145 years ago today - Aug 31, 1878

[William S. Sayre]
... a man whose name, to the best of my recollection, was Richards, got into the Stage house when on <<the>> rout & Said he resided at Palmira, & had been to Quages, which was in the town of Colesville a few miles from South Bainbridge village to See Jos[eph] Smith, who had resided in Palmira, & had found a gold bible & stone in which he looked & was thereby enabled to translate the very ancient chara[c]ters which <<he>> found in the bible. He Said Smith was poor & was living in a house which had only one room <<in which he could keep [for?]>> & Smith had a sheet put up in one corner & went behind it from observation when he was writing the bible. He Said Smith kept the bible hid or covered up & put it in a hat & had the Stone which <<he>> found in Pal=mira & look[e]d through it & then wrote what he read in the bible. He Said <<he>> would not let him see the bible but let him feel of it when it was covered up. Smith read to him a good deal of the bible & he repeated to those in the Stage verse after verse of what Smith had read to him; & I afterwards remem=bered Some of the names <<& language>> when I read the Mormon bible. An other gentleman in <<the>> Stage who knew Richards, Said he [Richards] was a man of Some property & had lent Smith money, & he had been trying to get pay. That he was Crazy on the subject of religion & Smith had duped him into a belief that [there] was a prospect [of return] & [that he] had found [that] the books history [was] on the lost tribes of Israel. ...

[At the top of the page] He [Joseph Smith] soon pretended to be a fortune teller & capable of looking into futurity. This was done by placing a stone in his hat & then looking into it drawn over his face so as to exclude the light. In this way he pretended also to discover hidden treasures of gold in the earth, & many even so credulous & deluded as to dig for gold in locating [locations] indicated by him. ... but these false pretensions & deceptions was soon exposed & he was prosecuted as an imposter & taken before Joseph P. Chamberlin Esq. a justice of the peace, when he was defended by two old pettyfoggers com=monly called Elder Reed & general Davidson, pritty well known in those days. Jo. was allowed to escape punishment by leaving the town. His his subsequent career in Ohio & Illinois is matter of history[."]

[William S. Sayre to James T. Cobb, 31 August 1878, Theodore A. Schroeder Papers, Archives, Wisconsin State Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: William S. Sayre To James T. Cobb]

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