Perhaps the most important priesthood restoration document is one that doesn’t even show up in Brian Cannon’s list of 70 due to his cutoff date of 1850, when the last of the first hand witnesses to the angelic ministrations died. Addison Everett visited Joseph Smith while Joseph was preparing his plurality of gods sermon as a response to William Law’s renunciations. Hyrum Smith was present as were five or six brethren when a missionary’s report of an encounter of Oliver Cowdery came into their Mansion House meeting place.
When was this visit? Everett remembers it as the last words he heard from the prophet and indicates the planned sermon was interrupted so Joseph could answer a call to go to Carthage. Joseph reported to Carthage on June 23rd. Oliver Huntington, who copied a Feb. 17, 1881, letter into his journal at least twice, also reports “As to Brother Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery’s ordination to the Melchisedek Priesthood; I heard him myself, at Nauvoo some three days before he went to Carthage for the last time.” Huntington reports leaving Nauvoo on the 23rd and he didn’t come back until after the martyrdom, which took place on the 27th. However, I suggest that Joseph did give his plurality of gods speech on June 16th, and perhaps a conflation has occurred with his second to last trip to Carthage, which took place on May 27th. Since Erastus Snow departed on a mission on April 30, it is safe to assume that Snow’s account depends on Everett’s. Another intriguing coincidence is that on May 17th, John Reed gave a speech recounting the 1830 trials he participated in with Joseph, which was published on June 1st.
Addison Everett served as a policeman in Nauvoo. He witnessed the orderly destruction of the Expositor on June 7th and testified to that effect when the case was brought before the Nauvoo court on the 13th. This court date in turn resulted in Everett signing an affidavit denying that Hyrum had made threats against the Warsaw Signal during the court meeting. In December, after Joseph’s death, Everett is listed as a carpenter with steady hands working on the Nauvoo temple along with Truman Angell and 13 others. At Winter Quarters he was called as a Bishop. On one occasion he lead 20-30 armed men to protect the Church’s herding grounds from further theft by Indians. Addison Everett was selected as part of the van guard pioneer company along with Brigham Young in 1847 as a captain of fifty. He was ordained a bishop over a Salt Lake ward in 1849. After moving to southern Utah he left two accounts of the Melchizedek Priesthood restoration in the 1880’s, one recorded in Oliver Huntington diary and another in correspondence with the Church historian at the time, Joseph F. Smith.
The big question is whether Everett’s account fits the late May 1829 dating or early July 1829 dating. First let’s survey what some scholars say about the account:
Michael Quinn in Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power
In addition to the above circumstantial evidence for the visitation, added testimony seems to confirm the July 1830 date. In 1844 Addison Everett overheard a discussion between Joseph and Hyrum Smith about the ministration of Peter, James, and John following a trial at Colesville. Thirty-eight years old at the time of the conversation, Everett later described it in letters of 1881 and 1882. …
The 1882 letter added that Smith made these statements to five or six men at the Mansion House in June 1844 and that he said this angelic appearance occurred on the banks of the Susquehanna River. Everett assumed this appearance occurred at the time of the 1829 translation of the Book of Mormon. But both letters gave a detail which contradicted his assumption, by noting that “Mr. Reid” was Smith’s attorney at the time of this angelic restoration. John S. Reid was Smith’s attorney at the trials which judicial records show ended on Thursday, 1 July 1830
Larry C. Porter in Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2: The Pearl of Great Price (1999)
There are some obvious cautions which must be assessed in the utilization of this rendition. How well Addison Everett was able to segregate his facts and not merge them with aspects of Joseph Smith’s June-July 1830 trial in which Esq. John Reid was a principal is very problematic. But if elements of his statement are a factual remembrance, or correct in certain of its content, then the account may give us some valuable information on this obscure occurrence.
Some researchers have felt that an instance reported by Joseph Smith in 1843 [HC 5:218], bearing certain similarities to the Everett account, might have reference to the restoration period. . . .
I feel that this account very nearly approximates another experience [HC 1:97] of the Prophet which did not occur until a year later and does not appear to be part of the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood. . . . I am confident that additional information will be forthcoming to give us a more comprehensive understanding of just what took place during that instance of great moment along the Susquehanna.
Richard Bushman in Rough Stone Rolling
The exact time of the visit of Peter, James, and John has always been a puzzle in Mormon history. Neither Joseph nor any of the other early chroniclers mentioned the event in their histories. . . Porter relies on a second letter of Addison Everett, written to Joseph F. Smith, Jan. 16, 1882, a year from the first letter cited in the text. The second letter says that Joseph and Oliver went to Colesville while translating the Book of Mormon and received the Melchizedek Priesthood while returning to Harmony, fixing the event in 1829. The letter is problematic, however, not only because it contradicts the first, in which no mention is made of the translating, but because it seems to mix up events in 1829 and 1830. It says Joseph moved from Harmony to Fayette in August 1829 when he actually moved in June. It was 1830 that he moved in August. There are, moreover, no mentions in other records of a visit to Colesville in May 1829, or of a persecution there, or of a trial involving Mr. Reed, conditions Everett associates with the visit. On the other hand, the visit to Colesville,the trial, and the assistance of Mr. Reed are all well-attested occurrences in the summer of 1830. Joseph inserted the first references to Peter, James, and John in a revelation dated Aug. 1830. That is why in the text above the visit of Peter, James, and John is assigned to the summer of 1830. But the difficulties with both of the proposed dates. . .means that we will not know for certain until more information is uncovered.
Proponents of both dates can find common ground on details that don’t depend on time, such as the place, personalities, and keys involved. From D&C 27 we learn that both Oliver and Joseph received a visitation from Peter, James, and John and from D&C 128 we learn the location is “in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river.” Everett “heard the Name of the Banks of the Susquehanah river spoken” and adds that it was “some 16 or 17 miles to go to reach [Harmony].” In the first Peter James & John came to us and ordained us to the Holy Apostelship and gave unto us the Keys of the Dispensation of fullness of time.” Note that this matches well with D&C 27’s “Peter, and James, and John … have ordained you and confirmed you to be apostles, and especial witnesses of my name, and bear the keys of your ministry and … the keys of my kingdom, and a dispensation of the gospel for the last times; and for the fulness of times, in the which I will gather together in one all things.” D&C 128 has “Peter, James, and John,. . . possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times.” In his 1832 history Joseph described the reception of the keys: “a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him.”
Locating the place along the Susquehanna puts limits on the time as well to when both Oliver and Joseph were in the area or April and May in 1829 or April to August in 1830. In between, Oliver is in the Palmyra area supervising the manuscripts as they are being printed. Further narrowing down the time frame will require more detailed analysis. I have done most of the work to tighten the 1829 date already. Making use of the Everett account to support an July 1830 date is tricky and to find corroboration one has to sequentially mix and match 1830 events.
On Conditions in Harmony
Everett: (1) T[h]ey Ware thretned By a Mob. . . and on Account of the Mob spirit prevailing they concluded to goe. (2) a spirit of persecution raged at Susquehannah
1829: (Katherine Salisbury)persecution arose there
(JS in HC) we were forced to keep secret the circumstances of having received the Priesthood and our having been baptized, owing to a spirit of persecution which had already manifested itself in the neighborhood.
(JS in Oct. 1829) he people are all friendly to us except a few who are in opposition to evry thing unless it is some thing that is exactly like themselves and two of our most formadable persacutors are now under censure
(Joseph Knight Jr.) After many trials and troubles, he got the plates translated.
(Lucy) [David Whitmer] to convey Joseph and Oliver back to his house, that they might remain with him there until the translation should be completed, as an evil-designing people were seeking to take away Joseph’s life in order to prevent the work of God from going forth among the world.
1830: There are no reports of difficulty in Harmony until after the Hales turned against Joseph in August. Before that Harmony was a safe haven from mob activity.
(JS in HC) About this time a spirit of persecution began again to manifest itself against us in the neighborhood where I now resided, which was commenced by a man of the Methodist persuasion, who professed to be a minister of God. This man had learned that my father-in-law and his family had promised us protection, and were friendly, and inquiring into the work; and knowing that if he could get him turned against me, my friends in that place would be but few, he visited my father-in-law, and told him falsehoods concerning me of the most shameful nature, which turned the old gentleman and his family so much against us, that they would no longer promise us protection nor believe our doctrines… Meantime, Brother Knight had come with his wagon, prepared to move my family to Fayette, New York. Mr. Whitmer, having heard of the persecutions against us at Harmony, Pennsylvania, had invited us to go and live with him; and during the last week in August we arrived at Fayette, amidst the congratulations of our brethren and friends.
Translation of the Book of Mormon
Addison Everett: as they Ware Tran[s]lating the Book of Mormon at His Father In Laws in Susquhanah
1829 Obviously true in an April-May setting
1830 Perhaps confused with the Bible translation?
Joseph Knight Sr.’s visit to Harmony
Addison Everett: 1) Father Kngihts came Down from Colevill Broom County New York 2)father Knights came from Coleville
1829: (JS in HC) Joseph Knight, Sen., of Colesville, Broome county, New York, … brought us a quantity of provisions
(JK Sr.) I went Down to see him and they ware in want. Joseph and Oliver… found me there with provisions
1830: Only record of a visit is quoted above and took place after all the action.
Invitation to preach
Addison Everett: 1) and Desired them go home with him and preach to them in his Neighbourhood 2) and wanted them to go home with him, which they did.
1829 or 1830?: Note that the following account is very similar to the one in HC 1:97. There were 13 people baptized in June in Colesville that were waiting to get confirmed, which is much more than “two or three.” Both accounts start and end in the same place and both complain about going hungry, making the dating of the first uncertain.
(JS in HC 5:218) When I first commenced this work, and had got two or three individuals to believe, I went about thirty miles with Oliver Cowdery, to see them. We had only one horse between us. When we arrived, a mob of about one hundred men came upon us before we had time to eat, and chased us all night; and we arrived back again a little after daylight, having traveled about sixty miles in all, and without food. I have often traveled all night to see the brethren ; and, when traveling to preach the Gospel among strangers, have frequently been turned away without food.
1830 The use of the following account requires the Everett account to conflate two flights from enemies together. One in which Joseph flees from a trial to his Wasson in-laws who lived nearby and the second trip now described.
(JS in HC 1:97)After a few days I returned to Colesville, in company with Oliver Cowdery, for the purpose of confirming those whom we had been forced to leave for a time. We had scarcely arrived at Mr. Knight’s, when the mob was seen collecting together to oppose us, and we considered it wisdom to leave for home, which we did, without even waiting for any refreshments. Our enemies pursued us, and it was oftentimes as much as we could do to elude them. However, we managed to get home, after having traveled all night, except a short time, during which we were forced to rest ourselves under a large tree by the wayside, sleeping and watching alternately.
Arrested while preaching
Everett: 1) And [as] they ware teaching and preaching the Gospele they ware taken with a writ and Before a Judge 2) while they were teaching the people at Coleville he was prosecuted, and arrested
1829: no trial evidence
1830: Note that the confirmation meeting hadn’t started yet.
(Lucy) Joseph’s trouble commenced at Colesville with the mob, who served a writ upon him and dragged him from the desk as he was about taking his text to preach.
(JS in HC) We had appointed a meeting for this evening, for the purpose of attending to the confirmation of those who had been the same morning baptized. The time appointed had arrived and our friends had nearly all collected together, when to my surprise, I was visited by a constable, and arrested by him
Everett: 1) as fals prophets, 2)for being a false prophet and deceiving the people.
1829: no detailed accounts
1830: (Reed 1844) The cry of “false prophet! false prophet!!” was sounded from village to village,
(Reed 1861) To take him up for for the crime of Glass Looking and Juglin forten telling and so on for witch the state of New York was again it and made it a crime and the crime was a fine and imprisonment and he was taken with a warrant and brought to South Bainbridge in Chenango County where I then lived.
(JS in HC)arrested by him on a warrant, on the charge of being a disorderly person, of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon,
(Knight Sr.)By the name of Docter Benton in Chenengo County to sware out a warrent against Joseph for as they said pertending to see under ground. A little Clause they found in the york Laws against such things. The oficer Came to my house near knite [night] and took him.
(Abram Benton)In order to check the progress of delusion, and open the eyes and understandings of those who blindly followed him, and unmask the turpitude and villany of those who knowingly abetted him in his infamous designs; he was again arraigned before a bar of Justice, during last Summer, to answer to a charge of misdemeanor. This trial led to an investigation of his character and conduct,
Everett: 1) and the prossicuting atorny had conceived in his own Mind That A feu simple qustions would Convince the Court By the Answers Br Joseph would giv to [them] that the charge was Correct So he calls out Jo which was the first Mirical Jesus raught. Why said Br Jos[e]ph we read He Created the Worlds And what He done previous to that I have not as yet Learned. This answer [so] Completly Confounded prossicuting atorny that he requested the Judge to Dismis the case, and went out 2) In court he was asked, what was the first miracle Jesus Christ wrought here on the earth? He answered “that he created the worlds and what He had done before that, he (Joseph) had not yet learned.
1829: (3 Nephi 11:15) Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
1830: (Moses 2:1) the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.
Analysis: I included the above because Quinn thinks Joseph’s 1830 Vision of Moses supplied him the answer for Christ’s first miracle. However the same information is contained in material recently translated by Joseph in 1829. There is no hint of Joseph testifying at either of his two 1830 trials, an omission I find significant. In Everett’s account the Proscuting Attorney surrenders after a few questions. In the 1830 histories, it is a four day circus that went to rulings by the justices of the peace.
Mobs after the trial
Everett: 1) prossicuting atorny. . .went out To organize the Mob that was on the Out Side 2) a mob was outside in front of the house preparing to mob them
1830: (JS in HC) The majority of the assembled multitude had now begun to find that nothing could be sustained against me. . .the mob were determined, if the court acquitted me, that they would have me, and rail-ride me, and tar and feather me;
Everett: 1) At about this time a lawyer By the Name of Reede I think was His name Came in to the court and Stated He was the Smiths atorny and wished to see him in a private room 2) His attorney John Reide arrived about this time and told the Court that he wished to see Mr. Smith in a private room for a few minutes, as he was Mr. Smiths attorney
1830: (JK Sr.)I asked Joseph if [he] wanted Counsell he said he thot he should. I went that nite and saw Mr James Davison [Davidson] a man I was acquainted with. The next morning the gatherd a multitude of people that ware against him. Mr Davison said it looked like a squaley [squally] Day; he thot we had Better have John Read [Reid] 23 a prety good speaker near by. I told him we would, so I imployed them Both.
Analysis: Note that Everett is not sure about the name of the attorney and has him arrive after the trial is concluding. One explanation is that the lawyer wasn’t Reed, but that Everett made that assumption based on hearing Reed’s oration about Joseph’s 1830 trials sometime in May 1844. Reed slept at Joseph’s for 6 days and then left Nauvoo for 5 or 6 weeks, only to return when Joseph died. For 1829ists misidentification might help solve why it has to be suggested to Knight to employ Reed in 1830. For 1830ists, details like Reed being present can be persuasive even if there are some discrepancies like time of arrival.
Everett: 1) And was put in to a Back room and when in He hoisted a window and told Br Joseph & Oliver to flee in to the forest which was close at hand 2) and when in the private room Mr. Reide told brother Joseph and Oliver that a mob was outside in front of the house preparing to mob them, and so he hoisted the window in the back of the house,
1830: (JS in HC) the constable who arrested me. . . was willing to favor me and lead me out in safety by a private way. . . through the instrumentality of my new friend the constable, I was enabled to escape them.
(Reed 1844) This the more enraged the adverse party, and I soon discovered that Mr. Smith was liable to abuse from them, should he not make his escape. The most of them being fond of liquor, I invited them into another room to drink, and thus succeeded in attracting their attention until Mr. Smith was beyond their reach. I knew not where he went, but I was satisfied that he was out of their hands. We got him away that night from the midst of three hundred people without his receiving any injury; but I am well aware that we were assisted by some higher power than man; for to look back on the scene, I cannot tell how we succeeded in getting him away. I take no glory to myself: it was the Lord’s work, and marvelous in our eyes.
(Reed 1861) Then the people made calculations to abuse him and I was down stares to amuse the people whilst my colleague and the Mormons got Joseph out of the house and he went down to grate bend in Pennsylvania and thare translated his Bible
Analysis: In Everett’s account “Reed” helps Joseph and Oliver through a back exit. In the 1830 accounts Reed distracts the mob’s attention while his colleague or the constable helps Joseph (no mention of Oliver) get away. Oliver did testify at an 1830 trial according to Benton, but it is unclear if he is with Joseph during the 1830 escape. The time of the escape is also of interest with Knight Sr. indicating the trial went on until midnight and Reed indicating the witness examination went on until 2 AM and then two hours of closing argument were heard.
Addison Everett: 1) and they wandered in a dense Forest all Night and often times in Mud and water up to thare Knees. 2) and in a few rods, they entered the woods, they traveled all night in a dense forest, some of the time deep mud and water,
1830: (JS in HC) and make my way in safety to my wife’s sister’s house, where I found my wife awaiting with much anxiety the issue of those ungodly proceedings, and in company with her I arrived next day in safety at my own house.
(Lucy) After escaping the hands of the mob, Joseph traveled till daybreak the next morning,. . About daybreak he arrived at the house of one of his wife’s sisters, where he found Emma, who had suffered great anxiety about him since his first arrest. They returned home together,
Analysis: This may be the biggest problem 1830ist face in placing the Everett account. Between the two trials, Joseph is marched to a tavern and wants to go home (apparently to Emma’s sister’s) because it is nearby. So if the trial got out at 4 AM according to Reed and he gets home at daybreak which was around 4:30 AM than it wasn’t much of a trip. In Everett’s account Oliver and Joseph are still 16 to 17 miles away from Harmony at daybreak. These discrepancies are why 1830ists patch together the later events when Joseph and Oliver start from Harmony to attempt a confirmation meeting in Colesville a second time.
Everett: Brother Oliver gave out Entirely and he Br Joseph leaned him against an Oake tree Just out side a field fenc
1830: (JS in HC 1:97) However, we managed to get home, after having traveled all night, except a short time, during which we were forced to rest ourselves under a large tree by the wayside, sleeping and watching alternately.
Analysis: The 1830 account refers to the separate confirmation trip, but it scores points by mentioning resting at a tree. 1829ists might point out there are lots of trees and that history can repeat itself.
The Addison Everett account can be broken down into three acts. In Act I, Joseph and Oliver are in Harmony, possibly translating the Book of Mormon and are invited to preach in Colesville by Joseph Knight. In Act II, their preaching is interrupted and they are brought to trial and are allowed to escape. Finally in Act III, while fleeing enemies they become exhausted and while resting near the Susquehanna they are ministered to by Peter, James, and John. Act I is easily more supportable in an 1829 setting given other historical records. Act II favors an 1830 setting, and yet we see that it would have to be used out of sequence to make it work and even then perplexing contradictions remain. Act III also slightly favors 1830 where we have Joseph and Oliver fleeing from enemies on more than one occasion, and only one debatable account for fleeing in 1829. From my vantage point, I think it is easier to deal with 1829 history’s silence about a trial and suggest that Everett conflated details from the 1830 Reed trial that were floating around in Nauvoo at the time; easier than accepting a jumbled sequence of 1830 history and a conflation with 1829 Act I events. In any case, I agree with Dr. Bushman that until or unless further information appears there is room for uncertainty.