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Vol. XIII.                               Cooperstown, N.Y., Dec. 4, 1826.                                No. 662.


There have been many conjectures respecting the origin of the aborigines of our country. The remains of former civilization, which are found scattered through the continent, cannot be accounted for, unless we suppose them to have exterminated the race by whom they were reared -- and this we cannot; as the desultory warfare of the savages, could never have overcome a nation capable of rearing such citadels of defence. If we suppose them to be the descendants of "the ten tribes who were carried away beyond Babylon," all is accounted for satisfactorily: they remain to this day, the monuments of the Almighty's wrath for their rebellion -- a warning to all nations. That they are so is rendered probable by the following article from the Christian magazine; and still more so by the work of Dr. Boudinot on the subject. -- Long Island Pat.


If "the outcasts of Israel" are not to be found in America, where, suffer me to ask, are they to be found? Between two and three thousand years ago, they disappeared from the civilized world, and went somewhere -- where we believe that they now exist, a distinct people. Where did they go? And where are they at present? They are not in Europe -- they are not in Africa -- and, so far as is known, they are not in Asia. The habitable earth has been to a very great extent explored and unless we place them in the wilds of America, they are not to be found.

The natives of this continent, if we except Esquimaux & Greenlanders, are manifestly one people. This is proved, from the similarity of their personal appearance, of their customs, of their religious worship and belief, and especially of their language. They are said indeed, to speak different tongues; but it is now agreed, by the best judges, that these are little more than different dialects of the same tongue. The natives of both the Americas, and of every part of the country bear evident marks of a common origin, & of having descended from some common branch of the human family. -- And not only are they of the same origin and race; they have preserved themselves in a great measure distinct from all other people. They are as distinct, at this day, almost as the Jews are. In this view they correspond exactly with what we might expect of the descendants of Israel.

That they are the descendants of Israel, is rendered probable by their traditions respecting the coming and settlement of their forefathers in this country. -- We have seen already, from the apocryphal history, that when the tribes of Israel left Media, they journeyed, in a northeasterly direction, "a year and a half." This might carry them to the north-east extremity of Asia, and very possibly over Bherrings straits, into the limits of America. In strict accordance with this account, the American natives have a tradition, that a long time ago their fathers came here from another country -- that in their journey they passed over great waters -- and that they came to their present settlements from the north-west. The Mexicans, not only had this tradition, but pretended that they could show the places where their fathers stopped, in their journey from the north-west coast. Here, then, on the other hand, we have an account of the tribes of Israel leaving Media, and travelling long enough in a northeasterly direction, to bring them very nearly, if not quite, upon the north-west coast of America; and on the other, we have a current tradition of the Indians, that their fathers actually came from this coast, and beyond it, from another country.

Another argument, to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Israelites, is derived from their language. Between the language of these Indians and the Hebrew, there is, to say the least, a strong affinity. This fact has been noticed by many wtiters, and by those too who were best able to form a judgment in the case. I could mention as many as thirty words, besides several phrases of some considerable length, which are almost precisely the same in Indian as in Hebrew. The Hebrew word Hallelujah, so common in sacred music among ourselves, is still more common in the sacred songs of the Indians. The Hebrew Jah, another name of the Deity is in Indian Yah. and the Hebrew Ale still another name for the Deity in Indian [is] precisely the same. The construction of the Indian languages, by means of prefixes and suffixes, also gives it a striking resemblance to the Hebrew. How shall we account for the strong affinity between these languages, unless we suppose the American Indians to be in fact Israelites?

Some have thought that a similarity might be traced between the features of American Indians, and those of the Jews. This was the opinion of the celebrated William Penn. In describing the natives, soon after his arrival among them, he says, "I found them with like countenances with the Hebrew race; and their children of so lively a resemblance to them, that a man would think himself in Duke's Place or Berry street, (the Jew's corner,) in London, when he sees them."

The American Indians have many traditions, corresponding with the Sacred History, which can hardly be accounted for, unless on the supposition that their fathers were once acquainted with the inspired volume. They not only have traditions, like many of the heathen, of a general Deluge, but retain some obscure ideas of numerous other facts, mentioned in the scriptures. They believe that the man was created from the earth, and that the woman was formed from a part of the man. They have a tradition of the longevity of the first inhabitants of the world, when men "lived till their feet were worn out with walking, and their throats with eating." They have a tradition of the Confusion of Tongues -- that "a long time ago, the people were to build a high place; and that while they were building, they lost their language, and could not understand each other." They have a tradition that, a great while since, they had a common father, and that this father had twelve sons -- in allusion, doubtless, to the twelve sons of Jacob. They tell us, "that their ancestors had once a sanctified rod which budded in a night's time." -- Like the rod of Aaron. They believe that "the Great Spirit, in very ancient times, often held councils, and smoked with their fathers, and gave them laws to be observed; but that in consequence of their disobedience, he withdrew from them, and abandoned them to the vexations of the bad spirit." These traditionary accounts, )to which I have it in my power to add others) are very remarkable, and clearly indicate that the ancestors of the Indians must at some period have been acquainted with the sacred history of the Old Testament.

The religious belief of the American Indians differs materially from that of the other heathen nations, and agrees, in many points, with that of the ancient Israelites. They believe in the existence of one God the great invisible Spirit, who created, and who constantly governs the world; and although all the tribes may not have kept themselves entirely free from idolatry; yet in general, they agree, and have ever agreed, in directing their worship to God alone. They believe in a superindenting Providence, and manifest often a degree of gratitude on the reception of favours, and submission in adversity, which would not discredit professing Christians. Their sense of dependence on the Great Spirit, leads them very frequently to pray to him. "Every morning," say our Missionaries among the Osages, "we hear them, on all sides around us, to a great distance from their camp, engaged in very earnest prayer to God their Creator. This they do likewise on all extraordinary occasions, as when they receive any distinguishing favour." Such was their practice when the Missionaries found them, and before they had received any religious instruction. The Indians believe in the existence of angels and demons, and that the demons have a chief over them, who is more wicked than the rest. They believe that they are themselves "the beloved people" of the Great Spirit, as the ancient Israelites did; that they were the peculiar, chosen people of God. The Indians also believe in a future state of rewards and punishments, to be distributed according to the characters which are sustained here. If now we compare these religious views and traits with those of the debased & idolatrous heathen, in Asia, and other parts of the world; we shall discover a difference for which it will not be easy to account, but by supposing the remote ancestors of the American Indians to have been acquainted with Divine revelation. -- Christ. Mag.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XIV.                               Cooperstown, N.Y., July 23, 1827.                                No. 695.


A late Missouri paper contains a letter from Mr. Wetmore, an American officer at Council Bluffs, relating the incidents attending the attempts of Mr. Dougherty, the agent of Indian affairs, to save a female prisoner, from being sacrificed by the Pawnee Indians, according to their custom. Mr. Dougherty, two or three officers and an escort, from the garrison, left that Bluffs (Fort Atkinson) on the 5th of April last, and reached the grand Pawnee village in five days. They were told that the captive had been some time fattening for the sacrifice, and that the execution was to take place the next day, the fuel and all the materials being prepared. -- The captive was a Paduca woman, who had been captured by a war party two or three months before. The chiefs and warriors met in council, and no argument or persuasion was spared by Mr. Dougherty to obtain the release of the intended victim. The principal men of the tribe seemed disposed to give her up to the Americans, but the women and children and a few men were clamorous for the sacrifice. The medicine man, or chief juggler, appeared among them, and after some flourishes, said he could arrange the medicine as to secure plenty of Buffalo and corn without a burnt offering. The captive was then led into the council lodge with evident marks of distress and audible expressions of grief, but after she was apprised of the interposition in her favor, her face was brightened with a smile. No one present could speak her language, and all communication with her was by signs. -- The next day she was delivered to the Americans, who placed her on a horse and started for the Bluffs. They had not proceeded far, when two Indians who had determined to kill the woman, sprang from their concealment, and one of them let fly an arrow at her which passed through her buffalo robe, and inflicted a mortal wound in her side. A scuffle ensued, during which some disaffected Indians came up, bore off the captive, and threw her down on the ground, still alive. Two hundred warriors from the village immediately assembled around her, that they might dip their weapons in her blood. After her death, the Americans proceeded homeward.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XVII.                      Cooperstown (N.Y.), Monday. January 31, 1831.                       No. 879.


Messrs. Editors -- The account of the dark day in Quebec, which was given it a late Evening Post, has brought so freshly to my recollection a similar occurance, that I feel disposed to give a little sketch of a day, which I think, in darkness and gloom, far exceeded the one so recently witnessed in Quebec. I think it was the 13th of April, 1780, the spring had previously been uncommonly pleasant, and the husbandman were all busily employed in planting; the active housewife was early stiring, that a plentiful breakfast might be seasonably prepared; and the members of every family felt the invigorating influence of the vernal season. But the morning was gloomy, a bright brassy belt encompassed the horizon, while all above was dark and dismal; when the sun arose, the singularity of its appearance attracted the attention of all. It had at first the appearance of emerging from an eclipse -- then its upper ridge was obscured by the cloud above, and it presented the appearance of the middle of the circle or rather a long square; and in a short time it was lost in darkness -- not a ray was to be seen, and the bright bolt had disappeared.

At eleven in the morning lights were found necessary to perform domestick business; and before twelve, every man laid aside his work, and retired to the adjoining dwelling, in expectation of some violent convulsion in nature. A thunderstorm or hurricane was momentarily expected. Dinner was taken by candelight. A slight shower of rain now fell, and the water was impregnated with sulphur. The afternoon continued dark. At sunset the belt was again discernable, and the god of day sunk beneath the horizon in a similar manner with its rising; and in twenty minutes the darkness was such as had never been witnessed since the plagues of Egypt. It might indeed be felt, and had the appearance of a pall of black velvet, which obscured every object; the lights in the windows of the nearest houses resembled a lamp faintly shining through the aperature in the cloth. The evening continued in this state of gloom and darkness; and when the family retired, it was with a sad forboding that the sun would never rise upon them again. "We are told that before that great and dreadful day, the sun and moon shall be darkened, and give no light," said a good woman in going to her chamber, "the time has come, and to-morrow we shall witness the day of judgement; how poorly we are prepared, and how shall we meet the son of man, and the son of God." But sleep, that balmy blessing, which rests and refreshes the weary, demanded his clue, and slumber stole upon senses, that vainly endeavoured to watch through the night. How great was the joy that awaited the moment of awakening. At half past twelve the veil was withdrawn, the darkness had fled, the sky was clear and bespangled with millions of sparkling stars, and the beautiful moon appeared riding in all her grandwur. Not a breeze moved the small blades of grass, not stirred the now budding foliage of the trees -- all was still, tranquil and serene. Every insect seemed to hail the Great Creator of all things. Whole families arose to inhale the balmy influence of the preset scene; and to welcome as a blessing the glorious light which from being withdrawn for one day, now appeared decked in beauty and fraught with blessings that had never witnessed before, the voice of congratulation was heard on every side, and men loved and feared God with a double ardor. Vessels coming in from sea met this cloud five leagues from shore, and those three leagues off, were enveloped in darkness. This darkness extended through the New-England States, but no farther. It was the subject of many sermons. Philosophers and Astronomers in vain endeavoured to account for a phenomenon that had never ocured at any period previous to the present. Many accidents happened in the course of the evening, some of a ludicrous kind, and some of a serious nature. The forebodings of crying prophets have turned out to be false. Our revolution has ended in a glorious peace; tranquility and prosperity have crowned their endeavours, and nothing has followed the dark day in half a century to credit the prognostics of the day. -- N. Y. Gaz.

Note: The correspondent was not too far off in his dating of this extraordinary event: the New England "Black Friday" of May 19, 1780 was remembered and talked about for decades. The "Dark Days" web-site attributes the shadowy effect of that day to "high level smoke," adding: "Candles were lighted at noon in Providence; in N. E. Massachusetts print could not be read outdoors for several hours; in Worcester, 'a sickly melancholy gloom overcast the face of Nature." Soot-coloured rain fell, and this was enough to reveal the cause of the darkness to most people. A Massachusetts farmer disagreed, saying that to attribute the darkness to the 'smoke of burnt leaves' was absurd; it was time to repent, as 'the day of the Lord draws nigh." The descriptions of "dark day" seem to be more consistent with the effects of both low level and high level smoke -- though people were not choking on the floating particles. Whether or not would-be writer Solomon Spalding took notice of this strange phenomenon remains unknown. Dr. Samuel Mitchell reportedly once described a similar event with the term "vapour of smoke."



Vol. XVIII.                      Cooperstown, N.Y., Monday, March 16, 1831.                       No. 894.

Singular Developments -- Trouble in the antimasonic party -- A rather curious and highly interesting account of certain matters has lately appeared from the pen of W. W. Phelps, editor of the Ontario Phoenix, an antimasonic paper published in Canandaigua. He states that while he was lately at Palmyra, whither he had gone for the important purpose of comparing the "Book of Mormon" with the Bible to find out the truth and investigate the matter for the public good, certain persons, members of the church and pretended antimasons, living at Canandaigua, caused him to be arrested for a debt and put him in jail, where he will have to stay thirty days, though his family are sick at home.

After remarking in bitter terms on the hardness of his case, &c. he speaks as follows: "Is this one of the principles of antimasonry? If it is, save me from its ransacking scourge, for it is cruel as the grave, parting man and wife, and vaunting in the dregs of Imprisonment for Debt!

"Three years have I led the freemen of Old Ontario to victory. I have always meant good, and have had the name of so doing -- then for what act have I been cast into prison? Let public opinion declare! I have risked all and spent all in the cause of Antimasonry -- my just dues are somewhat more than my debts: therefore, if those concerned, and who have had the benefit of my services, will take the whole, and square all, by giving me $150, which is only fifty dollars a year for three year's hard labor, they are welcome to it; otherwise I shall send a fire brand abroad, which may light an unquenchable flame! I shall not be severed from the Ontario Phoenix by Lord ____, for nothing, nor go into it again disgraced. The people of Ontario will not suffer "CHURCH AND STATE" to mix and fat federalism. They will glory in seeing what has been divided in April, scattered in November, unless I receive the meed of my merit."

It plainly appears from this, that there is trouble among the fraternity of antimasons in Ontario and the expression of Mr. Phelps. "that what has been divided in April will be scattered in November," would seem to indicate their downfall at the autumn election.

Mr. Phelps is one of the prominent leaders of antimasonry, and he is one of those who have damned and demeaned himself by the insinuation that the sudden death of DeWitt Clinton was heavenly punishment on him for a dark crime. -- Alb. Gaz.

Note 1: The above excerpt is from a William W. Phelps letter addressed to the Geneva Gazette, and reprinted from an early May issue of that paper into the Wayne Sentinel of May 13, 1831 in full.

Note 2: In an 1835 letter published in the LDS Messenger & Advocate William W. Phelps wrote: "On the 30th of April, 1830, I was thrown into prison at Lyons, N.Y. by a couple of Presbyte[rian] traders, for a small debt, for the purpose, as I was informed, of "keeping me from joining the Mormons" (Letter No. 6," Latter Day Saints' Messenger & Advocate, Vol. I. No. 7.[April, 1835]). The "April, 1830" date printed in the Mormon newspaper was obviously a typographical error; the date have read "April, 1831." See Bruce A. Van Orden's "By That Book I Learned the Right Way to God: The Conversion of William W. Phelps" in Regional Studies in LDS History: New York.

Note 3: It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Phelps' temporary imprisonment in the Lyons jail was a publicity stunt cooked up by Phelps himself. He was arguably the last man in the State of New York ever held in confinement exclusively upon the charge of not having paid a small debt. The Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a law voiding such sentencing about the time W. W. Phelps went behind bars. In his open letter to newspaper readers he says things objectionable to Freemasons and anti-Masons alike, as though tailoring his words to the needs of a country editor in search of printable "news." If this was indeed Phelps' purpose, the results (only a few mentions in western New York papers) hardly seem to have been worth the effort.



Vol. XVIII.                               Cooperstown, N.Y., June 20, 1831.                                No. 899.


Latest from the Mormonites. -- The following is from the Western Courier of May 26th, published at Ravenna, Portage county, Ohio: -- "We understand that a new arrivak of Mormonites has taken place -- some two hundred men, women and children have lately landed in Geauga county, their holy land, from New York. They have commenced a new settlement in the township of Thompson, near the line of Ashtabula county, thus extending the holy land further east than the limits originally fixed. -- They have full faith in the Mormon doctrine, having as they say, worked a miracle in clearing a passage through the ice at Buffalo, by which they sailed several days sooner than otherwise.

Note 1: Those "Mormonites" moving and settling (or simply converting) in Thompson township, Ohio eventually came to include several families, members of which interacted with D. P. Hurlburt prior to his excommunication. These included the Copley family. the Hodges family, the Gee family, etc. The "Colesville branch" of eastern Mormons were the "some two hundred men, women and children" who were scheduled to settle in Thompson. But when wavering convert Lemon Copley did not make his farm available for their settlement, many of those pioneers continued on to Jackson County, Missouri, arriving there about the time of the first special conference of the LDS Church in that place, during the summer of 1831.

Note 2: The Watch-Tower printed only the first half of this news report. The second half (taken from other papers) reads as follows: "In June they are all to meet, and hold a kind of [jubilee] in this new 'land of promise,' where they are to work diverse miracles -- among others that of raising the dead. It is said there are soon to be miraculous births among them, and the number it is expected, will [be] materially increased after the general meeting. -- Strange as it may appear, it is an unquestionable fact, that this singular sect have, within three or four weeks, made many proselytes in this county. The number of believers in the faith, in three or four of the Northern Townships, is said to exceed one hundred -- among whom are many intelligent and respectable individuals. The prospects of obtaining still greater numbers in this county, is daily increasing."



Vol. XVIII.                               Cooperstown, N.Y., August 22, 1831.                                No. 908.


W. W. Phelps, late editor of the Ontario Phoenix, an anti-masonic paper, has embraced the Mormon faith, and has been ordained as an elder, and been commissioned to preach.

Notes: (forthcoming)



Vol. XVIII.                               Cooperstown, N.Y., Monday, October 3, 1831.                                No. 914.


                                   St. Louis, Missouri, Sept. 6.
The Mormonites. -- We learn from the Painesville Gazette, that this infatuated people are again in motion. In their own cant phrase "they are going to inherit the promise of God to Abraham and his seed." Their destination is some indefinite spot on the Missouri river, they say about 1500 miles distant. About eighty of them have recently been ordained and some have gone, others are about going, two and two, part by the western rivers and part by land, to their distant retreat, far away from the cheering voice of civilized man. -- Those who have disposed of their property go now, and such as have property, are making market for it so eagerly as often to disregard pecuniary interests, and all are to follow with all convenient dispatch. They still persist in their power to work miracles. They say they have often seen them done: the sick are healed, the lame walk, devils are cast out; and these assertions are made by men heretofore considered rational men, and men of truth. The Gazette expresses the opinion that although the leaders of this sect are great impostors, a great portion of its members are sincere and honest.

Some of the leaders of this sect, we are told, passed through this place two or three weeks since, on their return to Ohio. We understand, that they have determined to migrate to Jackson county, on the extreme edge of this state; for which purpose they have purchased a sufficiency of land whereupon to locate the whole of the believers of Mormonism. We have some hope that the latter part of the paragraph may be true; as in any other event, we should not rejoice much in the acquisition of so many deluded enthusiasts.

Note: The above Watchman article was reprinted from a notice published by the Daily Missouri Republican on Sept. 6, 1831. The Republican, in turn, took the first part of its article from the Painesville, Ohio Geauga Gazette of June 21, 1831.



Vol. XVIII.                               Cooperstown, N.Y., October 17, 1831.                                No. 916.


The Mormonites have sent a missionary to Illinois. From the accounts received of his first sermon, he is not likely to make many converts.,

Notes: (forthcoming)


Freeman's  Journal.

Vol. XLII.               Cooperstown, N.Y., February 2, 1850.               Whole No. 24.


DIED. -- In Hartwick, on the 6th ult., Zeviah, wife of Capt. Jerome Clark, in the 67th year of her age. The deceased, in all the relations of a wife and mother, performed her duties well, and has gone to her final account with the most affectionate remembrances of her husband and children and the respect of all her acquaintances and friends. -- Com.

Note: Zeviah Lyon Clark, a cousin of Matilda Sabin Spalding, was born in 1783, probably in Connecticut, where she evidently married Jerome Clark in about 1805. Zeviah did not leave this world much before the demise of her husband. See the Journal of May 25, 1850 for Jerome Clark's death notice.


Freeman's  Journal.

Vol. XLII.               Cooperstown, N.Y., May 25, 1850.               Whole No. 42.


DIED. -- In Cherry Valley, on the 16th inst., Capt. JEROME CLARK, aged 95 years. Capt. Clark entered the service of his country at the breaking out of the Revolutionary War, and participated in some of the most sanguinary battles. He served under Gen. Putnam at the battle of Bunker Hill, helped demolish the statue of George the Third, in the city of New York, and participated in the battle of White Plains. After the close of the war, he returned to the peaceful occupations of civil life and was among the first settlers of this village. He afterwards removed to Cherry Valley, where he died. In 1841 there were but nine survivors of the Battle of Bunker Hill, of which Mr. Clark was one. He therefore was one of the last, if not the very last, of that Patriot band. He was born at Lebanon, Connecticut.

Note: Jerome Clark, the son of Benoni Clark and Ruth Carpenter Clark, was born Jan 14, 1755 in Lebanon, New London Co., Connecticut. He married Zeviah Lyon in about 1805, probably in Connecticut. Some records show him being previously married to Anna Waldo Ripley.

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