The Mormon Baptism of William Morgan the anti-Mason
The Mormon Baptism of William Morgan
The Philalethes – February 1985
by John E. Thompson
William Morgan, widely believed at the time to have been murdered by a coterie of Masons after his mysterious disappearance from the steps of the Canandaigua Jail in 1826, later became one of the first persons to receive by proxy the new Mormon rite of Baptism for the Dead in the year 1841. (1) How this came to be is quite an interesting story. It is also one of the strongest evidences of the continuing influence of both Masonry and Anti-Masonry upon the young Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Morgan left behind a widow, Lucinda Pendleton Morgan, and two small children, Lucinda Wesley Morgan and Thomas Jefferson Morgan. (2) Lucinda Morgan herself was barely twenty-five years of age at the time, and if contemporary reports be believed, a petite blue-eyed blonde pleasing to the eye. (3) Just as her husband’s death became a potent symbol of the evils of Masonry that catalysed into being a political movement, Lucinda rapidly became a living reminder of the evils of a Craft that would leave a young woman a widow in the bloom of her maidenhood.
Within a year after her husband’s passing, Lucinda’s name was virtually a “household word” in Western New York. Her name and situation was repeatedly mentioned in presses of all editorial persuasions, from Masonic to AntiMasonic. She was questioned repeatedly on the disappearance of her husband and had even prepared an affidavit on the subject. (4) Her contention throughout this period was that her husband would not have left her voluntarily for any period of time without telling her. She was sure that he had been a victim of foul play and fully supported the AntiMasonic Movement.
In October of 1827, in the heat of an election campaign, a corpse was discovered on the shore of Lake Ontario, which some speculated might have been Capt. Bill Morgan. Prominent AntiMasonic politicians felt it important for their campaign that the body be positively identified. Lucinda examined the body and testified that she was certain that it was her husband, even though none of the clothes on the body belonged to him. (5) George W. Harris, a Batavia silversmith and acquaintance of Morgan, of whom we shall have more to say later, also seemed sure that the corpse was Morgan. (6) But before the body could by John E. Thompson be moved to Batavia, a Canadian woman arrived, possibly at Masonic instigation, and claimed that it was her son Timothy Munro, who had recently drowned. The body was buried in Canada, but the mystery surrounding the affair was never finally cleared up.
The next year, Lucinda Morgan was kept busy by attending a number of Anti-Masonic functions as well as with other business matters relating to her husband’s disappearance. One of the more important of those affairs was her visit to the Le Roy, New York. Convention of Seceding Masons on July 4. Again in the company of George W. Harris, Lucinda supplied the convention with information on Masonry, which was later published. (7) It is interesting to note that the Canandaigua Anti Masonic Publisher William Wine Phelps, who later was an early convert to Mormonism, was present at this meeting. It is not known whether Lucinda had met Phelps at an earlier time, but here is certainly one occasion when she could have made his acquaintance. In the next year or so, Lucinda’s path might have crossed Phelps’s two or three more times, but after that, several years would pass before they would meet again in Far West, Caldweld County, Missouri. (8)
In 1830, Lucinda Morgan decided to remarry. This decision was not particularly surprising, since her husband had been, in her view, abducted by the Masons more than three years before and murdered. And, in addition to her two small children, she had to consider the fact that she had a long life yet in front of herself. Some Anti-Masonic politicians were surprised at the timing of the marriage, having hoped she would have waited until after the 1832 elections. Others were surprised at her choice of a husband, feeling that Frank Granger, a prominent Anti-Mason from Canandaigua had the inside track. (9) But on November 23, Lucinda wed the Batavia silversmith, George W. Harris. (10)
There was a generation gap between them. Harris was twenty-one years older, having been born April 1, i780, in Berkshire County Massachusetts. (11) Very little is known about his early life but we do know that he had already settled in the vicinity of Batavia, New York, by May 18, 1815, for his name appeared in the land records of Gennesee County at that time. (12) His occupation, as we have already noted, was apparently a silversmith or jeweler. (13) When William and Lucinda arrived in Batavia, Harris housed them over his shop. (14) Though Lucinda had known George for years before the nuptials, it is possible that she saw him more as a father figure than a husband. In almost twenty wears of marriage, they had no offspring. (15)
Shortly after their marriage, the Harrises seem to have disappeared. We do not really know what happened. It is possible that the press tired of Lucinda once she was no longer the pure and living symbol of the terrors of Masonry. It is more likely however, that George and Lucinda were tired of the limelight and simple moved from New York to escape the media. Whatever be the truth of the matter, by 1834, the Harrises were living in Terre Haute, Indiana.
It was in Terre Haute that George and Lucinda Harris became Mormons. Sometime in the fall of 1834, the Apostle Orson Pratt, on a missionary journey between Clay County, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, stopped at Terre Haute and proclaimed to any who would hear the message of the Restored Gospel. The results of that work he laconically recorded in his diary: At Terre Saute, I preached a few times, and baptized George W. Harris and his wife….(16) By late November, Pratt was on the road again and by August 5, 1835, George and Lucinda had left as well. (17) But their paths would cross again in the Mormon subculture.
By the fall of 1837. George and Lucinda Harris were already residing among the Saints in Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri. About that time, the Prophet arrived with his Counselor Sidney Rigdon for a visit. On the sixth of November, a meeting was held to appoint a committee to survey lands for gathering and also to adjust “many difficulties.” (18) At this time, the Zion Presidency of John Whitmer, David Whitmer and W.W. Phelps was beginning to be perceived as too independent of the First Presidency of the Church. Many of the difficulties, then, had to do with this ecclesiastical power struggle, a struggle which later culminated in the dismantling of the Zion Presidency altogether and the excommunication of its members.
But we know that another matter was also discussed, a very sensitive one indeed. Oliver Cowdery, one of the three witnesses to the veracity of the Book of Mormon, had been indiscretely sharing that Smith has been involved in “a dirty, nasty, filthy affair” with a young woman named Fanny Alger. (19) There is little question about the veracity of Cowdery’s information. William McLellin, onetime Mormon Apostle, stated that Emma Smith had told him that she had caught her husband and Fanny in loco extremis. In McLellin’s colorful way of expressing it, she “looked through a crack in the barn and saw the transaction!” (20) Emma very easily could have told Cowdery the same story.
The Prophet, who no doubt knew the facts of the case better than anyone, was apparently seeking some sort of retraction from Cowdery which he could use for purposes of public propaganda. He arranged to have witnesses partial to his side present at the meeting. On February 15, 1838, perhaps to answer the charges in an earlier letter of Cowdery’s about the matter, Apostle Thomas B. Marsh and George W. Harris testified “relative to what Oliver Cowdery said about the girl.” (21) Marsh and Harris testified that Cowdery said Joseph had never “confessed the crime” to Oliver and that Cowdery had never shared this with anyone else. (22) Cowdery, of course, remembered the meeting differently. He stated that he refused to lie, so they shook hands and separated. (23)
Regardless of who was telling the truth, it is interesting to note that this delicate discussion between the Prophet and Cowdery took place in the home of George W. Harris, a man who was not as yet a particularly important person in the world of Mormonism. (24) Smith must have already felt that he could trust Harris with extremely sensitive information. It may be that Joseph Smith had already taken George and Lucinda into his confidence regarding plural marriage. In 1842, Sarah Pratt was sought by Joseph as a plural wife. She happened to discuss the matter with Lucinda. Later, Sarah left this record of the conversation:
Mrs. Harris was a married lady, a very great friend of mine. When Joseph had made his dastardly attempt on me. I went to Mrs. Harris to unbosom my grief to her. To my utter astonishment, she said laughing heartily: “How foolish you are! Why I am his mistress since four years.” (25)
It may be then, that Joseph stayed with the Harrises during this visit to Far West in the fall of 1837 and that he took Lucinda, now 36, to his bosom. That would certainly explain very well why Joseph felt secure enough with the Harrises to have his discussion with Cowdery in their house.
At any rate, from that time, George W. Harris’ star rapidly rose in Mormon circles. By February 24, 1838, he was already a High Priest and a member of the Far West High Council. At that meeting, a letter was read from Joseph Smith which stated that he had again left Kirtland, Ohio, for Far West, this time for good. George W. Harris was one of three members of the Council who spoke regarding the need to properly greet the Prophet and his family when they arrived. He was appointed one of three persons to make preparations to meet the Prophet enroute and welcome him. (26) He carried these instructions out to the letter. The Prophet noted that when he arrived in Far West on March 14, “We were immediately received under the hospitable roof of George W. Harris who treated us with all kindness possible.” (27) One supposes that this hospitality extended to the continuation of the relationship with Lucinda. This time, though, the presence of the Prophet’s wife and children may have hampered them a little.
On September 2, 1838, the Patriarch Joseph Smith Senior, the Prophet’s father, personally blessed George Washington Harris and declared him to be of the lineage of Ephraim. (28) On the same occasion, the Patriarch blessed Lucinda Pendleton Harris, Lucinda Wesley Morgan, and Thomas Jefferson Morgan. (29) Thomas Jefferson’s blessing contains an allusion to the disappearance of William Morgan: “In connection with thy stepfather who is a father to thee.” (30)
At the same times Harris’ prestige and land holdings grew while he remained in Missouri. Like the Prophet, Hyrum Smith, and Sidney Rigdon, George W. Harris owned land in both Caldwell and Daviess County, in Mirabile Township and Adam-ondi-Ahman respectively. (31) He may have been a member of the very secret Danite society. At least one observer has thought so. (32) He was a participant in the last expedition to Daviess County, which resulted in the raid on Gallatin and the burning of Millport in October of 1838. (33) And he was prominent enough among the Mormons to be later indicted by the State of Missouri for treason and other crimes. (34)
It is not surprising then, that the Harrises, after the loss of their Missouri home, moved with the Saints to Illinois. What is interesting, however, is that they eventually moved into a house directly across the street from the Prophet in Nauvoo after having been explicitly invited by him in writing. (35) Next door to them was a Judge Cleveland, reportedly a Mason, and his wife. (36) They, too, had been explicitly invited by the Prophet, for Mrs. Cleveland was also a plural wife and Joseph apparently wanted to keep her nearby. (37) We see, in these two plural wives Joseph’s continuing fascination for both Anti-Masonry and Masonry.
Though, in New York, Anti-Masonry had been dominant enough to influence the contents of The Book of Mormon, in Nauvoo, Masonry bounced back with a vengeance. Joseph Smith was raised a Master Mason. His brother Hyrum transferred his membership from Palmyra, New York, to Nauvoo Lodge. The Nauvoo Lodge quickly became the largest and most powerful in the State of Illinois. It rapidly became caught up in controversy. That fascinating story has been well told elsewhere by both Masonic and Mormon historians. But I shall not delve into it here.
It is interesting to note that George W. Harris had briefly been a Mason in Batavia, New York. He was reportedly expelled from the Craft just a few days before Morgan’s disappearance. (38) He never again had anything to do with the order. Even when Mormons were rushing to join the Lodge in Nauvoo in 1842, Harris steered clear.
Harris’ aversion to Masonry had no negative impact on his star in Nauvoo. It remained high in the vault of the Mormon heavens dependent only on Lucinda’s marriage to the Prophet. In 1841-1845. George W. Harris was, among other things, a Member of the Nauvoo High Council, President of the Nauvoo city Council. President pro tem of the Nauvoo city Council, Alderman at Nauvoo, and Acting Associate Justice. (39) He is mentioned in a revelation as a member of a “high council for the corner stone of zion.” (40) As a result of his membership in the High Council, Harris had a room in the Nauvoo Temple.
On August 12, 1843, when the Nauvoo High Council read Joseph Smith’s revelation on polygamy. it was already old news to at least one member – George W. Harris. His wife Lucinda had already been living with the Prophet Joseph Smith as a plural wife for almost six years.
On June 10, 1844, George W. Harris, as President pro tem of the Nauvoo City Council signed the following bill for removing the press of the Nauvoo Expositor:
Resolved by the city council of the city of Nauvoo, that the printing office from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor; and also of said Nauvoo Expositors which may be or exist in said establishment; and the mayor is instructed to cause said establishment and papers to be removed without delay, in such manner as he shall direct. (41)
It did not matter that they did not have legal authority to do so. (42) It did not matter that the sole reason for declaring it a “public nuisance” was that it publicly dared to state that Joseph Smith was a polygamist and had established a political Kingdom of God on earth, both of which were true. (43) The press had to go and the Mayor, conveniently none other than Joseph Smith himself, saw to it with a vengeance. (44)
Joseph and Hyrum Smith were, in a matter of days, incarcerated in the Carthage Jail, about eighteen miles from Nauvoo, for their role in the illegal destruction of the Expositor. On June 27, a mob rushed in and killed them both, but not without a fight. Joseph reportedly wounded three or four men with a six-shooter that he had been given. (45)
In his last moments, Joseph stood at the open window and dramatically cried out “O Lord My God!” E. Cecil McGavin explained those words as follows:
This was not the beginning of a prayer, because Joseph Smith did not pray in that manner. This brave, young man who knew that death was near, started to repeat the distress signal of the Masons, expecting thereby to gain the protection its members are pledged to give a brother in distress. (46)
McGavin’s interpretation is sustained by the account of Joseph’s death found in Times and Seasons, July 15, 1844:
They were both Masons in good standing. Ye brethren of “the mystic tie,” what think ye! Where is our good Master Joseph and Hyrum? Is there a pagan, heathen, or savage nation on the globe that would not be moved on this great occasion, as the trees of the forest are moved by a mighty wind? Joseph’s last exclamation was, “O Lord My God!” …
With uplifted hands they gave such signs of distress as would have commanded the interposition and benevolence of savages or pagans. (47) But there was no help for the widow’s son that day. He died.
Shortly after the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were returned to Nauvoo for burial. Lucinda Harris, interestingly enough, was noticed as mourning with family members over the loss of the Prophet. B.W. Richmond wrote:
While the two wives were bewailing their loss, and prostrate on the floor with their eight children, I noticed a lady standing at the head of Joseph Smith’s body, her face covered, and her whole frame convulsed with weeping. She was the widow of William Morgan, of Masonic memory, and twenty years before had stood over the body of her husband, found at the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek, on Lake Ontario. She was now the wife of a Mr. Harris, whom she married in Batavia, who was a saint in the Mormon church, and a high Mason. (48)
What Richmond did not know and could not have guessed, was that Lucinda was once again standing over the body of her husband, this time, the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith.
As soon as the Nauvoo Temple was ready, George W. Harris and Lucinda Harris received washings and anointings and endowment on December 12, 1845. (49) Then, on January 22, 1846, just five years after she baptized her dead husband William Morgan. Lucinda Harris was sealed to Joseph Smith, Jr. for eternity. (50) It is interesting to note that George W. Harris himself stood as Joseph Smith’s proxy, which virtually proves that Harris was aware of the relationship at the time. The next day, Lucinda was sealed to George W. Harris, her legal husband, for timer. (51)
Nonetheless, after Joseph’s death, there is no clear evidence that there was any marital felicity between George and Lucinda. The 1850 census shows that they were already living separately by August 9, 1850. (52) On March 12, 1856, the District Court of Pottawattomie County, Iowa, informed Lucinda that George W. Harris was petitioning for divorce “and charging you therein with willfully deserting him, and without reasonable cause absenting yourself for more than three years,… (53) Apparently, the divorce was uncontested.
In 1852, Brigham Young had ordered all members of the Church still in Iowa to come immediately to Salt Lake. George W. Harris, who had been president of the High Council in Kanesville, conveniently chose to ignore the order. On October 7, 1860, he was finally excommunicated from the Church and he died in a state of apostasy later that year after almost thirty years in the Church he helped to build. (54)
About the time that George W. Harris died. Lucinda Pendleton Morgan was reportedly residing in Memphis, Tennessee. She apparently joined the Catholic Sisters of Charity and worked with the Leah Asylum of Memphis. (55) She later died in obscurity. Thus ends the fascinating story of the woman who at one time was the public image of Anti-Masonry, the widow of William Morgan. She outlived three husbands only to die herself. “And whose wife will she be in the resurrection?” According to Mormon belief, it will not be William Morgan, for whom she had proxy baptism performed in 1841. Nor will it be George W. Harris, her second legal husband, to whom she was only sealed for time. Ah! Sweet reunion!
1. See Card File on Nauvoo Baptisms for the Dead. Genealogical Society of Utah. Salt Lake City, Utah.
2. See Partriarchal Blessing Index, Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.
3. B.W. Richmond, as reprinted in the Deseret News, November 27. 1875.
4. Lucinda’s affidavit was sworn September 22, 1826, before Daniel Chandler. J.P. It is printed in David Bernard, Light on Masonry: A collection of all the most important documents on the subject of speculative Freemasonry. (Utica, New, York: W. Williams, 1829), p. 1
5. William L. Stone, Letters on Masonry and Anti-Masonry (New York, 1832), pp. 228, 287-288. The incident is also reported in the period press.
6. Inquest testimony of George W. Harris, quoted by Mervin B. Hogan, “The Cryptic Cable Tow Between Mormonism and Freemasonry,” presented before Arizona Research Lodge No. 1, F & A.M., February 24. 197O, p. 12.
7. A Revelation of Free Masonry as Published to the World by a Convention of Seceding Masons (Rochester: Weed and Heron, for the Lewiston Committee, 1828).
8. It would not be that surprising if we discovered that Lucinda attended the Eli Bruce trials in Canandaigua. Phelps, of course, would not have missed them for the world.
9. American Masonic Record (Albany, New York), December 11, 1850.
10. The marriage was duly noted in the Wayne Sentinel (Palymra, New York), December 3, 1880. That was, of course, a paper published near the home of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. See also American Masonic Record, December 11, 1830, where the date is given.
11. See Patriarchal Blessing Index, Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake Arty, Utah.
12. Indenture, Made May 18, 1815. True copy recorded February 26, 1822, by R. Coffin, Clerk. Genesee County Deals. Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City. USA Film 987 172, p. 217.
13. See Inquest testimony of George W. Harris quoted in Hogan., “Cryptic Cable Tow,” p. 12. See also 1850 United States Census, Iowa, Pottawattamie County, District Line 12. Family #177. where Harris is called a Jeweller.
14. See Inquest testimony of George W. Harris as quoted in Hogan, “Cryptic Cable Tow.” p. 12.
15. This was, of course, George W. Harris’ only marriage. So it is possible that he was more truly in love, at least in the beginning.
16. Elden J. Watson (comp.) The Orson Pratt Journals (n.p., 1975). p. 44. The diary entry is dated August 21, 1834, but covers event up to Jan. 2, 1835. Pratt states that he did not leave Clay County until a few days after the 21st and that he travelled slowly at first, being very sick. It may be that he did not arrive in Terre Haute until October or November, 1834, which he did not leave until “late November.” In favor of a later arrival for Pratt in Terre Haute is not only his sickness, but also the fact that he does not seem to be aware of the presence of two Mormon missionaries who preached in Terre Haute, but were gone by the 7th of October. Nathan West and Levi W. Hancock held two meetings in Terre Haute, then “arrived Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana on 7th of October.” The fact that they did not mention Pratt’s presence in Terre Haute, but later mentioned running into Z. Coltrin, suggests that Pratt arrived in Terre Haute some time after the 6th of October. For Nathan West and Levi W. Hancock, see Journal History of the Church, The Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, Salt Lake City, under the date September 13, 1834.
17. The records of the August 5, 1835, census of Terre Haute, taken by Charle T. Noble, is printed in H.C. Bransby, History of Vigo County, Indiana (Chicago: S.B. Nelson, 1891). pp. 430-485,
18. The Elders’s Journal of The Church of Latter Day Saints (Kirtland, Ohio) 1, 2 (November, 1837): 27.
19. Oliver Cowdery, Letter to Warren A. Cowden, dated January 21, 1838, written at Far West, Misssouri. Original located in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Xerox copy in the Archives of the Reorganised Church of latter Day Saints. Independence, Missouri. Microfilm copy in the Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah .
20. William McLellan. Letter to Joseph Smith III, dated July (September 8), 1872. Original located in the Archives of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. Independence, Missouri. Material quoted is on page two of the letter.
21. Elders’ Journal of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 1, 3 July, 1838): 45.
22. Elders’ Journal (July, 1838): 45, Of course, Cowdery may not have needed Joseph to have “confessed” to him in order to have first-hand solid information, since Emma Smith reportedly caught them in the very act. Just such a technicality Joseph might have used to excellent advantage. For a discussion of evasive denials of polygamy for public propaganda purposes, see Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Joseph Smith and Polygamy (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm, 1966).
23. Cowdery, Letter of January 21, 1838. Cowdery states that his real conversation with Smith was before the witnesses were called in and that as far as the Fanny Alger matter was concerned. “I strictly declared that I had never deviated from the truth on the matters, as I supposed was admitted by himself.” Those seeking further information on the Fanny Alger matter, including quotation from other primary sources on the matter, should consult Fawn M. Brodie. No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, 2d ed. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1979, pp. 458-459.
24. Elders’ Journal (July, 1858): 45.
25. Sarah Pratt, quoted in Wilhelm Wyl, Mormon Portraits: Joseph Smith the Prophet, His Family and His Friends (Salt Lake City: n.p., 1886), p. 60.
26. The Conference Minutes and Record Book of Christ’s Church of latter day Saints, belonging to the High Council of Said Church or their Successors in Office, Caldwell County Missouri, Far West: April 6, 1838. Original in The Historical Department of The Church of Latter-Day Saints. Salt Lake City. Utah. Page 100 of my typescript copy.
27. The Scriptory Book of Joseph Smith Jr. – President of The Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints In All the World, Far West April 12th 1838. Original in The Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ or Latter day Saints, Salt Lake City, page 16. For a printed edition, see 11. Michael Marquardt (transcriber). Joseph Smith 1838- 1839, Diaries (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm, 1982), p. 1.
28. Patriarchal Blessing lndex. Genealogical Society of Utah. According to the Patriarchal Blessings Index, the text of the blessing is found in Patriarchal Blessing Book, Vol. 3 p. 4, which is in the possession of The Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, for reasons known only to the Mormons themselves, these volumes have never been made available to general historical researchers. Their policy has been to restrict the contents to direct lineal descendants of the person in question, which must be proved before release of the information. In some cases, they have given access to the very books to such Mormon historians who were considered safe. This restrictive policy has made it virtually impossible for me to gain access to the actual blessings of Harris and his family.
29. Patriarchal Blessing Index. Genealogical Society of Utah. Lucinda Pendleton Harris’ blessing is located in Patriarchal Blessings Book, Vo. 3, p.6. Lucinda Wesley Morgan’s is in Patriarchal Blessings Book, Vol. 5, p. 8. Thomas Jefferson Morgan’s is in Patriarchal Blessings Book. Vol. 3, p. 9
30. This phrase from Thomas Jefferson Morgan’s Patriarchal Blessing (see note 29) is actually typed onto his card (for no particular reason that I could see) in the Patriarchal Index, Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City.
31. According to Record Book A, Adam Ondi Awmen Mo., George W. Harris claimed the following land in Daviess County: “RY8, T60, S34, NWQ also S28.” See H.G. Sherwood papers, original in The Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. As for Caldwell County, a display card prepared by Lyndon Cook shows for Harris: “FW SE SE S MIRABILE TOWNSHIP.”
32. Juanita Brooks (ed.). On The Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, Vol. I (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964), p. 14 (footnote).
33. Among those claiming Harris was there under oath in Court testimony were John Cleminson, Reed Peck, John Corrill, George M, Hinkle, Burr Riggs, and William W. Phelps (who, it will be recalled met Harris over a decade previously in New York). All of these men, significantly, (except Phelps who was already excommunicated and later rejoined) were Mormons at the time of the expedition and all of them were then in the process of leaving the Church in disgust because of what had happened in Missouri. See Senate Document 189 (Salt Lake City: Modern Microfilm. n.d.)
34. See for example, Missouri, Boone County, Circuit Court Records, 1839. Joint Collection, University of Missouri Western Historical Manuscript Collection – Columbia & State Historical Society of Missouri Manuscripts. George W. Harris is listed as defendant in the true bill of a treason indictment known as State vs. Joseph Smith Jr. et al and in the true bill of an indictment for Arson known as State vs. Jacob Gates et al. These cases were nor tried, however, since the defendants fled the state to Illinois and the State of Missouri exercised only the feeblest of efforts to extradite even Joseph Smith, let alone smaller fish.
35. Letter of Joseph Smith Jr. to G.W. Harris, May 24, 1839, located in ”Copies of Letters &c 1839.” MS F312#2, The Joseph Smith Collection. The Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The letter states: “I write you to say that I have selected a Town lot for you just across the street frown my own, and immediately beside yours one for Mr. Cleveland.”
36. See Letter of Joseph Smith Jr. to G.W. Harris, May 24, 1839. See also Letter of Joseph Smith, Jr. and Emma Smith to Judge Cleveland and Lady, May 24, 1859, also found in MS F312#2. The Joseph Smith Collection. Regarding Cleveland’s Masonic connection see Reed C. Durham, Jr. . “Is There No Help For The Widow’s Son?” in Joseph Smith and Masonry No Help For The Widow’s Son (Nauvoo. Ill.: Martin Publishing Co., 1980). pp. 16-17. I am quite aware of the tenuousness of the evidence on this point and so am simply leaving it on Durham’s authority.
37. See note 35. Sarah Cleveland probably began her plural marriage to the Prophet in Quincy. Illinois in 1839. Sarah Pratt, who was not sympathetic told Wilhelm Wyl that “Sarah Cleveland kept a kind of assignation house for the prophet and Eliza R. Snow.” (Mormon Portraits, p. 90). Mrs. Cleveland would have only done so if she herself had already become a plural wife and understood the system. On January 15, 1846, she was sealed to Joseph Smith for eternity and John L. Smith for time but she stayed with her legal husband until they died. (Joseph Smith and Polygamy, p. 43).
38. David Seaver, Freemasonry at Batavia, N.Y., 1811-1891 (Batavia. N.Y.: Hall and Co., 1891). quoted in Hogan, “Cryptic Cable Tow,” p. 14.
39. See Journal History of the Church, The Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, under the following dates: Jan. 28, 1842; May 22, 1842; June 23, 1842; July 20, 1842; Sep. 3. 1842; Sep. 4, 1842; Sep. 9, 1842; Mar. 30, 1843; Apr. 5, 1843; Apr. 19, 1843; June 25, 1843; July 11, 1848; Feb. 5, 1844; Mar. 1, 1844; Apr. 3, 1844; Apr. 18, 1844; May 8, 1844; May 25, 1844; June 7, 1844; June 10, 1844; June 17, 1844; July 1, 1844; p.1.: Oct. 7, 1844, p. 3: Feb. 3, 1845, Apr. 7, 1845, p. 2: and Oct. 6, 1844. p. 4. This is a very incomplete list of Harris’ activities in Nauvoo. He also travelled to collect money for printing in 1840, among other things. See Times and Seasons 1, 9 (1840): 139-140.
40. Doctrine and Covenants 124:131-132. The revelation, dated January 19, 1841, appears only in Utah editions of the Doctrine and Covenants.
41. “Bill for Removing the Press of the Nauvoo Expositor,” Deseret News, No. 29, September 23, 1857, p. 226. In the debate on the fate of the Expositor, Alderman George W. Harris spoke in favor of the destruction of the press. See Nauvoo Neighbor, June 19, 1844.
42. Dallin H. Oaks, “The Suppression of the, Nauvoo Expositor,” Utah Law Review 9 (Winter 1965): 862-903. Thomas G. Alexander, “The Church and the Law,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 1 (Summer 1966): 123-128. George R. Gayler, “The Expositor Affair, Prelude to the Downfall of Joseph Smith,” Northwest Missouri State College Studies 25 (February 1961): 3-15. James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake city Deseret Book 1976), p. 192.
43. Nauvoo Expositor June 7, 1844, p. 4.
44. Brigham H. Roberts (ed.), History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2d ed., Vol. Vl. purportedly written by Joseph Smith Jr. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1973), p. 448.
45. Brodie, No Man Knows My History, p 393. Donna Hill, Joseph Smith The First Mormon (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1977), p. 416.
46. (Cecil McGavin. Mormonism and Masonry (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956), p. 17.
47. Times and Seasons, July 15, 1844. For another explication of the link between Joseph’s death cry and the Masonic signal of distress, see Heber C. Kimball as quoted in Orson F. Whitney, life of Heber C. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979). p. 11
48. B.W. Richmond (See Note 3).
49. Nauvoo Temple Endowment Register. The Genealogical Society of Utah.
50. Nauvoo Temple Sealing Record, Genealogical Society of Utah. It is interesting to note that at one time it was feared that the record of this sealing was lost, so it was performed a second time. The record states that President Lorenzo Snow decided ”that they be repeated in order that a record might exist.” On April 4, 1899, Joseph F. Smith and his wife Edna stood as proxy while Joseph Smith Jr, was resealed to Lucinda Morgan and ten other women. Files of H. Michael Marquardt.
51. Nauvoo Temple Sealing Record, Genealogical Society of Utah.
52. U.S. Census, Iowa, 1850, August 9, 1850. Pottawanamie County. District Line 12, Family #177. “G.W. Harris age 76 [sic. Jeweller. B. Mass.” No others mentioned at home.
53. The Bugle (Council Bluffs, lowa). March 12, 1856.
54. Brooks (ed.), On The Mormon Frontier, p. 14
55. Hogan, “Cryptic Cable Tow,” p. 21