon Bible was read on one occasion persons were present who had heard the Spaulding manuscript, and it is said were struck with the resemblance between the two. Thus the opinion arose and was propagated from that point and time that the Mormon Bible was written by Solomon Spaulding."

1886 late Jan.
Arthur B. Deming returns to Chicago from his trip to interview Mrs. McKinstry, Redick McKee, and other witnesses. He places his research materials in a store room at a local restaurant, then a few weeks later moves the papers to a store. They eventually turn up missing and Deming is forced to re-do some of his earlier research. It appears that among Deming's lost papers was the statement he had collected from Mrs. McKinstry. He would later solicit two more (presumably much shorter) statements from this witness (see ahead: mid Oct. 1886)

1886: Jan. 25
Redick McKee composes a lengthy statement regarding his relationship with Solomon Spalding and other matters. He sends the document to Arthur B. Deming, who never get around to publishing it. In the statement Deming McKee relates some things he had recently heard from Matilda Spalding McKinstry. She reportedly told him that she "distinctly recollected that he wrote two or more stories in support of the theory that the Indians of North America were lineal descendants of the Jews from Palestine. In the first of these he brought the Jews from Palestine to America via Italy during the reign of Constantine, and set forth that at Rome they engaged shipping to convey them to some place in Great Britain, but encountered stormy weather and were finally wrecked somewhere on the coast of New England... This romance he afterwards abandoned and set about writing a more probable story founded on the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel... Many of his descriptions were of a historical and religious character."

Unless Solomon Spalding wrote a rather large pile of stories about the early inhabitants of the Americas, it is doubtful that Matilda's memory is correct where she says he wrote a story about the "Jews" migrating from "Palestine to America via Italy." However, if the simple substitution of "travelers from the Old World" is made, where she says "Jews" coming from "Palestine...", her account agrees well with the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript -- the newly published editions of which Matilda had not yet seen (and may not have even known existed).

In his statement McKee tells of how his friend Spalding, after he moved to Pittsburgh, left one of his manuscripts "for examination" with a certain "Mr. Patterson" -- perhaps The Rev. Robert Patterson, Sr., his brother Joseph Patterson, Jr., or with both men, as they were then in the book-selling business together and occasionally acted as publishers. To this recollection McKee adds these intriguing words: "While the question of printing [his manuscript] was in abeyance Mr. S[palding] wrote to Mr. P[atterson]... he wished it to be sent [out] to him in order that he might amend it... In reply Mr. P. wrote him that the manuscript could not then be found... This excited Mr. Spaulding's suspicions that [Sidney] Rigdon had taken it home. In a week or two it was found... and sent out to him. The circumstance of this finding increased Mr. S's suspicions that Rigdon had taken the manuscript and made a copy of it... after Mr. S's death the firm of Patterson & Lambdin [successor to R. & J. Patterson} failed in business and it [the printer's copy of Spalding's manuscript] may have been purchased by Rigdon at the public sale of their assets."

McKee (who had already read in the papers of the 1884 Honolulu discovery) also says that the "Manuscript Found" taken by Spalding to the Pittsburgh publisher(s) "was certainly not the document discovered by Mr. Rice at Honolulu, nor the one found by Mrs. Davidson after her return to New York in an old trunk containing his manuscripts or sermons, essays, &c. For, this must have been the original or rough draft of the ["Manuscript Found"] story... the talented money-loving and unscrupulous D. P. Hurlbut... [went] to Monson, Mass.... and by subtlety and lying obtained an order from Mrs. D[avison]... for it, promising that it should be returned to her... Returning to Conneaut, he obtained a certificate from several gentlemen that it was in the handwriting of Mr. Spaulding, delivered it to the Mormons, got his pay -- some $400 or $500 -- and went his way. What eventually became of this manuscript is not known, but it was probably destroyed." Here McKee must be mistaken, at least in part. The manuscript he took to New Salem or Conneaut, in order to show the witnesses and get "a certificate from several gentlemen that it was in the handwriting of Mr. Spaulding," was the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript. This document Hurlbut never "delivered... to the Mormons," for it was the one discovered in Honolulu in 1884. McKee's story would make better sense if he had said that "the document discovered by Mr. Rice at Honolulu" was the one Hurlbut took to New Salem at the end of 1833, in order to get the "certificate from several gentlemen." And, in this regard, McKee later redeems his rationale by saying he has read Rev. Charles M. Hyde's 1885 article and disagrees with Hyde's assertion, that "the manuscript lately found by Mr. Rice... was the only story written by Mr. Spaulding, and the one on which his friends relied" in giving their 1833 testimony.

1886: Jan. 26
The Cleveland Leader reports a brief summary of Fairchild's address before the Congregational Club of Cleveland -- or, at least of the opening pages of his lecture. Following this truncated report, the newspaper says: "From remarks made during the course of his essay and in answer to questions asked after the reading of the paper it was evident that the essayist did not believe the book to be what its friends claimed for it, viz., a book which Sidney Rigdon and other Mormon lights had taken and by adding or rewriting into it certain religious ideas had made out of it what was now the Book of Mormon. President Fairchild was of the opinion that instead of this being the case it was more probable that Joe Smith wrote the above-named book." This same conclusion would, sixty years later, be picked up by Fawn M. Brodie and made into the consensus doctrine of almost all secular students of Mormon history thereafter (not to mention the unspoken tenet of a goodly number of quietly dissenting "historians" among the Latter Day Saints).

1886: Jan. 29
James A. Briggs writes a letter to the New York Tribune, which the editor receives and publishes on Jan. 31. In his letter Briggs says that he and others examined a copy of Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" which was exhibited in Ohio by D. P. Hurlbut "in the winter of 1833-34." Briggs also says that he is a long-time friend of Lewis L. Rice of Honolulu and quotes personal information Rice had sent him in his letter of Dec. 4, 1885. Briggs explains how the Spalding manuscript discovered in Honolulu came to rest among Rice's possessions after he obtained the Painesville Telegraph from Eber D. Howe. However, in this letter Briggs fails to clearly differentiate between the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript and the more important "Manuscript Found." After corresponding with Rice and looking into the matter more carefully, Briggs summed up his testimony and views on this subject in a letter to RLDS President Joseph Smith III (see ahead: Mar. 22, 1886).

1886: Feb. 1 At about this time James A. Briggs again writes to Lewis L. Rice in Honolulu, sending him a clipping of the letter he has just had published in the New York Tribune. Rice would receive this clipping prior to his writing a letter to a local newspaper editor on Mar. 4th. If he did not do so in his last letter to Rice, Briggs probably now requests a copy of the RLDS edition of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript (see ahead: Feb. 21, 1886).

1886: Feb. 6
Lewis L. Rice writes another letter to President Fairchild, asking if he has received the LDS edition of the Oberlin manuscript he had sent to him. Rice requests that the original document remain at Oberlin until he might wish to reclaim it.

1886: Feb. 16
William H. Whitsitt writes a letter to President Fairchild, defending the Spalding authorship claims -- not because he originally advocated those claims himself, but because his investigation into the origin of the Book of Mormon had inevitably brought him to consider it and conditionally embrace that explanation. He also says, "I mentioned above nothing but the external sources upon which I relied for evidence that Rigdon got possession of Spaulding's Book of Mormon. There are also internal sources of perhaps more importance derived from the literary structure of the present Book of Mormon which... supply valuable evidence to show that the present Book of Mormon is based upon a work that preceded it." Most likely, to President Fairchild, such terminology smacked of scriptural "higher criticism" and, again, such research was not path he wished to explore. What, if anything, Fairchild wrote in reply remains unknown.

1886: Feb. 18
Arthur B. Deming writes his third letter to Fairchild, saying that he has given up on obtaining the reported "Manuscript Found" copy he had been trying to locate. Deming has located a person in Chicago (S. S. Osborn?) who had read it and who might be able, from that previous encounter, to recognize Spalding's handwriting. Deming wants Fairchild to send him a sample (no doubt a photograph) from the Oberlin manuscript.

1886: Feb. 18
George R. Gibson writes a letter to President Fairchild, thanking him for his reply to an earlier inquiry about the Oberlin Spalding manuscript. Gibson also asks whether Fairchild believes that the Book of Mormon was derived from "a second story by Spaulding?" Later in the year Gibson would write a substantial article, supporting some elements of the Spalding claims, but generally agreeing with Fairchild as to how the Oberlin manuscript might fit into the Spalding-Rigdon theory, as the "Manuscript Found" (see ahead: Nov. 1886)

1886: Feb. 20
G. Fredrick Wright, of Oberlin College, publishes a letter in the Oberlin Review, objecting to the news release of Professor Samuel S. Partello, who claimed to have "discovered the veritable Spaulding romance from which... Joseph Smith wrote his 'Book of Mormon.'" Wright's announcement letter was reprinted in The Literary World of Apr. 3rd.

1886: Feb. 21
Lewis L. Rice sends a letter to William W. Blair, at the Saints' Herald. Rice says nothing about his recent change of opinion regarding the Oberlin "Roman story," but simply thanks Elder Blair for the copies of the RLDS Spalding edition sent to him and asks Blair to also send a copy to James Briggs in New York.

1886: Mar. 3
The Honolulu Daily Bulletin reprints a short item from the New York Independent which mentions "the discovery in Honolulu of that Spaulding manuscript of Mormon interest." This is apparently the first mention of Lewis L. Rice's 1884 discovery of a Spalding manuscript ever to appear in the Hawaiian press. The editor of the Bulletin says he called upon Professor W. D. Alexander to provide some details on this event and he supplied the newspaper staff with a copy of the 1885 RLDS edition of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript. The remainder of the article recounts some details of the 1884 Honolulu discovery but adds no new information.

1886: Mar. 8
President Fairchild gives a preliminary reading of his new paper, "The Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon," before an Ohio audience (probably in Painesville). He would deliver the final version of this paper in Cleveland on Mar. 23, 1886.

1886: early Mar.
James A. Briggs receives a copy of the recently published RLDS "Manuscript Found" booklet. In reading this publication and considering the editorial material accompanying the Church's reproduction of the Oberlin manuscript, James A. Briggs is motivated to offer some response to the Church's President (see ahead: Mar. 22, 1886).

1886: Mar. 10
Ellen E. Dickinson writes a letter to President Fairchild, scolding him for asserting that the Book of Mormon was not taken from Spalding's writings. She says that the Mormons "have openly rejoiced in your announcement of the Honolulu discovery." Apparently Dickinson was then unaware that Fairchild had reviewed her book in the Bibliotheca Sacra for Jan. 1886.

1886: Mar. 11
The Honolulu Daily Bulletin publishes, under the title: "Mormonism," a letter to its editor written by Lewis L. Rice on Mar. 4th. In introducing his topic Rice says: "it occurs to me that a more specific statement of some points connected with Mormonism and the Mormon Bible, may be of interest to you and your readers." What follows in the letter is Rice's "more specific statement." Almost immediately he makes clear a key point, indicating a total reformation of his earlier views on the nature and import of "the Spaulding Manuscript recently in my possession." The initial point L. L. Rice endeavor to communicate is this: "The Spaulding Manuscript recently discovered in my possession, and published by the Mormons, in no wise determines the question as to the authorship of the Book of Mormon, or of Spaulding's connection with the latter. It shows conclusively that THIS writing of Spaulding was not the original of the Book of Mormon -- nothing more in that regard.

Rice then goes on to explain his point by saying: "Until lately I have been of the opinion that there was no tangible evidence that any other production of Solomon Spaulding, bearing upon the question, could be shown as having ever existed. But correspondence and discussions growing out of the publication of this document, have shaken my faith in that belief, and indeed produced quite a change of opinion on that subject." This important evolution in L. L. Rice's understanding of the Spalding claims has generally been ignored since its publication in 1886. In its place Mormon apologists have continued to quote Rice's earlier, less informed but more widely circulated opinion -- that Spalding only ever wrote one piece of fiction in his life and that the content of that story proves he did not write any part of the Book of Mormon, all positive testimony to that claim notwithstanding.

Mr. Rice provides a few examples of the information and testimony he has considered since his 1884 discovery in Honolulu was first publicized. One purported fact he now accepts as true is the very report that President Fairchild has tried to hard to discredit: that Solomon Spalding, "after writing the story which has recently come to light, without finishing it, changed his plan, and got up a more elaborate story, which he denominated "Manuscript Found," of which he made two or more copies. This is essentially the same thing Conneaut witness Aaron Wright reported at the end of Dec. 1833, although Rice did not have Wright's statement in that regard available in Hawaii for his consultation and quotation. Rice goes on to quote information provided by two men he knew from his early days as a newspaper editor in Ohio: William H. Leffingwell and James A. Briggs. The former claimed to have seen and help proofread Spalding's "Manuscript Found," while the latter, who once acted as D. P. Hurlbut's personal attorney, claimed to have seen (twenty years later) both Spalding's "Roman" story and the "Manuscript Found" in the possession of Hurlbut, during "the winter of 1833-34. According to Mr. Briggs, "a self constituted committee... met... to investigate Mormonism and the origin of the Mormon Bible. Dr. D. P. Hurlburt... was present with the committee and had Spaulding's original manuscript with him. We compared it, chapter by chapter with the Mormon Bible. It was written in the same style, many of the names were the same, and we came to the conclusion, from all the testimony before us, that the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, the eloquent Mormon preacher, made the Mormon Bible from this manuscript. Of this the committee had no doubt whatever."

Rice concludes his letter by saying: "...what became of the Manuscript before the Committee, which they "compared chapter by chapter with the Mormon Bible," and found them to correspond so perfectly? Mr. Deming... says that Dr. Hurlburt sold it to the Mormons for $400... My belief is, from the above and other testimony in my possession, that either Hurlbut or Howe sold it to the Mormons, who of course destroyed it, or put it out of the way." In coming to this conclusion Rice was agreeing with the opinion expressed by several members of the Spalding family -- a conclusion Spalding's widow apparently reached prior to the 1838 Mormon exodus from Missouri and a charge published as being her opinion as early as 1842. Whether or not Rice and the Spaldings were correct in this opinion remains to be demonstrated, however it should be recalled, (and as LDS President Joseph F. Smith stated to the Mormons in 1884) "Taking this statement [made by L. L. Rice] as the unreserved judgment of an old editor and newspaper man, who has not only carefully read it and compared it with the Book of Mormon, but with his own hand copied about two-thirds of it, his opinion must be accepted as of great weight."

1886: Mar. 22
After engaging in informative communication with Lewis L. Rice and reading the RLDS "Manuscript Found" booklet, James A. Briggs writes an open letter to RLDS President Joseph Smith III, saying that the Church's so-called "Manuscript Found" publication throws no light whatever upon the true origin of the Book of Mormon. Prior to hearing more information from Rice and consulting the published Spalding story, Briggs had not clearly understood that the 1884 Honolulu discovery was not a finding of Solomon Spalding's actual "Manuscript Found" holograph. Now Briggs says: "Mr. Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Iowa, you assume altogether too much when you say the newly found missing link completes the chain of evidence which proves that the 'Manuscript Found' never was, and never could be made the occasion, cause or germ of the Book of Mormon." As he previously stated in print several times, Briggs claims to have seen D. P. Hurlbut exhibit Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" in Ohio at the end of 1833. Now Briggs tells Joseph III that he recalls seeing both the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript AND the veritable "Manuscript Found" on that occasion. Briggs says: "Dr. P. Hurlbut also met with us. He lived in Kirtland and during the winter and spring had given much time in looking up evidence and documents to prove that Mormonism was a delusion. He had much of the evidence that he had collected with him. Now I am very sure he had the identical story that you have printed with him. I remember about the ancient fort at Conneaut Creek, the mound, and the statement of finding the manuscript about the Indians. I have no doubt that Hurlbut, as he says, gave the story to Mr. E. D. Howe. But I believe he had also with him, and we had before us in that investigation, the original "Manuscript Found" written by Rev. Solomon Spaulding. I have said and believed for more than fifty years that I have seen and had in my hands the original "Manuscript Found" from which the Mormon Bible was made.

Presumably Briggs sent this letter to the Saints' Herald for publication and the RLDS leaders refused to print it. Briggs later gave a copy of his letter to Arthur B. Deming, who reprinted it in his Naked Truths About Mormonism (see ahead: Jan. 1888). While no direct answer from Joseph Smith III is known to exist, President Smith did read Briggs' message. In a Sept. 18th letter to H. G. Cutler, Smith would respond to some of the same points, as raised by Briggs once again in an article published five months later (see ahead: Sept. 9 & 18, 1886).

1886: Mar. 22
Deming writes his fourth letter to President Fairchild. In it he acknowledges receipt of some photos of the Oberlin manuscript sent him by Fairchild.

1886: Mar. 23
James H. Fairchild reads his "Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon" paper before the Northern Ohio and Western Reserve Historical Society. The Society later prints the paper as its Tract No. 77 -- a publication which may be found bound into Volume III of the Society's annual proceedings.

In this seminal paper Fairchild refines his thesis regarding the Spalding theory to its terminal development. Except for an occasional statement given in his voluminous correspondence, this paper expresses Fairchild's "final word" on the subject. A few of Fairchild's future clarifications of this "final word" would amount to his admitting that some yet undiscovered Solomon Spalding story might have formed the basis for the Book of Mormon, and that the 1884 Honolulu discovery did not totally disprove the old Spalding authorship claims. This having been admitted, it appears that James H. Fairchild never changed his opinions on the subject so much as Lewis L. Rice did. Unlike Rice, Fairchild must have gone to the grave believing that Joseph Smith, Jr. had written the Book of Mormon by himself and with no input from either Solomon Spalding or Sidney Rigdon.

In his finished paper Fairchild briefly outlines the Spalding-Rigdon theory and notes that it still has widespread acceptance in non-Mormon circles, including the encyclopedia writers of his day. Contrary to his 1885 pronouncement, Fairchild says: "It is perhaps impossible at this day to prove or disprove the Spaulding theory." Even so, he launches into an exposition of the Spalding authorship claims, mistakenly arguing that it depends totally upon the questionable statements of the original eight "Conneaut witnesses." Fairchild says: "these are the entire basis of the theory," a conclusion which ignores out-of-hand a considerable amount of additional testimony and supporting evidence. Some of this evidence he was then clearly aware (from his reading of 1882 article Robert Patterson, Jr. had sent him, as well as from other available sources). Fairchild describes in detail his reconstruction of D. P. Hurlbut's 1833 procurement of Spalding's "Roman" story in 1833, as well as his collateral interviews with the Conneaut witnesses. He then correctly identifies the Spalding manuscript discovered in Honolulu in 1884 with the one recovered by Hurlbut.

Fairchild restates his original pronouncements with just a little modification, here and there: "The manuscript has no resemblance to the Book of Mormon, except in some very general features, There is not a name or an incident common in the two." This, of course, is incorrect: the two texts both include Jesus Christ among their personal names and both texts describe a military ambush, conducted from behind a hill at a river crossing. In each text the wording describing these battles is similar enough to justifiably attribute these portions of the texts to the same author. But Fairchild understandably overlooked such minor correlations, since they are few and far between in the two stories.

He follows with a description of the Oberlin manuscript and offers some quotations from it and the unfinished Spalding letter found accompanying it. After providing this review, the author says: "This manuscript clearly was not the basis of the book." Again, Fairchild is correct in his foundational statement but not necessarily correct in his final conclusions. The Oberlin manuscript is obviously neither the immediate antecedent to the Mormon book, nor does it provide that book's storyline. These factual observations do not rule out the possibility of the Oberlin "Roman" story having served as a basis for the Book of Mormon, in the sense of providing a starting point for some rather complex textual evolution. Nevertheless, with this statement made, Fairchild moves on to demonstrate that the Oberlin manuscript's "Roman" story resembles the general features of the Book of Mormon, just enough that one might be mistaken for the other, through the misapplication of inherently inaccurate human memory. This is the same point Fairchild attempted to make in his review of Dickinson's book. In admitting that the "general features" of the Oberlin manuscript fulfill the requirements for the ill-remembered "Manuscript Found," Fairchild is walking a conceptual razor's edge. If he admits the texts are substantially alike he must admit their possible interrelationship; if they do not share enough thematic overlap he must admit that the witnesses would never have made a connection between Spalding's writings and the Book of Mormon. Fairchild comes close to admitting significant thematic resemblances in the two texts, but he skirts this issue by concentrating his attention at this point primarily on the similarities in the stories of how the two works were supposedly each discovered. The similarities in the discovery stories, however, do not amount to substantial internal parallels, because only Spalding's text contains a discovery story. The matching elements in the Book of Mormon discovery story come primarily from a history of Joseph Smith, first published in the LDS Times and Seasons ten years after the rise of the Spalding authorship claims.

To Fairchild these resemblances, found in an 1812 piece of fiction and a purported historical episode written in 1842 are evidence enough. He does not make the necessary move to making exhaustive textual comparisons and tabulating the thematic and phraseology overlaps which his "general features" resemblance argument calls for. In fact, Fairchild stops short of providing his readers with critical textual analysis of any kind whatever.

At this point in his presentation Fairchild makes a major blunder. He says that the majority of the Conneaut witnesses (and other witnesses not here mentioned, for that matter) testified that it was the historical parts of the "Manuscript Found" which closely matched up with the historical parts of the Book of Mormon. The majority of the Conneaut witnesses did not recall the Mormon book's peculiar religious features matching in part of what they knew of the "Manuscript Found." In attempting to explain this oddity in the testimony, Fairchild might well have given some reason why the witnesses made an issue out of this alleged difference in the texts; instead he gives his opinion that the more religious portions of the Book of Mormon could not have been introduced into its text through interpolation. This explanation, to President Fairchild, disproves the testimony of the Conneaut witnesses. He adds to this notion the equally false idea that the occasional poor English found in the Book of Mormon could not have come from the pen of a Sidney Rigdon interpolating religious material into a pre-existing manuscript. In making these blunders Fairchild ignores completely the textual aspects previously brought to his notice by William H. Whitsitt.

President Fairchild here demonstrates his ignorance of the fact that some parts of the Book of Mormon present theological and doctrinal expressions at variance with what can be found in other portions of the Book. Also, he does not see that throughout several lengthy war sequences in the Book of Alma the religious material consists of a barely minimal pious sentence or two placed at connecting points in the text, while large portions of the Second and Third Books of Nephi overflow with scriptural quotations and messages of great religious import. Fairchild does not even catch the differences in baptismal formulas as expressed in II Nephi vs those provided in the Book of Alma. All of these textual oddities, and many many more, caught the trained eye of biblical textual critic, William H. Whitsitt, while Fairchild ignored both Whitsitt's findings and the textual evidence itself. In fact, as the book itself claims, the Book of Mormon is a compilation of different kinds of texts, apparently furnished by more than one or two writers, all of which is joined together by the evidently homogenizing hand of an abridging redactor. In this mix there is much evidence of historical narrative having been both broken up and joined together by sections of a purely doctrinal or theological significance. This is exactly the kind of mix one might expect to result from the re-writing of a primarily secular historical narration into an overtly religious story.

Fairchild credits the old witnesses' memories of a scriptural sounding "Manuscript Found" to the fact that they had the Book of Mormon fresh in their minds and to the notion that D. P. Hurlbut pressured them into providing false testimony by continually asking them all the same suggestive questions. What Fairchild fails to notice in presenting this weakly defended notion, is that there is not one feature testified to by the Conneaut witnesses for the "Manuscript Found" which is independently verified by the story found in the Oberlin manuscript. If Fairchild's reasoning were the correct explanation of things, one might expect the Oberlin story to supply some detail correlating with the testimony of these witnesses. In fact, in the case of one witness, this is precisely the kind of testimony he provides -- this is the case with the Josiah Spalding's testimony. Though he was relying upon a memory of events forty years in the past (rather than twenty years in the past, with the Conneaut witnesses) he provides numerous story details which could only have come from the pages of the Oberlin manuscript (then lost for many years and not available to Josiah for consultation). While Hurlbut may indeed have asked leading questions of the Conneaut witnesses, their testimonies differ in both blatant and more subtle ways -- they are not simply repetitions of the same faulty recollection. And, in the many places where two or more of the witnesses agree in their testimonies, their memories are not so uniform as to suggest they were suffering from mass hallucination or surreptitious collusion. Again, while it is conceivable that one or two of the witnesses did suffer from a certain degree of faulty memory after the lapse of twenty years, it is absurd to believe that they would agree so nicely in all their faulty memories and still never recall a single unique thing from the text of the Oberlin "Roman" story.

It is inexplicable that Conneaut witnesses (and others not mentioned here but known to Fairchild when he wrote his paper) could have mistaken the sketchy Oberlin manuscript to be a mostly non-religious history of the Lost Tribes of Israel, written in the scriptural style with biblical phrases like "come to pass" scattered heavily through the text. In fact, the Oberlin manuscript has a great deal of religious material in it, both Christian and non-Christian; it specifically tells of the origin of a new religion and quotes from that new religion's sacred records. But while the Oberlin "Roman" story is permeated with religious material, Spalding used very little "King James English" in his writing of its narrative. What little such archaic pious language is present in the text is not at all the kind of usage which would be remembered by the witnesses as typifying the manuscript as a work written in the scriptural style. Thus, in an odd sort of way, the Oberlin romance fails both as a scriptural sounding book and as a primarily non-religious book. While it is certainly the story Josiah Spalding remembered after forty years is just as certainly not the story that Solomon Spalding read to his Ohio associates, a chapter at a time and frequently punctuated with "it came to pass."

Had Fairchild pursued the information and ideas given him by Whitsitt (whose work he specifically mentions in this paper) he would have seen clearly the possibility that a young Sidney Rigdon rewrote and revamped a fictional Spalding historical narrative, interpolating of "religious material" and less than grammatical English, creating a book meant to convert the American Indians to following the orders of a Mormon elite. Fairchild might have also seen the possibility of an Oliver Cowdery or a Joseph Smith, Jr. revising the language and content of such a work even more. He might even have seen the possibility that Spalding re-wrote his own manuscript at some point during his stay in Pennsylvania, adding in more material of a religious nature -- even some subtle spoofing of the Campbellite theology then being promulgated only a few miles from his eventual home in Washington County. None of these possibilities are so much as touched upon by Fairchild, even though Whitsitt had offered to give him the information that could unveil such information in the texts.

Fairchild confines his argument to a criticism of the Conneaut Witnesses, even though Robert Patterson, Jr. had sent him evidence of other corroborative testimony -- both in his own 1882 article and in Dickinson's 1885 book. By directing his main scholarly effort in this direction, Fairchild provides the impression that he is making a substantial contribution to a scientific understanding the origin of the Spalding-Rigdon theory. However, in his avoidance of critical examination of the texts themselves, Fairchild abdicates his responsibility as a scholar to utilize all the best sources available for study. Despite the good reputation that has been attached to his name, the scholarly contribution of James H. Fairchild to the disciplines of Mormon history, Book of Mormon textual studies, and Solomon Spalding studies is practically negligible. On the other hand, the potential damage he has done to productive research in those same fields of study may be immeasurable.

1886: Mar. 24
William W. Williams of Cleveland sends a letter to President Fairchild, requesting permission to publish the Fairchild's new professional paper on the Spalding claims in his Magazine of Western History. Fairchild agrees and his paper appeared in the May-Oct., 1885 issue of that journal. Its appearance as a tract of the Western Reserve Historical Society apparently came later in the year.

1886: Apr. 14
Lewis L. Rice dies in Hawaii. His obituary is published in several newspapers in Hawaii shortly thereafter. For example, the Honolulu Daily Press for April 15, 1886 carried two articles on Rice, one of which ended with these words: "The "Manuscript Found," by a variety of circumstances, came into the possession of Mr. Rice... A copy was furnished to the Josephites, an offshoot of the [Mormon] church, and by them published in Iowa. The discovery and publication of the manuscript, has demonstrated beyond a doubt that it never inspired or suggested the publication of the Book of Mormon." A similar message is conveyed in the editorial comments accompanying a reprint of Rice's obituary in the Deseret Evening News of May 24, 1886: "The sudden death of Mr. Rice not long after the resurrection of the [Spalding] manuscript and his unimpeachable testimony concerning it, makes its production appear quite providential. We recognize the hand of the Lord in its opportune discovery, for it effectually puts the quietus on the silly story that connects in the public mind the Spaulding story with the sacred record..." It seems that Lewis L. Rice's lasting legacy is contained in the words of his earliest, most uninformed opinions regarding the Spalding authorship claims -- opinions that he later repeatedly and publicly disowned, but which have remained immutably etched upon the Mormon memory.

1886: Apr. 29
The Rev. Robert Patterson, Jr. of Pittsburgh writes his first letter to President Fairchild, requesting a copy of Fairchild's recent paper, "The Manuscript of Solomon Spaulding and the Book of Mormon." Although Fairchild delivered the final version of this paper in Cleveland on Mar. 23, 1886, Patterson says he learns from "the Chicago Tribune some weeks ago" that Fairchild had "delivered a lecture, March 8th, ... upon the Book of Mormon and its relation to the Spaulding Ms.

1886: c. Sept. 1
The New York Watchman publishes a James A. Briggs' letter under the title: "The Book of Mormon." In this letter Briggs makes much the same statement as he did in his "open letter to Joseph Smith III" (see above: Mar. 22, 1886), claiming to have seen D. P. Hurlbut exhibit BOTH the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript and Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" in Mentor, Ohio at the end of 1833. For President Smith's response see his Sept. 18th letter to H. G. Cutler (see ahead: Sept. 18, 1886). This article was reprinted in several papers. From one of these Mr. H. G. Cutler clipped the reprint and sent it in a letter of inquiry to RLDS President Joseph Smith III. It was perhaps Cutler himself who alerted the Chicago Daily Tribune to this interesting communication -- the Tribune reprinted it on Oct, 2, 1886.

In his letter James A. Briggs outlines the old Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, inserting quotes from various witnesses, including John Spalding. Henry Lake, John N. Miller, etc. He also inserts his own testimony, saying: "In the year 1833-'34 I was one of a self-appointed committee that met in the home of Mr. W. Coming, Mentor, O., for the purpose of investigating the origin of the Book of Mormon. Dr. D. P. Hurlburt had been in New York and Massachusetts looking up testimony; we had the manuscript of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding before us, that we compared with the Mormon Bible, and we had no doubt that from Spaulding's writings the Rev. Sidney Rigdon got up the Mormon Bible." He also says: "Joseph Smith of Lamoni, Ia., has sent me a copy of the "manuscript" found by Mr. L. L. Rice of Honolulu and published by the Reorganized Church... This is not a copy of the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spaulding... [it] is another one of Spaulding's... It proves nothing. At the meeting at Mr. J. Corning's in Mentor, in 1834, I have no doubt we had this very identical "manuscript" now published among the papers submitted by Dr. Hurlburt. We also had a copy of the "Manuscript Found," that was compared with the Mormon Bible and satisfied the committee that it was the basis of the Mormon Bible."

1886: Sept. 16-18
The soon-to-be-famous Henry Ford writes two letters to President Fairchild from Detroit, telling him about James A. Briggs' recent article in the New York Watchman. Ford then sends Fairchild the clipping and promises to communicate with Briggs on the matter. Whatever correspondence was carried on between Briggs and Ford has apparently not survived.

1886: Sept. 18
Joseph Smith III receives the letter from Mr. H. G. Cutler (then at the Chicago Historical Society?) concerning the writings of Solomon Spalding and the Book of Mormon. He writes a letter back to Cutler, saying that the asserted "connection" between these two texts "has in every single instance been inferred, never proved." In making this statement Smith is, of course, quite correct. Had such a connection already been "proved" he and Cutler would not even have to discuss the matter, except as past history -- Smith himself would likely long since lost his job as leader of the Reorganized LDS. In fact, Smith alludes to just such an outcome, when he advises Cutler to consider the Spalding authorship claims "with the same care you would were your own life and reputation at stake..."

President Smith essentially recaps the same arguments he presented in his 1883 refutation of the Spalding-Rigdon theory, but the events of 1884 in Honolulu force him to expand upon that old defense and say a few things about the Oberlin Spalding manuscript as well. In doing so Smith responds directly to an article in clipping Cutler had sent him -- a clipping of the James A. Briggs letter published in the New York Watchman of Sept. 9th (see above: Sept. 9, 1886). The information Briggs there presented, relating to the Spalding authorship claims, is much the same as in his "open letter to Joseph Smith III" (see above: Mar. 22, 1886).

In making his argument against Briggs, President Smith presents a weak case, stating that Spalding's widow had only authorized D. P. Hurlbut to obtain one of her husband's writings from her cousin's husband, Mr. Jerome Clark, and therefore Hurlbut could have returned to Ohio at the end of 1833 with only one Spalding holograph, not two, as Briggs claims he did. Smith attempts to justify his opinion at this point by showing that John N. Miller was among the three Conneaut witnesses who certified (or at least Hurlbut claimed her so certified, in mentioning him in the note he penned on the final page of the Oberlin manuscript) that the one Solomon Spalding holograph brought to him for his inspection was truly in Spalding's handwriting.

Smith's reasoning here is especially faulty. D. P. Hurlbut is not known to have given Mr. Jerome Clark a receipt for any of the Spalding writings he procured from Clark, nor is Clark known to have ever stated that Hurlbut left with only one Spalding holograph. In fact, Hurlbut took at least three different Spalding writings, a manuscript, a letter, and a legal agreement, all of which are on file at Oberlin College. There is no evidence (other than Hurlbut's own contradictory and unreliable statements) to show that he left the Jerome Clark residence with no other Spalding manuscript than the "Roman" story that ended up at Oberlin. In fact, a Kirtland Justice of the Peace and two other residents of that area testified that D. P. Hurlbut exhibited what he claimed as Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found" in an around Kirtland during the last weeks of 1833.

Eber D. Howe asserted, in his 1834 book, that the Conneaut witnesses (including John N. Miller) had testified verbally that Spalding had written another story (besides the "Roman" story of the Oberlin manuscript) which resembled the Book of Mormon. Not only that, but Aaron Wright, on Dec. 31, 1833 (almost a year before Howe's book) stated that Spalding had written two different stories (at least) and that the holograph Hurlbut had just then brought to New Salem for his certification (along with those of Henry Lake and John N. Miller) was the first these stories and not the second -- the second being the infamous "Manuscript Found."

President Smith goes on to quote Briggs, saying that "The last known of the Manuscript Found... it was in Mr. Hurlbut's hands," and that "it was not given to Mr. Howe." In responding to this quote from Briggs, Smith reminds Mr. Cutler that E. D. Howe only ever admitted to receiving one Spalding manuscript from Hurlbut, and asks of Briggs, "How does he know?" In other words, Smith is calling Briggs a liar for saying that E. D. Howe never received the "Manuscript Found." It may never be known exactly what Howe received from Hurlbut, but practically everybody who has studied early Mormon history agrees that Howe obtained the Oberlin "Roman" story manuscript from Hurlbut -- and that original document is nowhere marked with the title Smith attributes to it. Even if D. P. Hurlbut only ever handed over one Solomon Spalding manuscript to Howe, that in no way demonstrates that Hurlbut did not briefly possess more than one such fictional writing penned by Spalding.

Joseph Smith III ends his letter with the rather startling admission: "Personally, I am willing that the 'Manuscript Found' shall be proved to be the origin of the Book of Mormon, but it will require better proof than conjecture..." This statement by President Smith is reminiscent of what he had to say in his 1883 response to the Spalding authorship claims: "If those principles [found in the Book of Mormon] are false, I am interested in abandoning them and inducing others to do so too." Combining these two sentiments, President Smith seems to be saying that he is willing to abandon any false material within the pages of the Book of Mormon, placed there by Solomon Spalding, Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith, Jr., or others -- so long as incontrovertible proof is provided, establishing that material as falsehood. Whether or not President Smith would accept any remaining true principles that might be found in such a false production he does not say. Certainly some contemporary RLDS (or Community of Christ) leaders have gone on the records as saying they would accept true the principles they find in what they view to be a non-Nephite Book of Mormon.

President Smith adds a footnote in which he says he cannot believe that Hurlbut ever recovered a "Manuscript Found" that closely resembled the Book of Mormon, because somebody would have published such an extraordinary document then and there. Smith says: "Mr. Briggs admits the existence of the document claimed as the origin of the Book of Mormon and that there was so much similarity that the [anti-Mormon] committee were 'satisfied' of the plagiarism, Why was there no attempt to publish?" Why indeed! Such a question begs for a reasonable answer. One possible explanation is that the publication of such a document would have brought loud cries of "fraud!" from the Mormon leadership, probably followed by threats and lawsuits. Any person who published such a text, in or near Kirtland in 1834, would have been a person of strength, moral conviction, and financial substance. Just such a "committee" of people, in January of 1834, printed their intent to publish such a book, saying: "the Committee employed D. P. Hurlbut to ascertain the real origin of the Book of Mormon... and the Committee are now making arrangements for the Publication and extensive circulation of a work which will prove the "Book, of Mormon" to be a work of fiction and imagination, and written more than twenty years ago, in Salem, Ashtabula County, Ohio, by Solomon Spalding, Esq." Within a day or two of the appearance of this notice, D. P. Hurlbut handed over his research findings to E. D. Howe, retired from the anti-Mormon struggle, and was barely heard from thereafter. If sufficient intimidation was brought to bear upon D. P. Hurlbut (a known criminal, then awaiting court trial and perhaps some resultant and dangerous disclosures from his past), that personal pressure might well have induced him to accept a secret Mormon payoff, dispose of his most potentially damaging evidence against Joseph Smith, Jr., and retire from the fray forever. This is almost exactly what his lawyer (Briggs) and members of the Spalding family said happened with Hurlbut -- that he turned over the "Manuscript Found" to the Mormon leadership, accepted $400 hush money, and disappeared from history.

1886: Oct. 15
Robert Patterson, Jr. writes a long letter to Albert D. Hager of the Chicago Historical Society, in which he recapitulates his reasons for accepting the Spalding authorship claims. Patterson affirms the recent arguments and personal testimony offered by James A. Briggs (in the New York Watchman and the Chicago Tribune) as being reliable supporting evidence for the Spalding-Rigdon theory. In fact, Patterson calls Briggs' communication "direct and convincing proof of the existence of a different manuscript of Spaulding's from the Honolulu one." Patterson also says, "Mr. Briggs wrote to me to the same effect..." Patterson concludes his letter by saying, "Mr. Spaulding received the nickname "Old Come to Pass" [from the auditors of his story readings]. No lapse of memory [among the Conneaut witnesses, as alleged by Fairchild] would account for this..."

1886: mid Oct. ?
Arthur B. Deming, having lost the statement he collected from Mrs. McKinstry in Washington, D. C. several months before (see above: late Jan. 1886) writes to her asking for another. At about this time Deming also sent Mrs. McKinstry a copy of the published Oberlin Spalding manuscript and asked for her comments regarding it (see ahead: Nov. 2, 1886).

1886: Nov.
George R. Gibson has his article on the Mormons, "The Origin of a Great Delusion," published in The New Princeton Review for July-Nov. 1886. Gibson mentions Whitsitt's textual studies of the Book of Mormon and reviews the Spalding-Rigdon authorship theory. Except for James H. Fairchild, Gibson is the first notable journalist to make an original report on the 1884 Honolulu discovery in a national magazine, (previous detailed reports appeared as newspaper articles). He comments on the low quality of grammar, spelling, etc. in the "Roman" story manuscript. He also reviews its contents provides a few quotes from the story. Although the phenomenon was noticed and commented upon by earlier inspectors of the manuscript (such as James H. Fairchild), Gibson is perhaps the first writer to report in depth upon the strange similarities in the respective accounts of Smith's purported discovery of the Book of Mormon records and Spalding's fictional discovery of ancient records, detailed in his "Roman" story. Gibson also discusses the thematic similarity of the stormy ocean voyage stories told near the beginning of both the Oberlin manuscript's "Roman" story and the Book of Mormon. He then goes on to show that there are some apparent similarities in the character names in the two texts. Although Gibson takes a significantly different approach to James H. Fairchild's reporting, he presents essentially the same arguments as Fairchild does for the Oberlin manuscript being the poorly remembered "Manuscript Found." Gibson had written Fairchild (see above: Feb. 18, 1886) for his opinions and he acknowledges having received an answer from the college president. So it seems that Gibson saved some time in writing his article by accepting some of Fairchild's highly questionable opinions, rather than conducting the necessary research himself.

Gibson's investigation of the "Roman" story stands as the first substantial, published response to the early claims of James H. Fairchild on this subject. Unfortunately, Gibson's article and some of the interesting points he makes therein were quickly forgotten, while Fairchild's opinions were constantly reprinted and relied upon by other historical writers (Roberts, Brodie, etc.) for many decades to come.

1886: Nov. 2
Matilda S. McKinstry writes a reply to Arthur B. Deming. The adopted daughter of Solomon Spalding says she has read the published Oberlin Spalding manuscript (apparently the RLDS edition) which Deming had sent to her, and that she knows that it is not the "Manuscript Found" which she had heard and seen as a child. McKinstry also says that the Latter Day Saint publisher's use of the title "Manuscript Found" for the Oberlin "Roman" story is deceptive; her exact words are: "Do the Mormons expect to deceive the public by leaving off the title page -- Conneaut Creek and calling it Manuscript Found and Manuscript Story[?]" Mrs. McKinstry later provided Deming with another similar statement (see ahead: Oct. 31, 1887).


A  Chronology  of  the
Oberlin  Spalding  Manuscript

Part Six: 1887-1899

1811-1878    1879-1883    1884    1885    1886    1900 on  

1887: April 14
Arthur B. Deming writes his fifth letter to President Fairchild, telling him he had received his letter of Feb. 20, 1886 and that he had intended to "call at Oberlin to see the [Spalding] manuscript in your possession," but ended up in San Francisco instead. Deming also says: "I was robbed of much valuable evidence which I had on Mormonism in Chicago which will compel me to go to Washington D. C. and elsewhere again... I enclose... payment for the photographs" [of the two Spaulding manuscript pages Fairchild had sent him].

1887: July 4
The Rev. William H. Whitsitt (a professor of religion at the Baptist Seminary in Kentucky) finishes his manuscript "The Life of Sidney Rigdon, the Real Founder of Mormonism" which elucidates the Spalding-Rigdon theory and relates some of the facts of the 1884 Honolulu discovery. The publication of the Oberlin Spalding manuscript came too late for inclusion and review in Whitsitt's already written section on the Spalding authorship claims. He never seems to have studied the text of the "Roman" story or to have attempted to say much about how it possibly fit in with Spalding's other writings -- although, like Clark Braden before him, Whitsitt did theorize an evolution in Spalding's literary output, whereby he moved from writing about the Romans in ancient America to writing about the Nephites. This is unfortunate omission, for Dr. Whitsitt had the training and ability to make a critical comparison of the Oberlin text with the Book of Mormon, had he been so inclined. His manuscript book (slightly amended in 1891 and later donated to the Library of Congress) shows considerable insight in offering conjectural textual criticism for the Book of Mormon; had his ability in this discipline been applied to an in-depth study of the Oberlin manuscript, Whitsitt could have made a valuable contribution to knowledge.

1887: Oct. 31 Matilda Spalding McKinstry again writes from Washington, D. C. to Arthur B. Deming, in San Francisco, California, thusly: "Dear Sir: I have carefully read the Rice-Spaulding manuscript you gave me. It is not the "Manuscript Found," which I have often seen. It contained the words "Lehi, Lamoni, Nephi" and was a much larger work." Deming would later publish this statement in the Jan. 1888 issue of his Naked Truths About Mormonism. Deming informed Fairchild in April (see above: Apr. 14, 1886): "I was robbed of much valuable evidence which I had on Mormonism in Chicago which will compel me to go to Washington D. C." There is no evidence that Deming left California for the east during this time, as he was then negotiating with the Seventh Day Adventists in Oakland to use their press to print his planned anti-Mormon newspaper. Deming must have lost track of the earlier statement Mrs. McKinstry gave him (see above: Nov. 2, 1886), and then solicited her Oct. 31st statement by mail. The earlier McKinstry eventually turned up among the A. B. Deming papers at the Chicago Historical Society.1887:


A  Chronology  of  the
Oberlin  Spalding  Manuscript

Part Seven: 1900-1999

1811-1878    1879-1883    1884    1885    1886    1887-1899  

1900: Jan. 1

(under construction)


Read about the 1885 RLDS printing of the Oberlin Spalding Manuscript.

Lewis L. Rice Documents

(this section is under construction)

Click on document numbers for transcripts.


(under construction)

No. 1. xxxx

No. 2. xxx


Lewis L. Rice Transcripts

(under construction)


James H. Fairchild Correspondence

(under construction)

Document: 1886 R. E. Woodbury Letter to J. G. W. Cowles, President of the Congregational Society of Cleveland, OH.

Source: James H. Fairchild Papers, Oberlin College Archives.

Note: Rev. Cowles forwarded this letter to James H. Fairchild in Feb. of 1886.

January 28th, 1886

Mr. J. G. W. Cowles,
President of the Congregational Society of Cleveland, Ohio

Sir: Having noticed an article in the evening News from J. W. [sic.] Fairchild of Oberlin on the Book of Mormon and being well pleased with the same and wishing the truth on all subjects, conclude that I may add something of interest to what has been said upon the subject and also make a correction in a portion of the features that were therein presented.

In regard to the authorship of the Book of Mormon, he is unquestionably correct as I believe from what I have heard old men say that were conversant with all the facts concerning the authorship.

Yet upon the authorship of a book entitled Mormonism Unveiled I would beg leave to make a correction as I certainly know that one D.P. Hurlbut late of Gibsonburgh, Sandusky Co., was the author of the same, he of late deceased. In the early days of Mormonism he started out for the exclusive purpose writing up an expose' of Mormonism, therefore he joined the Mormons and became a Mormon High Priest. By this means he became intimate with the chief figurehead of Mormonism, Joe Smith and learning all the facts from him that were possible, he took the back track and hunted up all the evidence that could be found at that time and received sworn statements from them. The result of his labors being the book entitled Mormonism Unveiled, he thereafter never visited the Mormons.

There were only about sixty [sic - 600?] copies printed -- the Mormons became so indignant and boisterous, threatening the said Hurlbut and the printers with assassination to such an extent that the type were thrown up and the same was never again set for a copy of the same. The manuscript[s] could not [ever] be found and of course the book has become something of the [past].

Now I write that I may offer some clue to some portion of interest concerning the matter, if you see fit to carry on your investigation of the matter, as some of the parties are becoming aged I think that it would be well to proceed at once. Mrs. Maria Hurlbut, widow of the late D. P. Hurlbut of Gibsonburgh, Sandusky Co., Ohio can give you a large amount of information in the matter under consideration and would be pleased to do so. Also Judge H.B. Woodbury I would give you as a reference and one more I would give you for reference the name of W.P. Woodbury of Kelloggsville, Ashtabula Co., [Ohio} who was personally acquainted with many of the facts concerning the writing of the Book of Mormon as well as Mormonism Unveiled [ ---- ]

Thanking you for what you have already done and giving you this communication for the truth and interest of the truth. I subscribe myself as.

Ever for the truth, believing it will triumph

yours truly
R. E. Woodbury


William H. Whitsitt letter to James H. Fairchild (excerpts).
Original in the James H. Fairchild Papers at the Oberlin College Archives.

306 E. Chestnut,
Louisville, Feb. 16, 1886

My dear Sir,

After diligent consideration of the subject you are good enough to bring to my attention, I some while ago reached the conclusion that Mr. Sidney Rigdon supplies the right key to Mormon history and theology. In pursuance of that conviction, I have prepared a Biography of Sidney Rigdon, of which 810 pages are now ready for the printer. A few of my chapters which dealt with the Book of Mormon were read before one of my classes and made the topic of my intermediate examination.

Mr. Rigdon was a Disciple minister at the moment of producing the particular form of the Book of Mormon which we are now familiar with, and I discovered that it contains all the leading tenets and peculiarities of that people. The contents of the volume, at least to my thinking, will supply a demonstration that it could have been prepared by none but a Disciple theologian, and further that it could have been prepared by no Disiciple theologian except Mr. Rigdon. This is what I consider to be my personal contribution to the sum of knowledge on this subject.

The question touching the Spaulding manuscript has no direct connection with that result; it stands upon its own merits, just as truly as if no such person as Solomon Spaulding ever existed. I was solicitous to avoid the Spaulding controversy entirely, for the reason that it has no real connection with the business. But having set my hand to compose a biography of Mr. Rigdon, I felt somewhat bound by the nature of the task to express an opinion. Here I have given attention almost exclusively to the only original authority in existence, namely Howe, pp 279-290. Citations have also been made from a pamphlet entitled "Who wrote the Book of Mormon?" by Robert Patterson of Pittsburgh, but with caution, for the reason that he has too much credulity and too little criticism. I am also indebted to a few passages in Hayden's "History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve," and in Mr. Alexander Campbell's "Millennial Harbinger."

In my treatment I have felt myself impelled to reject a great deal that passes current in the literature of the subject: but I have reluctantly assented to the chief point that Spaulding wrote the Book of Mormon under that title also, and that Mr. Rigdon by some kind of process got possession of it. Nay, I have even gone to the length of suggesting a theory of my own in explanation of that process. That theory is different from any other that has been preached, and I cannot avoid to regard it as the weakest point of my performance; I am too often constrained to have resort to such words as "likely" and "perhaps"... In a word my demonstration, satisfactory to my [mind?], without any kind of reference to the inquiry whether Rigdon had any connection with the Spaulding Manuscript.

When I had concurred the point that Mr. Rigdon made use of the Spaulding manuscript of the Book of Mormon, I felt under obligation [of] an industrious inquiry to examine the volume with reference to the question [of] where Mr. Spaulding obtained the materials that he collected in his history. The conclusion which was reached in this quarter is likewise regarded with modesty; it is not conceived to amount to a demonstration.

I have placed nearly every fact and incident that I have touched in a different setting from any that it ever before received. I hope to do myself the honor to submit my book to your inspection, and I desire to entreat you in advance not to accuse me of any passion for novelty. On the contrary, novelty is for me the "abomination of desolation standing in the place where it ought not." The different light in which I consider the subject is due entirely to the different point of view which I occupy. Will you not kindly investigate and determine whether the new light is a true light before you shall condemn my conclusions?

I have derived the theology of Mormonism from the Disciples and from the Swedenborgians and from the Restorationists. These excellent people, I foresee would be very much enraged against me, but I do not feel the slightest hostility against them; I am simply exercising the right of every student to prosecute a thorough investigation. Mormonism, I believe, can be understood by no other process than that which I have advocated. If in any way you should ever feel disposed to employ your kind offices to relieve a fellow soldier from undeserved obloquy, it would be accepted as the kindest favor you could bestow. I consider that I am guilty of no offense except what is involved in a more complete and critical use of the inductive method than has been achieved by my predecessors in this field.

yours very truly,
Wm. H. Whitsitt

P. S. Please accept thanks for your kindness in bringing my examination paper to the attention of Prof. Fisher.

I perceive that I mentioned above nothing but the external sources upon which I relied for evidence that Rigdon got possession of Spaulding's Book of Mormon. There are also internal sources of perhaps more importance derived from the literary structure of the present Book of Mormon which to my way of thinking supply valuable evidence to show that the present Book of Mormon is based upon a work that preceded it. This latter evidence, however, does not certify that it was Mr. Spaulding's Book of Mormon; it might have been some other person's Book of Mormon. That Rigdon acted as editor and not in the character of author I believe will be apparent to any critical inquiry into the structure of the present B. of Mormon.

I should be thankful for any information that may be in your possession regarding a nest of Mormons that existed in 1832 at Amherst, Lorain Co. How they chanced to obtain a footing there; what church they previously affiliated with; names of prominent persons; names of Mormon elders who perverted them; [these] are some of the points I should write to learn about. If I could get a sight of the autobiography of P. P. Pratt, I should likely not have any need to inquire. Is that work in your library? Have you any other rare books of the early period besides Howe?

If it will go any distance to promote your inquiries I will add that Warren Smith and his wife Amanda (daughter of Ezekiel and Fanny Barnes) were Amherst Mormons in 1832. The latter was a member of the Disciples' Church and possibly her husband likewise.


Transcriber's Comments

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