Dear Sir—By your request I have made inquiries into the history of , and am enabled to give you the following facts which may be relied on as correct.
“When a young man his character stood fair, he studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Samuel P. Hildreth, of Marietta, Washington county, O[hio]. It is believed he has a diploma, and also recommendations from some of the principal Physicians of that place; he started out with fair prospects, and married a of Col. Joseph Barker, near Marietta. and his united with the Methodist Church, and he became a local preacher. It was soon manifest that he was a superficial character, always uneasy, and moved from place to place; at different times lived in Barnesville, , Malta, Wheeling, Va., Colesville, Pennsylvania and ; it is not presumed that less than twenty towns has been his place of residence at different times; he has the vanity to believe he is the smartest man in the nation; and if he cannot at once be placed at the head of the heap, he soon seeks a situation; he is always ready to fall in with whatever is popular; by the use of his recommendations he has been able to push himself into places and situations entirely beyond his abilities; he has been a prominent personage in and about colleges and universities, but had soon vanished; and the next thing his friends hear of him he is off in some other direction; at one time he was a prominet Campbellite preacher.
“During many years his poor, but confiding , followed him from place to place, with no suspicion of his unfaithfulness to her; at length however, he became so bold in his departures, that it was evident to all around that he was a sore offender, and his left him under satisfactory evidence of his adulterous connections; nor was this his only fault; he used her bad otherwise. now lives with her father; has two children living, and has buried one or two. has three brothers-in-law living in this place, who, if they were disposed, could give all the particulars; but I dislike to urge them; I did apply to one which I thought the most likely, but he seemed reluctant to give it; but referred me to the person who has given me the foregoing; but he not being a connexion, has not been particular in following him in all his perigrinations; but is, no doubt correct, so far as given;— it has been ’s wish that his should get a bill of divorcement, but as yet she has not; nor does my informant know that she contemplates doing so;—in fine. he is an imposter, and unworthy of the confidence of all good men.” * *
Through motives of delicacy, we withhold the names of our informants, and other correspondents; but hold ourselves in readiness, at all times, to substantiate by abundant testimony, all that has been asserted, if required, as the documents are all on hand.
This date, particularly the year, may be incorrect. The author of this letter, George Miller, is listed as a participant in a lyceum that was apparently held in Nauvoo on 23 February 1841, making it unlikely that he had time to travel to Ohio and conduct the investigation outlined in the following paragraphs before composing this letter on 2 March. Instead, Miller may have written the letter in March 1842. He had been sent on a mission to Kentucky “at the closing in of winter” in early 1842, and he could have easily traveled the short distance from Kentucky to McConnelsville—located in southeastern Ohio—around March 1842 to gain additional information about John C. Bennett. JS’s journal indicates that Miller left Nauvoo no later than 19 January 1842; Miller later recollected that he returned to Nauvoo in April 1842. (McIntire, Notebook, ; Historical Introduction to Discourse, ca. 23 Feb. 1841; George Miller, St. James, MI, to “Dear Brother,” 26 June 1855, in Northern Islander [St. James, MI], 16 Aug. 1855, –; JS, Journal, 19 Jan. 1842.)
McIntire, William Patterson. Notebook, 1840–1845. CHL. MS 1014.