History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1543
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<​May 1​> “To the Editor of the Times and Seasons. On the 16th of April last a respectable merchant by the name of Robert Wiley, commenced digging in a large mound near this place: he excavated to the depth of 10 feet and came to rock; about that time the rain began to fall, and he abandoned the work. [HC 5:374] On the 23rd he, and quite a number of the citizens with myself, repaired to the mound, and after making ample opening, we found plenty of rock, the most of which appeared as though it had been strongly burned; and after removing full two feet of said rock, we found plenty of charcoal and ashes; also human bones that appeared as though they had been burned; and near the eciphalon a bundle was found that consisted of six plates of brass, of a bell shape, each having a hole near the small end, and a ring through them all, and clasped with two clasps, the rings and clasps appeared to be iron very much oxydated, the [HC 5:375] plates appeared first to be copper, and had the appearance of being covered with characters. It was agreed by the company that I should cleanse the plates: accordingly I took them to my house, washed them with soap and water, and a woollen cloth; but finding them not yet cleansed I treated them with dilute sulphuric acid which made them perfectly clean, on which it appeared that they were completely covered with hieroglyphics that none as yet have been able to read. [HC 5:376] Wishing that the world might know the hidden things as fast as they come to light, I was induced to state the facts, hoping that you would give it an insertion in your excellent paper, for we all feel anxious to know the true meaning of the plates, and publishing the facts might lead to the true translation. They were found, I judged, more than 12 feet below the surface of the top of the mound.
I am, most respectfully, a citizen of Kinderhook.
W[illiam] P. Harris, M.D.
We the citizens of Kinderhook whose names are annexed do certify and declare that on the 23rd of April 1843, while excavating a large mound, in this vicinity, Mr. R. Wiley took from said mound, six brass plates of a bell shape, covered with ancient characters. Said plates were very much oxidated— the bands and rings on said plates mouldered into dust on a slight pressure. Robert Wiley, G.W. F. Ward, Fayette Grubb, Geo, Deckenson, J.R. Sharp, W.P. Harris, W. Longnecker, Ira S. Curtis, W. Fugate.”
(From the Quincy Whig)
Singular DiscoveryMaterial for another Mormon Book.
A young man by the name of Wiley, a resident in Kinderhook, Pike County, went by himself, and labored diligently one day in pursuit of a supposed treasure, by sinking a hole in the centre of a mound. Finding it quite laborious, he invited others to assist him. A company of ten or twelve repaired to the mound, and assisted in digging out the shaft commenced by Wiley. After penetrating the mound about 11 feet, they came to a bed of limestone, that had been subjected to the action of fire, they removed the stones, which were small and easy to handle, to the depth of two feet more, when they found Six Brass Plates, secured and fastened together by two iron wires, but which were so decayed, that they readily crumbled to dust upon being handled. The plates were so completely covered with rust as almost to obliter[HC 5:377]ate the characters inscribed upon them; but after undergoing a chemical process, the inscriptions were brought out plain and distinct. There were six plates— four inches in [p. 1543]
May 1 “To the Editor of the Times and Seasons. On the 16th of April last a respectable merchant by the name of Robert Wiley, commenced digging in a large mound near this place: he excavated to the depth of 10 feet and came to rock; about that time the rain began to fall, and he abandoned the work. [HC 5:374] On the 23rd he, and quite a number of the citizens with myself, repaired to the mound, and after making ample opening, we found plenty of rock, the most of which appeared as though it had been strongly burned; and after removing full two feet of said rock, we found plenty of charcoal and ashes; also human bones that appeared as though they had been burned; and near the eciphalon a bundle was found that consisted of six plates of brass, of a bell shape, each having a hole near the small end, and a ring through them all, and clasped with two clasps, the rings and clasps appeared to be iron very much oxydated, the [HC 5:375] plates appeared first to be copper, and had the appearance of being covered with characters. It was agreed by the company that I should cleanse the plates: accordingly I took them to my house, washed them with soap and water, and a woollen cloth; but finding them not yet cleansed I treated them with dilute sulphuric acid which made them perfectly clean, on which it appeared that they were completely covered with hieroglyphics that none as yet have been able to read. [HC 5:376] Wishing that the world might know the hidden things as fast as they come to light, I was induced to state the facts, hoping that you would give it an insertion in your excellent paper, for we all feel anxious to know the true meaning of the plates, and publishing the facts might lead to the true translation. They were found, I judged, more than 12 feet below the surface of the top of the mound.
I am, most respectfully, a citizen of Kinderhook.
William P. Harris, M.D.
We the citizens of Kinderhook whose names are annexed do certify and declare that on the 23rd of April 1843, while excavating a large mound, in this vicinity, Mr. R. Wiley took from said mound, six brass plates of a bell shape, covered with ancient characters. Said plates were very much oxidated— the bands and rings on said plates mouldered into dust on a slight pressure. Robert Wiley, G.W. F. Ward, Fayette Grubb, Geo, Deckenson, J.R. Sharp, W.P. Harris, W. Longnecker, Ira S. Curtis, W. Fugate.”
(From the Quincy Whig)
Singular DiscoveryMaterial for another Mormon Book.
A young man by the name of Wiley, a resident in Kinderhook, Pike County, went by himself, and labored diligently one day in pursuit of a supposed treasure, by sinking a hole in the centre of a mound. Finding it quite laborious, he invited others to assist him. A company of ten or twelve repaired to the mound, and assisted in digging out the shaft commenced by Wiley. After penetrating the mound about 11 feet, they came to a bed of limestone, that had been subjected to the action of fire, they removed the stones, which were small and easy to handle, to the depth of two feet more, when they found Six Brass Plates, secured and fastened together by two iron wires, but which were so decayed, that they readily crumbled to dust upon being handled. The plates were so completely covered with rust as almost to obliter[HC 5:377]ate the characters inscribed upon them; but after undergoing a chemical process, the inscriptions were brought out plain and distinct. There were six plates— four inches in [p. 1543]
Page 1543