Joseph Smith's Early Life

© 2010 by H. Michael Marquardt. All Rights Reserved.


Traveling to Palmyra, New York

circa January 1817
On the way to Palmyra Joseph Smith Jr., after being knocked down, had to walk in snow and later a stranger took him to Palmyra (Note A to Manuscript History)

Attends school

First Lines in Arithmetic, For the Use of Young Scholars (Hartford, Connecticut, 1818); book signed "Joseph Smiths Book January 31st, 1818"

Joseph Smith Jr. learns to read, write and the ground rules of arithmetic (1832 Account of life of Joseph Smith)

Joseph reads the Bible

Joseph Smith Jr. searches the scriptures (1832 Account)

Works on behalf of family

circa July 10, 1818 Joseph half Day Drawing hay for Jeremiah Hurlbut of Palmyra

Joseph Smith Jr. renders assistance for the support of the family (1832 Account)

Testifies in behalf of his father

February 6, 1819 Joseph Smith [Sr.] plaintiff vs Jeremiah Hurlbut defendant; Joseph Smith Jr. testifies for plaintiff (Court document, Ontario County Records Center, Canandaigua, New York)


Helped solve questions in debating club

Smith used to assist in solving some portentous questions of moral or political ethics in juvenile debating club (Turner, 1851)

Joined class of Methodist church

Joseph Smith joined the probationary class of the Methodist church in Palmyra; soon withdrew from the class (Tucker, 1867)

Exhorter in evening meetings

Smith caught a spark of Methodism in the camp meeting and was a very passable exhorter in evening meetings (Turner, 1851)

Mankind apostatized from true faith

Smith found that mankind had apostatized from the true and living faith (1832 Account)

Joseph Smith wants to obtain mercy

Smith cried unto the Lord for mercy (1832 Account)

Picked up Palmyra Register newspaper for father

once a week he would stroll into the office of the Palmyra Register, for his father's paper (Turner, 1851)
The Register was published from November 26, 1817 to March 7, 1821.

Joseph Smith saw the Lord and heard him (circa 1821)

Smith saw the Lord and he spoke saying, Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee (1832 Account)

Borrowed peep stone found on Chase family farm

Willard Chase let Joseph Smith put a stone into Smith's hat; loaned it to him (Willard Chase Affidavit, 1833)


Alvin Smith dies

Death of Alvin Smith November 19, 1823 (headstone)

Revival in Palmyra area

1824 revival in connection with local churches starts (Rev. George Lane)

Return of peep stone

peep stone returned to Chase family (Willard Chase)


Peep stone

peep stone borrowed again; by Hyrum Smith (Willard Chase)

Two Joseph Smiths hunts for treasure together

working for Josiah Stowell (Joseph Smith)

Joseph Smith attends school (Joseph Smith)

1826 Examination of Joseph Smith

March 20, 1826 State of New York vs Joseph Smith the Glass looker (1826 Court minutes)

Other activities

Joseph Smith uses stone in his hat (Isaac Hale, 1834)

circa November 1826 Joseph Smith Jr. told early story of record/plates outside of family to Joseph Knight Sr. (Joseph Knight Sr.)


Joseph Smith marries Emma Hale

January 18, 1827 Joseph Jr. and Emma Hale are married (Joseph Smith)

Story of gold plates told to others

June 1827 Joseph Smith Sr. told early story to Willard Chase (Willard Chase)

circa October 1, 1827 Joseph Smith Jr. brings plates home

circa October 1, 1827 Martin Harris heard part of story from Smith family, plates found by peep stone (Martin Harris)

early October Joseph Smith Jr. told Willard Chase about going to hill and hiding plates (Willard Chase)

Box said to contain gold plates shown

A box exhibited said to contain plates held by individuals including wife and daughter of Martin Harris (Martin Harris, William Smith)

Joseph Smith working for Peter Ingersoll (Martin Harris)

Smith tells Peter Ingersoll he had no such book (Peter Ingersoll)

Works on contents of plates

circa January 1828 Ruben Hale and Emma Hale Smith scribes as Joseph Jr. orally presents story line of record

peep stone in hat said to be used to reveal wording on plates (Isaac Hale; Emma Hale Smith Bidamon)

Martin Harris shows characters and tells about plates and spectacles to Charles Anthon (Charles Anthon)

April - June 1828 Martin Harris a scribe to Joseph Jr.

June 1828 Manuscript pages borrowed by Martin Harris are lost (Joseph Smith)

June 15, 1828 son of Joseph and Emma dies (headstone)

circa July 1828 Joseph Jr. joins Methodist class (Joseph and Hiel Lewis)

July 1828 Joseph Jr. records first revelation (Book of Commandments)

circa September 1828 Lucy Smith, Hyrum Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith stopped attending Western Presbyterian Church of Palmyra (Vol. 2 of Session Record)


early 1829 Oliver Cowdery has a vision of plates (1832 Account)

March 1829 Martin Harris asked to see plates (Book of Commandments)

April 7, 1829 O. Cowdery becomes a scribe for Joseph Jr.

June 11, 1829 copyright obtained by J. Smith

circa June 1829 visions of plates seen by eleven witnesses (Religious Testimony of Three and Eight Witnesses)

Book of Mormon to be published

type set from Printer's Manuscript and later Original Manuscript

circa January 1830 revelation given to sell copyright in Canada; trip to Canada (Hiram Page)

Match 26, 1830 Book of Mormon available to purchase

last week in March 1830 Martin Harris wants a commandment

Church of Christ commences

April 6, 1830 Church of Christ organized in Manchester, Ontario County, New York; Smith and Cowdery are ordained first and second elders

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