Saturday, May 31, 2014

Palmyra Firsts

Compiled in turn from

Dated Firsts

  • 1790: John Swift, the first pioneer, built the first house, of logs and covered in bark. [EHP, 8]
  • 1790: The wife of John Swift was the first woman to venture residence in the then wilderness. [EHP, 8]
  • June 29th, 1791: The first white child born in town was Mary Wilcox. [EHP, 10] [HPS, 389]
  • 1791: The Long Island company planted the first apple orchard west of Geneva. [EHP, 12]
  • 1792: Dr. Azel Ensworth opened the first public house in the corporation. [PWCNY, 11]
  • before Jan 1796: The first school mistress was Dosha Boughton, wife of Daniel Sawyer, brother-in-law of John Swift. [PWCNY, 9]
  • 1793: The first path through the forest, the Canandaigua road, becomes a highway. [PWCNY, 24]
  • 1793: The first log school house was built in the village on land of John Swift. [PWCNY, 30]
  • 1793: The first log school house was built in East Palmyra, called the Hopkins school. [PWCNY, 30]
  • 1793: The first burying ground was established on the farm of Gideon Durfee [PWCNY, 37] through the burial of James Rogers [EHP, 8 Note].
  • 1793: The first assembly of citizens. [EHP, 19]
  • 1794: The first mills in Farmington were built by Abraham and Jacob Smith on the Ganargwa Creek. [HPS, 381]
  • April 1796: The first town meeting and first officer election was held in Gideon Durfee's house [PWCNY, 10], elecing John Swift the first Moderator, Supervisor and Inspector. [EHP, 18],
  • 1799: Ganargua creek was declared navigable water.
  • before 1800: Robert Town was the first settled physician, [EHP, 14] gives "Reuben" as the first name, as does [HPS, 387]; succeeded by Dr Gain Robinson [PWCNY, 11].
  • 1800: The First Baptist Church of was organized at the home of Lemuel Spear with nineteen members. [PWCNY, 48]. 
  • 1804: The first lawsuit was held in town. [EHP, 19]
  • 1806: Dr. Azel Ensworth was the first postmaster. [PWCNY, 11] [EHP, 8 Note]
  • 1807: The first church building was used, finished in 1810. [PWCNY, 36; 40]
  • 1808: The first Baptist frame meeting house was erected at the intersection of Walworth and Macedon Road. [PWCNY, 48]
  • 1811: The first meeting house was erected by the west end Presbyterians. [PWCNY, 36; 40]
  • 1811: The first Methodist class was formed and connected with the Ontario circuit, Geneva Conference. [PWCNY, 51]
  • 1811: The first temperance action was set when Stephen Durfee raised his house without providing any whiskey to the workers. [EHP, 25]
  • February 13, 1817: The Presbyterians divided the Church of Palmyra into the Presbyterian Church of East Palmyra and the Western Presbyterian Church of Palmyra. [PWCNY, 41] 
  • November 26, 1817: The first Palmyra newspaper, the democratic Palmyra Register, is published by Timothy C. Strong. [PWCNY, 27f]
  • 1822: The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Palmyra built a church near the corner of Vienna and Johnson street, just north of the cemetery. [PWCNY, 51]
  • June 23, 1823: Zion Episcopal Church came into being under the ministry of Rev. Rufus Murray. [PWCNY, 54]
  • February 4th, 1828: First village election held at house of Lovell Hurd. [PWCNY, 10]
  • April 1828: First fire engine ordered. [PWCNY, 11]
  • May 1828: First volunteer fire company organized. [PWCNY, 11]
  • 1830: The first local bank was the Wayne County Bank of Palmyra, president Angus Strong, cashier Joseph S. Fenton. [PWCNY, 22]
  • 1830: The first edition of the Book of Mormon is published. [PWCNY, 28]
  • Summer 1830: First regular Mormon preacher Sidney Rigdon held his first (and only) meeting in the rooms of the Palmyra Young Men's Association, on the east corner of Main and Market. [PWCNY, 30]


  • The first lawyer was John Comstock. [PWCNY, 12] [HPS, 388]
  • The first lawyer that opened an office in Palmyra was Major William Cuyler. [EHP, 9]
  • The first storekeeper was Zebulon Williams [PWCNY, 12], who was also the first to offer cash for wheat and butter. [EHP, 16] 
  • The first emporium was kept by Major Joseph Colt on the west corner of Main and Market [PWCNY, 12].
  • James and Orren White erected the first two story brick building. [PWCNY, 12]
  • The first tanner was William Wilson. [PWCNY, 12]
  • The first saddlery was kept by Salmon Hathaway. [PWCNY, 15]
  • The first carding mill was operated by Calvin Perrine [PWCNY, 15] or by John Swift [HPS, 384].
  • The first clothiery was operated by Calvin Perrine. [PWCNY, 15]
  • The first grist mill and saw mill were operated by Edward Durfee and Jonah Hall [PWCNY, 15] or Jonah Howell's [EHP, 15] [HPS, 389], a mile east of the village, on the Vienna road.
  • The first bell tower was part of the Palmyra Academy, a two story brick building. [PWCNY, 31]
  • The first male born in Palmyra was Asa R. Swift. [EHP, 8] [HPS, 389]
  • The first framed barn was built by Luther Sanford. [EHP, 8 Note] or by Captain Porter [HPS, 381].
  • The first two-story frame house was built by Silas Hart. [EHP, 8 Note]
  • The first child born in what was then called the village was Pomeroy Tucker. [EHP, 8 Note]
  • The first blacksmith was Zechariah Blackman [EHP, 8 Note], also spelled Zackariah Blackman [HPS, 387]. 
  • The first hatter was James Smith. [EHP, 8 Note]
  • The first marriage in town was the one of Ruth Durfee to Captain William Wilcox. [EHP, 10] [HPS, 389]
  • The first marriage in town solemnized by a minister was the wedding of Elias Reeves. [EHP, 16].
  • The first death in town was David White. [EHP, 14]
  • The first lime kiln was burnt by Ebenezer Spear. [HPS, 381]
  • The first corn carried to mill from Palmyra was transported by Noah Porter. [HPS, 381]

Palmyra's Earlier Settlers

In 1843, Western Presbyterian Church in Palmyra received a new minister, one Eaton Horace, a former jeweler and watch maker that had studied theology at Union Theological Seminary School at Dartmouth (1835-1839), and a staunch and avowed abolitionist.

In 1858, Dr Horace published a thanksgiving sermon that he had held in 1857, called The Early History of Palmyra, in Rochester. The sermon was held after the publication of Orestus Turner's History of the Pioneer Settlement of Phelps & Gorham's Purchase, Buffalo (1851), and probably used some of the material there. But the writing was also close enough to the events that some of the second generation could still be interviewed and at any rate might have been present. 

Horace divides the "different currents of immigration" (p.4) by the origin; but the basis for all these immigrations was the sale of the "Massachusetts Reserve" of the Iriquois nation territory (p.4) to Oliver Phelps and Nathanial Gorham for $100,000 in 1788. 
Phelps and Gorham the same year [i.e. 1788, RCK] opened a land office in Canandaigua. (p.4)
The military tract, which New York had received, for settling revolutionary soldiers, formed the eastern part to the Phelps & Gorham purchase (p.5), barely touching what was then, in 1858, Wayne County.

The Connecticut Settlers from Wyoming Valley

The first current of immigration were the Connecticut settlers from the Wyoming valley along the Susquehanna, in northeastern Pennsylvania (p.5), a land contested between Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The Connecticut company, based on the carter of James I for the Plymouth colony, had John Jenkins survey the land in 1750, then settled there in 1762 (p.6), but had to abandon the valley when the Indians attacked. When the Connecticut company retried in 1769, the Pennsylvania company was already there, using the 1681 Charter of Charles II given to William Penn (p.6). Wyoming became Westmorland Township in 1774 and was attached to Litchfield County, Connecticut.

After the Massacre of Wyoming during the Revolutionary War,  the parties settled the dispute in Trenton, New Jersey, December 1782, by leaving the Pennsylvanians in jurisdiction (as landlords) and the Connecticut settlers in possession (as tenants). This compromise dissatisfied some Connecticut settlers (p.7), who moved into the wilderness instead. Revolutionary War soldier John Swift, 22 at the end of the war, teamed up with John Jenkins, the surveyor, who had helped survey the Genesee county for Phelps and Gorham, and became land agents for the dissatisfied. They went to Canandaigua in 1789 and contracted for Township No. 12, and surveyed lots along Mud Creek. The alteration with the Indians while surveying there caused Swift to spend the summer of 1790 forming additional companies in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island (p.8). Other Connecticut settlers include Enoch Sanders, from Warren, Litchfield County, and Silas Stoddard from Groton. (p.14)

The Rhode Island Settlers

The Rhode Island Colony most notably contributed the large Durfee clan to the settlement of Palmyra (p.9). Their down payment for sixteen hundred acres in hard coin allowed Swift to meet his engagement with Phelps and Gorham (p.10).

The Long Island Settlers

The next current was a company of settlers from South Hampton, Long Island (p.10), formed in 1788, whose agents struck out to settle on the Ohio, founding Turkey Bottoms, where now lies Cincinnati. However, when the agents returned to fetch their compatriots, William Hopkins redirected their interests to the Genesee country (p.11). They drew up a contract to purchase Phelps and Gorham land in September of 1791 (p.12),  then made down payment for five thousand five hundred acres with Phelps at Canandaigua (since Swift had not yet paid Phelps). In April of 1792, the company built a sail boat and used it to convey their parties' families via Albany (p.13), Schenectady, up the Mohawk to Rome, and over land to Wood Creek, which took them via Oneida Lake, Oswego River, Seneca River and Clyde River to Mud Creek, which finally allowed them to land at Saw-mill Creek, 28 days after their departure. The trip was repeated multiple times to bring all the companies from Long Island.

The Cummings, Massachusetts Settlers

Famous Palmyrians like Lemuel Spear or Dr. Gain Robinson, as well as Noah and William Porter came from that rocky little town, settled by a Scotsman, McIntyre, in 1770 in Hampshire County (p.13). The first physician, Reuben Town, hailed thence (p.14). [The tavern owner, RCK] Asa Lilly, hailed from Athol in the same state, Salmon Hathaway [after whom the road is probably named, RCK] from Adams.

Fawn Brodie on Palmyra and Canandaigua

As ground-breaking and awesome as Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith [Jr], New York (Random House), 2nd edition, 1970, is, the style of footnotes is sloppy to say the least. Large passages of text pass before any indications are given where in the world she might have gotten the information from; and then it is often a collection of books, making the backtrack most difficult.

A place where this has annoyed me greatly in the past is the detailed summary she gives of Canandaigua's state of affairs around the time Joseph Smith Sr and family arrived in Palmyra (p.10f), where Brodie writes
But when the buckboard [i.e. the Smiths travel wagon, RCK] came to a stop in Palmyra [in the winter of 1816, RCK], the weary brood looked out upon a town of almost four thousand citizens, twice the size of the village [of Norwich, VT, RCK] they had left. Canandaigua, twelve miles south, was even bigger [than Palmyra, RCK], and boasted a twenty-year old academy, two "respectable private female seminaries", five common schools, three libraries, thirty-nine stores, seventy-six shops, [p.9], three churches, and paved sidewalks. [pp.9-10]
It is on page 11 that Brodie has one of her "collector footnotes", where the second entry is William Darby's A Tour of the City of New York to Detroit (...), New York 1819, where on page 133 we find the description of an informal "census" taken by three volunteers, the result of which Darby had copied from an edition of the Ontario Repository. Unfortunately, this "census" is not easy to date; terminus ante quem is most likely 1819. Canadaigua was indeed an old and important city; Gorham and Phelps had made their headquarters there after receiving control of the purchase in 1788.

But this is where things get interesting. The first thing that is odd about this statement is that the part "was even bigger" [p.9] is factually false. If we accept Brodie's claim that Palmyra had almost four thousand citizens in 1816---the census of 1820 gives 3734, as shown here---, then we are surprised to discover that the Ontario Repository's informal census only knows of "1788 souls". This is in fact half the population.

Furthermore, Brodie goes on to castigate Joseph Smith Sr. for selecting a boom town and thus facing boom town land prices, rather than continuing on to Ohio or Indiana for cheap land. In this context she points to a population plateau that was to strike Palmyra while the Smiths were still there.
He [i.e. Joseph Smith Sr, RCK], could not know that he had come at the peak of a speculative spiral, that Palmyra, instead of doubling its population in the next decade, would actually shrink by three hundred citizens and remain even a century later a town of little more than four thousand. [p.10]
This claim is clearly based on the US census of 1820 and 1830, where a flat-out comparison of the totals for Palmyra result in a drop of 3734-3276=458. But this is an illusion, also discussed here, created by the spin-off of Palmyra West into Macedon during the organization of Wayne County in 1823. The "greater Palmyra area", which is what Palmyra in the 1820 census was, had increase to 5155 souls by 1830.

Admittedly, this is not a doubling; and Brodie is right that after the completion of the Erie Canal, Palmyra ceded its position of pre-eminence to Rochester, whose feeder Palmyra had always been, deflating the boom for the long run. By 1850---the 1840 data not being easily usable on the web---Macedon had 2834 souls, Palmyra 3893 (that is 6727 for the "greater Palmyra area"), and Canandaigua 6143. Most of that growth, compared to 1830, had come on the Macedon side. But Rochester had now a whopping 36,403!

This "right in principle, wrong in the details" tale then began its path through the footnotes of history; Whitney R. Cross in his influential The Burned Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York, 1800-1850, New York ---London (Cornell University Press), 1950, writes on p.140, dependent on the pages we had just cited,
Palmyra particularly would have a considerable bonanza in the early twenties and evince social restlessness accompanying each rapid expansion. But before the end of that decade the village was destined to come quite suddenly to stability, with even a touch of the doldrums, after the canal had reached Buffalo and Rochester had seized local commercial leadership. (Brodie, No Man Knows, 9-11) 
The population census shows Rochester's leadership. Following Turner, History of the Pioneer Settlement, p.623, the population was a mere 1502 in 1820, half the size of Palmyra. Then in 1821 work on the aqueduct began: by 1822 the population had risen to 2700 residents, plus another 430 laborers. By 1823, Rochester was connected to the canal. For 1825, we have two census points: in February, 4274, and in August, 5273, a growth rate of almost 1000 souls for that year alone. In 1830, five years after the completion of the canal, Rochester had 9,207 inhabitants; the thousand-souls-per-year rate had continued unabated. Another decade of that rate, and by 1840, the population had doubled to 20,191. The growth rate when super-linear thereafter, increasing by another 80% over the next decade, i.e. 1850 to 36403 souls. 

Even though the greater Palmyra area was no longer booming, it was still growing. Perhaps it was a small consolation to the folks in Palmyra that the aristocratic banking center (Cross, p.139f) Canandaigua, even in 1850, was still smaller, contra Brodie, than they.

Friday, May 30, 2014

US Population Summary Reports

The US Census bureau has a nice summary report from 1998 that tracks the largest urban areas in the US from 1790 onwards. However, I was miffed to find that they do not count Palmyra, NY, in 1820 and 1830, even though its size clearly should have included it. So I filed a bug report. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Animals and BoM

There is a single mention of the elephant in the Book of Mormon, in Ether 9:19; and then there is the fact that the first issue of the Palmyra Register vol.I, #1 (1817-11-26), has a story about elephants (from Bengali, no less) on the front page.

More Texts on Mormonism and Palmyra

Searching the Internet Archive for texts on Palmyra, I found the following interesting media.

Placing the first Palmyra Smith house

Based on the map published in Plewe et al (2012), pp.16f, I had estimated that the first Smith house in Palmyra, where they lived from 1816-1818 (cf. Pomeroy Tucker (1867), p.12), must have been at the intersection of Stafford Street and Main Street in Western Palmyra.

It looks like "Uncle" Dale R. Broadhurst (of and fame) came to the same conclusion, and in his transcription of the Palmyra guide books, specifically Thomas L. Cook's Palmyra and Vicinity from 1930 found here, Dale took the Wayne County Atlas page for Palmyra from 1874, published by D.G. Beers & Co, penciled in some houses described in the text plus the Smith house, added (in modern fonts) the street names---Stafford and Main---and pasted the resulting image into the transcription.

Notice that there are other maps in Uncle Dale's transcription as well, using the Palmyra map from 1874 and another one from 1904; consider the Fayette example and compare 1874 with 1904.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Polyptiques and Polyptycha

For a while, I was all about monastic administrative documents of the early Carolingian era, and during this time I had acquired a cool book
  • Dieter Hägermann, Das Polyptychon von Saint-Germain-des-Prés: Studienausgabe, Köln-Weimar-Wien (Böhlau) 1993.
and located the cool website of the University of Leicester, which provides an overview of the existing polyptiques, Latin texts and English translations; cf the example of Weissenburg.

A similar intention lies behind the cartularies, and here the book I acquired was
  • Constance Brittain Bouchard, The Cartulary of Montier-en-Der, 666-1129, Toronto (University of Toronto Press), 2004.

History of Susquehanna County

Via the question of how many people lived in Harmony, Pennsylvania, when Joseph Smith and Emma Smith got their wagon hitched, I found this cool website on Susquehanna County township incorporations, which extracts the information provided in this book: Emily Blackman, History of Susquehanna County, Philadelphia (Claxton, Remsen & Hafelfinger) 1873, augmenting it with court records.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

On the writing part of writing

Spent some time today reading Sean Hood about general tips on writing and especially on screen writing. I especially liked the iterative process of improvement sketched here, which is almost directly applicable to research as well:
Collection => Collation => Execution => Presentation => Collection
As Sean points out, the more direct way to cast this creative endeavor is to use the notions of
Survey => Learn => Improve => Share => Survey
which fit very broadly across artistic, academic and inquisitional activities.

Free Rare English Church Father Translations

Collected in this site, named after the Montanist Church Father, Tertullian.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Social Stratification and the Book of Mormon

As we had previously noted, there is terminology from the KJV that discussed trade and trafficking. Especially the Prophet Ezekiel seemed pretty down on traders, Tyre foremost among them (for a convenient list of Tyre's trading partners in Ezekiel, see here). The article about trade networks mentioned before saw evidence in the BoM for describing the stratification of society that puts a trading elite on the top and distinguishes the society into various forms of elites, into non-military ranks and classes.
3 Nephi 6:12And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.
4 Nephi 1:26And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.
Alma 32:2: And it came to pass that after much labor among them, they began to have success among the poor class of people; for behold, they were cast out of the synagogues because of the coarseness of their apparel.
While this is clearly documented for Meso-America, which is where Allen J. Christenson looks for the evidence, this is not at all what is happening in the descriptions of the Old Testament or the KJV. As a result, the terms "rank" and "class" that the BoM uses to discuss these events do not occur in the KJV in this form (non-military) in the case of "rank" and not at all with respect to the term "class". The OT assumes that trade is in the hand of the elites, be they patriarchs or kings such as Salomon, or the merchant princes of Tyre. For the BoM that is a problem and a source of social criticism. 

An interesting aside in this context is the use of the word "lawyer". In the KJV, "lawyers" is the translation of the Greek term "οἱ νομικοὶ" (e.g. Luke 7:30, 11:45f, etc; Mathews 22:35; Titus 3:13); modern translations (including the LDS Bible dictionary) translate the word as "scribes"

In the BoM, the lawyers are men whose tasks conform to the modern notion of lawyer, i.e. legal advisors and prosecutors, attached to the judicial proceedings of a [debtors] court, where they (as well as the judges) are recompensed in the binary system of gold, silver and barley equivalences, for their time and effort (Alma 10:29-Alma 11:20). The BoM accuses the lawyers of being in it not for the justice, but for the recompense. 
Alma 11:20: Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they [i.e. the lawyers] received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them; therefore they did stir up the people against Alma and Amulek.
I find this as peculiarly modern a notion as I find the discussion about formation of elites.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Palmyra population and Scanned US Census returns

The claim is made here that Palmyra's population had risen from 2187 in 1816 to 3124 in 1820 and 4613 by 1825. As usual, there is no reference to any source ... so we need to verify this ourselves.

First of all, it is unclear where the 1816 and the 1825 numbers are from; the census years were 1810, 1820 and 1830. But where to get these US census infos at the city level? Well, just this morning, I discovered that the Internet archive provides the census returns for all of the locales of upstate New York for the early years.

The executive summary is as follows:
  • 1810: 2189
  • 1820: 3734
  • 1830: 5155
But how to arrive at these values?


The basic entry point into the census collection is here.

For the Census of 1810, the total of 2189 can be computed from the breakdowns for Palmyra given on page 232/284 (folio #802) on the Oneide & Ontario County roll (33). (Unfortunately, that page gives no column headers, so we use anonymous categories cat1-5.)

        _____________MEN______________,  __________WOMEN_____________
Town,     cat1, cat2, cat3, cat4, cat5,  cat1, cat2, cat3, cat4, cat5
Palmyra,   429,  202,  168,  222,  104,   428,  176,  177,  198,   75

People of Color:
8 males + 2 females = 10 people.

For example, for Palmyra the population total can be seen on page 19/203 of the Ontario County, New York roll (62) for the Census of 1820: 3734 total. This total derives from the following breakdowns.

        _________________MEN__________________,  ____________WOMEN______________ 
Town,   to 10, to 16, 16-18, 16-26, to 45, 45+,  to 10, to 16, to 26, to 45, 45+ 
Palmyra,  634,   265,    79,   444,   362, 208,    560,   308,   383,   333, 181   

People of Color:
        __________MEN___________, _________WOMEN__________ 
Town,   to 14, to 26, to 45, 45+, to 14, to 36, to 45, 45+
Palmyra,   12,     3,     3,   5,    10,     6,     5,   2

There were no slaves recorded in the census for Ontario county.

Our anonymous source gave 3124, we have 3734 from the census (which looks suspiciously like a transcription error, 1 for 7 and 2 for 3 ...), so we are probably on the right track.

A decade later, the Palmyra population total can be seen on page 115/682 of the Wayne County, New York roll (117) for the Census of 1830: 3276 total. This total derives from the following breakdowns.

WHITE  , ______________________________________MALE______________________________________________
Town,    LT 5, LT 10, LT 15, LT 20, LT 30, LT 40, LT 50, LT 60, LT 70, LT 80, LT 90, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,  249,   223,   199,   212,   402,   237,    88,    60,    50,    17,     1,      1,    0

WHITE  , _____________________________________FEMALE_____________________________________________
Town,    LT 5, LT 10, LT 15, LT 20, LT 30, LT 40, LT 50, LT 60, LT 70, LT 80, LT 90, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,  302,   211,   212,   190,   308,   197,   120,    54,    35,    12,     1,      1,    0

COLOR  , _________________MALE___________________
Town,    LT 10, LT 24, LT 36, LT 55, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,    20,     8,    11,     4,      1,    0

COLOR  , ________________FEMALE__________________
Town,    LT 10, LT 24, LT 36, LT 55, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,    12,    13,     8,     4,      1,    0

Town,    Total
Palmyra,  3276

At first glance, this result is confusing. We had expected a population of 4613 by 1825, but we are about 1200 people below that value. Furthermore, the 1830 census for Palmyra is lower than the 1820 one ...? (Notice that Fawn Brodie seems to have made that mistake too.)

The solution seems to be that Palmyra was split into Palmyra and Macedon, when Wayne County was lopped off from Ontario County by the special act of NY State Legislature on January 28,1823. Indeed, in the 1830 census, Macedon is listed as a separate township. Thus, in order to obtain an apples-to-apples comparison between the 1820 Palmyra Township and the 1830 Palmyra Township, we need to add in the results from the 1830 Macedon Township, since that was the political entity that corresponds to the formerly Western part of the 1820 Palmyra Township.

WHITE  , ______________________________________MALE______________________________________________
Town,    LT 5, LT 10, LT 15, LT 20, LT 30, LT 40, LT 50, LT 60, LT 70, LT 80, LT 90, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,  249,   223,   199,   212,   402,   237,    88,    60,    50,    17,     1,      1,    0
Macedon,  159,   141,   196,   132,   186,    99,    76,    49,    26,    16,     2,      0,    0

WHITE  , _____________________________________FEMALE_____________________________________________
Town,    LT 5, LT 10, LT 15, LT 20, LT 30, LT 40, LT 50, LT 60, LT 70, LT 80, LT 90, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,  302,   211,   212,   190,   308,   197,   120,    54,    35,    12,     1,      1,    0
Macedon,  156,   130,   132,   119,   189,   98,     65,    46,    35,    12,     2,      0,    0

COLOR  , _________________MALE___________________
Town,    LT 10, LT 24, LT 36, LT 55, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,    20,     8,    11,     4,      1,    0
Macedon,     1,     3,     2,     1,      3,    0

COLOR  , ________________FEMALE__________________
Town,    LT 10, LT 24, LT 36, LT 55, LT 100, 100+
Palmyra,    12,    13,     8,     4,      1,    0
Macedon,     1,     3,     0,     1,      0,    0

Town,    Total
Palmyra,  3276
Macedon,  1879 
Overall,  5155

Palmyra Newspapers

Thanks to Fulton History, there are online available the scans for four Palmyra newspapers that are relevant to the problems of early Mormonism (~1816-1831).

These papers are
Notice that there is minimal overlap temporally between the publications; the Register and Western Farmer seem to have none, and the Sentinel seems to surround the Reflector.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Dangerous Snakes of New York

In putting together a picture of the environment in which Joseph Smith Jr lived his teenage years and early years of manhood, I have begun looking at the dangerous animals that existed then.

One source of information that was unexpected was the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, which mentions dangerous reptiles (p.38), which I take to mean snakes. At the present time, as Kim-Giám Huỳnh of Quora pointed out, the three poisonous snakes of New York are:
  • the timber rattlesnake (crotalus horridus Linneaus, 1758); 
  • the massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus Rafinesque, 1818), erroneously called "pygmy rattler";
  • the copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix, Baird & Girard 1853)
In order to track these back to how contemporaries would have envisioned them, I located a book by Spencer Baird about Snakes of New York (1858), which provided a convenient table of all then-noted snakes of New York (p.7). That book makes reference to the Catalog of North American Serpents, that Baird had published with Girard at the Smithsonian, as well as to  the more famous 5-volume North American Herpetology, published in Philadelphia starting in 1836, by John Edward Holbrook, with a second edition in 1842.

What then do these books tell us about the poisonous snakes?
  • The timber rattlesnake, which Holbrook classified as crotalus durissus Linneaus 1758, occurs in volume 2, (1st ed, 1838), pp.80-85 [= volume 3, (2nd ed, 1842), pp.8-15] (plate at NYPL). Holbrook noted that the timber rattlesnake then lived "in his native woods" (p.82) [= 2nd ed, p.11], and was attested as far north as Lake Champlain in Vermont (p.84) [= 2nd ed, p.14], feeding on "rabbits, squirrels, rats, etc." (p.82) [= 2nd ed, p.11]. Even though it can kill dogs, its greatest enemy is the hog (p.84) [= 2nd ed, p.13], which may mean the feral hogs of the white settlers (Turner, History of the Pioneer Settlement, p.412).
  • The copperhead is classified by Holbrook as Trigonocephalus contortrix Holbrook 1838, in volume 2 (1st ed, 1838), pp.69-72  [= volume 3, (2nd ed, 1842), pp.39-42] (plate at NYPL); Holbrook include in its habitat the "western part of New England" as well as along the "borders of the Alleghany mountains" (p.71) [= (2nd ed, 1842). p.41].  
    • Baird and Giraud in their Catalog of North American Serpents (1853) coined the modern name agkistrodon contortrix, of which ancistrodon contortrix is a synonym that Baird used 1854.
    • Baird (1859) simply states that the range of the copperhead is the same as for the "northern rattlesnake" (p.13), which presumably means the timber rattlesnake. 
  • The massasauga rattlesnake is classified by Holbrook as crotalophorus tergeminus Gray 1825, in volume 3, (2nd ed, 1842), pp.29f (plate at NYPL); it is a new-comer to the 2nd edition. 
    • The species was first described by Thomas Say in the description of Long's Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, which took place 1819-1820 (Three Volume edition (1823), volume 2, pp.183f; Single Volume edition, 1823, pp.499f). 
    • The genus crotalophorus was suggested in John Edward Gray's A synopsis of the Genera of Reptiles and Amphibia, with a description of some new speciesAnnals of Philosophy, 1825, specifically p.205.
    • Holbrook in 1842 gives "the region of the country bordering on the Rocky Mountains, near the sources of the Missouri" (p.30) as its habitat; not New York.  
    • Holbrook volume 2, (2nd ed, 1842), pp.31f, recognizes an Ohio-specific variant (crotalophorus kirtlandi Holbrook 1842) (plate at NYPL), which he named after the naturalist Jared Potter Kirtland of Ohio who had provided the first description in his Report on the Zoology of Ohio (1838) [WorldCat] of the species, as well as reporting the Indian name "massasaugua" (of which the English dropped the last 'u').  
    • Baird (1858) expected crotalophorus kirtlandi to wander west from Northern Ohio (p.12), where it was colloquially known as the black massasauga, into New York State (p.7).
    • Baird (1858) (p.12) was not aware of any locale other than the white Cedar swamp near Byron, Genesee County, where the massauga rattlesnake was then found in the state of New York.
    • As of 2014, the massasauga rattlesnake is considered threatened in Ontario---suggesting that it made its way across the state, just as Baird had predicted.
Notice that the Turner History of the Pioneer Settlement of the Gorham-Phelps purchase has quite a bit to say on snakes as well.

  • Mrs Farnum from Pittstown recalled that the rattle snake stories were too numerous to mention, but felt there had been a snake that must have been a relative of the rattle snake, using a horn rather than a rattle to produce its sound (p.204). 
  • When William Henscher II recounted his experiences in settling Monroe, he noted the dens of the rattle snakes along the banks of the river below the falls (p.412). [Henscher II presumably means the High Falls on the Genesee River in Rochester, NY, where there is still a Rattle Snake Point].  Henscher II said that the rattlesnakes would come out of their winter quarters to bask on the banks of the rivers during the spring sun (p.412). Since they were still sluggish from their winter rest, they were easy to kill (thus reducing the problem for the settlers for the summer time). Henscher reports killing forty himself at one time, and gathering up a hunting party for a roundup, going up the river in canoes to take out 300 in a day at another time (p.412).

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    US Rates of Travel

    There are two famous graphs to show the rapid change in the rates of transportation in the US during the 1800s to 1840s. They are taken from the 1932 Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States.


    and were discussed in this blog post in December 2012. It would be more helpful of course to know how they constructed that information, so that similar maps could be built for Mormon missionary travel, or communication between Kirtland, OH and Far West, MS, to name but a few.

    The Holland Purchase Journaled by John Lincklaen

    The Holland Purchase was a sub-purchase of the former Gorham & Phelps purchase, intimately tied to the person of Robert Morris, one of the richest men of the United States at the time he participated in the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

    The history of that purchase is recorded, among other places, in the journal of one of the land agents, John Lincklaen, who traveled in Pennsylvania, New York and Vermont in 1791-1792; the town of Lincklaen, Chenango County, New York, bears his name.

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    Views of Historical Palmyra

    I have been thinking that it might be better to understand how Joseph Smith's Zion was to be understood if one had a clearer idea of what Palmyra Village, in Wayne County, NY, looked like during the time that Joseph Smith Jr was there. The majority of the maps that people of the LDS are interested in is the sites of the various Mormon way points, such as where the Book of Mormon was printed, or where the tavern of Joseph Smith Sr was located, such as the map originally from here:

    So they give very little detail about the other houses, the structure of downtown, etc. at least partially because they have to fit Martin Harris' farm in the North and the Hill of Cumorah in the South into the representation as well. (Notice that given the completion of the Erie Canal up to Palmyra, which occurred in 1825, and the continuation of the canal beyond that point, the map cannot really be considered from 1820; rather it is an amalgamated view, temporally.)

    There are modern depictions of Palmyra with historical sites drawn in, such as the following two maps (originally from here and here):


    These maps work the amalgamation backward, but the "old parts" in the canal, and the change bridge and similar features, often post-date the Mormon era in Palmyra. Ditto for the famous four-church corner, of which only the Presbyterian church, built in 1832, dates from before the Mormon departure. Thus, they can again not be used to enlighten us about the way Palmyra looked when Smith Jr was there.

    Now there is a historical atlas of Wayne County from 1874, which has a nice view of Palmyra, but its maps are sold by the Historical Map Company (here). That atlas is also available in the New York Public Library (here), but the prices are even steeper. That's about 40 years too late, in some sense, but it gives a better idea of the way the city was actually used.

    And so the quest continues; maybe the friends on Quora have an idea.

    Update: Quora pointed me to the maps in Daniel Burr's 1829 Atlas for New York, which contains Wayne county, among others (but already with the Erie Canal), and additional maps from the 1850s and 1870s for the specific area of upstate New York, on (surprise!) one of Dale Broadhurst's Mormon info websites.

    While some of these maps can be purchased at the NYPL or at other institutions, the Old Map company is more affordable. Some of the atlases though, such as the Anderson one from 1800, are easy to locate with World Cat, but difficult to travel to (mostly fancy east coast universities).

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    Other good online Signature Books

    Here are some more that I need to take a look at for my purposes:
    Similarly, books that I should eventually read.

    More Dan Vogel books online

    Based on a review by Roger Launius', I noticed that there are two more books of Dan Vogel at signature books online that I have not yet considered:

    Dan is also quoted in Robert Anderson's book Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith:Psychobiography and the Book of Mormon, Salt Lake City (Signature Books), 1999.

    Stumbled on Roger Launius' Blog

    This evening I stumbled over Roger Launius' blog, who is not only a published writer on Mormonism (mostly the RLDS/CofC side of things), but also a thinker on what outstanding issues in Mormon research remain unexplored. He also seems to be buddies with Dan Vogel, whose work I hugely admire.

    Saturday, May 3, 2014

    The fabric of sources for NY and the Indians

    Secretary Yates of the State of New York did not only publish the Laws regarding the Erie Canal, but also teamed up with William Moulton to publish a History of the State of New York in 1824, which was supposed to stretch over five volumes, but apparently was not continued after the first volume.

    This book is interesting because its opening chapters on antiquities tie the Indian monuments in upstate New York to the Mayans, as has been explored by Dan Vogel in the Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon, (Signature Books), 1986.

    Dan Vogel in turn is cited by Susan Stansfield Wolverton, whose book Having Visions: The Book of Mormon Translated and Exposed in Plain English, 2004, is a sort of critical commentary to the BoM. 

    BoM on trade and traffic

    There are some discussions of trade elites in the Book of Mormon, it appears. Consider Allen J. Christenson's musings on Nephite trade networks from 1992, mostly relying on ten year older research from Meso-America for a similar time period.

    The interesting thing is that in discussing the trade networks, the BoM uses words like "traffic", "management" and "government" are used.

    Now, "traffic" occurs a few times in the KJV (with a "ck", btw):
    1. Genesis 42:34: And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land.
    2. 1 Kings 10:15: Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country.
    3. Isaiah 23:8: Who hath taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traffickers are the honourable of the earth?
    4. Ezekiel 17:4: He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants.
    5. Ezekiel 28:5: By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
    6. Ezekiel 28:18: Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
    Also the word "trade" is used a few times.

    1. Genesis 34:10: And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.
    2. Genesis 34:21: These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters.
    3. Genesis 46:32: And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath been to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.
    4. Genesis 46:34: That ye shall say, Thy servants' trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
    5. Ezekiel 27:12: Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs. 
    6. Ezekiel 27:13: Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants: they traded the persons of men and vessels of brass in thy market.
    7. Ezekiel 27:14: They of the house of Togarmah traded in thy fairs with horses and horsemen and mules.
    8. Ezekiel 27:17: Judah, and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants: they traded in thy market wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil, and balm.
    9. Matthew 25:16: Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
    10. Revelation 18:17: For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, ....

    So does "government", esp. in the famous Isaiah prophecy:
    1. Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
    2. Isaiah 9:7: Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
    3. Isaiah 22:21: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
    4. 1 Corinthians 12:28: And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
    5. 2 Peter 2:10: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.
    "Management" however is not attested in the KJV.

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    Some relevant map websites thanks to UT

    The Perry Castaneda Library at UT has a meta-website for map hosting sites.
    Some nice examples include:

    Thursday, May 1, 2014

    Using the US Census Data for Early Mormonism

    It would be nice to make use of the US Census Data for the interpretation of Early Mormonism. But the problems are not without their trickery.

    Palmyra belonged to the Phelps and Gorham Purchase and was incorporated in March 29, 1827. While now part of Wayne County, Wayne County itself was only formed April 11th, 1823, when parts of Seneca and Ontario county were combined. Thus, if one wants to study the 1820 census, one has to look at the Ontario county entry, under which Palmyra (unfortunately misspelled as Palnyra in the table) was classified at that time.

    Fortunately, the issue does not arise for Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, where Joseph Smith Jr was born in December 23rd, 1805, as that county had been founded in 1781, and the town was a New Hampshire grant of King George III, and established by settlers from Sharon, Connecticut.