the thinker

Matilda Spalding Revisited

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Works Cited

Appendix: Statements and Letters of Matilda Spalding McKinstry

Critics of the Spalding theory have paid scant attention to the testimony of Solomon's daughter, Matilda Spalding McKinstry. Fawn Brodie disposed of Mrs. McKinstry in three brief passages. Brodie's argument rests on four points, each of which we will examine here.

Matilda and her mother were interviewed by Jesse Haven, a Mormon, in 1839. Brodie wrote: "Both Spaulding's widow and daughter admitted in this interview that the manuscript they knew was an 'idolatrous' not a religious story" (Brodie 1985, 451). Several points should be noted here. First, Haven did not explain what he meant by "idolatrous" and "religious." Second, the form of the question which he put to Mrs. Davison and Mrs. McKinstry - "Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a religious people?" - forced them to choose one or the other alternative. If allowed to express themselves in their own words, they might have chosen a different descriptive term. In any case, the Spalding manuscript and the Book of Mormon describe both idolatrous and religious people. The Book of Mormon describes the Lamanites as "idolatrous" (Enos 1:20; Mosiah 9:12), as worshipping idols (Alma 17:15), and as sacrificing humans to their idol gods (Mormon 4:14, 21). The term "idolatrous" is applied to the people of Noah (Mosiah 11:6, 7), and the younger Alma (Mosiah 27:8). Wicked Nephites practice "idolatry" (Alma 1:32), and "build up unto themselves idols of their gold and silver" (Helaman 6:31). The followers of Zoram also "bow down to dumb idols" (Alma 31:1), and when Alma addressed the people of Gideon, he said, "I trust that you do not worship idols" (Alma 7:6). On the other hand, Spalding's Ohons were a civilized people, who accepted the religious teachings of Lobaska, which included a belief in an intelligent, omnipotent, self-existent Being, who is infinitely good and benevolent. Also Fabius states that he and his companions all believed in "the religion of Jesus Christ" (Spalding 1910, 8, 28). If Fawn Brodie had considered this question more carefully, she would have realized that Haven's dichotomy between "idolatrous" and "religious" is artificial, forced, and meaningless. Furthermore, the published report of Haven's interview was not written by Jesse, but by John Haven in a letter to his daughter, and John's letter was copied within another letter written by A. Badlam, which was published in the Quincy Whig. This letter was again published in the Times and Seasons. At the end of the letter, these words appear: "I do not say that the above questions and answers were given in the form that I have written them, but these questions were asked, and these answers given" (Times and Seasons, January 1840). However, when Benjamin Winchester also printed the letter in his 1840 book, these words appear as: "I do not say, that the above questions and answers were given in the form that I have written them, but these are the substance of the questions asked, and the answers given" (Winchester 1840, 17). Given the fact that the report of Jesse Haven's interview traveled from Jesse to John, from John to his daughter Elizabeth, and from Elizabeth to A. Badlam, and considering that two published versions of the letter show different wording, there is considerable concern about how accurate and complete the report actually is.

Matilda was interviewed by Ellen Dickinson, and her statement was published as an article entitled "The Book of Mormon" in Scribner's Monthly (August 1880). On the basis of this interview, Brodie protests that Matilda was only six years old when she heard her father read his manuscript, the implication being that the memories of a six year old are not reliable. It is true, as Matilda states, that she was six years old in 1812, when the Spaldings were living in Conneaut, Ohio, but the matter can't be dropped there. Matilda was eight years old, when the Spaldings moved to Amity, Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh in 1814, and she was ten years old when her father died in 1816. We know from statements made by Joseph Miller and Redick McKee that Solomon continued to work on his manuscript in Amity and read his story to friends. Matilda could hardly have failed to hear her father's story being read and discussed over a period of four years.

Brodie's next point is to reject Matilda's claim that she frequently accompanied her father to the home of Mr. Patterson, a printer in Pittsburgh. Robert Patterson originally denied knowing Solomon Spalding, but later admitted a dim recollection of Spalding's manuscript. However, Robert Patterson had a brother named Joseph, who joined him in the printing business. Matilda may not have known the Patterson brothers by their first names, but she clearly described them to several people. In a letter to James Cobb dated 31 August 1880, Matilda wrote: "I distinctly recollect visiting a library with my father, which my mother told me was 'Mr. Patterson's.' . . . I distinctly remember seeing in a chair in the center of the room, a large, heavy man of florid complexion. There was an other person in the room, and my father had a long conversation with him" (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 711). In 1882 Redick McKee visited Matilda, and he recounted their conversation in a letter to Robert Patterson, Jr. Matilda related a remembrance of her mother telling about a meeting at the Patterson print shop. She gave an accurate description of the two brothers, one "more robust," and the other "more slender." She also stated that it was the more slender Patterson, who had read several chapters of Solomon's manuscript and wanted to publish it (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 223-25). This indicates clearly that it was not Robert, but Joseph Patterson, who was primarily involved with Spalding.

Finally, Brodie acknowledges Matilda's statement that she had seen her father's manuscript after Solomon died in 1816: "Spaulding's daughter remembered seeing the manuscript in her father's trunk after his death, and stated that she had handled it and seen the names she had heard read to her at the age of six. She admitted, however, that she had not read it" (Brodie 1985, 451). This is not quite an accurate report of what Mrs. McKinstry actually said. Her statement reads: "I did not read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends. I was about eleven years of age at this time." What Matilda was probably trying to convey was that she had not read the entire manuscript from start to finish, but had looked through it and had read various passages, enough to impress on her mind the names which she later recalled having heard and read. Ellen Dickinson also wrote about her 1880 interview with Matilda: "Mrs. McKinstry, Mr. Spaulding's daughter, says that she perfectly remembers this trunk and its contents; that it was in the garret of the house, that she and her cousins (one of them the mother of the writer) had access to it and frequently looked it through" (Dickinson 1885, 20).

Another point to note is that Matilda listed the names that she remembered from her father's story as "Mormon, Maroni, Lamenite, Nephi." There is reason to believe that the misspelled names Maroni and Lamenite are not due to Dickinson, but to Mrs. McKinstry and therefore indicate that names were not merely being taken from the Book of Mormon, as critics have charged. Ellen Dickinson stated, "I wrote this statement at Mrs. McKinstry's dictation, and was obliged to change it and copy it four times before she was satisfied so anxious was she that no word nor expression should occur in it to which she could not solemnly make oath" (Scribner's Monthly, August 1880, 616). Dickinson also must have believed that this was the actual spelling of the names in Spalding's manuscript, because she wrote a letter to George Clark asking if his wife, who had read a portion of the manuscript, could remember any of the names. Clark replied, "My wife does not remember the words Mormon, Maroni, etc., nor anything else of the contents of the manuscript in question" (Dickinson 1885, 244). This demonstrates that Dickinson spelled the names exactly as they occurred in the McKinstry statement. Dickinson also spelled these names in the same way in the accounts of her interviews with D. P. Hurlbut and E. D. Howe (see note 2 below). It appears then that Matilda was drawing upon her own memory and was not being influenced either by the Book of Mormon or by Dickinson. Ellen Dickinson surely knew how "Moroni" and "Lamanite" were spelled in the Book of Mormon.

There are a couple of other peculiarities about the name Maroni. When Joseph Smith dictated his 1832 history to Frederick G. Williams, Williams used the same spelling: "there was plates of gold upon which there was engravings which was engraven by Maroni & his fathers" (Jessee 1984, 6). Also Elijah Abel gave his son the name Maroni. Elijah Abel was one of the early black converts to Mormonism. He was baptized in 1832, ordained to the rank of Seventy in 1836, and received a patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith, Sr. Abel had close contact with the Smith family in Nauvoo and may have lived in the Nauvoo House. It is difficult to determine whether these are simply misspellings (despite the fact that the Book of Mormon had been published in 1830 with the spelling of "Moroni"), or if they have some deeper significance. The Spalding manuscript demonstrates that Solomon had a penchant for varying the spelling of names, frequently by a single letter. A question which we might pose is: Was Moroni the chief captain of the Nephite armies, while Maroni was the son of Mormon? Did both Williams and Abel derive the spelling of Maroni from Joseph Smith, who in turn derived the spelling from Spalding's manuscript?

Mrs. McKinstry was interviewed on 4 April 1882 by E. L. Kelley, who was a counselor to the presiding bishop of the Reorganized Church. Kelley asked, "How do you come to remember any of the names that were in the manuscript?" Matilda replied, "Well, I suppose I should not, but Mr. Spaulding had a way of making a very fancy capital letter at the beginning of a chapter and I remembered the name Lehi, I think it was, from its being written this way." Kelley: "When did you first think about the names in the Book of Mormon and the manuscript agreeing?" McKinstry: "My attention was first called to it by some parties who asked me if I did not remember it, and then I remembered that they were" (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 1004). Lester Bush cited Matilda's responses in his 1977 article, intimating that she was not really remembering names in her father's manuscript, but was influenced by others to "remember" names from the Book of Mormon (Bush 1977, 51). The irony is that in all probability it was Jesse Haven who sparked Matilda's memory. During his 1839 interview, Haven asked Matilda, "Does the manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree?" To which Matilda replied, "I think some of the names agree." She also said that she was not certain about the agreement of names and that she had not read the Book of Mormon. Perhaps Haven himself listed a number of names from the Book of Mormon and asked Matilda and her mother if they remembered any of them. Upon reflection, Matilda may have recalled seeing the name Lehi spelled with a fancy capital letter.

Kelley's interview also included this exchange with Mrs. McKinstry.

Q. Could you identify the manuscript, was it now produced?
A. I don't think I could.
Q. Have you any of the old writings and manuscripts of Mr. Spaulding?
A. Yes, I have some leaves of his sermons.
Q. And with these you think you could not identify the manuscript?
A. No, sir, I think not.
(Mrs. Col. Stanton, who is present at the interview): Why yes, mother, if you have his writing you ought to identify it.
Mrs. McKinstry: Well, perhaps I could. (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 1003)

It appears from this exchange that what Kelley meant when he said "identify the manuscript," and what Matilda understood him to mean, was "identify Spalding's handwriting." Matilda, not being a handwriting expert, was of course uncertain that she could tell the difference between Spalding's authentic writing and a forgery. She wisely refrained from claiming that she could make such a determination.

In her 1880 statement, Mrs. McKinstry stated that after Solomon died in 1816, his writings were stored in a trunk: "I perfectly remember the appearance of this trunk, and of looking at its contents. There were sermons and other papers, and I saw a manuscript, about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some of the stories my father had written for me, one of which he called, 'The Frogs of Wyndham.' On the outside of this manuscript were written the words, 'Manuscript Found.' I did not read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends. I was about eleven years of age at this time" (Cowdrey et al. 1977, 52-53). According to Ellen Dickinson, Matilda remembered "The Frogs of Wyndham" well enough to recite it: "she repeated it to the writer recently, giving an imitation of her father's comic recitation of it" (Dickinson 1885, 20). In an 1886 statement, Redick McKee recalled his conversation with Matilda: "She also recollected that he wrote for her own amusement and instruction, a story called: 'Frogs of Wyndham', which she retained for some years, but afterwards lost. She reminded me of many incidents that occurred at Amity and afterwards, which had escaped my memory" (Cowdrey et al. 1977, 82). Although the manuscript copy of "The Frogs of Wyndham" was lost, and we do not know any of the details, it nonetheless can serve as a factor in evaluating the accuracy of Mrs. McKinstry's memory.

There really was a story called "The Frogs of Windham," apparently based on a true incident, which was published by Samuel Peters in 1781 as a part of his General History of Connecticut, by a Gentleman of the Province (Peters lived from 1735-1826). The text of the story is given here.

Strangers are very much terrified at the hideous noise made on summer evenings by the vast number of frogs in the brooks and ponds. There are about thirty different voices among them; some of which resemble the bellowing of a bull. The owls and whippoorwills complete the rough concert, which may be heard several miles. Persons accustomed to such serenades are not disturbed by them at their proper stations; but one night, in July, 1758, the frogs of an artificial pond, three miles square, and about five from Windham, finding the water dried up, left the place in a body, and marched, or rather hopped, towards Winnomantic [Willimantic?] river. They were under the necessity of taking the road and going through the town, which they entered about midnight.

The bull frogs were the leaders, and the pipers followed without number. They filled a road 40 yards wide for four miles in length, and were for several hours in passing through the town, unusually clamorous. The inhabitants were equally perplexed and frightened; some expected to find an army of French and Indians; others feared an earthquake, and dissolution of nature. The consternation was universal. Old and young, male and female, fled naked from their beds with worse shriekings than those of the frogs. The event was fatal to several women. The men, after a flight of half a mile, in which they met with many broken shins, finding no enemies in pursuit of them, made a halt, and summoned resolution enough to venture back to their wives and children; when they distinctly heard from the enemy's camp these words, 'Wight, Helderken, Dier, TStS.' This last they thought meant treaty; and plucking up courage, they sent a triumvirate to capitulate with the supposed French and Indians. These three men approached in their shirts, and begged to speak with the General; but it being dark, and no answer given, they were sorely agitated for some time betwixt hope and fear; at length, however, they discovered that the dreaded inimical army was an army of thirsty frogs, going to the river for a little water.

There is no doubt that this story would have appealed to Solomon Spalding, and his imagination could very well have expanded it into a tale to amuse his daughter. In fact Spalding's "Manuscript Story" may contain an allusion to this frog tale. Fabius relates that after his group shared a meal with the Deliwans, a group of forty men and women "began a song with such discordant and hedious modifications of sounds and such frantic jesticulations of body, that it seemed that chaos had bro't her furies to set the world in an uproar. . . . They then took their places in a circle & at a signal given gave three most tremendous whoops; they then instantly dispersed, playing many antike capers -- & making such a confused medly of sound by skreaming, whooping screaching like owls, Barking like dogs & wolvs & croaking like Bull frogs, that my brains seemed to be turned topse turvy -- & for some time could scarce believe that they belonged to the human species" (Spalding 1910, 6-7). It is evident from incidents like this in the early chapters of the Spalding manuscript that Solomon began writing for the amusement of himself and his family, just as various people claimed. Matilda remembered "The Frogs of Wyndham" so clearly that she could recite it to Ellen Dickinson and imitate her father. However, Matilda was also just as clear about the fact that her father's manuscript, which contained the names Mormon, Maroni, Lamenite, and Nephi, bore the title "Manuscript Found," not "Manuscript Story." In a letter to James Fairchild dated 18 February 1886, A. B. Deming wrote: "I was in Washington D.C. 10 days Dec. and Jan. and gave Spaulding's daughter L. L. Rice's Story as Pub[lished] at Lamoni. She says it is not Manuscript Found." This was confirmed by Matilda in a letter to Deming in November 1886: "I have read much of the Manuscript Story Conneaut Creek which you sent me. I know that it is not the Manuscript Found which contained the words 'Nephi, Mormon, Maroni, and Laminites.' Do the Mormons expect to deceive the public by leaving off the title page - Conneaut Creek - and calling it Manuscript Found and Manuscript Story?" (See Cowdrey et al. 1977, 157-58.)

These letters written by A. B. Deming and Mrs. McKinstry assume even more significance when compared to another letter dated 25 January 1886 from Redick McKee to Deming. McKee's letter begins with this sentence: "When in this city a few days ago, you informed me that you were en route to Pittsburg, Washington County, &c, to collect some additional testimony about the origin of the Mormon Bible for a book you were intending to publish on this subject, that you had seen old Mrs. McKinstry - the daughter of Solomon Spaulding - and obtained a statement of her recollections and now called to request a similar statement from me, to include incidents of my early and later life, leading to my present matured opinion about Mormonism." After relating what he knew of Solomon Spalding while living at Spalding's public house in Amity between 1814 and 1816, McKee provided this information:

But touching these I will give below his daughter's (Mrs. McKinstry's) recollections, recently narrated by her to me, which I think more full and explanatory than my own. This lady is still residing in Washington, D.C., with the family of her late son-in-law, Col. Seaton of the Census Bureau, in remarkably good health for a lady of her age. She corroborated her father's statement about his removal to Conneaut in 1809, his examining the Indian mounds &c, and distinctly recollected that he wrote two or more stories in support of the theory that the Indians of North America were lineal descendants of the Jews from Palestine. In the first of these he brought the Jews from Palestine to America via Italy during the reign of Constantine, and set forth that at Rome they engaged shipping to convey them to some place in Great Britain, but encountered stormy weather and were finally wrecked somewhere on the coast of New England. What became of the manuscript of this story she did not know with certainty but understood that it was published in some Eastern review or magazine.

This romance he afterwards abandoned and set about writing a more probable story founded on the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel. She thought her father must have had wonderful powers of imagination and memory, great command of language and facility of description. Many of his descriptions were of a historical and religious character. Others were grotesque and ludicrous in the extreme.

She remembered that in one of them, touching the mode of warfare in that day, (being hand to hand or man to man) he represented one of the parties having streaks of red paint upon their cheeks and foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in battle. The story he called "The Manuscript Found." It purported to give a history of the ten tribes, their disputes and dissentions concerning the religion of their fathers, their division into two parties; one called Nephites the other Lamanites; their bloody wars, followed by reunion and migration via the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean; their residence for a long time in China; their crossing the ocean by Behrings Straits in North America, thus becoming the progenitors of the Indians who have inhabited or now live in this continent. This was the story which her uncle John, Mr. Lake, Mr. Miller and other neighbors heard him read at Conneaut on different occasions. (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 798-99)

The chronology of these letters raises an interesting question. McKee was addressing Deming after Deming's visit with Mrs. McKinstry, during which he gave Matilda a copy of the Spalding manuscript published in 1885 by the Reorganized Church in Lamoni, Iowa. However, McKee also says that he met with Matilda "recently," and she stated at that time that "she did not know with certainty but understood that it [Spalding's manuscript] was published in some Eastern review or magazine." It appears then that McKee spoke with Matilda before Deming's visit, because by that time she knew with certainty that her father's story had been published and by whom. It would be tempting to argue, therefore, that Matilda's account of Solomon's two stories was drawn from her own memory. However, there is reason to doubt that her description of Spalding's first story is entirely her own, because she refers specifically to Constantine. It is not credible to believe that after so many years Matilda suddenly remembered the story's reference to Constantine, at just the same moment that the story was published for the first time. I think that it would be fair to assume that Deming sent a letter to Mrs. McKinsty prior to his visit, which stated that her father's manuscript had been published and gave a very brief summary of the story. When Matilda talked to McKee, she would have had only Deming's letter and would have been uncertain about all the details of the publication of the story. Nonetheless, Matilda's statement to McKee is not a mere repetition of what Deming or someone else might have told her about the story. Deming certainly would not have said that the story was about Jews traveling from Palestine to Italy. Before she had the opportunity to actually read the published story, Matilda may have merely assumed that, like her father's second story, his first tale also gave an account of Jews migrating from Palestine. The Spalding manuscript does not in fact state the origin of the Deliwans and Ohons, two distinct groups living in America.

Matilda's description of the "Manuscript Found" certainly seems to be garbled, but that is easily accounted for. First, Matilda acknowledged that she had not read the manuscript from start to finish, but had only looked at select passages. Second, Solomon continued to revise and expand his story, even after he and his family moved to Amity, which certainly might have produced some confusion in Matilda's mind. And, if the "Manuscript Found" described the migration of several different groups to America, as the Book of Mormon does, these accounts may not have been very distinct in Matilda's memory.

The important point to note here is that in discussing the matter with McKee, Matilda was still certain that her father had set aside his first tale and had started writing "a more probable story." It appears that she was contrasting and clarifying the features that distinguished the two stories. In the first story, the characters traveled from Italy, crossed the Atlantic and landed on the coast of New England. In the second story, the migration (or perhaps more than one migration) proceeded from the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean, and included a long stay in China, followed by passage across the ocean near Bering's strait. Even after reading the copy of the "Manuscript Story" given to her by Deming, Matilda continued to maintain that it was not the "Manuscript Found." Incidentally, when Deming stated in his February 1886 letter to James Fairchild that he had given the published story to Matilda and she said that it was not "Manuscript Found," Matilda could have made this statement at this time only on the basis of a cursory examination of the book, but her opinion did not change after a more thorough perusal. When the Reorganized Church published Spalding's manuscript in 1885, they prefaced it with statements from James Fairchild and L. L. Rice, expressing their opinion that the Spalding manuscript could not have been the basis for the Book of Mormon. It is undoubtedly these statements that prompted Matilda's angry letter to Deming, denouncing the deception of naming the document "Manuscript Found." (Mormons still employ this device. When Kent Jackson published his edition of the Spalding manuscript in 1996, he gave it the title Manuscript Found: The Complete Original "Spaulding Manuscript.")

Matilda's statements to Deming and McKee certainly challenge the critics who hold the "memory substitution" theory. Even after being confronted with a published copy of her father's manuscript, Matilda continued to make strong declarations that it was not the story that she and others had heard Solomon read. She remembered the "Manuscript Found" as a very different story. In response to a question from Jesse Haven, asking if they had ever read the Book of Mormon, Mrs. Davison answered, "I have read some of it," but Mrs. McKinstry replied, "I have not." It would be difficult for Matilda to meld memories of Spalding's manuscript with the Book of Mormon, if she never read the latter book. Matilda never made any later statement saying that she had read the Book of Mormon.

In a letter to James Cobb dated 31 August 1880, Mrs. McKinstry wrote, "I never before heard or understood that my father assumed to have found metal plates from which he translated 'Manuscript Found' or that he was guided by a vision" (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 711). We have become so accustomed to associating Joseph Smith's account of visions and metal plates with the Book of Mormon that Matilda's statement seems quite incredible. Our first inclination is to think that Mrs. McKinstry surely must have been mistaken. However, there are reasons to believe that her statement may be correct. According to the prophecy of Lehi, the Lord told Joseph of Egypt, "But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins . . . . I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it" (2 Nephi 3:11, 18). This prophecy does not seem to require a visit from an angelic Moroni in a vision. It would suggest instead that in Spalding's original story, his protagonist met a real Indian prophet, a descendant of Nephi, and the "choice seer" predicted by Lehi. Even David Whitmer in 1887 acknowledged that Joseph Smith could not be the seer in Lehi's prophecy. Spalding's protagonist may have discovered the ancient record by accident and then acted as scribe and spokesman for an Indian prophet, who had the means to translate the record. The Book of Mormon hints at another possibility. When the resurrected Jesus appeared on the American continent, three of his new disciples were translated. Mormon states that he has actually seen them and that they would minister to both Gentiles and Jews (3 Nephi 28). Again, an encounter with any or all of the three Nephites would not require a visionary experience; they would be seen as ordinary men. Nonetheless, the accounts written by Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith use the same type of language found in the Book of Mormon and could easily have been constructed from various passages in the book, as I have demonstrated in "Joseph Smith's Visions."

The Book of Mormon refers to the plates of brass, the plates of Nephi, a small set of plates made by Nephi, the plates of Jacob, the gold plates containing a history of the Jaredites, and plates made by Mormon for his abridgment. Scholars have argued from several kinds of evidence that after Martin Harris lost the manuscript that he wrote as Joseph Smith's scribe, Joseph and Oliver Cowdery continued on from Mosiah through Ether and then went back to 1 Nephi and wrote the books through the Words of Mormon. Concerning the first part of the Book of Mormon, Joseph received a revelation (D&C 10) instructing him to replace the lost material with the plates of Nephi, apparently meaning the set of small plates. When the Book of Mormon is examined for references to metal plates, some patterns emerge. The plates of brass and the plates of Nephi are mentioned in both halves of the book. In the first half (1 Nephi to Words of Mormon) there are numerous references to the small plates, but in the last half (Mosiah to Ether) there are none. Although Mormon says in the Words of Mormon that he discovered and specifically decided to add the small plates to his abridgment, neither he nor Moroni mention the small plates in the books that they added at the end of the history. Furthermore, there is no mention of the plates that Mormon made for his abridgment in the first half of the Book of Mormon - not even in the Words of Mormon. Mormon mentions his set of plates for the first time at 3 Nephi 5:11; a few other references to these plates, made primarily by Moroni, occur in Mormon and Ether. Following the order in which the Book of Mormon was written, it appears that by the time Joseph and Oliver reached 3 Nephi, they had decided that the records found by Joseph would include not just one history written by Mormon, but at least two sets of plates. This was necessitated by the loss of the first manuscript. When they went back to the first part of the book, they inserted numerous explanatory references to the small plates. These passages are notable because of the awkwardness of the writing style. The question remains whether Mormon actually made plates out of ore for his abridgment. It must be pointed out that when Mormon was writing his history, the Nephites were being pursued by the Lamanites from city to city, and when Moroni added material, he was alone and was trying to avoid being detected by the Lamanites. It is doubtful that Mormon and Moroni would have had the time to carefully engrave their histories on metal plates. So again Mrs. McKinstry may have been right when she said that the record discovered in Solomon's story was not written on metal plates. Ellen Dickinson prefaced Matilda's statement in Scribner's Monthly by saying, "Mr. Spaulding's book purported to be a translation from some metal plates found in the earth-mound to which he had been guided by a vision." However, Matilda's published statement makes no reference to either metal plates or a vision. Joseph Smith would have had a reason for preferring metal plates. By concealing some metal sheets under a cloth or inside a box, warning people not to look at the plates, he could deceive at least a few people into believing that he had discovered an ancient history, because they would be impressed by the feel and weight of the metal. Joseph's money-digging partners would also have been more interested in metal (possibly gold) plates.

If anyone was in a position to know the truth, it certainly was Matilda Spalding McKinstry. She had heard her father read and discuss his manuscript over a four-year period; she had accompanied her father on visits to Joseph Patterson; she had looked through the story stored in the family trunk after her father's death; and most importantly she lived long enough to see Solomon's first story rediscovered and published. Matilda did read the published manuscript. In a final communication to A. B. Deming dated 31 October 1887, she wrote, "I have carefully read the Rice Spalding manuscript ('Manuscript Story') you gave me. It is not the 'Manuscript Found,' which I have often seen. It contained the words 'Lehi,' 'Lamonia,' 'Nephi,' and was a much larger work" (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 821). (Although the name "Lamonia" does not occur in the Book of Mormon, the name "Lamoni" does.) If indeed this was the same story that she heard her father read and discuss for four years, and the same story that she took from the trunk and looked through, she could not possibly have failed to recognize it. Reading the same words that her father had read would have been a profound revelatory experience, purging her mind of any false memories. Instead Matilda's response was to categorically deny on three separate occasions that this story was what she remembered as the "Manuscript Found." It is regrettable that Matilda did not have more to say about the "Manuscript Found," but interviews are generally guided by the interests of the interviewer. In the case of the 1880 interview, Matilda's longest statement, it is clear that Ellen Dickinson was more interested in tracing the history of Spalding's manuscript than in learning the details of the story itself. Perhaps she felt that the details were already clear enough. It is also likely that Matilda was very uncomfortable being thrust into the center of controversy and disliked being interrogated by complete strangers, who may have sometimes treated her as if she were not telling the truth. Nonetheless the details that Matilda did provide are valuable. Critics have grasped at any excuse to discredit Matilda Spalding McKinstry, but their objections have proven to be baseless. They have maintained that Solomon Spalding wrote one and only one manuscript, but Matilda knew this to be false. Although Matilda said that she had not read the Book of Mormon, her testimony coupled with statements from other witnesses, who knew both the "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon, establishes the fact that Spalding did write a second story, which bore remarkable similarities to the Book of Mormon and contained some of the same names. Given her unique position, Matilda's statements deserve far more respect from scholars and should be given greater weight as evidence in determining the authorship of the Book of Mormon.


1. The authors of The Spalding Enigma found a later poetic version of "The Frogs of Windham," published in 1857 in a book by James Walden, with an introduction by William Weaver. The poem was originally published in a Rhode Island newspaper, and the author used the pseudonym "Arion." Weaver did not know the identity of the author or the original date of publication. Cowdrey et al. were able to determine only that the newspaper ceased publication in October 1825, but they speculate that Solomon Spalding may have been the author, since he studied law at Windham, Connecticut after the Revolutionary War (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 133, 1080-85). This is possible, but doubtful. In any case, the poetic version must have been different from the story that Spalding wrote for Matilda, since neither Matilda nor Ellen Dickinson, to whom Matilda recited the story, gave any indication that the story was in poetic form.

2. Ellen Dickinson, accompanied by Oscar Kellogg, interviewed D. P. Hurlbut in November 1880, after the August publication of the McKinstry statement. While interrogating Hurlbut about the manuscript that he gave to E. D. Howe, Dickinson was shown a letter from Howe, in which he said that he thought that the manuscript had been burned. Dickinson asked, "Was it Spalding's manuscript that was burned?" Hurlbut replied, "Mrs. Davison thought it was; but when I just peeped into it here and there, and saw the names Mormon, Maroni, Lamenite, Nephi, I thought it was all nonsense; why if it had been the real one, I could have sold it for $3000; but I just gave it to Howe because it was of no account" (Dickinson 1885, 67). Of course, the manuscript that Hurlbut gave to Howe does not contain any of the names mentioned in this statement, so how can Hurlbut's reference to the names be explained? The authors of The Spalding Enigma assumed that due to some error or oversight the statement had been printed incorrectly and should have read, "but when I just peeped into it here and there, and didn't see the names . . . ." However, this explanation can't be correct, because in October 1881, Dickinson published a second article in Scribner's Monthly, in which she stated, "In the conversation I had with Hurlburt at his house, and before Mr. Kellogg, he admitted that he 'just peeped into the manuscript, and saw the names Mormon, Maroni, Nephi and Lamenite'" (Dickinson 1881, 946). Further into the article, Dickinson again wrote, "My interview with Hurlbut is too long to be inserted here. The gist of it is that he admitted before Mr. Kellogg and myself that he obtained a manuscript at Hartwick, Otsego County, New York, through an order from Mrs. Davison, in 1834, which he believes was written by Solomon Spaulding, that it was called 'Manuscript Found,' etc., that he peeped into it and saw the words Mormon, Maroni, Nephi, Lamenite, etc." (Dickinson 1881, 947). If Dickinson is to be believed, this is what Hurlbut actually said. Hurlbut then was admitting that he had seen the names in a manuscript, but was also trying to imply that at the time he did not believe that it was an authentic Spalding manuscript. In other words, it could have been a story written by someone else after the publication of the Book of Mormon, and Hurlbut thought that "it was all nonsense." He still maintained that he gave this manuscript to Howe, but since Hurlbut, relying on Howe's letter, thought that the story in Howe's possession had been burned, there was, of course, no way to check his story, and Spalding's first manuscript had not yet been rediscovered and published.

There is one aspect of Hurlbut's statement that is suspicious. The names mentioned are the same and in the same order as those in the McKinstry statement. Dickinson admitted that her description of the interview came from notes written immediately after her conversation with Hurlbut, and she might have relied on her August article for the names. However, early in the interview Hurlbut acknowledged that he knew about "an article in a magazine published last summer," and that as a result of that article, he had received letters from three different men about Spalding's manuscript. Hurlbut could have read the Dickinson article himself, or one of the letters that he received could have listed the names from the article. Furthermore, when Dickinson interviewed E. D. Howe, also in November 1880, she said, "I asked if he would make a sworn statement that the words 'Mormon, Maroni, Nephi, and Lamenite' were not in the manuscript which Hurlburt gave him by agreement" (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 721). (Howe's reply was, "No, I will not swear to it; but I'll answer questions, and my word is as good as Hurlburt's any day.") It is possible that Dickinson asked Hurlbut a similar question, but omitted it from the account of her interview, which would explain Hurlbut's reference to the names, but it is not likely that the exact spelling of the names was derived from Hurlbut. However, regardless of how the names were spelled, it is doubtful that Dickinson could have influenced Hurlbut to remember seeing names that he had not in fact seen, because according to Dickinson, Hurlbut was uncooperative and acted suspiciously during their conversation.

It is curious that Hurlbut mentioned that he could have sold the "real" Spalding manuscript for a substantial sum, because Dickinson did not refer until later in the interview to rumors that Hurlbut had indeed sold the manuscript for three or four hundred dollars. In fact, James A. Briggs, who was a member of a committee that sent Hurlbut to collect evidence, declared in a number of statements in 1886 that when Hurlbut returned from his travels in Ohio and New York, he had both the Conneaut Creek story and a copy of the "Manuscript Found," which the committee compared with the Book of Mormon. Although Briggs had also made a statement in 1875, it is difficult to understand why he and the other men, who had sent Hurlbut on his mission, were silent for so long, especially after E. D. Howe published Hurlbut's affidavits with only a brief description of the Conneaut Creek story and no reference at all to a copy of the "Manuscript Found." However, Briggs did state that he had written a letter to Hurlbut, asking what he had done with the manuscript, but received no reply. This seems to have been Hurlbut's steadfast policy. Mrs. McKinstry complained that she and her mother had not received replies to their letters to Hurlbut, and during his interview with Dickinson, Hurlbut admitted that he had not answered letters from Isaac Craig, James Cobb, and Robert Patterson, Jr. Hurlbut did send an affidavit to Dickinson, apparently recanting what he said in his interview. He did not mention seeing any names and stated that the manuscript that he obtained from Mrs. Davison was not the "Manuscript Found" and that he gave it to Howe. Was Hurlbut's interview with Dickinson a roundabout way of admitting, without incriminating himself, that he had found a copy of the "Manuscript Found"?

Hurlbut was clearly shaken by the publication of the McKinstry statement. He allowed Dickinson to copy E. D. Howe's letter, and the first sentence states, "Just received your line, calling my attention to an article in Scribner, on the origin of that old Mormon Bible" (Dickinson 1885, 259). The date of Howe's letter was 7 August 1880, which indicates that Hurlbut reacted immediately to Dickinson's article. But another letter written by Howe to A. B. Deming, dated 8 April 1885, provides further information. Howe stated, "About five years ago he [Hurlbut] wrote me for Manuscript Found" (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 790). Evidently, Hurlbut's motive in writing to Howe was not merely to notify him of Dickinson's article, but to retrieve the Spalding manuscript that he had given to Howe. After so many years, why was he suddenly so anxious to get his hands on the manuscript? He must have known what was coming - inquiries from people wanting to know why he had not found the story that Mrs. McKinstry said was stored in the trunk, or if he had found it, what had he done with it. It is not clear what he planned to do with the manuscript, if he could persuade Howe to send it to him, but Howe's supposition that the story had been burned relieved him of having to take any further action. Howe's letter to Hurlbut also suggests that Hurlbut was trying to find out if Howe continued to believe and would state that Hurlbut had not found any other manuscript than the one in Howe's possession. Howe wrote, "Hardly a year passes by that I do not receive more or less inquiries, some of which seem to reflect on your honesty in regard to the manuscript obtained from that wonderful old trunk, that was all explained truthfully in the book I published, as I then believed, and have ever since, that Spaulding's 'Manuscript Found' was never found or received by you, I have no manner of doubt, but altogether a different manuscript on a very different subject" (Dickinson 1885, 259). Howe may have been trying to reassure Hurlbut, but he apparently harbored some doubts three months later when he told Ellen Dickinson, "I believe he [Hurlbut] had two manuscripts - the original one and another - the one he gave me, which had no resemblance to the 'Book of Mormon'" (Dickinson 1885, 73). However, Howe's suspicions were only temporary, because in a letter dated 26 July 1881, he told Thomas Smith that the manuscript that he received from Hurlbut "was not the original 'Manuscript Found,' and I do not believe Hurlbut ever had it" (Cowdrey et al. 2000, 738). Howe also stated, concerning the Spalding theory, "I think it all folly to try to dig out anything more." Howe was simply tired of the whole matter and, as he told Hurlbut, never wanted to hear about it again. If Hurlbut had discovered a copy of the "Manuscript Found," why would he have disposed of it, after taking a prominent role in collecting evidence? There are several possible motives. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were stirring up trouble. Hurlbut was brought to trial for allegedly threatening Joseph Smith's life and was forced to pay a fine. But perhaps more importantly, Hurlbut wanted to marry and buy a farm. In fact, he did marry Maria Woodbury on 27 April 1834 and then went first to Elk Creek Township in Pennsylvania, followed by a move to Michigan and final residence in Gibsonburg, Ohio. After selling his collection of affidavits to Howe and marrying, Hurlbut made a determined effort to avoid the Spalding controversy. However, Hurlbut's reaction to the McKinstry statement assuredly is not what we would expect from someone who had found just one Spalding manuscript, which he believed had nothing to do with the Book of Mormon. His anxiety over Dickinson's article, his desire to retrieve the Spalding manuscript, and his apparent relief that the story had been destroyed do not inspire confidence in his claim that there was only one manuscript in the trunk.

Appendix: Statements and Letters of Matilda Spalding McKinstry

Works Cited

Brodie, Fawn M. 1985. No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet. 2nd ed., rev. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Bush, Lester E, Jr. 1977. "The Spalding Theory Then and Now." Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 10, no. 4 (Autumn 1977): 40-69.

Cowdrey, Wayne L., Donald R. Scales, and Howard A. Davis. 1977. Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?. Santa Ana, California: Vision House Publishers.

Cowdrey, Wayne L., Howard A. Davis, Hugh Leo O'Neal, and Arthur D. Vanick. 2000. The Spalding Enigma: Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?. CD-ROM produced by The Digital Voice.

Dickinson, Ellen E. "The Book of Mormon." Scribner's Monthly (August 1880): 613-16.

Dickinson, Ellen E. "Communications: The Book of Mormon." Scribner's Monthly (October 1881): 946-48.

Dickinson, Ellen E. 1885. New Light on Mormonism. New York: Funk & Wagnalls.

Jesse, Dean C., ed. 1984. The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.

Peters, Samuel Andrew. 1781. "The Frogs of Windham." Library of the Future. 4th ed. Lancaster, PA: AbleSoft, 1996.

Spalding, Solomon. 1910. The "Manuscript Found": Manuscript Story. Liverpool: Millennial Star.

Winchester, Benjamin. 1840. The Origin of the Spaulding Theory, Concerning the Manuscript Found. Philadelphia: Brown.

Statements and Letters of Matilda Spalding McKinstry

1. Interview with Jesse Haven, 1839.
Letter from John Haven in the Quincy Whig, published by Benjamin Winchester in The Origin of the Spaulding Story, Concerning the Manuscript Found, 1840.


It will be recollected that a few months since an article appeared in several of the papers, purporting to give an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon. How far the writer of that piece has effected his purposes, or what his purposes were, in pursuing the course he has, I shall not attempt to say at this time, but I shall call upon every candid man to judge in this matter for himself; I shall content myself by presenting before the public the other side of the question, in the letter which follows.

Copy of a letter written by Mr. John Haven, of Holliston, Middlesex county, Mass., to his daughter, Elizabeth Haven, of Quincy, Adams county, Ill.

Your brother Jesse passed through Monson, where he saw Mrs. Davison, and her daughter, Mrs. M'Kinestry, and also Dr. Ely, and spent several hours with them; during which time he asked them the following questions, viz: Did you, Mrs. Davieson, write a letter to John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon? Answer. I did not. Ques. Did you sign your name to it? Ans. I did not; neither did I ever see the letter till I saw it in the Boston Recorder: the letter was never brought to me to sign. Quest. What agency had you in having this letter sent to Mr. Storrs? Ans. D. R. Austin came to my house and asked me some questions; took some minutes on paper, and from these wrote the letter. Ques. Is what is written in the letter true? Ans. In the main it is. Ques. Have you read the Book of Mormon? Ans. I have read some in it. Ques. Does Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree? Ans. I think some of the names are alike. Ques. Does the manuscript describe an Idolatrous or a religious people? Ans. An Idolatrous people. Ques. Where is the manuscript? Ans. Dr. P. Hulbert came here and took it, and said he would get it printed, and let me have one half of the profits. Ques. Has Dr. P. H. got the manuscript printed? Ans. I received a letter, stating that it did not read as they expected, and they should not print it. Ques. How large is Mr. Spaulding's manuscript? Ans. About one-third as large as the Book of Mormon. Question to Mrs. M'Kinestry. How old were you when your father wrote the manuscript? Ans. About five years of age. Ques. Did you ever read the manuscript? Ans. When I was about twelve years old I used to read it for diversion. Ques. Did the manuscript describe an Idolatrous or a religious people? Ans. An Idolatrous people. Ques. Does the manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree? Ans. I think some of the names agree. Ques. Are you certain that some of the names agree? Ans. I am not. Ques. Have you ever read any in the Book of Mormon? Ans. I have not. Ques. Was your name attached to that letter which was sent to Mr. Storrs by your order? Ans. No. I never meant that my name should be there.

You see by the above questions and answers, that Mr. Austin in his great zeal to destroy the Latter Day Saints, has asked Mrs. Davieson a few questions, and then wrote a letter to Mr. Storrs in his own language. I do not say, that the above questions and answers were given in the form that I have written them, but these are the substance of the questions asked, and the answers given [Note: this sentence is worded differently than the version published in the Times and Seasons, January 1840]. Mrs. Davieson is about seventy years of age, and somewhat broke.

This may certify, that I am personally acquainted with Mr. Haven, his son and daughters, and am satisfied that they are persons of truth. I have also read Mr. Haven's letter to his daughter, which has induced me to copy it for publication, and I further say, the above is a correct copy of Mr. Haven's letter.

A. Badlam.

2. Interview with Ellen Dickinson, 3 April 1880. Published in Scribner's Monthly, August 1880.

Washington, D.C., April 3rd, 1880.

So much has been published that is erroneous concerning the "Manuscript Found," written by my father, the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and its supposed connection with the book, called the Mormon Bible, I have willingly consented to make the following statement regarding it, repeating all that I remember personally of this manuscript, and all that is of importance which my mother related to me in connection with it, at the same time affirming that I am in tolerable health and vigor, and that my memory, in common with elderly people, is clearer in regard to the events of my earlier years, rather than those of my maturer life.

During the war of 1812, I was residing with my parents in a little town in Ohio called Conneaut. I was then in my sixth year. My father was in business there, and I remember his iron foundry and the men he had at work, but that he remained at home most of the time and was reading and writing a great deal. He frequently wrote little stories, which he read to me. There were some round mounds of earth near our house which greatly interested him, and he said a tree on the top of one of them was a thousand years old. He set some of his men to work digging into one of these mounds, and I vividly remember how excited he became when he heard that they had exhumed some human bones, portions of gigantic skeletons, and various relics. He talked with my mother of these discoveries in the mound, and was writing every day as the work progressed. Afterward he read the manuscript which I had seen him writing, to the neighbors and to a clergyman, a friend of his, who came to see him. Some of the names that he mentioned while reading to these people I have never forgotten. They are as fresh to me today as though I heard them yesterday. They were Mormon, Maroni, Lamenite, Nephi. We removed from Conneaut to Pittsburgh while I was still very young, but every circumstance of this removal is distinct in my memory. In that city my father had an intimate friend named Patterson, and I frequently visited Mr. Patterson's library with him, and heard my father talk about books with him. In 1816 my father died at Amity, Pennsylvania, and directly after his death my mother and myself went to visit at the residence of my mother's brother William H. Sabine, at Onondaga Valley, Onondaga County, New York. Mr. Sabine was a lawyer of distinction and wealth, and greatly respected. We carried all our personal effects with us, and one of these was an old trunk, in which my mother had placed all my father's writings which had been preserved. I perfectly remember the appearance of this trunk, and of looking at its contents. There were sermons and other papers, and I saw a manuscript, about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some of the stories my father had written for me, one of which he called, "The Frogs of Wyndham." On the outside of this manuscript were written the words, "Manuscript Found." I did not read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times, and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut, when my father read it to his friends. I was about eleven years of age at this time.

After we had been at my uncle's for some time, my mother left me there and went to her father's house at Pomfret, Connecticut, but did not take her furniture nor the old trunk of manuscripts with her. In 1820 she married Mr. Davison, of Hartwicks, a village near Cooperstown, New York, and sent for the things she had left at Onondaga Valley, and I remember that the old trunk, with its contents, reached her in safety. In 1828, I was married to Dr. A. McKinstry of Hampden County, Massachusetts, and went there, to reside. Very soon after my mother joined me there, and was with me most of the time until her death in 1844. We heard, not long after she came to live with me - I do not remember just how long - something of Mormonism, and the report that it had been taken from my father's "Manuscript Found"; and then came to us direct an account of the Mormon meeting at Conneaut, Ohio, and that, on one occasion, when the Mormon Bible was read there in public, my father's brother, John Spaulding, Mr. Lake and many other persons who were present, at once recognized its similarity to the "Manuscript Found," which they had heard read years before by my father in the same town. There was a great deal of talk and a great deal published at this time about Mormonism all over the country. I believe it was in 1834 that a man named Hurlburt came to my house at Monson to see my mother, who told us that he had been sent by a committee to procure the "Manuscript Found" written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, so as to compare it with the Mormon Bible. He presented a letter to my mother from my uncle, Wm. H. Sabine, of Onondaga Valley, in which he requested her to loan this manuscript to Hurlburt, as he (my uncle) was desirous "to uproot (as he expressed it) this Mormon fraud." Hurlburt represented that he had been a convert to Mormonism, but had given it up, and through the "Manuscript Found," wished to expose its wickedness. My mother was careful to have me with her in all the conversations she had with Hurlburt, who spent a day at my house. She did not like his appearance and mistrusted his motives, but having great respect for her brother's wishes and opinions, she reluctantly consented to his request. The old trunk, containing the desired "Manuscript Found," she had placed in the care of Mr. Jerome Clark of Hartwicks, when she came to Monson, intending to send for it. On the repeated promise of Hurlburt to return the manuscript to us, she gave him a letter to Mr. Clark to open the trunk and deliver it to him. We afterwards heard that he had received it from Mr. Clark, at Hartwicks, but from that time we have never had it in our possession, and I have no present knowledge of its existence, Hurlburt never returning it or answering letters requesting him to do so. Two years ago, I heard he was still living in Ohio, and with my consent he was asked for the "Manuscript Found." He made no response although we have evidence that he received the letter containing the request. So far I have stated facts within my own knowledge. My mother mentioned many other circumstances to me in connection with this subject which are interesting, of my father's literary tastes, his fine education and peculiar temperament. She stated to me that she had heard the manuscript alluded to read by my father, was familiar with its contents, and she deeply regretted that her husband, as she believed, had innocently been the means of furnishing matter for a religious delusion. She said that my father loaned this "Manuscript Found" to Mr. Patterson, of Pittsburg, and that when he returned it to my father, he said: "Polish it up, finish it, and you will make money out of it." My mother confirmed my remembrances of my father's fondness for history, and told me of his frequent conversations regarding a theory which he had of a prehistoric race which had inhabited this continent, etc., all showing that his mind dwelt on this subject. The "Manuscript Found," she said, was a romance written in biblical style, and that while she heard it read, she had no special admiration for it more than other romances he wrote and read to her. We never, either of us, ever saw, or in any way communicated with the Mormons, save Hurlburt as above described; and while we have no personal knowledge that the Mormon Bible was taken from the "Manuscript Found," there were many evidences to us that it was and that Hurlburt and the others at the time thought so. A convincing proof to us of this belief was that my uncle, William H. Sabine, had undoubtedly read the manuscript while it was in his house, and his faith that its production would show to the world that the Mormon Bible had been taken from it, or was the same with slight alterations. I have frequently answered questions which have been asked by different persons regarding the "Manuscript Found," but until now have never made a statement at length for publication.

M. S. McKinstry.

Sworn and subscribed to before me this 3rd day of April, A.D. 1880, at the city of Washington, D.C.

Charles Walter, Notary Public.

3. Letter to James Cobb, 31 August 1880

Shelter Island, Aug. 31 /80

Mr. Cobb
I never before heard or understood that my father assumed to have found metal plates from which he translated "Manuscript Found" or that he was guided by a vision. I have no recollection of ever seeing "Smith", or that he ever worked for my "Uncle Sabine", and if he had, he would have had no access to any portion of Mr. Sabine's house, as his kind help occupied a special dwelling.

I distinctly recollect visiting a library with my father, which my mother told me was "Mr. Patterson's." The building was a large one, and over the door was a bust of what seemed to me at the time, as a beautiful lady, and impressed my childish fancy. I distinctly remember seeing in a chair in the center of the room, a large, heavy man of florid complexion. There was an other person in the room, and my father had a long conversation with him.

Hurlbut may have received in addition to "Manuscript Found" some fragment tied up with the bundle, which fragment he passed over to Mr. Howe, retaining the one of real importance for personal use. Mr. Patterson, if you remember visited Mr. Hurlbut armed with written authority from myself and children for the delivery of the document in question, and I feel that any communication from myself to "Mr. H." would be of no avail. If he stole the papers, he would not criminate himself by owning it.

In conclusion, I would say, that all I know, or can recollect, in regard to the whole matter, is comprised in my sworn statement in the "Scribner Article," and that nothing further was authorized or exaggerated by me.

Respectfully Yours,
M. S. McKinstry

4. Letter to A. B. Deming, 2 November 1886

Washington, Nov. 2nd, '86

Mr. A. B. Deming,
Dear Sir,

I have read much of the Manuscript Story Conneaut Creek which you sent me. I know that it is not the Manuscript Found which contained the words "Nephi, Mormon, Maroni, and Laminites." Do the Mormons expect to deceive the public by leaving off the title page - Conneaut Creek - and calling it Manuscript Found and Manuscript Story?

Mrs. M. S. McKinstry

5. Letter to A. B. Deming, 31 October 1887

Dear Sir:
I have carefully read the Rice Spalding manuscript ("Manuscript Story") you gave me. It is not the "Manuscript Found," which I have often seen. It contained the words "Lehi," "Lamonia," "Nephi," and was a much larger work.

Mrs. McKinstry
October 31, 1887
Washington, DC