Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Manchester and Mormonism


Jones Mill on Canandaigua Outlet, Shortsville, Town of Manchester
     One has to wonder how Mormonism became so identified with Palmyra?  To be sure Mormonism never caught on in Manchester-- in fact in 1833 my 5th great-grandfather Sylvester Worden along with Pardon Butts, Warden Reed, Hiram Smith, Alfred Stafford, James Gee, Abel Chase, A.H. Wentworth, Moses C. Smith, Joseph Fish and Horace Barnes signed the following statement:

     "We the undersigned being personally acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, jun., with whom the celebrated 'golden bible' so called, originated state: 
That they were not only a lazy, indolent set of men, but also intemperate, and their word was not to be depended upon, and we are truly glad to dispense with their society"

      But although Joseph and his followers were not popular in Manchester, Mormonism had many ties here.  Hill Cumorah, where Joseph Smith claimed to have dug up the golden plates, was in fact located within the Town of Manchester; as was the residence of Joseph Smith himself.  He could often be found on the streets and shops of Manchester and Shortsville, even attending an occasional revival meeting at the Manchester Baptist church.

     Oliver Cowdrey, who assisted Smith in composing the Book of Mormon, taught in the Manchester schools at one time and the paper upon which the first edition of the book was published came from the Jones Mill located on Water Street in Shortsville, Town of Manchester.  The main connection to Palmyra was the bookstore of E. Grandin, who printed the Book of Mormon in 1830.  

     Wouldn't Grandfather and his contemporaries be surprised at how the Mormon religion thrived and grew?

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