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Dec. 14, 1878 Samuel Williams Letter

Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers: Box 2, folder 1. Wisconsin State Historical Society Library, Madison, WI

Samuel Williams

Dec. 14, 1878

Castle Shannon

Allegheny Co Pa

Dec 14th – 78

Dear Sir,

I have just recd. yours of the 27th ult through Mr. Craig, and answer your questions as well as I can in detail. Mr. Patterson of the Presn Banner says Engles was his Father’s cousin and was in his employ during the term of his partnership with Lambden, and was entrusted with the management of the printing office. I am not certain about Lambden being a Portrait painter. I distinctly recollect of a Mr. Lambden a Painter being in Pittsburgh when I came to the city in 1827 and somehow I received the impression that it was the same man. They may not have been the same. Mr. Craig has made a great mistake in regard to the death of Robert Patterson — he gave you the date of the death of his Father the Rev. Joseph Patterson. Robt Patterson was the Pastor of the Highlands Chh twenty years and all that time was engaged in the Book business on a small scale up at least to 1840 when his son and a Mr. Ingram succeeded him and he moved about six or seven miles out on the Washington road south of the city where he lived until 51 or 2 or about that time. I have been in his store a hundred  times, had books or pamphlets on sale in his store, and was  standing near him when he wrote that certificate in 1842. Besides I often met him on the street and preached once or twice for him in his church at Hilands. The date of his death is now certified by his son as you will see the by the scrap of paper with the pamphlet.  The small chh to which he preached gave him but a small support and he was obliged to do something else for a living, as many others of us have to do. I was led to think 1842 was a misprint by Mr. Craig and without much thought gave you that date, 1832, but 1842 and not 32 is the correct date. Because when I came to recollect distinctly, I got the certificate when I was opposing John E. Page and I know he flourished in Pittsburgh in 1841-2, and all the other dates in the Pamphlet are correct for they were taken from the minutes of the Redstone Association and the old Church Book of the 1st Bap Chh. Mr. Patterson stated to me that Mr. Spaulding brought the Manuscript to the Office and of course it came under the charge of Engles, and at or about that time Engles spoke to Mr. Patterson about it. That time must have been 1814 or 15. All of the old men of our Church knew about Rigdon hanging about that Printing Office, and whether he spent his time there in copying it or concocting his schemes while  

[Williams: Dec. 14, 1878][ 3 ] conversing with Engles and others, or at length procured the Manuscript by purchase or otherwise, makes not the smallest difference. If it is true that Mrs. Spaulding had the Manuscript returned to her, then unless Mr. Spaulding had duplicate copies leaving one in the office, Rigdon must have copied it. The identification of the Mormon Bible with the Novel of Mr Spaulding I consider complete and placed beyond cavil. Now I wish to write about J. Patterson. He was Mr. Joseph Patterson who I suppose was in with his brother Robert before Lambden came into the firm. He married a very wealthy lady, built a long block of buildings on one of the principal business streets 6th producing high rents, retired from active business, and finally moved to Philadelphia to enjoy his fortune. I knew him well.  I have no doubt you are right in the matter of Mrs. Spaulding’s statement concerning the interest Jos. P. had taken in the Manuscript. But Mr. Spaulding not being able to furnish the money for its publication — there it remained. I have never supposed that Rigdon ever saw Mr. Spaulding for at that time he had not as yet come on the stage, but finding such a document there shown to him by Engles in 1822 or 3. But I do not think he ever wished Patterson to publish it, thinking he might turn it to account in making a fortune. And suppose the Novel was returned to Mrs. Spaulding — it being a strange production, Engles might during his leisure hours have copied it with the intention of making something out of it and perhaps not being able to publish it, sold it to Rigdon. Any one of these Lambden, Engles, Joseph Patterson, or Rigdon might have taken a copy. I think Rigdon had his plan of a community formed, { indeed the old members told me that when in Pittsburgh he often broached the subject to them of a common-stock system as he then called it } before he met Joe Smith, and at first expected to use him as a tool to carry out his plans. So that it may be that Rigdon had a little community begun at Kirtland before he met Joe Smith. But I remember well the report that Parley Pratt the tin pedlar told Rigdon of Smith and was the means of bringing them together, and I suppose it was 1829 or ’30.  Another thing I learned that about the time they published the first edition of the Mormon Bible they established a Bank at Kirtland without a basis issued notes, and the Elders put them into circulation. I saw one of the notes. I hope you will persevere and collect all of the facts and publish an authentic history of that huge imposture. You will see by my pamphlet that you can get nowhere else the first facts in the history. I feel thankful that I can help a mite toward the object. I was sick for three or four weeks but have recovered.  If I can aid you any further I shall be glad to do it. Judge Cobb.

Very respectfully,

S. Williams.

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