30489

Letter to Moses Nickerson, 19 November 1833

were blessed with health as usual. We parted with father

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

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and mother Nickerson at Buffalo

Located in western New York on eastern shore of Lake Erie at head of Niagara River and mouth of Buffalo Creek. County seat. Settled by 1801. Land for town allocated, 1810. Incorporated as village, 1813, but mostly destroyed later that year during War of 1812...

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,3

At Buffalo, New York, on 1 November, JS and Rigdon separated from the Nickersons because the home of Freeman and Huldah Chapman Nickerson in Perrysburg, New York, lay inland to the south, while Kirtland, Ohio, where JS and Rigdon were traveling, was to the southwest and could be reached either by boat on Lake Erie or by a road that skirted the lake. One account reported that “it was decided that the Prophet and Elder Rigdon should return by crossing Lake Erie, Freeman giving them the money to do so.” (Gates, Lydia Knight’s History, 22.)  


they were both in good health, and expressed a degree of satisfaction for the prosperity and blessings of their journey. Since our arrival here, bro. Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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has been afflicted with sore eyes, which is probably the reason why you have not previously heard from us, as he was calculating to write you immediately. But, though I expect that he will undoubtedly write you soon, as his eyes are considerably better,4

By 29 December 1833, Sidney Rigdon had not yet written to Moses Nickerson. (See Moses Nickerson, Wendhom, Canada, to [Sidney Rigdon], 29 Dec. 1833, in The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1834, 134.)  


yet lest you should be impatient to learn something concerning us, I have thought that perhaps a few lines from me, though there may be a lack of fluency in address according to the literati of the age,5

JS often noted shortcomings in his writing ability. In a letter written two months earlier, for instance, he addressed “a few though imperfect lines” to his uncle Silas Smith. (Letter to Silas Smith, 26 Sept. 1833; see also Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832; and Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833.)  


may be received with a degree of satisfaction on your part, at least, when you call to mind the near relation with which we are united by the everlasting ties of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We found our families, and the church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
in this place, well,6

On 12 October 1833, a week into his and Sidney Rigdon’s mission to Canada, JS dictated a revelation that reassured them that their families were in the Lord’s hands. After returning to Kirtland, JS wrote in his journal that he found his “family all well according to the promise of the Lord.” (Revelation, 12 Oct. 1833 [D&C 100:1]; JS, Journal, 1–4 Nov. 1833.)  


generally: nothing of consequence transpires while we were abscent,7

Frederick G. Williams wrote that temple construction had ceased in JS’s absence, an event that would have been of some importance to JS. (Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 56–60.)  


except the death of one of our brethren, a young man of great worth as a private citizen among us, the loss of whom we justly mourn.8

The man who died was probably David Johnson. At age twenty-three, Johnson died on 31 October 1833 after being ill for five weeks. He had converted to the Church of Christ two years earlier. (Obituary for David Johnson, The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 117.)  


We are favored with frequent intelligence from different sections of our country, respecting the progress of the gospel,9

In the December edition of The Evening and the Morning Star, editor Oliver Cowdery noted that church leaders in Kirtland had recently received “several communications from the elders abroad concerning the prosperity and spread of the gospel.” (Editorial, The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 120.)  


and our prayers are daily to our Father, that it may greatly spread, even till all nations shall hear the glorious news and come to a knowledge of the truth.10

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 212–213, 290 [Mosiah 27:14; Alma 23:15].  


We have received letters from our brethren in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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of late, but we cannot tell from their contents the probable extent that those persons who are desirous to expel them from that country, will carry their unlawful and unrighteous purposes.11

The week before JS wrote the letter featured here, Oliver Cowdery expressed similar concerns, stating, “We have received some letters from our brethren in Missouri but it is hard to draw from them anything decisive as to the probable length that those depredators will go in their acts of wickedness and barbarity.” JS may have been referring to letters that are no longer extant. It is also possible that he was referring to the 30 October letter sent to church leaders in Kirtland from Missouri that described the increasing threats from the mob to expel the Mormons from Jackson County, Missouri. The first written indication JS received of intentions to expel the Mormons from Jackson County was in a letter sent to Kirtland by John Whitmer in July 1833. The threatened expulsion occurred just two weeks before JS wrote the 19 November letter featured here, but given the typical three to four weeks required for mail to travel between Independence, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, JS was likely not aware of the expulsion or of the week of violence that led to it when he penned this letter. (See Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Samuel Bent, [Michigan Territory], 12 Nov. 1833, Cowdery, Letterbook, 10; Letter, 30 Oct. 1833; and Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833.)  


Our brethren have applied to the Executive

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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of that State,12

On 28 September 1833, church members in Missouri, including Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, Sidney Gilbert, and John Whitmer, wrote to Governor Daniel Dunklin detailing the July hostilities against the Mormons and asking him for help. They concluded their letter with an appeal to the governor, “asking him by express proclamation, or otherwise, to raise a sufficient number of troops, who, with us, may be empowered to defend our rights, that we may sue for damages in the loss of property.” The petitioners expressed hope “that the law of the land may not be defied, nor nulified, but peace restored to our country.” (“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115, italics in original.)  


who has promised them all the assistance that the civil law can give;13

In a letter dated 19 October 1833, Governor Dunklin told church leaders in Missouri, “I should think myself unworthy the confidence with which I have been honored by my fellow citizens did I not promptly employ all the means which the Constitution & laws have placed at my disposal to avert the calamity with which you are threatened.” After consulting with the state’s attorney general, the governor advised to Mormons “to make a trial of the efficacy of the laws” by taking their cases before the local circuit judge. If such a course failed, Dunklin wrote, “my duty will require me to take such steps as will enforce a faithful execution” of the law. (Daniel Dunklin, Jefferson City, MO, to Edward Partridge et al., 19 Oct. 1833, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


and in all probability with us, a suit has been commenced ere this.14

See Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833.  


We are informed, however, that those persons are very violent, and threaten immediate excision upon all those who profess this doctrine. How far they will [p. 63]
were blessed with health as usual. We parted with father

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

View Full Bio
and  mother Nickerson at Buffalo

Located in western New York on eastern shore of Lake Erie at head of Niagara River and mouth of Buffalo Creek. County seat. Settled by 1801. Land for town allocated, 1810. Incorporated as village, 1813, but mostly destroyed later that year during War of 1812...

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,3

At Buffalo, New York, on 1 November, JS and Rigdon separated from the Nickersons because the home of Freeman and Huldah Chapman Nickerson in Perrysburg, New York, lay inland to the south, while Kirtland, Ohio, where JS and Rigdon were traveling, was to the southwest and could be reached either by boat on Lake Erie or by a road that skirted the lake. One account reported that “it was decided that the Prophet and Elder Rigdon should return by crossing Lake Erie, Freeman giving them the money to do so.” (Gates, Lydia Knight’s History, 22.)  


they were both in good health,  and expressed a degree of satisfaction for the prosperity and bles sings of their journey. Since our arrival here, bro. Sidney [Rigdon]

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
has  been afflicted with sore eyes, which is probably the reason  why you have not previously heard from us, as he was calcu lating to write you immediately. But, though I expect  that he will undoubtedly write you soon, as his eyes are  considerably better,4

By 29 December 1833, Sidney Rigdon had not yet written to Moses Nickerson. (See Moses Nickerson, Wendhom, Canada, to [Sidney Rigdon], 29 Dec. 1833, in The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1834, 134.)  


yet lest you should be impatient to  learn something concerning us, I have thought that  perhaps a few lines from me, though there may be a  lack of fluency in address according to the literati  of the age,5

JS often noted shortcomings in his writing ability. In a letter written two months earlier, for instance, he addressed “a few though imperfect lines” to his uncle Silas Smith. (Letter to Silas Smith, 26 Sept. 1833; see also Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832; and Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833.)  


may be received with a degree of satisfac tion on your part, at least, when you call to mind the  near relation with which we are united by the everlasting  ties of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We found our families, and the church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
in this place,  well,6

On 12 October 1833, a week into his and Sidney Rigdon’s mission to Canada, JS dictated a revelation that reassured them that their families were in the Lord’s hands. After returning to Kirtland, JS wrote in his journal that he found his “family all well according to the promise of the Lord.” (Revelation, 12 Oct. 1833 [D&C 100:1]; JS, Journal, 1–4 Nov. 1833.)  


generally: nothing of consequence transpires while we were  abscent,7

Frederick G. Williams wrote that temple construction had ceased in JS’s absence, an event that would have been of some importance to JS. (Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear Brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 56–60.)  


except the death of one of our brethren, a young  man of great worth as a private citizen among us, the  loss of whom we justly mourn.8

The man who died was probably David Johnson. At age twenty-three, Johnson died on 31 October 1833 after being ill for five weeks. He had converted to the Church of Christ two years earlier. (Obituary for David Johnson, The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 117.)  


We are favored with  frequent intelligence from different sections of  our country, respecting the progress of the gospel,9

In the December edition of The Evening and the Morning Star, editor Oliver Cowdery noted that church leaders in Kirtland had recently received “several communications from the elders abroad concerning the prosperity and spread of the gospel.” (Editorial, The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 120.)  


 and our prayers are daily to our Father, that it may  greatly prevail <spread>, even till all nations shall hear the  glorious news and come to a knowledge of the truth.10

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 212–213, 290 [Mosiah 27:14; Alma 23:15].  


We have received letters from our breth[r]en in Mis souri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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of late, but we cannot tell from their contents  the probable extent that those persons who are desirous to expel  them from that country, will carry their unlawful and unright eous purposes.11

The week before JS wrote the letter featured here, Oliver Cowdery expressed similar concerns, stating, “We have received some letters from our brethren in Missouri but it is hard to draw from them anything decisive as to the probable length that those depredators will go in their acts of wickedness and barbarity.” JS may have been referring to letters that are no longer extant. It is also possible that he was referring to the 30 October letter sent to church leaders in Kirtland from Missouri that described the increasing threats from the mob to expel the Mormons from Jackson County, Missouri. The first written indication JS received of intentions to expel the Mormons from Jackson County was in a letter sent to Kirtland by John Whitmer in July 1833. The threatened expulsion occurred just two weeks before JS wrote the 19 November letter featured here, but given the typical three to four weeks required for mail to travel between Independence, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, JS was likely not aware of the expulsion or of the week of violence that led to it when he penned this letter. (See Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Samuel Bent, [Michigan Territory], 12 Nov. 1833, Cowdery, Letterbook, 10; Letter, 30 Oct. 1833; and Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833.)  


Our breth[r]en have applied to the Executive

14 Jan. 1790–25 July 1844. Farmer, tavern owner, businessman, investor, lawyer, politician. Born near Greenville, Greenville District, South Carolina. Son of Joseph Dunklin Jr. and Sarah Margaret Sullivan. Moved to what became Caldwell Co., Kentucky, 1806...

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of that  State,12

On 28 September 1833, church members in Missouri, including Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Isaac Morley, John Corrill, Sidney Gilbert, and John Whitmer, wrote to Governor Daniel Dunklin detailing the July hostilities against the Mormons and asking him for help. They concluded their letter with an appeal to the governor, “asking him by express proclamation, or otherwise, to raise a sufficient number of troops, who, with us, may be empowered to defend our rights, that we may sue for damages in the loss of property.” The petitioners expressed hope “that the law of the land may not be defied, nor nulified, but peace restored to our country.” (“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 115, italics in original.)  


who has promised them all the assistance that the civil law  can give;13

In a letter dated 19 October 1833, Governor Dunklin told church leaders in Missouri, “I should think myself unworthy the confidence with which I have been honored by my fellow citizens did I not promptly employ all the means which the Constitution & laws have placed at my disposal to avert the calamity with which you are threatened.” After consulting with the state’s attorney general, the governor advised to Mormons “to make a trial of the efficacy of the laws” by taking their cases before the local circuit judge. If such a course failed, Dunklin wrote, “my duty will require me to take such steps as will enforce a faithful execution” of the law. (Daniel Dunklin, Jefferson City, MO, to Edward Partridge et al., 19 Oct. 1833, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL.)  


and in all probability with us, a suit has been com menced ere this.14

See Historical Introduction to Letter, 30 Oct. 1833.  


We are informed, however, that those persons are very  violent, and threaten immediate excision upon  all those who profess this faith doctrine. How far they will [p. 63]
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Between 4 October and 4 November 1833, JS and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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traveled to southwest New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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and Upper Canada

British colony of Canada divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 1841. Upper Canada’s boundaries corresponded roughly to portion of present-day Ontario south of Hudson Bay watershed. Population in 1840 about 430,000. Immigrants mainly from...

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to preach to Freeman Nickerson

5 Feb. 1779–22 Jan. 1847. Seaman. Born at South Dennis, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. Son of Eleazer Nickerson and Thankful Chase. Moved to Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1800. Married Huldah Chapman, 19 Jan. 1801, at Cavendish. Served as officer in Vermont...

View Full Bio
’s family and friends.1

See Historical Introduction to Revelation, 12 Oct. 1833 [D&C 100].  


Their destination in Upper Canada was Mount Pleasant

First settled, 1799. Population in 1846 about 130. JS preached at Mount Pleasant and baptized several people during mission to Upper Canada, Oct.–Nov. 1833.

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, the home of Nickerson’s two sons Eleazer Freeman Nickerson

2/12 Apr. 1806–16/14 Sept. 1862. Merchant, farmer. Born at Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Freeman Nickerson and Huldah Chapman. Moved to Dayton, Cattaraugus Co., New York, mid 1820s. Moved to Mount Pleasant, Brantford Township, Wentworth Co. (later...

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and Moses Nickerson

9 Mar. 1804–4 Mar. 1871. Tinsmith, merchant, farmer. Born at Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Freeman Nickerson and Huldah Chapman. Moved to Mount Pleasant, Brantford Township, Wentworth Co. (later Brant Co.), Gore District (later in Ontario), Upper...

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, who had immigrated to Mount Pleasant and there opened a store together. After arriving in Mount Pleasant, JS and Rigdon found the Nickersons, who were in their late twenties at the time, and others in the area receptive to their message. According to Moses’s later autobiography, after listening to JS and Rigdon’s preaching for “some days,” he investigated “the doctrine advanced by them” and “became much interested; and, finally convinced of its truthfulness.”2

“Autobiography of Moses C. Nickerson,” True Latter Day Saints’ Herald, 15 July 1870, 425.  


JS and Rigdon eventually baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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fourteen people, including Eleazer Freeman and Moses.3

Retrospective Note regarding Baptisms, in JS, Journal, 1832–1834.  


Before they left Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

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, JS and Rigdon ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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Eleazer Freeman an elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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and apparently designated him to preside over the small congregation in Mount Pleasant. Nevertheless, JS directed the letter featured here to Moses, apparently because Rigdon had promised to write to Moses but had been unable to do so. In this 19 November 1833 letter, JS informed Moses about matters in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio; expressed his love and concern for the new Canadian members of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
; and attempted to bolster their faith.
Moses

9 Mar. 1804–4 Mar. 1871. Tinsmith, merchant, farmer. Born at Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Freeman Nickerson and Huldah Chapman. Moved to Mount Pleasant, Brantford Township, Wentworth Co. (later Brant Co.), Gore District (later in Ontario), Upper...

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received the letter, and by late December he wrote a response to Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

View Full Bio
rather than to JS. After acknowledging that he had received JS’s letter, Moses wrote that Rigdon and JS’s labors while in Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

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had been “the beginning of a good work: there are 34 members attached to the church at Mount Pleasent

First settled, 1799. Population in 1846 about 130. JS preached at Mount Pleasant and baptized several people during mission to Upper Canada, Oct.–Nov. 1833.

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,” all of whom remained “much engaged” in the Church of Christ. Moses expressed gratitude “for what I have received: the scriptures have been opened to my view beyond account,” and he informed Rigdon that “your friends in Canada often speak of you and brother Joseph.” He asked Rigdon and JS to send more preachers to Mount Pleasant to relieve Eleazer Freeman

2/12 Apr. 1806–16/14 Sept. 1862. Merchant, farmer. Born at Cavendish, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Freeman Nickerson and Huldah Chapman. Moved to Dayton, Cattaraugus Co., New York, mid 1820s. Moved to Mount Pleasant, Brantford Township, Wentworth Co. (later...

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and noted that “the work requires competent workmen; for the harvest is truly great.”4

Moses Nickerson, Wendhom, Canada, to [Sidney Rigdon], 29 Dec. 1833, in The Evening and the Morning Star, Feb. 1834, 134. “Wendhom” is most likely Windham Township, Norfolk County, Ontario, about nine miles south-southwest of Mount Pleasant.  


Other missionaries were eventually sent to Mount Pleasant, and by summer 1834, missionary John P. Greene

3 Sept. 1793–10 Sept. 1844. Farmer, shoemaker, printer, publisher. Born at Herkimer, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of John Coddington Greene and Anna Chapman. Married first Rhoda Young, 11 Feb. 1813. Moved to Aurelius, Cayuga Co., New York, 1814; to Brownsville...

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reported that he had “baptized two persons at Mount Pleasant, which increased the church in that place to 43.”5

“Communications,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:7–8.  


Later in 1834, Zerubbabel Snow

29 Mar. 1809–27 Sept. 1888. Clerk, teacher, merchant, lawyer. Born at St. Johnsbury, Caledonia Co., Vermont. Son of Levi Snow and Lucina Streeter. Baptized into LDS church by Orson Pratt and Lyman E. Johnson, 1832. Ordained an elder by JS and Frederick G....

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preached to many “attentive congregations” in Mount Pleasant and informed church leaders in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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“that the church in that place are prospering in the way of the Lord.”6

“A Summary,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1834, 1:45.  


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