(Newspapers of New England)

Misc. New England Newspapers
1780-1829 Articles

Joseph Smith, Sr., Ancestral Home -- Topsfield, Massachusetts

1780-1829   |   1830-1839   |   1840-1844   |   1845-1879   |   1880-1920

MSpy Oct 06 '85  |  SIR Sep 15 '00  |  CCn Jul 20 '02  |  NSt Nov 06 '16  |  ABM May '18  |  AmM May 19 '18
WV May ? '19  |  NbHr Jun 04 '19  |  NEG Jun 04 '19  |  ChHr Jul '19  |  BRec Jul 24 '19  |  NbHr Jul 27 '19
MSpy Oct 13 '19  |  FCab Nov 20 '19

ChW Jan ? '20  |  PSun Feb 09 '20  |  WdOb Feb 15 '20  |  VtIn Jun 26 '20  |  NbHr Apr 13 '21  |  NbHr May 01 '21
NHSnt Apr 13 '22  |  WdOb Apr 16 '22  |  NHSnt May 04 '22  |  PGaz Apr 16 '23  |  SGz Aug 15 '23  |  NBM Aug 15 '23
USLG Oct 01 '24

WJour Jan 17 '25  |  ZHrl Feb 09 '25  |  ABM Feb '25  |  PPat Feb 25 '25  |  HopM Mar '25  |  ChHr Mar '25
ABM Apr '25  |  NHGz Nov 01 25  |  VWat Jan 03 '26  |  VRg Nov 15 '27  |  EGz Nov 17 '27
NHSnt Nov 23 '27  |  SGz Dec 07 '27  |  SGz Feb 22 '28  |  VAmr May 07 '28  |  VAmr Aug 06 '28
ABM Apr '29  |  FCab May 02 '29  |  BMsg Sep 25 '29  |  SGz Oct 02 '29

Note: All Maine newspaper articles have been moved to a separate web-page.


Massachusetts  Spy:  Or, the Worcester  Gazette.

Vol. XV.                                 Worcester, Mass., October 6, 1785.                                 No. 757.


For Thomas's Massachusetts Spy.

Mr. Thomas,

As you have heretofore expressed a regard for Dartmouth College, You will please to give the following a place in your Paper, which will oblige a
                          Friend to Literature.

On Wednesday the 21st inst. the anniversary of Commencement at Dartmouth University, a very respectable number of the Clergy and other gentlemen of learning, from various parts of this and the neighboring States, convened at this place to attend the publick exercises of the day.

At ten o'clock A. M. the undergraduates formed themselves into a double line, reaching from the President's gate to the College-Hall; the procession then began from the President's house, and passed on between the lines uncovered, in the following order; -- first the President, then the Reverend and Hon. the Trustees of the College, the Professors, Librarian, and Secretary; these were followed by the Rev. Clergy, two and two, and the students falling in, closed the procession.

The exercises of the day were opened by a fervent prayer well adapted to the occasion by the President. This was followed by a spirited Latin Oration, delivered by Mr. Hubbard, which introduced a syllogistick disputation on the question, An belli status, in effectis peopriss, felicitatem societatis provexerit?

To this succeeded a forensick dispute, in English, on a point very interesting at this time, viz. Whether it will not be advantageous to the American States to prohibit all commercial intercourse with Europe? in both which the parties supported their respective parts with great ingenuity.

The audience were then highly entertained with with a very pathetick dialogue on the consequences of the late Peace as they respect the American Loyalists, in which the various emotions of nature, proper to situations like theirs, were painted to the life. A Dialogue in the Greek language was subjoined to this. And an Hebrew Oration by Mr. Sawyer made way for some pieces of vocal and instrumental musick, which concluded the exhibitions of the forenoon.

In the afternoon Mr. Kellog opened the entertainment by an elegant and animated oration on Eloquence. This ushered in a forensick dispute in the Chaldaick language, and another in the French, succeeded this, and opeend the way for an English disputation on that long agitated subject, Whether a national establishment of religion does advantage to the happiness of the people? in which the young gentlemen, on both sides, argued the cause with a precision and solidity becoming its importance. This being ended, the President, with the usual formalities, conferred on the following young gentlemen the degree of BACHELOR of ARTS.
Moses Bradford,     Daniel Oliver,
Elijah Brainard,     Elijah Parish,
Salmon Chase,     Henry A. Rowland,
Joseph Clarke,     John Sawyer,
Lake Coffeer,     Mase Shepard,
Calvin CRane,     Ozias Sillby,
Timothy Dickinson,     Solomon Spalding,
John Hubbard,     Calvin Waldo,
Alfred Johnson,     Chapman Whitcomb,
Elijah Kellog,     Simon F. Williams,

And the degree of MASTER of ARTS.
Caleb Bingham,     Jacob Cram,
And honourary Degree of MASTER of ARTS.
The Honourable Moses, Dowe, Esquire.
The Rev. Alpheus Spring, of Kittery.
The Rev. Isaac Smith,
Nathaniel Adams Esquire.

Then the Rev. Ebenezer Bradford and William Bradford, Masters of Arts at Nassau-Hall, and Samuel Huntingdon, Bachelor of Arts at Yale College, were admitted ad eundem.

After which Mr. Johnson spoke an elegamt valedictory oration, and in tender and affecting terms took leave of the Universary and his fellow students.

A solemn, pertinent, and pathetick prayer, by the Rev. Doctor Huntingdon, closed the work of the day, and the procession returned to the President's, in the same order in which it passed from thence in the morning.

And if we may judge by the attention and affection manifest in the countenances of a numerous and brilliant assembly of gentlemen and ladies, as well as from the united declarations of the learned part of the audience, it may be safely pronounced that Commencement exhibitions have very rarely been managed, in any University, in a manner that has done more honour to the institution -- reflected greater lustre on the candidates -- or given higher evidence of the abilities and fidelity of the instructors, than those of this day.
    Hanover, Sept. 23d, 1785.

Note 1: Essentially the same "press release" was also published in the Essex Journal of Oct. 19, 1785. This text differed from that of the Spy's article, only in its addition of Nathaniel Adams, Esq. to the Masters' list and its omission of the name of Rev. Isaac Smith from the honorary Master's list.

Note 2: Solomon Spalding took ill and spent a period of convalescence in Connecticut soon after his Oct., 1785 graduation from Dartmouth College. See his Dec. 6, 1785 letter to former fellow Dartmouth student, Elijah Parish.


The  Salem  Impartial  Register.

Vol. I.                                 Salem, Mass.,  September 15, 1800.                                 No. 37.

Another Richard Brothers!

MEMORIAL to be presented to the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut, at their sessions at Newhaven, in Octover, 1800.

  At a period when the strength of the Divine, is employed in an investigation of the ultimate issue of present mysterious providences, you will not be disposed to pronounce the communication out of time, that is now presented to you. -- Those, of every class, who have travelled tigether in investigation agree in their report, that the times are singular; and that the womb of providence is big with some stupendous event.

The present paper states that such report is true; that the object sought and justly expected is the pacific empire of the Prince of Peace: that it is the princely administration of the mighty Redeemer, that is to give peace to the nations of the Earth; and to make known to the sons of men the subsequent designs of the most high.

Your Memorialist is bound to state, that he is, by revelation from God, possessed of the knowledge of the means ordained to arrest the tempest of the present national convulsions, and to bring them to a state of permanent peace and national felicity.

Nothing is demanded but a competent support upon the Theatre of European conflicts, whilst the operation is performing. The exploit can be accomplished without endangering the safety of any nation, or the life of any man.

No national credentials, or diplomatic seals are requested. The waters are too deep to be fathomed by a common hand. Full trial of the strength of human policy, and of executive power hath been had. Leaning on the arm of the Lord, and obeying the dictates of his blessed will, the thing shall be done.

Your Memorialist, at least hopes that so much notice of this application may be taken, that in case of doubt in the minds of any as to the propriety of the measure, he may be set at the bar of the house to answer any interrogatories that any of the members of the house may think proper to put to him on the subject.
                DAVID AUSTIN, jun.
Newhaven, Sept. 9, 1800.

Note 1: The above millennial pronouncement was evidently first published by the Rev. David Austin in a local paper, the New Haven Messenger, on or about September 9, 1800. See a reminiscence published in the New-Hampshire Gazette of Nov. 1, 1825 for further information on Rev. Austin.

Note 2: The notorious "prophetic" career of Richard Brothers, in England, was a topic of current interest in American newspapers. See, for example, the Cooperstown, NY Otsego Herald for June 12, 1795.


The  Connecticut  Centinel.

Vol. XXIX.                                 Norwich, Conn.,  July 20, 1802.                                 No. 1479.


The National heart is behind the National Wheels.

The Machine of the prophetic design took up the American Nation in seventy-six. It hath borne the Nation through various toils, until its deliverance is complete: The names of different performers have been but as the names of the different classes of labours, The machine empties its full contents in the present state of complete national emancipation. All parties having borne a part of the common labor, are entitled to a portion of the common felicity.

The diffusion of universal and unbridled national liberty, lays foundation for the immediate "manifestation of the sons of God." -- Their Glory constitutes the glory of the latter House. To them it appertains to clothe the nation with a superior glory.

The operation commences by a fraternity in the things of the kingdom of grace, answerable to the fraternity of national affection and of national exertion. All outward obstructions are removed & grace hath full opportunity to display its opening design. -- This crowns, sanctifies and secures the national acquisitions. The blessings are afloat, until covered by the regency of the Master of the House. Let Zion say the Lord livith and blessed be my rock, and let the God of my salvation be exalted.   D. AUSTIN.
Norwich, July 1th 1802.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. IV.                                 Middlebury, Vt., Nov. 6, 1816.                                 No. 11.


The Divining or Magic Rod for finding water, is known to be an instrument frequently used, by the settlers in Kentucky and the state of Ohio. Until late years, the experiment was laughed at by every man of understanding; and only regarded as a trick or imposture. Since the discovery of Galvanism and the wonderful effects produced by invisible fluids, the experiment of the Divining Rod has been investigated both in the schools of Paris and London -- it has been ascertained as a matter of certainty, that the twigs of various trees, such as peach, cherry, plum, etc. when held in a certain position by the human hand, are attracted by water not exceeding a certain depth below the surface of the earth.   Anon.

Note: For an account of divining rods being used for early treasure-searching in Ohio, see the 1850 article, "History of the Divining Rod."


American  Baptist  Magazine.
Missionary Intelligencer.

NS No. 9.                                 Boston, Mass., May, 1818.                                 Vol. I.

Missionary  Intelligence.



Extract of a Letter from Rev. Ira Chase, to the Secretary of the Massachu. Bap. Miss. Society, dated

Clarksburg, Va. Jan. 6, 1818.      
Dear Sir,
You have doubtless been apprized, by the public papers, that a new sect, calling themselves Pilgrims, have lately appeared; and that they have excited considerable attention in those parts of the country through which they have passed on their pilgrimage to the West. One company of them (the other had proceeded by the way of N. Jersey,) I found as I advanced on my route, were encamped at no great distance from me: -- They were at Dryden [Tompkins Co., east of Ithaca], in the state of New-York. I thought it my duty to take some pains to learn, from their own mouths, their history and their religious system; and if possible, to convince some of them, of their delusion.

On the 26th of November, in company with the Rev. William W. Powers, pastor of the Baptist church in Virgil, I visited their camp; -- for a camp it seemed to be that we were approaching, as the tops of their large covered wagons presented to the distant observer, the appearance of tents, and no other dwelling could be seen there, but a low hut, pointed out by the ascending smoke. It was on a spot of rising ground, amidst stumps and logs, and near the edge of extensive woods which defended it from the north and western winds.

Some of the men were in front of the hut, making baskets. Among them was a Mr. Joseph Ball, formerly a preacher of Woodstock, Vermont. Mr. Powers had seen him before, and from conversation with him, had obtained some evidence of his being a man of real piety. After giving him his hand with the usual salutation, he introduced me. We were both received in a friendly manner. My new acquaintance appeared humble, modest and affable. He invited us to walk in. Accordingly, we followed him as he entered, stepping over boards, two or three feet high, which partly enclosed the south end of the hut; a temporary building hastily made of boards, all rough from the saaw mill. The north end was enclosed to the top. The sides and roof were formed by placing boards in a standing position, the one end of them resting on the ground, and the other, I think, on a pole over head. On the ground at the extremity of the room, were the beds, on which as I had been told, they all couch down at night. There were now lying on them an idiot child about two years old, and a feeble woman or two. Along the sides of the building were placed chests and boards, which served for chairs. Overhead were laid up two loaded muskets, ready for use. In the centre, there was a fire on the ground, and over it hung a pot for cooking. Some of the company were at dinner. They eat standing, and use neither knives nor forks. There were present five or six men, about a dozen women, many of them young, and eight or ten children The whole number that belonged to the company, was between thirty and forty. Some were absent. The mean wear their beard long, except on the upper lip, from which the occasionally shear it; and all, men and women, wear around them a girdle of bearskin with the hair on.

We continued in friendly conversation with Mr. Ball; and as soon as the way was prepared, so that it could be done without a seeming abruptness, I requested him in a kind and respectable manner, to give us an account of the rise and progress of their society. He readily commenced, and said that it arose a few years ago, in Canada, near the forks of the river St. Francis [Sherbrooke, Quebec]. What, I inquired, were the particular events which led to its formation? He was proceeding to tell, when a man distinguished from the rest by an aspect peculiarly hideous, and a thick red beard of superior length, raised his voice: -- 'Josseph!' said he, 'I want to speak a word to you -- I'd rather you would ask that man why we are commanded not to be conformed to the world -- I am terribly distressed.' It was the Prophet -- for a prophet the red-bearded man pretends to be. He rules the whole company as an absolute monarch in all things secular and spiritual. He speaks, and his word is with them, the word of the Lord.

Mr. Ball (Joseph) turned round, and fixing his eyes upward, stood for a while motionless. The Prophet in the mean time, began to writhe and twist his body, as if in the utmost agony. At length utterance was given, and he delivered to Mr. Powers and myself, as a message from God, the most tremendous denunciations, in the most vulgar and abusive language that he could command. Fixing his eyes on me, he asked: 'Be you a Lawyer?' I am not, was my reply. 'Be you a Dictor?' I am not. 'Be you a Minister?' I attempt to preach sometimes. 'Well, your first business is to repent, or you'll be damned' -- Amen! broke from the mouths of several of the company, at the close of each smart reproach as he proceeded. He and some of the others, men and women, poured forth upon us both, a torrent of abuse, such as surpassed all that may be heard in the grog shop, from the lowest of the profane rabble, when ministers of the gospel are made the theme or derision. It was aimed principally at me, -- probably because I had introduced the subject of their origin, but neither of us was spared. Both were pronounced to be of the synagogue of Satan, going to destruction and leading others with us. 'O rotten! rotten! you go about living on the best fare you can find, -- preaching pride -- with your white handkerchiefs, and black coats, as slick as a mole, -- Just as likely as not you spent half an hour brushing them, when they were sleaner before than your characters. Hell and damnation, hell and damnation is your portion, if you don't repent.'

But they could not express their feelings in words. They literally gnashed upon us with their teeth; and from every quarter, came rapidly, in harsh and grating accents, with the finger of scorn pointed at us, -- Yah, yah, yah, yah!'

The Prophet, thundering out his anathemas, and brandishing his fist, frew nearer and nearer to the place where I was sitting. His hand had almost reached my face. What he would have done, left to himself, can only be conjectured. It is said that hearers, in this assembly of Pilgrims, have sometimes been seized by the collar, in the heat of exhortation. But, happily for me, the gentleman who owns the land where they were camped, had accompanied us. He stepped forward, and with a firm tone, told him: 'Now you shall stop; -- strangers, who have given you no provocation, shall not be so abused on my land.' Upon this, the Prophet, full of inspiration as he was, thought it prudent to desist. He uttered, however, a few sullen replies to his landlord; but the storm that was bursting on us considerably abated.

Near its commencement, Mr. Powers, with a solemnity becoming the occasion, asked: Does the word of God any where justify your treating people in this manner? 'No,' said the Prophet, 'not the letter, but the spirit does.'

We perceived it was in vain to attempt to reason with him, or his followers; for whenever we began to speak, our voice was drowned by the clamours which they raised. Finding that I could not obtain from them there, any further account of their origin and faith, and observing that Mr. Ball seemed rather to be forced to acquiesce in the abuse of us than be forward in it himself, I sat down by his side, and in a low tone of voice, endeavoured to persuade him to walk out that afternoon, and let us have an interview with him alone. But as the Prophet had sufficiently indicated his disapprobation of any further intercourse with us, all was in vain. -- 'I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord,' was the reply. 'I profess not to have any more authority than they who have spoken.' -- 'No, nor so much neither!' interrupted a woman, who was sitting by, with a kind of indignant tone.

Mr. Powers, just before we left the company, remarked to them, in the allusion to the words of the Apostle: It is a very small thing to be judged by man's judgment, 'You'll find it isn't to be judged by me,' replied the Prophet.

I addressed them a moment, entreating them to search the Bible, and make that their guide; and then, as I had been introduced to Mr. Ball, and as he had, through the whole, appeared disposed to treat us civilly, I extended my hand towards him, to take my leave. -- 'Don't touch his paw!' was the cry; and the poor man stood like a statue, not daring to move his hand, nor speak a word.

With what emotions we retired from this scene of imposture and delusion, I shall not attempt to describe. It was, indeed, a striking exhibition of the melancholy consequences which naturally result from leaving the Scriptures to seek for new revelations.

The Prophet had received several new followers, at Dryden. Some of the people in that vicinity have, for years, been the subjects of various, and strange delsuions; and they seem prepared to embrace almost any thing that is novel and extravagant. One of them, a certain John T----r [Taylor], who arose in that place, set himself up, not long ago, as the leader of a party on the river Chenango. It is said he commenced a follower of Elias Smith, but he has gone far beyond him. He professes to have visions and revelations; and he seems to aim at the subversion of all order, and the banishment of all fundamental principles in the church of Christ. His followers, like Shakers, dance at their meetings; and they address each other only by their first names. Their leader is called simply John; and they are themselves sometimes denominated the Johnites.... Some of his adherents, I was told, had lately visited the Prophet at Dryden; and it is not impossible that some of them will join the company of Pilgrims.

Respecting that company, I forbear to relate the numerous reports currently circulated in the neighbourhood. I will now mention only one. It was said that, the day before I was there, they undertook, with the most frantic outcries, to expel Satan from the camp. Whether they were successful or not, I leave it with you to judge, after reading this sketch of my interview with them....

Yours, dear Sir, with much esteem and affection.
IRA CHASE.      

Note 1: See the Woodstock Vermont Chronicle of June 24, 1831 for further details concerning the pretended prophet Isaac Bullard and his "Pilgrim" followers. For a brief description of John Taylor's "Johnites," see the 1874 autobiography, The Life and Times of George Peck.

Note 2: For more on the Rev. Joseph Ball, see the Feb. 15, 1820 issue of the Vermont Woodstock Observer and Zadock Thompson's 1842 History of Vermont. A "Mr. Cummins" is mentioned as being the Pilgrims' "chief speaker," in Thompson's book -- see notes appended to the Sussex Register of Sept. 15, 1817.

Note 3: Except for its confusing Isaac Bullard with Thaddeus Cummins (actually one of Bullard's followers), the following account from pp. 116-121 of George B. Goodrich's 1898 book, The Centennial History of the Town of Dryden, 1797-1897:   Chapter XXX - Willow Glen: A stranger now passing through the quiet locality of our town which formerly was known as "Stickles's Corners" but latterly called by the more romantic name of "Willow Glen," ... over fifty years ago, when this name was first applied to the locality by one of its inhabitants, Miss Huldah Phillips, the banks of the little stream which flows down through the "Corners" from the hillside were lined with large willow trees, forming with them a glen which made the name very appropriate.... Willow Glen has had no churches, but the barn of Elias W. Cady afforded the Presbyterian society accomodations for preaching and communion service before their building was finished in Dryden village. -- The inhabitants have suffered somewhat from religious fanatics, the first visitation being from a band of some fifty "Pilgrims", as they called themselves, who came from Vermont in 1818, and are thus described...: "When they moved in they had several wagons, some of which were drawn by four horses. One team carried the large tent beneath which the entire family was housed in all kinds of weather. The name of their Prophet was Thaddeus Cummins, a very stout, healthy, and well-proportioned man, with sandy hair, and about thirty-five years of age. The name of the woman whom he brought as his wife was Lucy. A priest also accompanied the Prophet, whose name was Joseph Ball. There were some two or three brothers by the name of Slack; the rest of the company was made up of the off-scourings of wretched humanity. When the Prophet and his followers arrived near the residence of David Foote they pitched their tent and rested over night, but moved the next day into the woods then on the Stickles farm, where they remained a week, when they again moved upon the north bank of Fall Creek near the former residence of Jacob Updike. Here this singular people remained for six weeks, practicing all kinds of deviltry upon themselves and the people in the neighborhood. They had no beds, but slept in nests of straw, each sex in common with the other, they having no belief in or respect for the marriage ceremony. They did not believe in beds, chairs, or tables. They stood up to eat and sucked food through a goose quill, and could not be persuaded to eat in any other way. They wore large white cloths upon their backs, which, as they said, were marks for the Devil to shoot at. Their antipathy against the Devil was very great and every morning early they might be heard howling and yelling like a parcel of wolves for two miles around, driving the Devil out of their camp." -- When they left town they went to an island in the Mississippi river, unfortunately inducing some Dryden and more Lansing people to follow them, where they finally disbanded. They should not be confused with the "Taylorites," who flourished here later and some of whom afterward joined the Shakers.


American  [ - ]  Mercury.
Vol. XXXIV.                                 Hartford, Conn.,  May 19, 1818.                                 No. 1768.


FREDONIA, N. Y., March 31.    
Swindling. -- The impostor, Walter H. Gerry, mentioned in our last paper, in his progress through the western country, has not only imposed on the people by preaching, but has practised swindling to an uncommon degree. Under the cloak of a minister, he has succeeded in imposing upon the community, and more particularly those of the presbyterian order, and his masonic brethren, to an astonishing extent. -- Having in this manner gained the confidnece of the Rev. Adamson Bentley, minister at Warren, Ohio, he obtained 7 or 800 dollars, for which he gave him a check on the Niagara bank of 25,000 dollars as security, and his return from down the river, whither he was going to meet a large quantity of goods coming from New Orleans. He likewise borrowed $500 from another person, and his tavern bill, amounting to $100, he left unsettled. On his route he met a certain lawyer with whom he exchanged horses, giving him a note of $200, payable at the bank, which proved to be counterfeit, as did the check. He borrowed $100 of gen. Tupper of Wooster, and a watch of a tavern keeper, and left his tavern bill unpaid. At Mansfield [in Richland Co.] he borrowed 5 dollars of a Mr. Rigdon, and offered a check at Worthington of $2,000 on the Baltimore bank. But he has finished his career for the present" we was apprehended at Cincinnati, and is safely lodged in the gaol at Warren to await his trial.

Note: As of June 3, 1816, the Rev. Walter Harris Gerry and his wife Octavia were living at Copenhagen, Lewis Co., New York; what sent him on his crime spree through Ohio in 1818 remains a mystery. The $800 lost by the Rev. Adamson Bentley, of Warren was a considerable sum in those days. Bentley would have then known Thomas Rigdon (a cousin of the infamous Sidney Rigdon) and it is possible that Gerry had in his possession a letter of recommendation from Bentley, which he exhibited to certain swindle "marks" during his Ohio travels.


Vol. XI.                                 Kennebunk, Mass. [Me.],  May ?, 1819.                                 No. ?


Saco, May 25.    
The county of York, particularly this town, Kennebunk, Buxton, &c. has long been infested by a religious Impostor, named Jacob Cochran; who pretended to have a mission to spread a new religion. His process was, to gull a few men, then to seduce women, married and single, to attend his ministrations, swear them to secrecy, and then induce them to commit the most lascivious and criminal practices. This conduct had become notorious; and the Grand Jury of the county, at the late term of the Supreme Court, found no less than five bills of indictment against him. On one of these, for lascivious behavior, he was cleared, the Jury, after being up all night, not agreeing, one of their number, a disciple, refusing his assent. He was then tried on an indictment for adultery, and convicted; but having been admitted to bail, and not having been surrendered into Court, he hopped the twig, and has not since been heard of; has thus probably escaped a three years visit to the State Prison. Jacob Cochran is about 35 years old, common size, well built, light complexion, rather sandy hair, dresses well, and has the manners half a half gentleman.

Note: No original of the above clipping has yet been located; the text was taken from a reprint published in the New-York Evening Post of June 7, 1819. A similar account was subsequently published in the Maine Portland Gazette on June 1, 1819. Possibly the Weekly Visitor did not carry this exact text, and it is only a paraphrase by the Evening Post.


Vol. XXIII.                           Newburyport, Mass., June 4, 1819.                           No. 19.


                                From the Portland Gazette.

Mr. Shirley,

The name of Jacob Cochran has doubtless been heard by many of your readers. This man has for about two years past infested the County of York, particularly the towns of Saco, Buxton, Hollis, and Kennebunk. He came making great pretensions to religion, in the guise of a Freewill-Baptist, but has proved a common destroyer to every Society that gave him countenance. With a few wretches like himself he succeeded in making a considerable party, and the most horrid enormities have been practiced among them. He was at length seized and brought to trial before our Supreme Court held at York last week. Fiver seval indictments were found against him by the Grand Jury, all for Adultery, and crimes of a similar nature. He was first tried for Lascivious behaviour, connected with supposed adultery, & though the specifictions were substantiated to the satisfaction of the Court, and to the most of those who heard the trial, yet the Jury after sitting all night could not agree. -- One man of them, being, as is supposed, a Disciple of Cochran's dissented. He was then tried on a secind indictment for adultery. The evidence was full against him, and though denied on oath by the members of his Society, yet almost every person was satisfied. And though Cochran was ably defended by Messrs. Holmes & Wallingford, yet in about one hour the Jury found him guilty. But now comes the winding up of the drama. -- Cochran's bondsmen though holden in the Bonds of 1800 Dols. reposed such confidence in him and were so certain of his acquital, that they had never delivered him up to the Court; and after the case was given to the Jury, he absconded, and has not yet been found. Consequently his sentence was not pronounced. It would probably have been three years inprisonment at hard labour in the State Prison. These facts are stated that the public may have correct information respecting this infamous creature. On some accounts it would be desirable that the minutes of the trial should be published, but it is hoped at least that Printers of Newspapers will state these facts that none in the community may be imposed on again by this fell destroyer.
             Yours, &c.              A. B.
Wells, May 24, 1819

N. B. Cochran is a man under forty years of age, perhaps not more than thirty five, is of a common size, well built, has a light complexion, and rather sandy hair. He dresses decently in dark clothes, and can put on somewhat the manners of a gentleman. This description is given that he may the more easily be known.

(We have seen a pamphlet, published by a Baptist minister of regular standing in New Gloucester, giving an account of Cochran and his deluded followers. -- It appears that under the guise of religion they have committed the most indecent and abominable acts of adultery, in every possible shape human depravity could devise. One of their leading tenets was to dissolve the ties of matrimony as suited their convenience -- and a promiscuous sexual intercourse was tolerated, by each male being allowed to take seven wives! It seems Cochran, the High Priest of iniquity, had had nearly half his female followers for wives in the course of his ministration, which has been two years standing. Where has been the vigilance of the civil authority, all this time?)

Note 1: The above article was reprinted from the June 1, 1819 issue of the Portland Gazette. See the Georgetown National Messenger of Oct. 27, 1819 for an account of Cochran's detection, in the company with one of his leading adherents -- a certain Mr. Hill -- and his subsequent apprehension. The Mr. Hill there spoken of was probably a member of the Samuel Hill family of Hollis, Maine. See excerpts and paraphrases from the Oct. 1832 missionary journal entries of Elders Orson Hyde and Samuel H. Smith, who visited with Mr. Hill and other "Cochranites" during their Mormon mission in that region.

Note 2: Gideon T. Ridlon, in his 1895 book, Saco Valley Settlements, writes: "The Newburyport Herald (May or June, 1819) says: "We have seen a pamphlet, published by a Baptist minister of regular standing in New Gloucester [Maine], giving an account of Cochrane and his deluded followers..." The pamphlet thus described was Ephraim Stinchfield's Cochranism Delineated published at Boston in May by Hews & Goss. A correspondent of the Columbian Centinel responded to the pamphlet in that paper's issue of June 12th: "While I regreat the folly and depravity of human nature, which is therein displayed, I think this little performance calculated to do much good, as it shows to what horrid and destructive lengths people are in danger of being carried, when they renounce reason and common sense, in matters of religion. I hope it will have an extensive circulation in this quarter, and serve as a momento to those who are continually denouncing rational Christianity." -- see also: Joyce Butler's "Cochranism Delineated: A Twentieth-Century Study," in Charles E. Clark, et al., Maine in the Early Republic...(Hanover, NH: 1988).


New-England Galaxy & Masonic Magazine.
Vol. II.                           Boston, Mass., Friday, June 4, 1819.                           No. 86.


The last Portland Gazette announces the trial of Jacob Cochran, before the supreme court at York. Five indictments were found against him, for adultery and crimes of a similar nature, on one of which he was found guilty. While the jury were making up their verdict, Cochran absconded, thus leaving his bondsmen in the suds and cheating the state prison of a pious labourer. The Gazette states that Cochran had for two years made great pretensions to religion as a free will Baptist in the towns of Buxton, Hollis and Kennebunk. This "winding up of the drama," is not surprising to us, nor to any others who have seen and known how often the greatest pretensions to religion are masks to cover the grossest vices or the meanest villanies. If some who have lately made "these benighted regions," echo with their GRATITUDE and their RELIGIOUS ZEAL, should "wind up their drama" by a catastrophe similar to that above mentioned, no living being ought to be surprized.

Notes: (forthcoming)



No. 8.                                 Portsmouth, N. H., July, 1819.                                 Vol. I.


The career of this person has excited much agitation for about two years past in the eastern country, particularly in the county of York. He made his appearance under the guise of a Freewill Baptist preacher, and succeeded in collecting a considerable party. Those who have entured to expose his conduct, in any measure have been branded as persecutors, &c.; however, the mystery of iniquity has been discovered, and a final check put to its progress. Having had five several charges found against him by the Grand Jury, for adultery and crimes of a similar nature he was brought to trial before the Supreme Court held in York, in May last. He was first tried for lascivious behaviour connected with supposed adultery, and though the specifications were substantiated to the satisfaction of the court, yet the jury did not agree, one of them being, as it was supposed, a disciple of Cochran. He was then tried on a second indictment for adultery and the Jury after sitting about an hour found him gulity. At this time not having been given up by his bondsmen, Cochran absconded leaving his bondsmen accountable, for the sum of 1800 dollars.

Cochran is a man under 40 and perhaps not more than 35 years of age, common size, well built, light complexion and rather sandy hair. and dresses decently.

I have been thus particular that he might be the more easily known.

For a particular account of this man and his adherents, our readers are referred to a pamphlet published in New Gloucester, Me. by a highly esteemed Minister of the Gospel, of that place. This pamphlet is now for sale in this town.

Note 1: Jacob Cochran thus escaped justice in New Hampshire and evidently attempted to resume his religious imposition by fleeing to the neighboring Massachusetts "District" of Maine (which became a state in 1820). There he was apprehended on Oct. 8, 1819, again charged with lewd crimes, brought to trial, found guilty and sentenced to four years at the Charlestown Prison. See the article summarizing Cochran's "prophetic" career, along with those of Joseph Smith, Matthias, etc., published in the St. Louis Western Examiner of   Nov. 1, 1834. More on Jacob Cochran and the religious delusion he originated may be found at the web-page devoted to that subject.

Note 2: The "Rev." Jacob Cochran originally came from Enfield, New Hampshire, but his religious activities seem to have spanned the border region between that place and southern Maine, and to have eventually extended as far south as York County in the former state and into some of the eastern counties of Massachusetts. Cochran's impositions in York County, in what is now Maine, began in 1816-17, and the results were described by a contemporary reporter as "a religious hydrophobia... spreading in a number of the towns in the counties of York and Cumberland" At the height of its development, the cult leader's secret religious services included a sacred rite portraying the Genesis account of creation, during which Cochran directed his nude followers in acting out a Garden of Eden "temptation" scene, etc. He also taught and practiced the doctrine of "spiritual wifery," and other radical religious innovations. Following his release from the Charlestown State Prison (which must have occurred near the end of 1823), Cochran disappeared from public sight. It is unlikely that he soon ventured openly back into his native New Hampshire, where he might have been arrested and jailed on various charges (one of which was an unpaid 1819 debt of $1800 forfeited by his bondsmen). His shyness of New Hampshire justice abated in time, however, and some reports assert that in later years Cochran founded an institution at Stratham, New Hampshire (near Exeter) for his female followers and/or"spiritual wives," called the "Convent." Another account (not published until 1877) places Cochran in Genesee Co., New York, in 1827. There he founded a western colony for some of his followers in the (then) adjacent county of Allegany. Jacob Cochran eventually returned to Maine and lived there in obscurity as late as 1827. The last known informative newspaper report on the man places him in the act of commuting back and forth between Stratham, New Hampshire and South Hadley, Massachusetts, during the late summer of 1835. He is said to have died in southern Maine on March 9, 1836.


Vol. IV.                             Boston, Ma., July 24, 1819.                             No. 30.


The St. Louis Gazette, after giving some account of the testimonies existing in support of the opinion that there is now inhabiting the southern branches of the Missouri a race of men descended from the Welch emigrants, who embarked to the number of 323 persons, in ten vessels under Prince Madoc, in the year 1170 from north Wales, mentions that an expedition is now on foot for a thorough investigation of the fact. The persons engaged in the undertaking are Messrs. Roberts and Parry, Welchmen, who speak the language of north and south Wales. It is said that they are industrious persevering men, and that they will pursue the search as long as the probability of a discovery exists. -- Daily Adv.

Note: The St. Louis Missouri Gazette and Public Advertiser ran a two-part article on the alleged "Welsh Indians" in its issues of June 16 and June 23, 1819. The NewburyPort Herald reprinted the first segment, in its issue for July 27, 1819. A brief report on the subject, published in the St. Lewis Enquirer, was reprinted by the New York Geneva Gazette on Aug. 18, 1819.


Vol. XXIII.                           Newburyport, Mass., July 27, 1819.                           No. 34.

          From the St. Louis Gazette, June 16.

Welsh Indians. -- Among the many interesting subjects of inquiry, which at present engage the public attention, we are pleased to see it once more directed to discover the remnant of an interesting emigration. -- The idea may appear fanciful to many, and has been much ridiculed, but still we entertain falttering hopes of the existence of a race of men descended from the ancient Welsh emigrants. It is a fact well extablished in history, and we conceive beyond doubt, that in 1169 and 1170, Prince Madoc ab Owain Gwynedd, emigrated from NorthWales taking with him, as is said, 323 persons in 10 ships. The present inquiry originated with the Cymreiggdon Society of London. They adopted resolutions and proceedings on the subject, and they state the departure of Madoc and his landing on the coast of America as facts well known and undoubted; they also state that the Welsh or White Indians, as they are sometimes called, are spoken of by the following authors and writers, among others, viz: -- the Rev. Morgan Jones, of Wales, who said, that he had been amongst them four months in 1660, during which he preached to them; Rev. W. Wynne, in 1696; William Penn, in 1700; the Rev. Theophilus Evans of St. Davids, Brecknockshire, in 1740; John Filson, of Kentucky, in 1783; the Rev. Dr. Williams of Sydenham, in 1791; the Rev. John Hoekewalder, a Dutch Moravian Misionary, in 1792; William Owen Pugh, Esq., in 1798; John Roberts, of Howarden, Flint City, who saw one of the Welsh Indians in Washington City, in 1801; Mr. Childs of Jessamine City, (Ky.) who relates the account of Morris Griffiths, who had been amongst them 8 months in 1804. The society suggest that the present descendants of the emigrants are settled on the southern branches of the Missouri, and are called Padoucas or Padouciad, which they imagine to be derived from Madoc, by a usual change in the Welsh language. The like add, that several Welshmen from time to time have seen and conversed with them in the Welsh language, and others of different nations, who have seen them, say, they bear a great resemblance to the neighboring Indians, except in their colour, countenance and morality.

In addition to what the Cymreiggdon Society have said, there has lately appeared in the papers, a letter from O. Williams, a Welshman, and a merchant at Fells Point, Baltimore, in which he states, that he has known the people, that in 1817 he visited their settlements on the Padue river. That he conversed with them in the Welsh language.

It will be recollected by many of the old inhabitants, that John Thos. Evans, a Welshman, was in this country, in search of these Welsh Indians, in 1795. In that year, and 1796, he proceeded from St. Louis up the Missouri, in company with James Mackay, Esq. and examined all the country along the Missouri as far as the Mandan villages without success, and then gave up his design as fruitless, and returned to St. Louis after an absence of two years. But the writers of that day, and indeed all who were conversant with the accounts that have been given on the subject, regretted that Evans abondoned his search so soon. The location of the Welsh Indians, or White Indians, as they are sometimes called, has always been said to be about 2000 miles from the confluence of the Missouri, about 300 miles farther than Evans went, and that it generally took 15 or 20 days longer to descend the Missouri than he took. About 80 notices have been collected and given of their location in that place. Among others, Mr. Benjamin Jones, living on the Monongahela, near Pittsburgh, related, that a friend or neighbour of his saw two Indians at a place about 60 miles from the confluence of the Missouri who spoke a language unknown to all who heard them, until a Welshman entered, who understood them perfectly. These Indians resided about 2000 miles from the mouth of the Missouri, near its headwaters. J. D. Chisholm who has lived for many years among different Indian tribes, has also stated, that he had geard of the Welsh or White Indians, living above 2000 miles up the Missouri, and he represented the other Indians as being in a continual state of hostility with them. Chisholm also gave an account of their manners, which bears string marks of vivilization, and he related an instance of an Indian, who conversed with a Moses Shelby of Davisontown on Cumberland river, in the Welsh language. -- All the accounts locate these Welsh or White Indians at a distance of at least 2000 miles up the Missouri and on some of its headwaters or branches, which is about 300 miles farther than Evans and Mackay went. The evidence, therefore derived from their fruitless search must be considered inconclusive. The numerous testimonies of history to Madoc's emigration to America, and the more numerous accounts of the location of these persons, (Indians as they are called) whose manners, habits, and appearance strongly resemble that of the whites, and the repeated occurrence of that still stronger proof, viz.: conversation in the Welsh language with Indians, all tend to confirm the belief that the remnant of these interesting emigrants still exist somewhere. Their particular location is a matter of much doubt and uncertainty, notwithstanding the numerous testimonies to their location in a particular place. But certainly no plan could be devised, so well adapted to their discovery, as the one now on foot. Messrs. Roberts and Parry, are Welshmen themselves, feel all the interest of the subject, speak the languages both of North and South Wales, are persevering and industrious, and will continue their search as long as a probability of discovery exists.

Their object is an interesting one, and it well deserves, and we sincerely hope will be crowned with complete success.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Massachusetts Spy, or Worcester Gazette.
Vol. 48.                             Worcester, Ma., October 13, 1819.                             No. 33.

Extract of a Letter from Saco, (Me.) Oct 8th.

"I congratulate you, with the community, by informing, that the notorious culprit, Jacob Cochran, is in custody of the Commonwealth, (in Alfred Jail.) He was taken in this town, near his establishment, last evening, about 9 o'clock, by Mr. Rishwarth Jordan and Mr. John Banks, who deserve great credit for their spirit and perseverance. They pursued him, over fences and into swamps, and finally took him, though not without great trouble. He aimed several blows at Mr. Jordan's head; but fortunately only one hit him, and that on the arm, with a green maple stick, four inches round. I am happy to add, it did not injure him much."

Note: Compare the above news report with a similar account, reprinted in the Georgetown National Messenger of Oct. 27, 1819.


Vol. XVIII.                     Amherst, N. H., November 20, 1819.                     No. 9.


Jacob Cochran was sentenced last week at Alfred for the crimes of adultery and gross ludeness, to 13 days solitary confinement in the State Prison and 4 years hard labor.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. ?                                 Boston, Ma.,  January ?, 1820.                                 No. ?

Extract of a letter from a gentleman in the interior of New York
to a friend in this vicinity.

Passing near Dryden, I was induced to enquire after news from the 'Pilgrims,' who were visited at their encampment in that town, by Mr. Chase, missionary, whose account of them was published in the Am. Baptist Magazine a year ago.

I was told that their prophet led them westward to the Allegheny river, where they took a large boat, and went down that river in search of the 'promised land,' to which their pretended prophet was conducting them; that on their arrival at a certain island, they disembarked, and the prophet began to penetrate the soil with his staff, to discover if there were any indications of their approach to his uptopian Canaan. He at length announced to his deluded followers that this island was in very deed, the sought for land; in proof of which, his staff, which he left in the ground, would, at a given hour, put forth buds and blossom! but that in the mean time, himself, and priest must go to the main land, ' and seek the Lord.' They accordingly took the boat together with all the provisions and money (of both which they had picked up a considerable quantity on the road) and departed; leaving the rest of the party, augmented to about 70 persons, on the island to wait the issue of the prophet's miracle. The given hour however went by, and the prophet's staff remained but a barren stick. Neither bud nor blossom, prophet nor priest, appeared; and what was still worse, they had neither bread nor meat nor the means of procuring either.

In this distressing situation they remained three whole days, when they were providentially discovered & taken up by some passing boats. Neither their prophet nor priest have since been heard of, and the "pilgrims" made the best of their way to their several homes.

For the authenticacy of this account I cannot vouch further than to say that I heard it related within a few miles of the place where Mr. Chase saw them, and where the prophet acquired several new followers; some of whom as I was informed, have returned to tell their own pitiable story.

Note 1: The above text was taken from a reprint that appeared in the Carlisle, PA. Republican of Jan. 11, 1820.

Note 2: For a response to this account (as well as a couple of corrections) see the Philadelphia Union of Jan. 26, 1820.


Vol. XX.                     Pittsfield, Mass, Tuesday, February 9, 1820.                    No. 1012.

The Pilgrims,

Who, two or three years ago, rose up in Canada and Vermont, were led by their prophet to the Allegany river, where they took boat, descended the stream to an island, and dismebarked. The prophet and his priest made some excuse for a short absence, took the treasury box of the company, left them destitute of provisions, and never returned. -- The company, amounting to about 70 in number, thus abandoned, returned to their several homes. So that the new sect is dispersed.

Note: The above item was evidently excerpted from a somewhat unreliable report that appeared in the Boston Christian Watchman of in January.

Woodstock  Observer.

Vol. I.                     Woodstock, Vt., Tues., February 15, 1820.                    No. 6.


Among those deluded people that went from this town two or three years ago, calling themselves pilgrims, was Mr. Joseph Ball, well known as a preacher, before he became a pilgrim.

People of candor and reflection then felt a degree of pity for the pilgrims; having no doubt but that the leader was a gross impostor and the followers a most deluded company. -- However, they undertook their pilgrimage with great zeal, nothing doubting but that their attainments in holy things were far superior to any thing known or enjoyed by Christians in general. It may be pleasing to many to learn definitely the result of this pilgrimage, and to hear the language of Mr. Ball on this subject, under the date of Nov. 28, 1819, at New Madrid, Territory of Missouri, he writes this to an old friend, whom he wholly deserted when he beacme a pilgrim.

"The heavens declare his glory and the firmament showeth his handy works." Having obtained help of God, I continue until now. Although at great distance from thee, my brother, yet I have not forgotten the sweet opportunities I have had with you and your family. I want to see you and yours again, but the distance forbids the thought.

I left the pilgrims, June 29th, 1818, after being convinced that Isaac Bullard * was the most terrible impostor that ever trod American shores. In this journey I have bought wit and will try to keep it.

The place of my residence is seventy-five miles from the mouth of the Ohio river, in latitude 30 degrees and some minutes. The climate is very warm, the soil rich and fertile. The inhabitants are given to all kinds of wickedness, duelling not excepted -- yet are kind to the poor, &c. &c.

He speaks of the earthquake heretofore noticed in the newspapers as follows:

"The earth has been shaken here to such a degree as to make Lakes of dry land, dry land of large Lakes. The convulsion was so rapid as to throw large quantities of fish nearly a mile on the shore. During this terrible scene, the people were crying, the cattle bellowing, the earth rending, sand and water flying ten or fifteen feet in the air, the Mississippi changing its natural course, and running back with great rapidity. This terrified the people some, but when it was ended every man was his own again, and thought the bitterness of death was past, &c."
* This Isaac Bullard was their leader. He came from Canada, called himself a prophet. He taught as never man taught -- That is he taught people to act like wild beasts of the desert -- and called it Religion.

Note 1: For more on the Rev. Joseph Ball, see Rev. Ira Chase's Jan. 6, 1818 report in The American Baptist Magazine and Zadock Thompson's 1842 History of Vermont (in notes appended to the Sussex Register of Sept. 15, 1817).

Note 2: Unfortunately Ball provides no details regarding his separation from the Vermon Pilgrims on "June 29th, 1818." According to an 1820 letter written by Fanny Ball, to the Shakers at New Lebanon, Ohio, the brothers Joseph and Peter Ball deserted the Pilgrims soon after the group landed on Pilgrims' Island (now Blaker Towhead, Tennessee), opposite Little Prairie (now Caruthersville) Missouri, during "the summer of 1818." Following the Balls' departure, the Pilgrims were victemized by passing riverboatmen. They eventually left the island and Isaac Bullard pronounced the farm of John Hardeman Walker to be their "promised land." Walker evicted the Pilgrims and they continued down the Mississippi towards its confluence with the Arkanasas River (where their unhappy pilgrimage finally ended).


Vol. ?                                 Bellows Falls, Vermont, June 26, 1820.                                 No. ?


We have heard many marvelous tales of the efficacy of the Divining Rod, but have given them no more credit than we have to the feats of the Seven Champions of Christendom, or Monk Lewis' Tales of Terror. The following, however, from the British Quarterly Review, places the subject in a point of view, which is to us entirely novel, and cannot fail to be interesting to the curious and philosophical reader.

The Divining Rod.

The natural magician smiled at the mystical devotee, whom he affected to treat either as the dupe of his own enthusiasm, or as an impostor. Trusting only to the secret powers of nature, he paced along with the divining rod of hazel * which turns in obedience, attracted by the effluvia from the metals concealed beneath the soil.
* The employment of the divining rod when employed to discover ore or metal, was associated with "many superstitions observances. The fact, however, of the discovery of water being effected by it when held in the hands of certain persons seems indubitable. The following narrative, which has been lately communicated to us by a friend residing in Norfolk, puts the subject in the clearest point of view. And we shall simply state that the parties, whose names are well known to many of our readers, are utterly incapable either of deceiving others, or of being deceived themselves.
"January 21st, 1818. -- It is just fifty years since Lady N.'s attention was first called to this subject; she was then sixteen years old, and was on a visit with her family at a chateau in Provence, the owner of which wanted to find a spring to supply his house, and for that purpose had sent for a peasant, who could do so with a twig. The English party ridiculed the idea, but still agreed to accompany the man, who, after walking some way, pronounced that he had arrived at the object of his search, and they accordingly dug and found him correct. -- He was quite an uneducated man, and could give no account of the faculty in him or of the means which he employed, but many "others, he said, could do the same.

"The English party now tried for themselvcs, but all in vain, till it came to the turn of Lady N., when, to her amazement and alarm, she found that the same faculty was in her, as in the peasant, and on her return to England she often exerted it, though in studious concealment. She was afraid lest she should be ridiculed, or should, perhaps get the name of a witch, and in either case she thought that she should certainty never get a husband.

"Of late years her scruples began to wear away, and when Dr. Hutton published Ozanam's Researches in 1803, where the effect of the divining rod is treated us absurd (vol. iv. p. 260-7.) she wrote a long letter to him, signed X. Y. Z., stating the facts which she knew. The Doctor answered it, begging further information; Lady N. wrote again, and he, in his second letter, requested the name of his correspondent: that Lady N. also gave.

"A few years afterwards she went, at Dr. Hutton's particular request, to see him at Woolwich, and she then shewed him the experiment, and discovered a spring in a field which he had lately bought near the New College, then building. This same field he has since sold to the College, and for a larger price in consequence of the spring.

"Lady N. this morning shewed the experiment to Lord G., Mr. S., and me, in the park at W. She look a thin, forked hazel twig, about 16 inches long, and held it by the end, the joint pointing downwards. When she came to a place where water was under the ground, the twig immediately bent, and the motion was more or less rapid as she approached or withdrew from the spring. When just over it, the twig turned so quick as to snap, breaking near her fingers, which by pressing it were indented, and heated, and almost blistered; a degree of agitation was also visible in her face. Wlien she first made the experiment, she says this agitation was great, and to this hour she cannot wholly divest herself of it, though it gradually decreases. She repeated the trial several times, in different parts of the park, and her statements were always accurate. Among those persons in England, who have the same faculty, she says she never knew it so strong in any as in Sir C. H. and Miss F. It is extraordinary that no effect is produced at a well or ditch, or where earth does not interpose between the twig and the water. The exercise of the faculty is independent of any volition."
So far our narrator, in whom, we repeat, the most implicit confidence may be placed. The faculty so inherent in certain persons is evidently the same with that of the Spanish Zahoriess, though the latter do not employ the hazel twig.

Note: The above reprint from "Popular Mythology of the Middle Ages," in the 1820 vol. of the Quarterly Review, leaves out this continuation of the original article:   "These are delusions, thought a bolder sage who had been instructed in the secrets of Cornelius Agrippa: and he opened the sealed book which taught him to charm the mirror, in which were seen all things, however distant or hidden from mortal view, and he buried it by the side of the cross-road, where the carcass of the murderer was wasting on the wheel, or he opened the newly made grave and caused the eyes of the troubled corpse to shed their glare upon the surface of the polished chrystal. Telesms and pentacles, and constellated idols also lent their aid. Such were the implements of art belonging to an Italian or Spanish Cabalist...."


Vol. XXV.                           Newburyport, Mass., April 13, 1821.                           No. 4.



There is in Salisbury a Methodist Preacher who publicly professes to have the gift of prophecy and discerning of spirits -- to have the faith of Abraham -- believes he could stop the mouths of lions if cast into their den as was Daniel, or that he could go into the fiery furnace without injury -- asserts that he is one of the prophets that was to come in the latter days -- that the dawn of the millennium has commenced -- he being spiritual judgeth all things, himself being judged of no man -- speaking of himself he says he can tell whether a man is possessed of a good or bad spirit by looking him in the face -- says he speaks the truth in Christ, and lies not. His followers are daily increasing, firmly believing and confirming his words.     F. G.

==> We would recommend to the disciples if this prophet to take their bibles & turn to Jer. xiv. 14 -- Matt. xxiv. 11 -- 2d Peter ii. 1 -- 1st John iv. 1 -- 2d Timo. first part of the 3d chap.

Note: Given the fact that Salisbury, Massachusetts is but a few miles south of the Rev. Jacob Cochran's old "stomping grounds" in southern Maine, the possibility exis that this unnamed "Preacher" was in someway connected with (or influenced by) either the Cochranite or Osgoodite religious sect.


Vol. XXV.                           Newburyport, Mass., May 1, 1821.                           No. 9.


A female has been tried in N. York, for having two husbands. The magistrate who married her last time not being able to identify her, she was acquitted...

At the Supreme Court of Maine, now in session at York, several persons are to take their trial for lewd and lascivious conduct. They are of the sect of Cochranites.

Note: Unfortunately this report does not identify those York Co. Cochranites charged with "lewd and lascivious conduct." Persumably Jacob Cochran, the founder of the cult, was then still in prison and was not among those so charged.


Vol. XIX.                           Portland, Me., March 26, 1822.                           No. 993.

Note: All Maine newspaper articles have been moved to a separate web-page.


Vol. ? No. ? ]               Keene, N. H., Sat., April 13, 1822.               [ $1.75 per ann.

Money Diggers, -- A Hallowell paper states that 12 or 14 men are now engaged in digging for pots of money in Pittston on the Eastern bank of the Kennebec river. The digging was commenced in 1817, and a vast excavation has been made 75 feet deep. The leader of the "visionary gang," is said to be a substantial farmer in the neighborhood, who dreamed for three successive nights that much treasure was deposited there by the bucanners who visited the coast in its early settlement. Many of the original partners in the concern are said to have sold out at an advance -- but the few whose faith is yet strong preserve a profound silence, expecting momentarily to seize the treasure, their last shilling being nearly expended. Quere, Did Michael Martin disclose the secret to his Executor, who made his will, so that the treasure buried in Ireland can be discovered. If so, Mississipi, or South Sea Stock never sold better than this would, if exposed in shares, in this enlightened age and country. -- There is almost enough rusting, according to his own account, to fit out Capt. Symmes on his expedition to the interior world.

Note 1: Pittston is located a few miles downriver from Augusta, Kennebek Co., Maine. This is not far from the colonies inhabited during this same period by the followers of the polygamist cultist Jacob Cochran. The "Cochranites" lived mostly in York and Cumberland counties, thirty to forty miles southwest of Pittston. It is possible that some of the "Cochranites" (who like Augusta Adams, the mother of anti-Mormon researcher James T. Cobb, later became Mormon polygamists) were engaged in money digging activities in southern Maine during the early 1820s.

Note 2: See also the Sentinel's follow-up story on this interesting subject, published three weeks later.


Woodstock  Observer.

Vol. III.                     Woodstock, Vt., Tues., April 16, 1822.                    No. ?

From Professor Silliman's Journal of Science.

Divining  Rod.

On the Divining Rod, with reference to the use made of it in exploring for springs of water -- in a letter to the Editor, dated Norfolk, (Conn.) Oct. 23, 1820.

Dear Sir, ... Permit me to suggest the propriety of inserting an article emnodying a sufficient number of well authenticated facts on the use of "mineral rods" in discovering fountains of water under ground, to put their utility beyond a doubt....

My class-mate, the Rev. Mr. Steele, of Bloomfield, N. Y. called on me a few weeks ago, and in conversation on the subject, informed me that the rod would "work" in his hands. A twig of the peach was employed on the occasion. It was at once manifest that it bent and often [withed] down from an elevation of 45 degrees to a perpendicular in some spots; and when we had passed them, it assumed its former elevation. At one spot in particular, the effect was very striking, and he at once said there must be a very large current of water passing under that place, or it must be very near the surface. I informed him that a large perennial spring issued at the distance of perhaps fifty rods, and requested him to trace the current, without informing him of the direction of the spring. He did so, and it led him nearly in a direct line to the spring, which was so situated as to orevent his discovering it till within one or two rods of its mouth. The mode of his tracing it resembled that of a dog on his master's track crossing back and forth, and he proceeded with as little hesitation. The result however inexplicable removed all my doubts. It was in vain for me to reply against the evidence of my senses, by saying, How can this be? and why should not these rods operate in the hands of one as well as another?

On a journey I have since taken to the south east part of New Hampshire, I was pleased to learn the practical use which has been made of these rods in that region, for a year or two past, in fixing the best places for wells. I was informed by a good authority, of a man, in that vicinity, who could not only designate the best spot, but could tell how many feet it would be needed to dig to find water; and that he had frequently been employed for this purpose without having failed in a single instance. I will recite one case out of a number which were told me. A man who had dug in vain for a good well near his house, requested his advice. On experiment with the rods the best place was found to be directly under a favorite shade in front of their house, and there the proprietor was assured he would find abundance of water at a moderate depth. But on reflection he was loath to sacrifice the tree, and concluded it would answer as well to dig pretty near it. He dug; and after sinking the shaft much deeper than he gad been directed, abandoned it in dispair. He soon complained of his disappointnent. "Did you then dig in the precise spot I told you?" "I dug as near it as I could without injuring the tree." "Go home and dig up that tree, and if you do not find water at the specified depth, I will defray the expense." He did so; and obtained an excellent well at the given depth.

As to the depth, it occurred to me at once, when seeing the operation of the rods in Mr. Steele's hands, that it might be easily ascertained, by taking the angle they made at a few feet beyond the spot where they became directly verticle; and this, I conclude is the mode of ascertaining it, tho I was not informed.
                            Yours with respect.
                                        Ralph Emerson.

Note 1: The "Rev. Mr. Steele" who demonstrated a knowledge of the workings of the divining rod was evidently the Rev. Julius Steele (1786-1849) who ministered for the Congregational Church in Bloomfield township, Ontario County, New York from 1815 to 1828. In 1830 Bloomfield township was split into East and West Bloomfield. West Bloomfield borders Mendon township and touches Victor township, in Monroe County, (the area where Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball joined the LDS Church in 1832). East Bloomfield touches Farmington township, which was split into Farmington and Manchester in 1821. Manchester was the boyhood home of Joseph Smith. It seems more than likely that both Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball (who were wont to attend all sorts of relgious meetings, camp meetings, etc., in their neighborhood) knew Rev. Julius Steele prior to his departure from their neck of the woods in 1828. According to Mormon historian D. Michael Quinn, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were no strangers to the operation of divining rods. See Quinn's "Latter-day Saint Prayer Circles" in the Fall 1978 issue of BYU Studies, where the historian says "during the Nauvoo period Apostle Heber C. Kimball 'inquired by the rod' in prayer," etc.

Note 2: Heber C. Kimball's parents, Solomon F. Kimball and Anna Spalding Kimball, moved from Sheldon, Vermont to Bloomfield township, Ontario in 1811 and young Heber lived there until 1820. Solomon F. Kimball is listed in the 1820 Ontario Co. Federal Census as living in Mendon township, just north of West Bloomfield. Rev. Julius Steele is listed on page 379 of the 1820 Ontario Co. enumeration for Bloomfield -- the page previous lists the Moses Fairchild family and page 376 lists Sally Fairchild's family, among whom was William Buell. Fairchild. Oddly enough, the 1820 listing shows Sally Fairchild and Rev. Julius Steele living in close proximity to members of the Alger family, probable close relatives of Samuel Alger and Clarissa Hancock Alger, the parents of Joseph Smith, Jr.'s first plural "wife." Another near neighbor was Alpheus Cutler (later a notable Mormon), along with various members of the Hamblin, Noble, and Buell families. Joseph Bates Noble's father once worked for one of the Bloomington Fairchilds. For William Buell. Fairchild's recollection of early events in Bloomfield, the origin of Mormonism, etc. see his 1845 article, "Mormonism and the Mormons."

Note 3: It appears unlikely that the "Ralph Emerson" who contributed the above letter to Silliman's Journal was the famous Ralph Waldo Emerson. The correspondent says that Julius Steele was his "class-mate." Rev. Steele graduated first from Yale College in 1811 and then from Andover Theological Seminary in 1814, while Ralph Waldo Emerson attended the Boston Latin School and graduated from Harvard University in 1821. On the other hand, a Rev. Dr. Ralph Emerson (1787-1863) graduated from Yale College in 1811 and later became a professor at Andover Theological Seminary.


Vol. ? No. ? ]               Keene, N. H., Sat., May 4, 1822.               [ $1.75 per ann.

Every country has its money diggers, who are full in the belief that vast treasures lay concealed in the earth. So far from being a new project, it dates its origin with the first man who ever weilded a spade. 'Tis as old as Adam. Even in these latter days, we find men so much in love with the "root of all evil." and so firm in the belief that it may be dug up, that they will traverse hill and dale, climb the loftiest mountain, and even work their way into the bowels of the earth in search of it. Indeed digging for money hid in the earth, is a very common thing; and in this State, it is even considered an honorable and profitable employment. We could name, if we pleased, at least five hundred respectable men, who do, in the simplicity and sincerity of their hearts, verily believe that immense treasures lie concealed upon our Green Mountains, many of whom have been for a number of years, most industriously and perserveringly engaged in digging it up. Some of them have succeeded beyond their most sanguine expectations. One gentleman in Parkerstown, on the summit of the mountain, after digging with unyielding confidence and untiring diligence, for ten or twelve years, found a sufficient quantity of money to build him a comodious house for his own convenience, and to fill it with comforts for the weary traveller. On stopping lately to refresh, we were delighted with the view of an anchor on the sign, emblematical of his hope of success, while we left him industriously digging for more. Another gentleman on the east shore of Lake Champlain, we are credibly informed, has actually dug up the enormous sum of fifty thousand dollars! The incredulous and unbelieving may stare at this assertion, but it is nevertheless true, and we do not hesitate to declare our belief that digging for money is a most certain way of obtaining it. Much, however, depends on the skillful use of the genuine mineral rod. Don't dig too deep, is an appropriate maxim with all who are versed in the art. Wood's Iron Plough, skillfully guided, is sure to break the enchantment, and turn up the glittering dust in every furrow. Countless treasures yet remain hid in the earth. Speed the plough -- ply the hoe -- 'Twill all come to light.

P. S. The best time for digging money is early in the morning, while the dew is on
Montpelier (Vt.) Watchman.

Note 1: The above article evidently first appeared in the Montpelier Watchman in April of 1822. See also that paper's issue of Jan. 3, 1826 for a similar article by the same satirical journalist. This account was widely reprinted in New England and among the New Englander-inhabited towns of western New York. The article appeared as a reprint in the Palmyra Herald and Canal Advertiser on July 24, 1822 and the Batavia Republican Advocate of Aug. 2, 1822. The money-digging article was probably also published in James D. Bemis' Canandaigua paper, the Ontario Repository, at least it was subsequently reprinted in Bemis' Farmer's Diary or Ontario Almanac for 1823. This booklet was distributed by various agents in western New York, Upper Canada, etc., including the printer Benjamin Franklin Cowdery, whose younger cousin, Oliver, was described by one acquaintance as having been "an itinerant pamphlet pedlar and occasionally a journeyman printer," and by another acquaintance as "a pedestrian Pedlar" who "visited the towns and villages of western New York and Canada," hocking along the way, items like Bemis'Farmer's Diary with its fascinating account of money-digging.

Note 2: The Montpelier Watchman's reporting of such things as the "skillful use of the genuine mineral rod" and the need "to break the enchantment" guarding buried treasures, were matters taken rather seriously by certain proponents and practitioners of the money-digging trade in New York. It is perhaps no coincidence that Oliver Cowdery himself was skilled in the use of the mineral rod himself, or that money-digging schemes were then under development in the home area of Oliver's cousin, Joseph Smith, Jr. As for Benjamin Franklin, Cowdery, he may have discovered that the money-diggers came a little too close to his own residence for comfort: soon after he sold his newspaper office in Newport, New York, episodes of treasure-seeking trickery also reportedly broke out in that little village (now called Albion).


Vol. I.                                  Poultney, Vt., Wednesday, April 16, 1823.                                  No. 25.

From the Detroit Gazette, March 7.   


Last week a manuscript volume, of between 3 and 4 hundred pages, was discovered by Col. Edwards, of this town, under one of his buildings. The book is in a tolerable state of preservation, and is one of the finest specimens of penmanship that we have ever seen. It has travelled the round of the literary circle of this place for the last four or five days, and it still remains a mystery! The characters in which it is written are unknown; they are neither Hebrew, Greek, nor Saxon, and the only parts of it hitherto intelligible, are a few Latin quotations. It is now deposited in this office, and those who are curious in these matters are invited to examine it.



Beardsley, Cyrus,  Poult.
Barbur, Russell,      "
Brown, John,         "
Barlow, Nath'l,  Hampton
Cowdry, Kesiah,    "

Note 1: The essentials of this Detroit Gazette news report, along with subsequent developments, were noticed and reprinted in various U. S. newspapers. See, for example, the Ontario Repository of Apr. 15, 1823 and the Pittsburgh Mercury of May 20, 1823. The Ontario Repository was published in the area where the Joseph Smith, Sr. family was then living; and the Pittsburgh Mercury was published in the city where Rev. Sidney Rigdon was then residing. It is not known for certain whether or not Oliver Cowdery had permanently moved his residence from Rutland co., VT to western NY by this date, but it is possible that he was still in the Poultney area when the article was published. The post office letter list shows his step-mother, Keziah Cowdery living at Hampton in the adjacent township of Fair Haven, a few miles west of Poultney. The Cowdery home at this time was apparently still in Wells township, a few miles south east of Hampton.

Note 2: Col. Abraham Edwards of Detroit was a partner in local projects, finances, politics and business with Stephen Mack, the brother of Lucy Mack Smith and uncle of her son, Joseph Smith, Jr. It is highly likely that Stephen Mack had at least some connection with this purported discovery of a buried ancient manuscript. The manuscript publicized in Detroit in 1823 was reportedly written in an unknown language containing strange characters. According to the Detroit Gazette of May 16th, a transcript of part of the unreadable manuscript was sent to Dr. Samuel Mitchell, the famous professor in New York City. It may be highly significant that Stephen Mack's nephew (Joseph Smith, Jr.) was also involved in the recovery of a buried, ancient, and unreadable manuscript, a transcript of the characters from which was delivered to the same Dr. Michell in New York City a few years later.

Note 3: The Poultney Gazette was founded in 1822 by Sanford Smith and John R. Shute. At the end of 1824 Messrs. Smith and Shute renamed their Poultney newspaper, The Northern Spectator. The building housing the Northern Spectator office survived into the late 1800s and an early photograph of the structure later provided an illustration for a picture postcard. The newspaper eventually gained some fame for its having provided the early journalistic training for the famous New York editor, Horace Greeley (who began work there in 1826). Smith and Shute were also the publishers of the 1823 and 1825 editions of the Rev. Ethan Smith's singular book, A View of the Hebrews. See chapter ten of the 1875 book, A Brief History of the Town of Poultney, Vermont for further details regarding this newspaper, Horace Greeley, etc.


ns Vol. I.                           Salem, Mass., Friday,  August 15, 1823.                           No. 35.


A late Albany paper relates the following facts of this celebrated freebooter, who was once the terror of the ocean; and whose fame will probably be handed down to a thousand succeeding generations, through the old ballad of "As I sailed, as I sailed," &c.

Captain Kidd (so memorable in history) was a pirate during the reign of king William, has also found his way into our colonial records. According to Smollett, the colonies of North America had grown rich by piracy during the war with Spain. Kidd had offered to suppress these freebooters, provided government would furnish him with a ship of thirty guns; and the admiralty being either unwilling or unable to afford him the proposed aid, a private subscription was set on foot by the lod chancellor, the duke of Shrewsbury, the earls of Romney, Oxford, and Bellamont, sir Edward Harrison, and col. Livingston, of New York. The king had promised to contribute one half of the expense, reserving to himself one tenth of the profits; but he never advanced the money. -- Kidd, thus equopped, set sail from Plymouth, and soon after turned pirate himself. He divided the booty which he had taken in the East Indies with his crew, burned his own ship, and sailed, in a prize which he had captured, to the West Indies. There he purchased a sloop, in which he steered for North America. Arriving on the coast of New York, he sent one Emmet, to make his peace with Bellamont, the governor of the province, who inveigled him into negociation, and caused him to be arrested. Eventually he was taken to England, and there tried for piracy and murder, in 1701, and executed.

During his piratical career, he visited Coeymans [south Albany Co., on the Hudson R.] and Albany, and had a secret place of retirement on or near a hill about two miles south of Albany, (and which still bears his name, viz. Kiddenhooghten, or, as it is improperly called, Kittenhooghten.)he made a cave, which is hidden from human observation, in which he buried 50 boxes of gold, and laid upon them 13 human bodies of those whom he had murdered, in order to serve as a talisman against the prying curiosity of such as were in search of hidden treasure.

Mrs. Goeway, the wife of Gerrit Goeway, a grave and elderly matron, affirms, that her mother, who lived at a very advanced age, has frequently stated to her while a mere girl, that Kidd remained at Coeymans during part of two seasons, secreted ina barn belonging to one of the name of Coeymans; and afterwards in a mill, called Livingston's mill. Whether these stories can be relied on for accuracy, I will not undertake to say; but this much can be said with truth, it is appears from the records, that on the 24th of March, 1691, captain Kidd complained to the governor and council of New York, that one of his men had been pressed from the vessel by captain Hicks, and the governor and council ordered, "upon the consideration of the good service performed by captain Kidd, not only to their majesty's forces, but others, their majesty's good subjects," that the man be restored to him. On the 17th of August, 1691, he brought a prize into the port of New York, and the governor and council resolved, that "paying the king's tenths, and the governor's fifteenths," no other duty to be paid for the prize.

Would not the piratical deeds by Kidd -- the treasure he has buried -- and the incantations he has performed in those midnight orgies, which were celebrated by him and his kindred spirits, form as good foundation for an historical novel as any contained in the Waverley novels, so much sought after and admired?

[notice of recent publications, "no. vii."] ...A Letter to Hull Barton, an excommunicated member from the Society of Friends, now a New Light Preacher. By Notus Nemini.

Note: See Glyndon G. Van Deusen's article, "A Young American..." in the Jan. 1944 issue of Rochester History, for a summary of the early years of Thurlow Weed's autobiography. Weed grew up at Catskill, thirty miles south of Albany. The village of Coeymans is located on the Hudson, about half-way between the two towns. Van Deusen provides this paraphrase from Weed's account: "Sometimes the older men let an active, willing youngster [Thurlow] go with them when they hunted for Captain Kidd's treasure, a youth who watched not a little terrified as they cut a black cat's throat so that the spurt of blood would mark the place to dig." The sacrifical blood meant to propitiate the spirits of the murdered guardians Kidd had supposedly left in the New York soil to protect his buried chests of gold. However, Kidd's hidden fortune proved to be an elusive prize for money-diggers: some believed that Kidd's buried chests could "slip away" and propel themselves for many miles underground, until they reached new hiding places, safe from the treasure seekers' picks and shovels.


Vol. XVII.                           New Bedford, Mass.,  August 15, 1823.                           No. 5.

Hull  Barton.

Just received, and for sale at the Store occupied by Andrew Gerrish, jun.

A LETTER TO HULL BARTON, an excommunicated member from the Society of Friends, now a New Light Preacher; shewing that he never was called to the work of the Minustry; that he is not qualified for it, and that his Doctrine is that of ranterism; and consequently in direct opposition to the Gospel of Christ.

Note 1: The enigmatic Rev. Hull Barton must have been a colorful character. Although his name is not commonly mentioned in the old histories (nor even in the census records), he appears to have changed his religious affiliation about as frequently as some folks change their socks. George W. Ogden, in the above mentioned 1823 Quaker pamphlet, accused Barton of having been "excommunicated... from the Society of Friends" and having subsequently joined up with the New Light Quakers (not to be confused with Elias Smith's "New Light" Christians, which Hull Barton may have also been a member of at one time). The Quaker leader Stephen W. Gould reported his first encounter with Barton (whom Gould identifies as "a nephew" of Henry and Wager Hull of Nine Partners, NY) in his journal entries of June 1 and 2, 1823. Early Quaker diarist Joseph R. Anthony's Life in New Bedford a hundred years ago... records the young Barton (then about twenty-four) coming to New Bedford from Dutchess Co., New York and preaching a New Light sermon on June 8, 1823. Barton remained in the town until Aug. 13, 1823, when he returned to New York. The Ogden pamphlet (then supposed to have been written by Job Otis) was published at that time. See Barton's response, in his own 1823 tract, An Exposition of Facts in a Letter to Stephen Gould. This was followed in 1826 with his pamphlet, A Discourse... for the relief of the Boston Bard. By 1827 Barton was editing a short-lived, New Light publication entitled, Wisdom & The Aletheian Messenger. The next known incident in this religious seeker's activities came in the form of his own report of an 1827 visit with Jacob Cochran at Hollis. Whether Hull Barton subsequently converted to Cochranism, or merely assumed control of one of that sect's factions, is uncertain. An 1828 account, from Kennebunk, Maine, reported that Barton had been made the pastor of a Cochranite congregation there, but that sect is not known to have ordained ministers -- besides which, Rev. Barton is said to have altered the Kennebunk congregation's original Passover observation, an innovation Jacob Cochran probably would not have allowed. The Kennebeck church must have been something like a "reformed" Cochranite/Quaker society.

Note 2: With the arrival of Mormonism in New England, that new sect captured Barton's attention. In his 1966 Dialogue article, "The Quest for Religious Authority and the Rise of Mormonism," Mario S. De Pillis provides an account of "Michael Hull Barton of western Massachusetts," who, having traveled "extensively throughout New England seeking the one true church... found himself torn between the Mormons and the Shakers. Finally, in 1831 he started from Western Massachusetts for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to be baptized by a Mormon elder. On the way back to his home his 'conscience seized him and his sins stared him in the face.' Retiring to the woods to pray, he received the spiritual light which turned him toward the nearest Shaker community in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts." How long Barton remained a Shaker, history does not recall.


Vol. I.                                 Boston, Mass., Friday, October 1, 1824.                                 No. 12.


View of the Hebrews; exhibiting the Destruction of Jerusalem; the certain Restoration of Judah and Israel; and an Address of the Prophet Isaiah relative to their Restoration. By Ethan Smith, A. M., Pastor of a Church in Poultney, Vt. Poultney, Vt. 1823. 12mo. pp 187.

The first chapter of this book, extending to the 45th page, is an account of the destruction of Jerusalem. It is introduced here to show that the prophecies which foretold this event, the dispersion of the Jews, and many other judgements which that nation was to suffer, were literally fulfilled. This fact is afterwards made the basis of an important argument. The second chapter commences with a conscise account of the expulsion of the ten tribes of israel from the promised land; and proceeds to prove that the Jews, and also these ten tribes, will be restored to their inheritance. The arguments for their restoration vary so little from those commonly employed on this subject, that it cannot be necessary to state them at length. Mr. Smith talks in a confident manner, as though he was fairly stating the whole that the Scriptures contain in relation to his subject, -- found it all in excact agreement with his opinion, and knew of no plausible arguments in opposition. He, however, deserves the credit of stating his testimonies clearly, and managing them with considerable skill. We can give but a few specimens of his mode of reasoning; and we shall select those arguments which he, in common with others, regards as most important.

The principal of these is derived from the fact, that the prophecies relating to the dispersion of the Jews were literally fulfilled. The inference is, that those prophecies which foretell their restoration, will also be literally fulfilled.

This is very plausible reasoning, but not quite so conclusive as it at first appears. The prophecies relating to the advent of the Lord were totally misunderstood by the Jewish Church which received them, and which came to iys end at the time of his advent. They were understood to speak of the restoration of Israel; but the dispersion of the two remaining tribes followed. The existing Christian Church believes that when the millennium arrives, -- the second advent of the Lord, the children of Israel will be restored to their promised land. We may hence, in the same way, infer that the present Church is also mistaken; and that probably at this period, that people will suffer some additional judgment, and perhaps, cease to retain their distinct national character. We do not state this as good and convincing logic; but as an angument somewhat after Mr. Smith's style, and quite as conclusive as that above quoted.

No one needs to be informed that the terms Judah, Israel, Ephraim, Canaan, Jerusalem, and others used in the prophiecies which relate to this subject, are nearly synobymous with the Church. They are used in both Testaments, as well when the prophicies relate to the Christian Church as when they relate to the seed of Abraham. In describing those qualities which constitute the Church with man, or, in other words, which constitute men members of the Church, sometimes one of the above terms is used, and sometimes another, -- the different names probably referring to qualities somewhat different. Argeeably to this figurative language employed in describing the Church, and used, indeed, by Christians of every persuasion at this day, every real Christian is said to be of the seed of Abraham. Those prophecies which had a primary reference to the consummation and devastation of the Jewish dispensation existing at the time they were revealed, were necessarily fulfilled in relation to those who were literally denominated Israel and Judah; but those which, speaking of Israel and Judah, relate, in fact, to the establishment, the condition, and progress of another Church, cannot be expected to have their fulfillment with any peculiar reference to that nation, because it has ceased to be Israel in the prophetic sense of the term.

These remarks apply generally to the passages in the Old testament which relate to this subject. The New Testament was given at the end of the Jewish dispensation; and if, in this, we find prophecies referring directly to that nation, those which denounce judgments, and which promise blessings, will stand on equal ground. Now, in the New Testament, the desolation of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews are distinctly foretold, but, if we mistake not, there is no passage which distinctly implies the return of that nation to their promised land. The eleventh chapter of the Epistle of the Romans, to which Mr. Smith refers, teaches, as we suppose, that if they do not still continue in unbelief, they will, after a considerable period, be grafted into the Christian Church; but this is quite another thing from being re-established in Palestine, and assuming the precedency among all the nations who compose the Christian Church. It now becomes highly questionable whether, in the sense of the terms Judah and Israel, commonly used in the prophecies of the Old Testament, that nation did not cease to exist when their city was destroyed; and whether, with respect to the fulfillment of those which relate to the establishment of a future Church, any are to be reckoned Jews except those who are so in the heart, -- and these, it is said, may be form any nation under heaven. There is no wanting evidence that the Jews are about abandoning their distinctive character; and we regard the late change which the Polish Jews have made, in adopting the day of the Chritian Sabbath instead of Saturday, as having a direct tendency to this event.

THis is a mere outline of an objection, which we think deserved Mr. Smith's attention. That the true mode of interpreting the prophecies is certainly little understood at the present day, this gentleman will hardly deny; he tried his hand at it some years ago; and his system received a quietus in the death of Buonaparte, which might have taught him to moderate the intensity of his confidence in such opinions. But he still maintains boldly, that these prophecies respecting the restoration of the Jews, and the millennium, must be fulfilled about this time. We must be permitted to say, that to our ears the trumpet gives an uncertain sound; and before we make any preparation for battle, we must see a more competent chief to lead us on.

WE have devoted more attention to this argument than we intended, and shall have room to notice but once more. It is derived from the fact, that the Hebrews have never really possessed the whole of the promised land. Solomon acquired a sort of supremacy over it, but it was never fully occupied by this nation. The inference is, that it is still to be possessed by them. An obvious, but not the only answer to this is, that the divine promises are to be understood as in some degree conditional. They are a part of a covenant, or compact, between the LOrd and man; and the duties which constitute the part of the covenant belonging to man, must be performed, or the corresponding promises cannot be fulfilled. It is fair to say, that all was given or offered to the Hebrews, which was ever promised; but as they broke the covenant, all of them partially, and some totally, failed of the promised inheritance.

Having proved that the ten tribes of Israel, who were carried away captive by the kings of Assyria about two thousand five hundred and fifty years ago, are to return to Palestine, Mr. Smith proceeds in his third chapter to inquire where, and who these ten tribes are. The result is, that they are the American Indians. Many of our readers will recollect that this opinion was advanced by Mr. Adair, an English trader among the North American Indians, about fifty years ago. It was defended by him, and afterwards by Dr. Boudinot, with considerable ingenuity. There are so many remarkable coincidences between the religious and civil institutions and languages of the Indians and those of the Hebrews, as to form a very interesting subject of inquiry. WE must notice a few of these, and advise those of our readers who happen to have a taste for such things, to examine the whole. It is, however, first to be remarked, that after the ten tribes were captured, they were settled by Salmanezer in Media; and that in 2 Esdras, xiii. chapter, there is an account of their leaving Media and journeying for a year and a half, until they came to a country where never man had dwelt. This account is supposed to imply that they directed their course northeasterly, towards Bhering's Strait. SOme of the Indians, also, have a tradition that their forefathers came from a far country -- performing a long journey, and crossing a great river towards the north-west of America. Tjey say also, that God once told their nation to be a peculiar people; that he gave them a book; that some of their forefathers could foretell future events. They count time like the Hebrews; keep a variety of similar feasts, in one of which a bone of an animal must not be broken; and they never eat the hollow of the thigh of any animal. In their temples, -- such as they are, -- is their holy of holies, into which it is death for a common person to enter. They have an imitation of the ark of the covenant, where are deposited their most sacred things; and common people may not look into it. Their males must all appear at the temple at three noted feasts in a year. They give a pretty correct account of the flood, and the confusion of languages; and say with regard to the longevity of the ancients, that "they lived till their feet were worn out with walking, and their throats with eating." They have places answering to the cities of refuge in Israel, in which no blood is ever shed by an avenger.

Various degrees of credit are due to the authorities on which Mr. S. relies to support these assertions; but perhaps some sort of authority may be found for all of them. But these are not half the traditions which Mr. Smith adduces in support of his opinion, and many of the others are equally remarkable.

Another important argument is the supposed similarity of their language to the Hebrew. In the names appropriated to the Deity there is a very striking resemblance; and also in a great number of other words and phrases. In several examples the agreement is exact; and some gentlemen of considerable learning, have expressed an opinion that the radicals of all the Indian languages were Hebrew.

We can state no more of the interesting facts contained in this chapter, but must suggest a few objections to the opinion that the Indians are descendants from the ten tribes of Israel.

The two tribes who are denominated Jews, have not intermarried with other nations, and hence have retained their original characteristics to the present day. Their complexion and features are so similar in all countries, that travellers readily distinguish them wherever they are found. Thie moral and intellectual peculiarities are not less striking, and no one needs to be informed what a "Jewish disposition" is. These mental characteristics agree most perfectly with those of the Hebrew nation, from the earliest periods of its history. We can hardly avoid the inference, that the Jews are now quite similar to what the Hebrew nation was generally, in characteristics both of mind and body.

The American Indians, having had no intercourse with other nations, have had every advantage for retaining the characteristics of their ancestors. We find among them a remarkable similarity of features, of complexion, and of general disposition. Climate and local circumstances produce slight varieties; but whoever has seen one American Indian, will distinguish every one that he afterwards sees. Even their languages are said to have great affinity; as great, perhaps, as there is between the Saxon and the English.

Now, the features of the Jews and Indians have almost nothing in common; their complexions are widely different, and their leading mental characteristics have as little agreement. These facts appear to us to furnish a stronger argument against their belonging to the Hebrew nation, than any we have seen in favour of it. Now it is far easier to account for the Indians having many things in common with the Hebrews, without supposing them to be of the same nation, than it is to explain how such differences as we have mentioned, exist between two branches of the same family, neither of which has intermarried with other nations.

WE should infer from all the facts that are stated, that the Indians were of Asiatic origin, and most probably they were from the western part of Asia. We have no evidence that the customs and institutions of the Hebrews, which were sanctioned by divine authority, were all peculiar to that people, nor that they originated with them. Other nations probably had many that were similar, as, perhaps, every nation has regarded with reverence moral rules and principles similar to those given on Mount Sinai. Neither does it appear that the Jewish Scriptures were the first that God gave to man; on the contrary, there is strong proof that parts of the first books were compiled from earlier Scriptures; and the ancestors of the Indians might have had a "Book," without being Hebrews.

It is very important to remark, that the traditions, customs, and similarities in language, which have been mentioned, do not all belong to any one tribe of Indians, but they are selected from the great variety of tribes of North and South America. Perhaps every tribe has some custom, or institution, or expression, in common with the Hebrews; and some of the tribes have several. This is not so remarkable as it at first appears. Compare the Indians with the Malays, or any other nation on the earth, and you will find many, perhaps as many, points of agreement.

The argument derived from the similarity between the languages, does not seem to us of greater weight. Many of the languages of the East were, in many expressions, similar to the Hebrew. It does not appear that the Hebrew names for the Deity were peculiar to that language, or that they primarily belonged to it. We have not had evidence yet, to satisfy us, that more of the radicals of the Indian languages than of the English, are Hebrew; and we see no reason why there may not be as many. Besides, one of our best authorities, Molina, says, "As far as we have been able to discover, the radical Chilian words have no analogy with those of any other known idiom." The Chilian, or Araucanian, is, doubtless, by far the most perfect Indian language. IN a few respects it agrees with the Hebrew, and also in some respects with several other languages. There are many words in the vocabularies of that language, which were made before they could have derived words from the Hebrew... WE shall not be surprised, if it be proved that the Indian dialects and the Hebrew have a still greater agreement than has been shown; but we may still inquire, whether they were not all derived from some other language.

The fourth chapter of Mr. Smith's book contains an exposition of the eighteenth chapter of Isaiah. He formerly supposed that the people here addressed was the British nation; but thinking, perhaps from national pride, that so important a part of the world as the United States have become, must surely have been noticed by the seers into futurity, he has become satisfied that we are verily the people referred to by the prophet, who have so much to do by way of assisting the Israelites. -- that is, the Indians, -- to return to Palestine. We have not much respect for this fourth chapter; others may read it and judge of it differently.

The Appendix contains the testimonies of many travellers respecting the character and customs of various Indian tribes. It adds little to the value, and but fourteen pages to the length of the book.

Note: The Gazette's negative review of the Rev. Ethan Smith's book, and of his odd opinions, was not the only response published. See the May 1815 issue of the Uttica Christian Repository, for a more positive reaction to the author's second edition -- but even that reviewer adds some words of caution -- such as: "We do not profess to be entirely convinced that the American Aborigines are the Ten Tribes of Israel," etc. Evidently the Rev. Ethan Smith published no rebuttal to the Gazette article. However, early in 1825, an advocate of the "Restoration of Israel" penned a few lines of verse in support of that idealistic future event. See the April 20, 1825 issue of the Canandaigua Ontario Respository for a reprint that appeared practically in Joseph Smith's back yard.


Vol. I.                           Portland, Me., November 1, 1824.                           No. 10.

Note: All Maine newspaper articles have been moved to a separate web-page.

Windsor  Journal.

Vol. ?                           Windsor, Vermont, Friday, January 17, 1825.                           No. ?

Money digging.-- We are sorry to observe even in this enlightened age, so prevalent a disposition to credit the accounts of the Marvellous. Even the frightful stories of money being hid under the surface of the earth, and enchanted by the Devil or Robert Kidd, are received by many of our respectable fellow citizens as truths. We had hoped that such a shameful undertaking would never have been acted over our country, till the following event occurred, not not long ago in out vicinity.

A respectable gentleman in Tunbridge, was informed by means of a dream, that a chest of money was buried on a small island in Ayer's brook, at Randolph. No sooner was he in possession of this valuable information, than he started off to enrich himself with the treasure. After having been directed by the mineral rod where to search for the money, he excavated the earth about 15 feet square to the depth of 7 or 8; and all the while it was necessary to keep his pumps working to keep out the water. Presently he and his laborers came
Pat upon a chest of gold,
  And heard it chink with pleasure,
Then all prepared, just taking hold,
  To raise the shining treasure.
One of the company drove an old [file] through the rotten lid of the chest, and perceiving it to be nearly empty, exclaimed with an oath, "There's not ten dollars a piece." No sooner were the words out of his mouth, than the chest moved off through the mud, and has not been seen or heard of since.

Such is the story as related by himself. -- Whether he actually saw the chest, or whether it was the vision of a disturbed brain, we shall leave the public to determine.

Note: This article was reprinted in the Canandaigua Ontario Repository on Feb. 9, 1825, and also in the Palmyra Wayne Sentinel on Feb. 16th. The township of Randolph, Orange Co., Vermont, is adjacent to the Royalton/Sharon area where the parents of Joseph Smith, Jr. lived before moving to Palmyra New York. In 1802 Joseph Smith, Sr. and his wife operated a retail business in Randolph, during which time they lost a considerable amount of money in ginsing root speculation. When the Smiths of Palmyra read of the "respectable gentleman" of Randolph's sudden enrichment in 1825, they must have recalled with dejection their own sudden impoverishment in that same place two decades before.


Vol. V.                                     Boston, Mass.,  February, 1825.                                     No. 2.



                                          Avon, Dec. 20th, 1824.
Dear Sir,

I with Brother Savage of Rochester, and Brother Griswold of Fabius, attended the Upper Canada Association, which sat last June at Clinton....

We have some good tidings to communicate from this region. I have preached recently a part of the time in West Bloomfield, where God has poured out his Spirit. About 20 entertain hopes, and 12 have been baptized and added to the church. The work continues Oh! may it continue until hundreds are made to rejoice in the Lord!! -- A letter from the Rev. Mr. Curtis of Ashtabula, says, "About 200, in this vicinity, are recent trophies of rich and victorious grace." Another, from the Rev. Joshua Bradley, dated Nov. 28th, at Ellisburgh, (Black River country) says, "About 1000 in this region, sinch March or February last, are rejoicing in a good hope through Christ." In Palmyra, a town about 30 miles North East of this, God has triumphed gloriously. About 200, as I am informed, are sharers in this great and precious work.
Yours, in the bonds of the Gospel Ministry.    

Note 1: The 1824-25 Palmyra revival was also mentioned in a Feb. 9, 1825 reprint item published in the Boston Zion's Herald. For further information on the great Palmyra revival of 1824-25, see a subsequent mention in the Apr., 1825 issue of the American Baptist Magazine, as well as Mitchell Bronk's Jan. 1948 article in The Chronicle: A Baptist Historical Quarterly, II:1 entitled, "The Baptist Church at Manchester, New York." The Shortsville Enterprise of Feb. 4, 1948 also printed the relevant information contained in The Chronicle

Note 2: Elder Joshua Bradley (who replaced Elder Lawrence Greatrake in Sidney Rigdon's old pastoral office in Pittsburgh) was still conducting his ministry in upstate New York during 1825 -- ranging as far afield as Jefferson County. See pp. 400-407 of the 1860 edition of William Buell Sprague's Annals of the American Pulpit, where he says: "In 1827, he [Joshua Bradley] was invited to visit Pittsburg, Pa.; and finding the Baptist church there much distressed, he commenced a school for his support. He divided his labours on the Sabbath between Pittsburg and Alleghany City, and his influence in resuscitating the Baptist interest in that neighbourhood soon became perceptible.... In 1827, he was earnestly solicited by the Rev. John M. Peck to go to Illinois, to take charge of a new Seminary at Rock Spring..." This chronology accords with the published "Minutes" of the Redstone Baptist Association, which list Elder Bradley as the official representative of the Pittsburgh First Baptist Church, in his attending the Sept. 1-3, 1826 annual meeting of the Association; however, a year later Bradley was not present for the next annual meeting.

Note 3: Elder Joshua Bradley still resided in Pittsburgh as late as Apr. 30, 1827, when he wrote a letter from that place, (published in the Montpelior Vermont Watchman of May 22, 1827), in which he said: "This land is covered with darkness, and filled with crimes -- yet the Lord is gracious to some souls. -- About 25 have been added to the first Baptist Church since I came here last May." By May 19, 1827, Elder Bradley was in Louisville, Kentucky (perhaps on his way west to Rock Spring, Illinois) where he announced a preaching service for the following day, to be held at "the Baptists new Meeting House," (see the Louisville Public Advertiser for May 19th).

Vol. III.                           Boston, Mass, Tuesday, February 9, 1825.                           No. ?


More than two hundred souls have become the hopeful subjects of Divine grace in Palmyra, Macedon, Manchester, Phelps, Lyons and Ontario, since the late revival commenced. This is a powerful work; it is among old and young, but mostly among young people. -- Many are ready to exclaim, What God hath wrought! The cry is yet from various parts, "Come over and help us." There are large and attentive congregations in every part, who hear as for their lives. Such intelligence must be pleasing to every child of God, who rightly estimate the value of immortal souls, and wishes well to the cause of Zion. -- Rochester Religious Advocate.

Note 1: The original notice evidently first appeared during the first month of the fourth volume (new series vol. III) of the semi-monthly Religious Advocate and Missionary Intelligencer, edited and published by Rev. Abijah Blanchard (1780-1852). He began his Presbyterian-oriented newspaper in 1822 in Saratoga Springs, and then moved it to Rochester, commencing publication there on Saturday, Jan. 1, 1825. Thus, the possible date for the original publication of this "Moral and Religious" notice is either Jan. 1st or Jan, 15th. It is very doubtful that the third issue of the Rochester paper, printed on Feb. 1st, could have traveled all the way into the editorial offices of the Boston Zion's Herald and have been set in type by February 9th. The approximate date of January 15, 1825 would a reasonable guess for the timing of the Rochester article.

Note 2: Rev. Abijah Blanchard and his wife, Lydia White Blanchard were accepted as members of Rev. James Penny's First Presbyterian Church of Rochester on Feb. 24, 1825: before the end of that year Rev. Penny has "censored" him for two minor offenses. It appears that he had relatives living in Rochester who operated a grocery business. As late as January of 1826 Branchard was still issuing his paper from Rochester (although a correspondent of the Buffalo Gospel Advocate judged him and his paper to be of no account). The Religious Advocate did not last the decade, and by 1830 Rev. Blanchard had moved to Genesee County to pursue a ministerial career. He is reported to have briefly edited an anti-Masonic religious paper there, but not even a memory of its name has survived.

Note 3: For some analysis of the revival atmosphere in and around Palmyra during the 1820s see Milton V. Backman's 1971 Joseph Smith's First Vision. Also see notes appended to the Providence Hopkinsian Magazine of March, 1825 and the Palmyra Wayne Sentinel of Mar. 2, 1825.

Providence  [ - ]  Patriot.

N.S. Vol. VII.                               Providence, R. I.,  February 25, 1825.                               No. 10.


Money Digging. -- We are sorry to observe, even in this enlightened age, so prevalent a disposition to credit accounts of the marvelous. Even if the frightful stories of money being hid under the surface of the earth, and enchanted by the Devil or Ribert Kidd, are received by many of our respectable fellow-citizens as truths. We had hoped that such a shameful transaction would have never been acted over again in our country, till the following event occurred, not long ago, in our vicinity: -- "A respectable gentleman in Tunbridge, was informed, by means of a dream that a chest of money was buried on a small island in Ayer's brook, at Randolph. No sooner was he in possession of this valuable information, than he started off to enrich himself with the treasure. After having been directed by the mineral rod where to search for the money, he excavated the earth about 15 feet square to the depth of 7 or 8; and all the while it was necessary to keep his pumps working to keep out the water. Presently he and his laborers came

Pat upon a chest of gold,
  And heard it chink with pleasure,
Then all prepared, just taking hold,
  To raise the shining treasure --
One of the company drove an old file through the rotten lid of the chest, and perceiving it to be nearly empty, exclaimed with an oath, "There's not ten dollars a-piece." No sooner were the words out of his mouth, than the chest moved off through the mud, and has not been seen or heard of since. Such is the story as related by himself. Whether he actually saw the chest, or whether it was the vision of a disturbed brain, we shall leave the public to determine.
Windham [sic - Windsor?] (Ver.) Journal, 17th ult.    

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                               Providence, R. I.,  March, 1825.                               No. 15.

Religious  Intelligence.

Extract of a letter from a lady at Saratoga Springs, to a friend in Rochester, N. York.

"Where true vital godliness flourishes, there a missionary spirit prevails. I hope you will strive to promote and aid all missionary efforts, for I am persuaded they will continue and increase, and that this good work will abound more and more. We have formed in this place, a "Maternal Association," which promises very great usefulness. We meet once a week, open and close the meeting by prayer, and we spend the intervening time by reading such books as treat on the education of children, and converse on the best method of training them up in the fear and knowledge of God. The state of religion is increasing here. There is a great excitement, and a great degree of engagedness among Christians. Six were added to the church at the last communion. In Malta and Ballston there is a good work. God is doing wonders."

What a blessed work this is! Mothers seeking Divine direction in the great and responsible business of leading their children in the way of holiness and peace -- who will go and do likewise. Have we not many mothers in our Israel, who will rejoice to embrace the first suggestion of such a blessed means of doing good?

An account from Ontario says:

"More than two hundred souls have become the hopeful subjects of Divine grace in Palmyra, Macedon, Manchester, Phelps, Lyons and Ontario, since the late revival commenced. This is a powerful work; it is among old and young, but mostly among young people. -- Many are ready to exclaim, What God hath wrought! The cry is yet from various parts, "Come over and help us." There are large and attentive congregations in every part, who hear as for their lives."   Rel. Advocate.

Note 1: The Hopkinsian Magazine was published between 1824 and 1832 for the benefit of the religious followers of Samuel Hopkins. Its editor was the Rev. Otis Thompson. However, the magazine met with little support, being suspended in 1830, and finally ceasing publication in 1832.

Note 2: The above reprint appears to be shortened version of the account that appeared in a Feb. 1825 isue of the Presbyterian Religious Advocate, published at Rochester, New York. For what is probably a more reliable text, see the Palmyra Wayne Sentinel of   Mar. 2, 1825.

Note 3: In the opening chapter of his 1979 book, Truth Restored, LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, reprising his own account from 1947, writes: "A crusade was begun to "convert the unconverted." It was carried over a vast area from the New England states to Kentucky. In 1820 it reached western New York. The ministers of the various denominations united in their efforts, and many conversions were made among the scattered settlers. One week a Rochester paper noted: "More than two hundred souls have become hopeful subjects of divine grace in Palmyra, Macedon, Manchester, Lyons, and Ontario since the late revival commenced." President Hinckley's loose use of conjoining phrases and his lack of footnotes in his text, might lead the reader to assume that the "Rochester paper" report came from 1820 or very soon thereafter. In fact, it comes from nearly four years after the supposed "crusade" is said to have "reached western New York." Note 4: The February 1825 Religious Advocate account is apparently a report of the continuation of the 1823-24 religious excitement spoken of by William Smith in his recollections of 1883. Willaim says: "My mother, who was a very pious woman and much interested in the welfare of her children, both here and hereafter, made use of every means which her parental love could suggest, to get us engaged in seeking for our souls' salvation, or (as the term then was) 'in getting religion.' She prevailed on us to attend the meetings, and almost the whole family became interested in the matter, and seekers after truth." All evidence indicates that Lucy Smith and her children (Hyrum, Sophronia, and Samuel) did not join the Presbyterian church in Palmyra until after the death of her son Alvin -- who passed away in Nov. of 1823.

Note 5: The local revival spoken of by the Rochester Religious Advocate seems have made its greatest gains during the summer and fall of 1824, when the Baptists and Presbyterians of Palmyra each added nearly 100 new members to their congregations, while the Methodist gained 200. The Religious Advocate began publication in the fall of 1824, so the revival of that year was still "news" when the paper reported that "more than 400 have already testified" of their newly found faith. The article helps demonstrate that the flame of revival was not extinquished by the snows of winter -- that it was still making new converts as late as February of 1825. This chronology generally agrees with the original, manuscript version of Lucy Mack Smith's book, where she dates the beginning of the local religious excitement to a period shortly after the death of her oldest son, Alvin (Nov. 19, 1823).


Christian  Herald.

"Behold I bring you good tidings."
Vol. VIII.                                 Portsmouth, N. H., March, 1825.                                 No. 1.


Some mercy drops have been experienced in this town, of late; a good number have been renewed by the grace of God, which bringeth salvation, and are now faithful in his cause...

In Newburyport, a revival has commenced, and a goodly number profess to have been converted. We understand it commenced under the improvement of a female preacher (Nancy Towle) at the east of the town; it is now progressing at the westerly part, where a number have been hopefully converted....

"A powerful reformation" says the [Gospel] Luminary, "has been spreading for the several months past, in the towns of Palmyra, Williamson and Ontario. The work we are informed still continues in those places. -- In Mendon, God has poured out his Spirit among the christian brethren of late, several have been hopefully converted and some backsliders reclaimed..."

Note 1: For more on the 1824-25 religious revival in the area of Palmyra, New York, see the March, 1825 issue of the Hopkinsian Magazine and the April, 1825 issue of the American Baptist Magazine.

Note 2: The same Nancy Towle who is mentioned above, visited with Joseph Smith, Jr., at Kirtland in 1831. See her account of that event in her 1832 book, Vicissitudes Illustrated.



Vol. V.                                     Boston, Ma.,  April, 1825.                                     No. 4.



                                                Bristol, (N. Y.) March 9, 1825.
Dear Brother,

In many places in this region, the Lord is giving samples of what omnipotent grace can do, in bowing stout hearted sinners to the sceptre of Jesus Christ. In Geneva, there is a precious work of grace in Dr. Axtel's congregation. That good man is "reaping in joy from the seed he has sown in tears." Numbers have recently professed their faith in Christ, and the work is yet in progress. The town of Gorham, is now sharing largely in the shower of Divine mercy. Many have already united with the people of God, and many more are expected soon to come forward, and "subscribe with the hand unto the Lord, and surname themselves by the name of Israel." -- In Manchester, a good work has recently commenced in Elder Sha's congregation. Appearances are flattering.

There has been for some time past, a very powerful revival in Palmyra. All ages and descriptions of people, are among the subjects of this blessing. Multitudes have abandoned their false hopes, and false schemes, to trust for salvation in that "grace, which reigns by righteousness unto eternal life." About three hundred have united with the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches; and to each in about equal numbers.
I am told that the good work, though subsiding in Palmyra, is spreading in some of the adjacent towns. In Genessee, the Lord is pouring out his Spirit, and both the Baptists and Pedobaptists are sharing in the blessed effusion. The Baptist church in Bloomfield has enjoyed a refreshing from the presence of the Lord. About twenty have hopefully been turned from darkness to light.

A brother in the ministry writes me under date of Jan. 17, from Westward, that the Lord is doing wondrous things for Ohio. A reformation commenced in the north part of that State, in October last, and still continues. Ten or twelve towns have been visited, and most of them destitute of the stated ministry of the word. This is the work of Him "who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." We ought to be encouraged to pray, "Father, thy will be done."
            Very sincerely yours,

Note: Compare the above letter with a similar account written by Rev. George Lane, (a Methodist minister in the same region of the country at the same time) as published in the April, 1825 issue of the New York Methodist Magazine. See also the Palmyra, New York Wayne Sentinel for Mar. 2, 1825 and the Providence Hopkinsian Magazine for March, 1825. See also an earlier mention of the great Palmyra revival in the Feb., 1825 issue of the American Baptist Magazine.

New-Hampshire  Gazette.

Vol. LXX.                                 Portsmouth, November 1, 1825.                                 No. 50.

                          For the N. H. Gazette.


"The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and there is no new thing under the sun."

This ancient proverb was penned by Solomon about 3000 years ago, and he quoted it, for aught we know, from some author who lived as many years before his day; and it will probably forever continue an old and true saying; yet we are very apt to consider all old things done away, because in their re-appearance we forget that they "had already been of old time," and therefore view them as new productions.

I was led to these reflections by reading an account of laying a foundation stone for the new city of Ararat, and the new Proclamation of the new "Mordecai Manuel Noah, Citizen of the United States of America, late Consul of said States for the City and Kingdom of Tunis, High Sheriff of New-York, Councellor at Law, and by the Grace of God, Governor and Judge of Israel," and the several remarks made in the different papers of the day on that modest performance, all considering it as something new, singular and wonderful! Happily, I have in my possession the means of convincing the wondering world, that it possesses neither of these qualities; and that although these eccentric productions are not always in view, yet they appear in singular succession, and may be classed with comets or meteors. It is not yet thirty years since the very prototype of this new Judge of Israel not only laid the foundation stone, but actually built a long tier of store-houses, (in New-Haven, Con.), laid in clothing and provisions at an enormous expense of many thousands of dollars, issued Proclamations, Millennial Orders, &c. in a sublimity of language most awfully sacred and magisterial, for above the daring powers of the most presumptuous mortal of the present day, (unless indeed this new Judge of Israel be a mortal,) and for the very purpose of exciting and assisting the humble sons of Abraham who were to emigrate from the three quarters of the globe, and build a New-Jerusalem and Temple if the Lord in "this American Land." These meteors have, probably, made their regular entries and exist from the commencement of time.
If time and nature e'er began,
Or if there was a first to man.
And in the revolutionary circle of about 30 years, (astronomical claculations can tell you the day and hour,) another Judge of Israel will make his appearance. -- Thus these blazing stars will continue to amuse us with new inspirations, proclamations, &c. in regular rotation to the end of time,
If time will ever have an end,,
Or days and nights together blend.
The two following proclamations are, probably, the only copies now in existence, of the many thousands which were secretly struck off, (at Hudson & Goodwin's printing-office, Hartford, Conn.) put up in parcels, and consigned to the Wise Men and Rabbies of Europe, Asia and Africa; where they would have been received and obeyed, with all that fervent zeal so characteristic of that cunning peculating people, had they contained such lucrative inducements as did the first command of their ancient law-giver, namely, to borrow from their generous and benevolent neighbors, all their "jewels of silver and jewels of gold." But the stiff necked people having never heard or thought of a future state of rewards and punishments, were ever noted for making their religion subservient to their pecuniary interest and present enjoyments. Therefore, their ever being induced to build a New-Jerusalem, or Ararat, in America, will depend on their prospect of pocketing "jewels of silver and jewels of gold."


From the throne of God and of the Lamb; promulated at the hand of the man whose name is the BRANCH. -- Zechariah, chapters 3 and 6.

It having pleased a sovereign God to shew that the ground of the present convulsions, and of present controversy, between his authority and the powers of antichristian Rome, rests on the fact of Kingly intrusion into the household of God; and having shewen that the antichristian character extends as far as KIngly power is found, pouring the oil of its earthly anointing down the Christian household; he hath caused that, for a time, a testimony against all forms and degrees of earthly intrusion into the kingdom of Christ should be maintained, at the lips of his servant; tending to dissolve the connexion between all civil and ecclesiastical establishments found in these United States: it being always granted that the depth of these antichristian waters, in these United States, was, by no means equal to the ocean of the Papel administration.

In sovereign condescension to the weakness of some, and to the ignorance of others; for the peace of society and for the comfort of all true worshippers of God, and in distinguished indulgence to the infancy of our estate, and in mercy to all, it hath pleased the Father of Mercies to reveal that it is his good pleasure that the different denominations of the Christian family preserve their present order and outward form, so far as in the light of their own consciences, under the evidence of God's holy word, they may judge such external order likely through grace, to meet the approbation of the Heavenly Bridegroom when he shall come to the espousal of the Church his Bride.

Under the demonstration of present evidence, that the period of the approach of the Desire of all Nations is at hand; all ministers of God are exhorted to double their dilligence in all ministerial duty; laboring to obtain a fresh anointing from the Holy One upon their own souls, and anxiously employed to sehd the riches of this grace forth upon the people of their charge. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.

That no fear of the enemy -- that no disgust at the fervency of the duty demanded, or love of ease may hinder the redoubling of ministerial exertion, let the animating address ofMordecai to Esther be had in mind. Think, not with thyself, that thou shalt escape in the King's house more than all the Jews. For if thou, altogether, holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverence arise to the Jews from another place.

The ground and mode of union between the different denominations of visible christians in relation to the Millenial day, is already revealed, and will be openly manifested in its season.

In the opening of the present spring, A. D. 1799, will be seen fulfilled the prediction of Isaiah ixi. 11. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Let the ministers of the sanctuary say, in joyful unison, For Zion's sake, I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Let arousing Israel remember the wonders wrought in favor of Moses and of Israel; let opposition remember Pharaoh and the Read Sea.       DAVID
   A descendant of David, and
   Branch from the roots of Jesse. -- Isa. xi.
   Hartford, State of Connecticut, }
   April 23d, 1799.


Reached forth to the Israelite nation, by the Man, who according to the Scriptures, and by special manifestation from the throne of Heaven, is called to bear the srile of the Joshua of the American Temple; of the Man, whose name is the Branch; of the Sign of the Son of Man, and Builder of the Temple of the Lord.

Formerly known, as Minister of the first Presbyterian Congregation at Elizabeth-Town, State of New-Jersey: Compiler of the American Preacher: Author of a Discourse on the Downfall of Mystical Babylon (reprinted in Scotland:) Promoter of the late Concert in Prayer, in view of the fulfilment of the Promises and Prophecies respecting the LATTER DAY GLORY, and now servant of God and Minister of Christ Jesus, residing at Hartford, State of Connecticut, North America.

Ye sons of Abraham, ye siciples of Moses, from the ends of the Earth, give audience to the second call! --

In the conclusion of the last year, ye were presented with some notices of your future destiny. Ye were taught that this AMERICAN LAND, was the land towards which your thoughts were to be directed; and in which the hope of your nation was to be fulfilled. Some few traits of evidence, arising from a view of certain prophetic illustrations were offered, in confirmation of other signs of the times with which the World at large is now visited; purporting that teh day of the REDEMPTION and INGATHERING of the nation is at hand. On these external evidences, it was not needful that farther comments be made, otherwise than to say the evidences, then referred to, stand unshaken. -- The dominions of Mystical Babylon continue to fall -- her two leaved gates continue to expand; and the necessity increases, for the captives to assert their freedom, and to advance and take possession of the glory which awaits them at the hand of God, in these western climes.

Introductory to the important scene of the removal of your nation, it hath pleased God to reveal; that it is his pleasure that you take counsel on the subject of the call now presented -- that you appoint an embassy, consisting of such number of wise and able men,as you may judge sufficient, to make due representation of your nation in the presence of him, at whose hand the God of your fathers now speaks to you. Let them come and behold the face of their deliverer; and let them, if it please God so to move you, be charged with any humble enquiries, concerning the affairs of your nation, of which you would wish humble mention to be made before the throne of God; and ye shall not fail of an answer to your humble request. It will not be displeasing to the God of your fathers, to hear the petitions of you their descendants, returning from their affliction, and bowing before the face of God in Zion.

If it be in your power lay foundation (in funds) that when your Ambassadors shall be led to walk over the ground which the Lord hath appointed you, for the building of the earthly Jerusalem, they may come to the sure possession of it by fair and equitable purchase.

Let no time be lost; but with as much dispatch as may be consistent with a full consideration and proper discharge of the duties to which you are called, let the thing be done. May God send you his blessing; preside in your counsels; give you wisdom in the choice of faithful men, and prosper them in all their way, and bring them in safety to present themselves before the God of their fathers in Zion.     DAVID,    A descendant of David, and
   Branch from the roots of Jesse. -- Isa. xi.
   Hartford, June 3, 1799.

The DISCIPLES of JUDGE MORDECAI must feel themselves under vast obligations to me for having gratuitously furnished them with these SACRED RELICS, * at they will at once perceive, that this SON of DAVID, this SIGN of the SON of MAN, was spoken of by Isaiah, and is "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the deseret a highway for our God," and that they contain several important prophecies of their MESSIAH and REDEEMER, which are now fulfilling in thier New SOVEREIGN. "Mordecai Manuel Noah, cxitizen of the United States of America, late Consul of said States for the city and Kingdom of Tunis, High Sheriff of New-York, Councellor at Law, and by the Grace of God, GOVERNOR and JUDGE of ISRAEL."
* Lest these inquisitive people should marvel that an uncircumcised gentile should be suffered to hold these Holy Prophesies in exclusion of God's chosen people, I will remove all doubts by frankly acknowledging, that in early life, I found it convenient and profitable to be on friendly terms with the Devil! do not start at this confession. My black friend was a legitimate descendant of that Devil who so much embarrassed the last seal of the Prophets, by intercepting his Post-rider, Gabriel, when he brought, singly, from Heaven the sheets of the Alcoran as fast as they were struck off, (For Noah's Patent Press was unknown in those days.) This cunning devil generally succeeded in robbing Gabriel of these sacred sheets; but after reading them and making extracts, and such comments as best comported with the political sentiments of his master, he generously returned them to the trembling agonized Post, who was sure to gte a sound drubbing when he arrived at Mahomet's cave, for suffering such a black devil to rob the mail. Need I add, that this was no other than an innocent Printer's Devil, honestly anticipating the news of the day.

Note: For a context to the above two proclamations, see David Austin (1759-1831): The dance of Herodias, through the streets of Hartford, on election day, to the tune of the Stars of heaven, in the dragon's tail; or, A gentle trip at the heels of the strumpet of Babylon. Playing tricks in the attire of the daughters of Zion, a 48 page pamphlet published by Rev. Austin, at East Windsor, CT, in the spring of 1799. When Rev. Austin's May 21, 1799 date set for the dawn of the Millennium came and went, he evidently postponed its advent and set about building a place of refuge for the world's Jews at New Haven -- a project which resulted in his bankruptcy, placement in debtors' prison, and defrocking as a Congregational/Presbyterian minister. See also Rev. Austin's July, 1799 pamphlet: The millenial door thrown open or, The mysteries of the latter day glory unfolded.


Vol. XX.                       Montpelier, Vermont,  January 3, 1826.                       No. 1092.

Once on a time a certain man was found,
Who dreampt of pots of money in his ground.

If General Report is a man of truth, and his assertions to be relied upon, there are at the present day and in our own vicinity, many who are not making hay while the sun shines, but making haste to be rich, by digging in the bowels of the earth and in the caverns of Camel's Rump for shining guineas and rusty dollars, supposed to have been deposited there by some misely fellows of a former generation at a period anterior to the existence of Banks, unless it be banks of snow. For this purpose, we are told, the very natives, old sooth-sayers, and astrologers, with pick axes, bog hoes and mineral rods, have been virorously at work, until old Boreas has given them a blast and forced them into winter quarters, from whence it is supposed they will sally out in the spring, with a fair prospect of getting an abundance of -- "labor for their pains."

Now the main difficulty in the way of unsuccessful money diggers is this -- they do not understand the secret -- they neither dig at the right hour of the day, nor in the right place -- nor do they make use of the genuine mineral rod. No reasonable man doubts the fact that inexhaustable treasures lie hid in the earth; but they were desposited there at a more remote period and by a more bountiful hand than the misers of the fifteenth century. For the information of all future fortune-makers and money-diggers, we will reveal the grand secret, imparted to us by neighbors Careful and Successful, who have been digging money for many years, as the old lasy heaped coals of fire upon the heads of her enemies, shovel-ful after shovel-ful. The secret lies altogether in this -- don't dig too deep. The lucky hour is early in the morning, when the dew is on. The right place may be found on almost every upland or interval farm in the country by carefully observing these sure and never-failing signs of money in the earth, invariably indicated by the nature of the soil and the thrifty growth of a fine forest of sugar maple, red beech, black birch and the stately hemlock.

And now for the genuine mineral rod. on this point the greatest of men and the gravest of money diggers have heretofore disagreed. While all united in the sentiment that it should be made of genuine metal, lest it point to the wrong place, one contended that the shape and construction of the rod should be straight, like an IRON BAR, -- another believed it would be best to add a lip at the end of the straight rod, to resemble a HOE, -- a third guessed it would be more likely to point at the ready-rhino, by adding the lip to a nose, like a PLOUGH, -- a fiurth verily thought that teeth should be inserted like a HARROW -- a fifth had a notion that the handle should be of wood, with two short arms of curved steel in the end, like a PITCH-FORK -- sixthly and lastly came forward neighbors Careful and Successful, who had been long in the practice of digging money, and absolutely declared, "to their own certain knowledge," that the right place was at they very bottom -- not of the ocean to be sure -- but that the only genuine mineral rod that would direct invaribly to the iron chest of dollars, had neither lip like a hoe, nose like a plough, teeth like a harrow, nor brains like a monkey -- but looked, O horrible! it looked -- just like a DUNG FORK.

'Tis done -- the long agony is over -- the secret is revealed -- and now that the ways and means of digging money are so plainly pointed out, no happy son of Adam, who owes the Printer, can for a moment hesitate what to do. -- With smiling countenances and grateful hearts, our generous patrons will no doubt flock to our office with the fruits and the compliments of the season, most sincerely wishing us, as we do them, a HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Note 1: See the Keene, New Hampshire Sentinel of May 4, 1822 for an earlier and similar article by this same satirical journalist.

Note 2: Hamilton Child's 1889 Gazetteer of Washington County, Vt., provides this information on "Camel's Rump" (aka "Camel's Hump") in Duxbury: "It is the scene of Daniel P. Thompson's famous novel, May Martin, or the Money Diggers. About 1824 a few wise men, inspired by some gifted Witch of Endor, who could discern money in a mountain by looking into a hat or a [millstone?], pitched their cabin under the awful southern cliff of the Hump, and for a season professed to dig for hidden treasure -- Kidd's of course.... If May Martin was purely an imaginary heroine of the novel... certainly its the historical evidence of the reality of the 'Money Diggers' remains to this day in their several unpaid board bills in that neighborhood."



Vol. IX.                       Dedham, Mass.,  November 15, 1827.                       No. 5.


Jacob Cochran, who figured rather conspicuously as a false teacher in Maine, a few years since, and underwent a short probation in Massachusetts State Prison for some of his misdeeds, is now living in Hollis, Me., where he has collected around him a number of fanatics, who profess to have every thing in common. Their doctrines admit of a plurality of wives.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. I.                           Haverhill, Mass.,  November 17, 1827.                           No. 44.


It appears by an article in the last Saco Palladium, that the notorious Jacob Cochrane, who was sentenced to the State Prison a few years since for the vile impositions which he practiced in several towns in the county of York, is again holding forth in that section of our State, and has drawn around him several fanatics. He ought to be provided with quarters in the State Prison for life -- or, with "a halter gratis." -- Lincoln Int.

Notes: (forthcoming)


Vol. XXIX.                       Keene, N. H., November 23, 1827.                       No. 47.

Jacob Cochrane, who figured rather conspicuously as a false teacher in Maine, a few years since, and underwent a short probation in the Massachusetts State Prison for some of his misdeeds, is now living in Hollis, Me. where he has collected around him a number of fanatics, who profess to have every thing in common. Their doctrines admit of a plurality of wives.

Note: See the July 1819 issue of the Portsmouth N. H. Christian Herald for an introduction to the polygamous cult leader Jacob Cochran.

ns Vol. V.                           Salem, Mass.,  December 7, 1827.                           No. 96.

From the Saco Palladium.


JACOB COCHRAN. This strange man, who a few years since, threw a part of New-England in commotion with fanaticism, and who, in the midst of his supernatural power and light, found a check to his holy zeal, as he called it, by a few years contemplation in the State Prison at Charlestown, is still a wonder in the land of the living, with a few fanatics at his heels.

The subscriber, a few days since, paid a visitto his "Ark," as they call it, in Hollis, Me., and by the appearance of some of the family and the number of small children that I saw, I should suppose that they do have all things in common, as they profess to, to a greater extent than the shakers do; for their population increases without begging children from others; and I could not ascertain that any of the company were married save Jacob and his wife, and he has a spiritual companion in addition to his natural one, who has added (I was informed) one if not more, natural child to the family since their spiritual union; and I fancy this is about the only way that their family will increase in the future, as they are not so fortunate with respect to worldly possessions as the shakers are; therefore food and houses will not at present tempt many to join them.

Two of the fraternity are State Prison convicts, and are lately from New-York, with a wife as it is supposed she is.

I should suppose the family consisted of six or seven men with their spiritual wives, besides Jacob and his spiritual and natural wives.

I entered the building and inquired for Jacob -- he soon made his appearance, with three or four aids-de-camp, or talking disciples -- the women took their seats in a back room to listen to our conversation.

At length, as I would not admit Jacob to be infallible, and the great apostle of God, to whom all his enemies must soon submit with a vengeance, he, with a loud voice, pronounced me to be a poor deluded servent of the devil. At that moment his female disciples exclaimed aloud -- Glory to God -- Glory to God, &c. to that degree that the whole house echoed. Jacob attempted to convince me that all professors save himself and company were hypocrites and deceivers, and said that they had all combined to bar the love of God out of his soul; but Glory to God, they cannot do it, for I now feel the love of God in my fingers -- stretching out his hands. I observed that he was mistaken, for I was a professor and I knew that I had not combined to bar the love of God out of his soul -- for I desired that he and all mankind might enjoy it; and I knew that I enjoyed it myself -- upon which he pronounced me a liar, in saying that I enjoyed the love of God. I then told him my opinion of him, viz. that he was a poor deceived creature, if not a great imposter, and that he must repent of his abomination or never know the true love of God shed abroad in his heart; upon which he pronounced a curse upon me in a pontifical style; and his echoing women again said amen, with a loud acclamation of Glory to God, &c. or rather, broke out in mocking God and disgracing themselves.

He then told me he had got through with me, and wished me to leave his house as soon as convenient.

He then said to his disciples, Come, let us go to our work; and they all left the room in a moment, and followed this monster in human shape, as he appearewd to me; and I soon left the building, with a new proof, that there is a way that seemeth good to man, but the end thereof is death; and that ambitious, sinful men are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, when under the influence of strong self-will and false zeal, which is fanaticism indeed -- and with a new stimulus to watch and pray, lest I enter into temptation.
HULL BARTON.        

Note 1: For more on the later career of Jacob Cochran, see notes appended to the NY Telescope article of Jan. 26, 1828.

Note 2: For more on the New Light Quaker preacher, Rev. Hull Barton see notes appended to the New Bedford Mercury article of Aug. 15, 1823.


ns Vol. VI.                           Salem, Mass.,  February 22, 1828.                           No. 16.


KENNEBUNK, Feb. 16. Ordination Extra. -- Ordained in this town on Monday, 4th inst. the "notorious" Hull Barton, as pastor over the church and society recently gathered by the Rev. Jacob Cochrane. -- The services were performed by a few of the deluded followers of Cochrane.

Since the above sham or mock ordination, Barton has baptised some twenty or thirty persons, principally young girls and some of them without the knowledge or consent of their parents. The plan devised to frighten them into the water was as follows: Barton made what he called a prophecy, saying to his converts that unless they were baptized by a given time they would never more enjoy religion, nevertheless the ninny still continues to baptize those that were converted pervious to his notable prophesy, not probably aware of the plain contradiction between his prophecy and practices. He has also administered (not like his predecessors, the passover) but what he calls the Lord's Supper.

This fanatical manner of treating religion may seem to some to be truly surprising; but those who are acquainted with the fascinating power of Cochranism will not expect any thing different from its votaries.

The ordaining elders were Stephen Mitchell, Jacob Towne and Bracy Curtis. -- Kennebunk Gaz.

Note 1: The enigmatic Rev. Hull Barton must have been a colorful character. Although his name is not commonly mentioned in the old histories (nor even in the census records), he appears to have changed his religious affiliation about as frequently as some folks change their socks. George W. Ogden, in the above mentioned 1823 Quaker pamphlet, accused Barton of having been "excommunicated... from the Society of Friends" and having subsequently joined up with the New Light Quakers (not to be confused with Elias Smith's "New Light" Christians, which Hull Barton may have also been a member of at one time). The Quaker leader Stephen W. Gould reported his first encounter with Barton (whom Gould identifies as "a nephew" of Henry and Wager Hull of Nine Partners, NY) in his journal entries of June 1 and 2, 1823. Early Quaker diarist Joseph R. Anthony's Life in New Bedford a hundred years ago... records the young Barton (then about twenty-four) coming to New Bedford from Dutchess Co., New York and preaching a New Light sermon on June 8, 1823. Barton remained in the town until Aug. 13, 1823, when he returned to New York. The Ogden pamphlet (then supposed to have been written by Job Otis) was published at that time. See Barton's response, in his own 1823 tract, An Exposition of Facts in a Letter to Stephen Gould. This was followed in 1826 with his pamphlet, A Discourse... for the relief of the Boston Bard. By 1827 Barton was editing a short-lived, New Light publication entitled, Wisdom & The Aletheian Messenger. The next known incident in this religious seeker's activities came in the form of his own report of an 1827 visit with Jacob Cochran at Hollis. Whether Hull Barton subsequently converted to Cochranism, or merely assumed control of one of that sect's factions, is uncertain. The above account from Kennebunk reports that Barton had been made the pastor of a Cochranite congregation, but that sect is not known to have ordained ministers -- besides which, Rev. Barton is said to have altered the Kennebunk congregation's original Passover observation, an innovation Jacob Cochran probably would not have allowed. The Kennebeck church must have been something like a "reformed" Cochranite/Quaker society.

Note 2: With the arrival of Mormonism in New England, that new sect captured Barton's attention. In his 1966 Dialogue article, "The Quest for Religious Authority and the Rise of Mormonism," Mario S. De Pillis provides an account of "Michael Hull Barton of western Massachusetts," who, having traveled "extensively throughout New England seeking the one true church... found himself torn between the Mormons and the Shakers. Finally, in 1831 he started from Western Massachusetts for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to be baptized by a Mormon elder. On the way back to his home his 'conscience seized him and his sins stared him in the face.' Retiring to the woods to pray, he received the spiritual light which turned him toward the nearest Shaker community in the town of Harvard, Massachusetts." How long Barton remained a Shaker, history does not recall.

Note 3: Historical records show that Bracy Curtis and his wife Hannah Walker were residents of Kennebunk, York Co., Maine during the 1820s. A Jacob Towne (1758-1836) was living in the adjacent village of Kennebunkport at the same time. The 1830 and 1840 census reports for Maine shows a Stephen Mitchel living in Kennebunkport.


The Vermont American.
Vol. ?                           Middlebury, Conn., May 7, 1828.                           No. ?

WEDNESDAY May 7th, 1828.


THE RODSMEN. Instances of great delusion or fanaticism have been rare thro' our country, and particularly so, among the intelligent yeomanry of New England. Since the days of the Salem witchcraft, and the times of the Connecticut Blue Laws, probably nothing has occurred in our states exhibiting such complete fanaticism , and so utter a destitution of propriety and common sense, as the origin and operations of the of a Fraternity of Rodsmen, (formerly existing in this state,) whose character it is now our purpose to briefly sketch.

About 1800 one or two families in Rutland county, who had been considered respectable citizens, and who were, at the time, members of the Baptists church, pretended to have been informed by the Almighty, that they were descendants of the ancient Jews, and were, with their connexions, to be put in possession of the land for some miles around; the way for which was to be providentially prepared by the destruction of their fellow-townsmen. --

They claimed, also, inspired power, which was to cure all sorts of diseases -- intuitive knowledge of lost or stolen goods, and ability to discover the hidden treasures of the earth, as well as the more convenient talent of transmuting ordinary substances into precious metals. Within a year, numbers were added to this band of fanatics; and finally, most of the connexions of its originators were drawn in -- embracing parts of some fifteen families, and numbering nearly forty persons. The instrument of their miraculous powers, was a cleft stick, or rod, something of the form of an inverted Y; and when this talisman was firmly grasped in either hand, by its two points, it was believed to indicate the proper course to be pursued, or point out some substance of medicinal utility, or fix the locality of some valuable mine; -- whichever of these the agent was pleased to wish. In pursuing the directions of this monitor, the most ludicrous and occasionally very calamitous, results followed. Ill-shaped and craggy stones, the offals of animals, decayed wood, and even the most offensive ordure, were gathered up as possessing great virtues; and in one instance, at least, these last articles were administered to a sick person, until the credulous patient was relieved from her disgusting boluses by the hand of death.

Before the adoption of any project among the fraternity, a nod of assent was required from the rods of the whole, which was usually not wanting, provided that of the leader, (or Mugwump, as he was technically called,) appeared favorable. In executing plans approved by "the sublime direction of the rod," excavations were made in the mountains, some to a great depth; -- the frame of a large building was put up, (which is now in use as a barn;) and numbers of horses were killed for their bones. From the bowels of the mountain valuable ore was to be taken; the building was to be erected into a furnace for smelting and refining it; and the horses' bones were to be converted into crucibles!

The operations of this band of mystics attracted but little notice, till the latter part of the following year, when their movements indicated something more serious, and fears were entertained that some high-handed measure would be attempted, as a winding-up scene to their career of folly and infatuation. Their claims to being descendants of the ancient Jews, and lawful inheritors of the whole country, they declared were soon to be established by the hand of Omnipotence. An earthquake was prophecied to happen during the night of the 14th Jan. 1802; at which time the Destroying Angel was to move forward and smite all but the chosen. The scene of carnage which was to ensue had been much dwelt upon; and the ninth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Exekiel, (frequently made the subject of discourses at their meetings,) were declared to have special reference to the coming catastrophe.

As the 14th of January approached, excitement increased throughout the town, and the militia were required to be in order for service at a moment's warning. -- The military stores belonging to the town, were removed from the house of the Mugwump, (who had been their depository.) and the means of producing an earthquake, it is believed, were thus removed.

At sunset of the ominous 14th, the Rodsmen repaired to their leader's house, after nailing upon their door-posts a paper, on which was written -- "Christ our Passover was Sacrificed for us." This was to preserve the habitations of the Faithful from the destruction speedily to be visited upon those of their neighbors, and many affecting interviews were held by the Rodsmen with their children, who were not allowed by the stern decree of the rod to follow their parents, and of whom these infatuates pretended to believe they were taking their final leave. -- At 9 o'clock, the military were under arms, and a sergeant's guard was posted on each of the four streets diverging from the village. In a short time, six Rodsmen, fantastically dressed, and equipped according to the direction they supposed given them, -- (Ezekiel ix, 2), were observed rapidly approaching. After being hailed by the guard, they were fired upon, when they turned and fled. About midnight, the same men approached the village in another direction -- were again hailed, fired upon, and dispersed. Thus ended the strange drama.

Immediately after this exhibition, which had created much consternation, the indignation of the whole people burst upon these shameless impostors. The leaders of the fraternity, therefore, feeling themselves contemptible by the failure of their earthquake; "seeing the "slow-moving finger of scorn" pointed towards them from all their neighbors; and fearing, moreover, that the heavy hand of the law would fall on them for their misdeeds; -- disposed of their property and removed into the county of St. Lawrence, New York; where it is said something of their former delusion stuck by them. They are now mostly dead.

Note 1: This article was probably written by Ovid Miner, Editor of the Vermont American. For a history of the Nathaniel Wood cult, the so-called "Wood Scrape," and the possible involvement of the father of Oliver Cowdery in these events in Rutland Co., Vermont, see Barnes Frisby's 1867 History of Middleton, pp. 46-63.

Note 2: More details on the "Wood Scrape" and its possible relation to the origins of Mormonism may be found in the on-line report American Israelites: (1795-1810) at and in the article "St. John's Rod," in the July 26, 1879 issue of the Cincinnati Christian Standard.


The Vermont American.
Vol. ?                           Middlebury, Conn., Wednesday, August 6, 1828.                           No. ?

To the Editor of the American. --
  SIR, -- In a piece published in your paper, a short time since, under the head of "The Rodsmen," you fell into a small error which I think it would be well to correct. The statement to which I allude is, "and who were at the time, members of the Baptist Church," -- it should have been, and who were at the time members of the Congregational Church. As your publication may be the only record of these poor fanatics, which will descend to posterity, I could assign, if necessary, a number of good reasons, why it should be exactly true and correct.
Yours, &c. P.

Note: This correction is made in reference to the article entitled, "The Rodsmen," in the Vermont American of May 7, 1828. It may be germane to note that the family of Oliver Cowdery were members of the Congregational Church, and that his step-mother and half-sisters were listed on the rolls of the Poultney Congregational Church, just before and during the period when the Rev. Ethan Smith served as the Pastor of that congregation. This was in the early 1820s, two decades after the "Wood Scrape."



Vol. IX.                                     Boston, Ma.,  April, 1829.                                     No. 4.


With pleasure we present our readers with the following extract of a communication from Rev. Adamson Bentley, a minister at the West.

Warren, Trumbull Co. Ohio,    
March 9, 1825.

As you are in the habit of noticing in your Magazine, the very pleasing intelligence of revivals of religion, wherever they may occur, and the means by which they have been advanced, I have been induced to forward you the following intelligence. The Mahoning Association, in the year 1827, after examining the returns of the churches, found only thirty four added by baptism among all the churches for that year. The number of churches was 17, of members composing the churches, 492; 34 only having been added as the result of our labors. The Association was led to feel that we had been very remiss in the practice of vital piety, or deficient in our liberality or exertions, to spread the knowledge of salvation amongst the destitute in our own neighborhood. Whilst efforts were making, to send the gospel to the heathen, hundreds were perishing around us for lack of knowledge. The Association, from these considerations, was induced to employ some person to preach within the limits of the Association, the ensuing year, to stir up the brethren by way of remembrance, and find out, if possiblr, the situation of the churches. Accordingly Elder Walter Scott was solicited to accept the appointment, and he immediately entered upon the labors connected with it.

He soon discovered that the members had fallen into a kind of apathy and indifference truly alarming. Indeed they were like lost sheep upon the mountains, they knew not where to go themselves, and of course it could not be expected that they could inform others. He also found as great a diversity of feeling and sentiment existing among the professors of religion, as might be found in the height of their stature, or in their countenances. This led him to deep reflection concerning the duties of his appointment, and caused him to resolve in his own mind, that he would commence where the gospel commenced, and pursue it without regard to the sentiments or feelings of men.

While pursuing his labors, an astonishing accession has been made to the church of God, the last year; and all who have received the truth, and are now pursuing it, have the pleasure of seeing the word of God operating like a fire and a hammer, to break the hard hearts of sinners, and bring them to bow to the mild and peaceable sceptre of our dear Redeemer.

The Association, during the last year, has added to her number, 512 -- and upwards of 500 more were baptized, who are now constituted into churches, but not yet connected with the Association.   Yours, &c.

Note 1: It is rather remarkable that the editor of the American Baptist Magazine, operating under the auspices of the Baptist Missionary Society of Massachusetts, would publish such a letter as is here given from the pen of Elder Bentley, a leading associate of the outspoken, anti-mission reformer, Alexander Campbell. Notice the absence of the usual Baptist fraternal greeting and closing; Bentley's subtle criticism against sending "the gospel to the heathen," etc. The Massachusetts editor could not have been unaware of the recent anti-Campbellite purges within the Pennsylvania Redstone Baptist Association, nor of the contemporary anti-reform sentiments within the adjacent Beaver Baptist Association (which later in that same year resulted in the promulgation of the "Beaver Anathema" against the pro-Campbell Mahoning Association).

Note 2: Elder Walter Scott's remarkable evangelizing efforts on behalf of the Mahoning Association, were loudly trumpeted in the Campbellite press during the last three years of the decade, culminating in the message Scott himself prepared for the 1829 meeting of the Association (and partly republished in Campbell's Christian Baptist of Jan. 4, 1830). A typical Campbellite report of Scott's successes can be found in the Christian Baptist of June 2, 1828: "Bishops Scott, Rigdon, and Bentley, in Ohio, within the last six months have immersed about eight hundred persons." The American Baptist Magazine editors might have hesitated in pubishing Elder Bentley's letter, had they first pondered the fact that most of Scott's baptisms were a result of his adopting the recent innovation of the "altar call" or revival "invitation," by which new converts were encouraged to share in public the story of their conversion, repentance and confession of faith. Scott took this method one step further, eliminating the requirement of a miraculous conversion experience, and offering immediate baptism to any candidates who merely confessed their faith. Such an innovation was bound to bring in numerous new members, who were not presumed to be fit, "regenerated" converts by the mainstream Baptist and Presbyterian congregations.

Note 3: Elder Scott relates how he added several hundred new members to the Baptist church roles during 1827-28. The great majority of these conversions occurred within the bounds of the Mahoning and Grand River Associations, in Northern Ohio. In some cases the local, established churches rejected the reformers' innovations -- resulting in doctrinal splits within churches, disfellowshippings or rejections of ostensible members, and the establishment of new, unassociated congregations which were only nominally Baptist. During the same period the Redstone Association purged numerous churches from its fellowship, resulting in the formation of the Washington Association, etc. Some published 1820s membership statistics (extracted from the ABM of September, 1829) are as follows:
1828  Beaver Assoc. -- 14 churches; 4 ministers; 26 baptisms; 412 members
1826  Redstone Assoc. -- 28 churches; 24 ministers; 36 baptisms; 1047 members
1827  Washington Assoc. -- 9 churches; 6 ministers; 18 baptisms; 305 members
1828  Grand Riv. Assoc. -- 18 churches; 8 ministers; 80 baptisms; 761 members
1828  Mahoning Assoc. -- 26 churches; 14 ministers; 307 baptisms; 1003 members
1825  Mohican Assoc. -- 17 churches; 15 ministers; 30 baptisms; 615 members.


Vol. 27.                         Amherst, N. H., May 2, 1829.                         No. 34.


Some of the Baptist Churches in Ohio have enjoyed the year past special tokens of divine favor. Mahoning Association has received an addition of 512 converts; and 500 were baptized who had not joined the Association. The number added to the churches under the care of the Presbyterian synod during the year is said to be about two thousand. -- Brandon Tel.

Note: Where the editor of the Brandon Vermont Telegraph obtained his information remains unknown, but the Campbellite Christian Baptist of June 2, 1828 reported that, "Bishops Scott, Rigdon, and Bentley, in Ohio, within the last six months have immersed about eight hundred persons."


Brattleboro  Messenger.
Vol. VIII.                       Brattleboro, Vermont, September 25, 1829.                      No. 35.


'Golden Bible.' -- The Palmyra Freeman says -- The greatest piece of superstition that has ever come within our knowledge, now occupies the attention of a few individuals of this quarter. -- It is generally known and spoken of as the 'Golden Bible.' Its proselytes give the following account of it: -- In the fall of 1827, a person by the name of Joseph Smith, of Manchester, Ontario county, reported that he had been visited in a dream by the spirit of the Almighty, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited this Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of a divine nature and origin. After having been thrice thus visited, as he states, he proceeded to the spot, and after having penetrating "mother earth" a short distance, the Bible was found, together with a huge pair of Spectacles! He had been directed, however, not to let any mortal being examine them, "under no less penalty" than instant death! They were therefore nicely wrapped up, and excluded from the "vulgar gaze of poor wicked mortals!" It was said that the leaves of the bible were plates of gold, about 8 inches long, 6 wide, and one eighth of an inch thick, on which were engraved characters or hieroglyphicks. By placing the spectacles in a hat, and looking into it, Smith could (he said so, at least,) interpret these characters.

An account of this discovery was soon circulated. The subject was almost invariably treated as it should have been -- with contempt. A few however, believed the "golden" story, among whom was Martin Harris, an honest and industrious farmer of this town, (Palmyra). So blindly enthusiastic was Harris, that he took some of the characters interpreted by Smith, and went in search of some one, besides the interpreter, who was learned enough to English them; but all to whom he applied (among the number was Professor Mitchell of New York,) happened not to be possessed of sufficient knowledge to give satisfaction! Harris returned, and set Smith to work at interpreting the Bible. -- He has at length performed the task, and the work is soon to be put to press in Palmyra. Its language and doctrines are said to be far superior to those of the book of life!!

Note: Clipping courtesy of Erin Jennings. The Brattleboro Messenger's reprint of the Palmyra article shortens the first couple of sentences and leaves off its final four paragraphs. Generally speaking, the Messenger's version so resembles the reprint that was published in the Ohio Painesville Telegraph of Sept. 22, 1829 that it is certain that both papers followed the same published source (which must have been the Rochester Telegraph of Aug. 31, 1829). A more exact and complete copy of the Palmyra text may be found in the Niagara Courier of Aug. 27, 1829. An exhaustive search of old upstate and western New York newspapers has, so far, failed to uncover any earlier, specific published reference to the Book of Mormon. However, the July and August 1829 issues of the Rochester paper, Paul Pry's Bulletin, make some obscure references to Joseph Smith's "Golden Bible."


ns Vol. VII.                           Salem, Mass,  October 2, 1829.                           No. 79.


GOLDEN BIBLE. -- The Palmyra Freeman says -- The greatest piece of superstition that has ever come within our knowledge now occupies the attention of a few individuals of this quarter. -- It is generally known and spoken of as the "Golden Bible." Its proselytes give the following account of it: -- In the fall of 1827, a person by the name of Joseph Smith, of Manchester, Ontario county, reported that he had been visited in a dream by the spirit of the Almighty, and informed that in a certain hill in that town, was deposited this Golden Bible, containing an ancient record of a divine nature and origin. After having been thrice thus visited, as he states, he proceeded to the spot, and after having penetrating "mother earth" a short distance, the Bible was found, together with a huge pair of Spectacles! He had been directed, however, not to let any mortal being examine them, "under no less penalty" than instant death! They were therefore nicely wrapped up, and excluded from the "vulgar gaze of poor wicked mortals!" It was said that the leaves of the bible were plates of gold about 8 inches long, 6 wide, and one eighth of an inch thick, on which were engraved characters or hieroglyphics. By placing the spectacles in a hat, and looking into it, Smith could (he said so, at least,) interpret these characters.

An account of this discovery was soon circulated. The subject was almost invariably treated as it should have been -- with contempt. A few however, believed the "golden" story, among whom was Martin Harris, an honest and industrious farmer of this town, (Palmyra). So blindly enthusiastic was Harris, that he took some of the characters interpreted by Smith, and went in search of some one, besides the interpreter, who was learned enough to English them; but all to whom he applied (among the number was Professor Mitchell of New York,) happened not to be possessed of sufficient knowledge to give satisfaction! Harris returned, and set Smith to work at interpreting the Bible. -- He has at length performed the task, and the work is soon to be put to press in Palmyra. Its language and doctrines are said to be far superior to those of the book of life!!!

Note: The Salem Gazette's reprint of the Palmyra article follows the text published by the Brattleboro Messenger on Sept. 25th.

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