Joe Smith and Buried Treasure - 1880
The Salt Lake Daily Tribune – April 23, 1880
AN INTERESTING DOCUMENT.
Articles of Agreement Between Joe Smith,
the Father of Mormonism and Other Persons, in 1825.
April 12, 1880.
EDS. TRIBUNE: Knowing how interested you are in any matter pertaining to the early history of our Church, I enclose a slip cut from the Susquehanna (Pa.) Journal of March 20, which will throw some light on the subject. The Journal is published near the scene of our martyred Prophet's early exploits.
The following agreement, the original of which
is in possession of a citizen of Thompson township, was discovered by our
correspondent, and forwarded to us as a matter of local interest.
The existence of the "buried treasures" referred to was "revealed" to Joe Smith, jr. who with his father, the Prophet at the time resided on what is now known as the McKune farm, about two miles down the river from this place, and upon the strength of which revelation a stock company was organized to dig for the aforesaid treasure. After the company was organized, a second communication was received by Joseph Jr., from the "other world" advising the treasure seekers to suspend operations, as it was necessary for one of the company to die before the treasure could he secured.
Harper, the peddler, who was murdered soon after, near the place where the Catholic cemetery in this borough is now located, was one of the original members of the company, and his death was regarded by the remainder of the band as a Providential occurrence, which the powers had brought about for their special benefit. The death of Harper having removed the only obstacle in the way of success, the surviving members, recommenced operations, and signed an agreement giving the widow Harper the half of one-third of all the treasures secured. The following is the agreement, written by the old humbug, Joseph Smith, himself:
ARTICLES OF AGREEMENT.
We, the undersigned, do firmly agree, and by
these present bind ourselves, to fulfill and abide by the hereafter specified
First -- That if anything of value should he obtained at a certain place in Pennsylvania near a William Hales, supposed to be a valuable mine of either gold or silver and also to contain coined money and bars or ingots of gold or silver, and at which several hands have been at work during a considerable part of the past summer, we do agree to have it divided in the following manner, viz: Josiah Stowell, Calvin Stowell and Wm. Hale to take two-thirds, and Charles Newton, Wm. I. Wiley, and the widow Harper to take the other third. And we further agree that Joseph Smith, Sen. and Joseph Smith Jr. shall be considered as having two shares, two elevenths of all the property that may be obtained, and shares to be taken equally from each third.
Second -- And we further agree, that in consideration of the expense and labor to which the following named persons have been at (John F. Shepherd, Elijah Stowell and John Grant) to consider them as equal sharers in the mine after all the coined money and bars or ingot are obtained by the undersigned. Their shares to be taken out from each share; and we further agree to remunerate all the three above named persons in a handsome manner for all their time, expense, and labor which they have been or may be at, until the mine is opened, if anything should be obtained; otherwise they are to lose their time, expense and labor.
Third -- And we further agree that all the expense which has or may accrue until the mine is opened, shall be equally borne by the proprietors of each third and that after the mine is opened the expense shall be equally borne by each of the shares.
Township of Harmony, Pa., Nov. 1, 1825
In presents of:
Isaac Hale Chas. A. Newton
David Hale Jos. Smith, Sen.
P. Newton Isaiah Stowell
Jos. Smith, Jr.
Wm. I. Wiley
The place where treasure was supposed to lie buried was on the place now owned by J. M. Tillman, near the McCune Farm, then the property of William Hale. Excavations were also made on Jacob Skinner's Farm, some of which remain well marked today. It was while pursuing this unsuccessful search for treasures, that the Prophet Smith pretended that he unearthed his famous "tablets."
(Brother Wade may have made a mistake in directing his letter to the proper church journal. If he has, Granny has our permission to copy the above by giving the Tribune proper credit.)
Note 1: "Granny" was the Tribune's nickname for the LDS Church's Deseret Evening News and/or that paper's editors.
Note 2: For more information regarding the context of this reprint from the Susquehanna Journal, see Emily C. Blackman's History of Susquehanna County and Frederic G. Mather's "Early Days of Mormonism."
WORD FAITH INDEX