Cowdery, Oliver

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Oliver Cowdery was born on October 3, 1806 in Wells, Vermont, the son of William Jr. and Rebecca Fuller Cowdery. While teaching in Palmyra, New York during the winter of 1828-29, Cowdery stayed with the family of Joseph Smith (1805-1844). It was during this time that Cowdery first heard of the visions of Smith and the Golden Plates. After meeting with Smith, Cowdery came to believe in the validity of his visions and agreed to help Smith transcribe the Book of Mormon. As a witness to the Book of Mormon and as the Second Elder, Cowdery played an instrumental part in the development of the Mormon Church. Subsequently though, Cowdery was excommunicated from the church in 1838. He praticed law until 1848, after which time he decided to return to the Mormon Church and was rebaptized. In 1850, Oliver Cowdery passed away.

From the description of Transcription of a letterbook from Oliver Cowdery to Warren and Lyman Cawdery, Far West, Mo. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 226260571

From the description of Letter book, docket, and correspondence of Oliver Cowdery, 1833-1894 bulk (1833-1838). (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122499678

Early Mormon Church leader.

From the description of Legal documents, 1847. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122644577

From the guide to the Oliver Cowdry legal documents, 1847, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Mormon Church leader who worked closely with the first president of the Mormon Chuch, Joseph Smith (1805-1844).

From the description of Affidavit, 1848. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122351464

Oliver Cowdrey (1806-1850) was one of the six original members of the Church of Christ which was organized in 1830. The full name was given in 1838 as the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church). He is best known as the scribe of Joseph Smith but also played an important leadership role in the early LDS Church. He was a strong defender of the Book of Mormon and helped to select the Church's first twelve apostles. He later came into conflict with Joseph Smith and was excommunicated. For several years he was an attorney and lived in Ohio and in Wisconsin Territory. After Joseph Smith's death in 1844, Oliver Cowdrey returned to the LDS Church but died in Richmond, Missouri, before he could go west to Salt Lake City.

From the guide to the Oliver Cowdrey papers, 1833-1838, (J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Mormon Church leader who helped Joseph Smith (1805-1844), the first president of the Mormon Church, found that religion.

From the description of Revelations, ca. 1840. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122497467

One of the founders of the Mormon Church, one of the three witnesses to the "Golden Plates" of the Book of Mormon, and a lawyer.

From the description of Notarized affidavit, 1848. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122604987

From the guide to the Oliver Cowdery notarized affidavit, 1848, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Attorney and early Mormon leader.

From the description of Stipulation in estate settlement, 1847 September. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122535605

From the guide to the Stipulation in estate settlement, 1847, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Transcribed from microfilm by David R. Bernard under the supervision of Professor John W. Welch. J Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. April 28, 1989. The original docket is located in the Huntington Library in Pasadena, California.

From the description of Oliver Cowdery docket book, 1837. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 368052301

Copy made from the original Book of Mormon manuscript by Oliver Cowdery, for use by the typesetter for the first printing of the Book of Mormon (1830).

Joseph Smith, Jr.

Joseph Smith, Jr., was born 23 December 1805 in Sharon, Vermont, to Joseph Smith, Sr. and Luck Mack Smith. At the age of ten, he moved to Palmyra, New York, with his family, where he resided for eleven years. During that time, Joseph did not have many advantages for learning; however, his curiosity of religion began to develop greatly. In the spring of 1820, after going into some nearby woods to pray, he had a vision in which he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ. Three years later, he had another vision in which an angel told him about an ancient record written on gold plates. In September of 1827, Joseph received those plates. After obtaining the plates, Joseph and his wife, Emma Hale, moved to Pennsylvania, where he began translating them with Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery as his chief scribes. The first edition of the Book of Mormon was published in March of 1830 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized shortly thereafter.

Following the publication of the Book of Mormon, the persecutions against Joseph and the Church grew even stronger. Joseph, along with the main body of the Saints, moved from New York and Pennsylvania to Kirtland, Ohio, and from there to Independence, Missouri. They were subsequently forced out of Independence as well, at which point Joseph moved the Saints to Far West, Missouri. At Far West, Joseph and other Church leaders were arrested in October of 1838 and taken to Richmond jail. This was the first of several jails Joseph would be sent to within the next six years. While Joseph was in prison, Far West was destroyed and Brigham Young, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, moved the Saints to Quincy, Illinois. After Joseph was released from prison, he found a place for the Saints to live in Commerce, Illinois, which he renamed Nauvoo in 1839. Nauvoo grew into a prosperous city and became the second largest in Illinois. After enduring more hardships and persecutions while in Nauvoo, Joseph and his brother Hyrum were arrested once again, this time being taken to Carthage, Illinois. On 27 July 1844, a mob attacked Carthage jail and killed both Joseph and Hyrum.

Oliver Cowdery

Oliver Cowdery was born 3 October 1806 in Wells, Rutland, Vermont, to William Cowdery, Jr. and Rebecca Fuller. In 1825, Oliver moved to the state of New York, where his elder brothers were married and settled. He found employment as a store clerk until the winter of 1828/1829, when he began teaching in the district school in Manchester, New York. There he became acquainted with the family of Joseph Smith, Sr. He went to board at the Smith house, and while he was there learned about Joseph Smith, Jr. and the gold plates he had discovered. Oliver became very interested, and on 5 April 1829 he visited Joseph in Harmony, Pennsylvania, where Joseph had fled to avoid the persecutions in New York. Two days later, Joseph asked Oliver to become a scribe for the translation of the plates. Oliver agreed and from thenceforth was the principal scribe for most of the translation of the Book of Mormon. The translation was finished by July 1829, at which time Oliver began to make a copy of the manuscript to send to the printer, E.B. Grandin.

Oliver was present with Joseph Smith on several significant occasions, such as on 15 May 1829, when John the Baptist appeared and conferred the priesthood on both Oliver and Joseph. Oliver was one of the Three Witnesses who testified to having been shown the plates by an angel in June of 1829. He was also one of the original six members of the church when it was organized on 6 April 1830.

Oliver Cowdrey married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer on 22 January 1832, in Jackson County, Missouri. In 1835, he was appointed to be the first Church recorder. He was also appointed assistant counselor to the First Presidency in September 1837. Seven months later, on 11 April 1838, he was charged before the High Council of Far West, Missouri, for several offenses against the church. The following day he was excommunicated. Oliver remained outside of the Church for ten years. In October of 1848, Oliver attended a special conference in Kanesville, Iowa, where he bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The following month, he was re-baptized into the Church. Oliver Cowdery died 3 March 1850 in Richmond, Missouri, in full fellowship of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

John H. Gilbert

John Hulburd Gilbert was born 13 April 1802 in the state of New York. His father was Russell Gilbert and Hulburd was his mother’s maiden name. In 1824, Gilbert moved to Palmyra, New York, and began typesetting. Three years later, he married Chloe P. Thayer. In June of 1829, he was approached by E.B. Grandin, a printer who had agreed to publish the Book of Mormon for Joseph Smith, to be the typesetter for the book. Gilbert agreed and began the work in August of that year. The entire publication of the first edition of the Book of Mormon took seven months and was completed in March 1830. Gilbert continued typesetting and died in the year 1895.

From the guide to the Photocopy of the Printer's Copy of the Book of Mormon, 1830, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Oliver Cowedery (1806-1850) was a scribe during the translation of the Book of Mormon.

Oliver Cowdery was born 3 October 1806 in Wells, Vermont. He met Joseph Smith, the first president of The Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints, in 1829 and helped to translate the Book of Mormon in his role as scribe. He married Elizabeth Ann Whitmer on 18 December 1832. They had five children. Cowdery was excommunicated from the church from 1838 to 1848, but was re-baptized before his death on 3 March 1850 in Richmond, Missouri.

From the guide to the Oliver Cowdery docket book, 1837, (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A License Liberty Power & Authority given to John Whitmer signifying & proveing that he is an Elder of this Church of Christ... /signed by Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery, 1830 Jun 9. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Whitney, Newel Kimball, 1795-1850. Papers, 1825-1906. American Primers
referencedIn John Whitmer letter, 1837 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
referencedIn Allred, William Moore, 1819-1901. William Allred autobiography and journal, 1819-1887. American Primers
creatorOf MS 18547, Smith, Joseph 1805-1844. New translation of the Bible 1830-1833 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Revelations, ca. 1840. American Primers
referencedIn Photographs of Church history sites and figures, circa 1840s-1976. Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library
creatorOf Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. Document stating that Christian Whitmer is a teacher of the Mormon Church : Fayette, Seneneca County, New York, 1830 Jun 9. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf MS 19655, Smith, Joseph 1805-1844. New translation of the Bible 1830-1833 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Oliver Cowdry legal documents, 1847 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
referencedIn Backman, Milton Vaughn. Milton V. Backman and A. Gary Anderson collection of early Mormon manuscripts, 1772-1980. American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver. Transcription of a letterbook from Oliver Cowdery to Warren and Lyman Cawdery, Far West, Mo. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Ashbel Kitchell diary, 1831 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
referencedIn PH 1300, Carter, Charles William photographer 1832-1918. Charles W. Carter glass negative collection circa 1860-1900 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf MS 19156, Knight, Newel 1800-1847. Newel Knight autobiography circa 1871 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn Cowdery, William, 1765-1847. Cowdery family and Vermont papers, 1787-1990. American Primers
referencedIn Winterton, Ruth. Oliver Cowdery : second elder / by Ruth Winterton. Community of Christ Library and Archives
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Justice of the peace docket book, 1837. American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Stipulation in estate settlement, 1847 September. American Primers
creatorOf MS 14458, Young, Phineas Howe 1799-1879. Phineas H. Young papers 1846-1898 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn Curtis, Carl C. Lists, ca. 1970. American Primers
creatorOf MS 14052, Jameson family. Jameson family collection 1825-1938 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf MS 1295, Smith, Joseph 1805-1844. Kirtland Egyptian papers circa 1835-1836 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Stipulation in estate settlement, 1847 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
referencedIn Whitney, Newel Kimball, 1795-1850. Papers, 1825-1906. American Primers
creatorOf MS 8315, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints historical documents 1830-1867 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn Kirtland Council Minute Book, 1832-1837. University of New Mexico, Los Alamos, UNM-Los Alamos Library
creatorOf Boosinger, George. George Boosinger papers, 1836-1857. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn AV 2516, Hale, James Nathan 1910-1994. Hale Family audiovisual collection. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn Page, Hiram,. Letters of Hiram Page, 1847-1848, [198-?]. Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library
referencedIn Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. Promisory note, 1837. American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook [microform] 1833-1846. American Primers
creatorOf MS 6140, Thatcher, Luna Eunice Caroline Young 1842-1922. Luna Y. Thatcher collection 1835-1876 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. License of John Whitmer as an Elder, Church of Christ : Fayette, Seneca County, New York : DS, 1830 June 9. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn MS 1352, Woodruff, Wilford 1807-1898. Wilford Woodruff journals and papers 1828-1898 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn Ranney, George, 1786-1860?. Justice of the peace docket book Kirtland, Ohio, 1841-1843. American Primers
referencedIn Whitmer, John, 1802-1878. John Whitmer letter, 1837. American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Legal documents, 1847. American Primers
referencedIn Collection of photographs of the Three Witnesses, 1874-1970. Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library
creatorOf Oliver Cowdery notarized affidavit, 1848 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. Document stating that Christian Whitmer is a teacher of the Mormon Church : Fayette, Seneneca County, New York, 1830 Jun 9. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Whitmer, John, 1802-1878. Letter: to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer / by John Whitmer, 1837 Aug 29. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver. Oliver Cowdery docket book, 1837. American Primers
creatorOf MS 27035, Kimball, Hiram 1806-1863. Hiram Kimball collection 1830-1910 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn MS 6576, Richards, Samuel Whitney 1824-1909. Samuel W. Richards papers 1837-1929 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn Kennedy, James Harrison. The three witnesses of the Book of Mormon. (1890). [microfilm]. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
referencedIn Schwindiman, Fred W. Fred W. Schwindiman statement, 1958. American Primers
referencedIn PH 730, H.B. Halls & Sons (N.Y.). Engraving collection circa 1880s Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Photocopy of the Printer's Copy of the Book of Mormon, 1830 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Phelps, William Wines, 1792-1872. Kirtland Egyptian manuscripts [microform] 1837. American Primers
referencedIn Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. Agreement, 1830. American Primers
creatorOf Oliver Cowdery docket book, 1837 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
referencedIn MS 1392, Miller, Reuben 1811-1882. Reuben Miller journals 1848-1849 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn H. Michael Marquardt papers, 1800-2011 J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahManuscripts Division
creatorOf Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. High Council (Kirtland, Ohio : 1834). Kirtland Council minute book, 1832-1837. American Primers
referencedIn Fred W. Schwindiman statement, 1958 L. Tom Perry Special Collections20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Letters, 1831-1838. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
referencedIn Overstreet, Oliver. A confession of Oliver Overstreet, 1857, April 7. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf MS 3467, Cowdery, Lyman 1802-1881. Lyman Cowdery papers 1834-1858 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. Papers 1837-1838. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Photographs of the Three Witnesses, 1874-1970. American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Affidavit, 1848. American Primers
referencedIn McIntire, William Patterson, 1813-1882. Daybook, 1840-1856 (bulk), 1840-1972 (inclusive). American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver. Letter book, docket, and correspondence of Oliver Cowdery, 1833-1894 bulk (1833-1838). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
referencedIn Cowdery, Lyman. Letter: to Oliver Cowdery / by Lyman Cowdery, 1838. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. Photocopy of the printer's copy of the Book of Mormon, 1830. Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library
creatorOf MS 14305, Smith, Hyrum 1800-1844. Hyrum Smith papers 1834-1843 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
creatorOf Oliver Cowdrey papers, 1833-1838 J. Willard Marriott Library, University of UtahManuscripts Division
referencedIn Adams, Dale W. Dale W. Adams research collection on Mormons in Ohio, 1968-2001. Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library
referencedIn Overstreet, Oliver. Confession of Oliver Overstreet. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
referencedIn Justice of the peace docket book Kirtland, Ohio, 1841-1843 L. Tom Perry Special Collections19th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts
creatorOf MS 2075, Cowdery, Oliver 1806-1850. Book of Mormon manuscript 1829 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Church History Library
referencedIn Kitchell, Ashbel. Diary, 1831. American Primers
referencedIn Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS Church records, 1831-1964. American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Notarized affidavit, 1848. American Primers
creatorOf Cowdery, Oliver, 1806-1850. Letters, 1833-1838. [microfilm]. Utah Division of State History, Utah Historical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Dale W. person
associatedWith Allred, William Moore, 1819-1901. person
associatedWith Backman, Milton Vaughn. person
associatedWith Bent, Samuel, 1778-1846. person
associatedWith Boosinger, George. person
associatedWith Boynton, John Farnham, 1811-1890. person
associatedWith Bryan, John. person
associatedWith Carter, Charles William photographer 1832-1918 person
associatedWith Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. corporateBody
associatedWith Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. High Council (Kirtland, Ohio : 1834) corporateBody
associatedWith Cooley, E. A. person
associatedWith Cowdery, Elizabeth Ann. person
associatedWith Cowdery, Lyman. person
associatedWith Cowdery, Lyman 1802-1881 person
associatedWith Cowdery, Rebecca Fuller. person
associatedWith Cowdery, Warren A., 1788-1851. person
associatedWith Cowdery, William, Jr. person
associatedWith Curtis, Carl C. person
associatedWith Evening and morning star. corporateBody
associatedWith Faulring, Scott H. person
associatedWith Fordham, Elijah. person
associatedWith Fosdick, J.G. person
associatedWith Fry, William. person
associatedWith Gilbert, John, 1810-1889. person
associatedWith Hale, James Nathan 1910-1994 person
associatedWith Halsey, Thankful. person
associatedWith H.B. Halls & Sons (N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Historical Department (1972-2000) corporateBody
correspondedWith Hyde, Orson, 1805-1878 person
associatedWith Jameson family family
associatedWith Johnson, Richard M. (Richard Mentor), 1780-1850, person
associatedWith Johnson, R. M. person
associatedWith Kennedy, James Harrison. person
associatedWith Kennon, William. person
associatedWith Kimball, Hiram 1806-1863 person
associatedWith Kingsbury, Horace. person
associatedWith Kitchell, Ashbel person
associatedWith Kitchell, Ashbel. person
associatedWith Knight, Newel 1800-1847 person
associatedWith Marquardt, H. Michael person
associatedWith McIntire, William Patterson, 1813-1882. person
associatedWith Miller, Reuben 1811-1882 person
associatedWith Overstreet, Oliver. person
correspondedWith Page, Hiram, person
associatedWith Palmer, Ambrose. person
associatedWith Phelps, William Wines, 1792-1872. person
associatedWith Ranney, George, 1786-1860? person
associatedWith Ranney, George, 1786-1861 person
associatedWith Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints corporateBody
associatedWith Richards, Samuel Whitney 1824-1909 person
associatedWith Rigdon, Sidney, 1793-1876, person
associatedWith Schwindiman, Fred W. person
associatedWith Schwindiman, Fred W. person
associatedWith Smith, Hyrum 1800-1844 person
associatedWith Smith, Joseph, 1805-1844. person
associatedWith Smith, Lucy Mack 1776-1856 person
associatedWith Thatcher, Luna Eunice Caroline Young 1842-1922 person
associatedWith Van Buren, Martin, 1782-1862. person
correspondedWith Whitemer, David, 1805-1888 person
associatedWith Whitmer, John, 1802-1878. person
associatedWith Whitney, Newel Kimball, 1795-1850. person
associatedWith Wilbur, F. person
associatedWith Williams, Frederick G. (Frederick Granger), 1787-1842 person
associatedWith Winterton, Ruth. person
associatedWith Woodruff, Wilford 1807-1898 person
associatedWith Young, Phineas Howe 1799-1879 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Walworth County (Wis.)
Wisconsin--Walworth County
Kirtland (Ohio)
Ohio--Kirtland
Far West (Mo.)
Ohio--Kirtland
Missouri
Kirtland (Ohio)
Kirtland (Ohio)
Missouri
Wisconsin--Walworth County
Ohio
Palmyra (N.Y.)
(Missouri)
Subject
Correspondence
Mormons--Persecution--History--19th century
Mormon Church--History--19th century
Mormons--History--19th century--Sources
Religion
Dissenters, Religious
Mormons--Newspapers
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mormon Church--Sacred books--History--Sources
Justices of the peace--Ohio--Kirtland
Mormons--Wisconsin--Walworth County
Ex-church members--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Civil Procedure and Courts
Mormon church--Doctrines
Notaries--History--Sources
Mormon Church--History
Mormons--Correspondence
Property--History--Sources
Mormons--Manuscripts
Mormons--Archival resources
Mormon Church--Government
Mormon Church--History--19th century--Sources
Families--Health and hygiene
Polygamy
Mormonism (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
Mormon Church--Relations
Material Types
Mormon Church--Discipline
Church controversies--Mormon Church--History--19th century
Mormons
Justices of the peace
Mormon pioneers
Mormons--Political activity
Politics, Government, and Law
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1806-10-03

Death 1850-03-03

English

Information

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