Remember when we were looking at the Starucca Viaduct; that manmade wonder of the world?
The small town of Harmony is a short walk from the viaduct.
When discussing the viaduct I mentioned Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon religion. There is a lot of common information about Joseph Smith in Palmyra, New York and Ohio and Missouri and his followers in Utah.
HOWEVER – – –
There is little common knowledge about his life in Harmony, Pennsylvania.
Oh – – – I don’t mean that the Mormons have little knowledge about their leader when he was in Harmony. What I mean is that most of us non-Mormons know little about this part of his life.
Like in Ohio and Missouri, Josesph Smith was under scrutiny and attack, jailed and not understood.
For example, here is some second hand and very aged information from a Christian minister.
The good reverend Peck doesn’t sound too Christian too me.
However Joseph Smith related, “my wife’s father’s family were very much opposed to our being married. I was therefore, under the necessity of taking her elsewhere”
Isaac Hale reported that while he was absent from home Joseph “carried off my daughter, into the state of New York, where they were married without my approbation or consent.”
Peter Ingersoll, a neighbor of the Smiths, was hired to take Joseph and Emma back to Pennsylvania in his wagon. Peter said that as they drove into the yard, Father Hale came out in an agitated state and amidst a “flood of tears” confronted Joseph for having “carried away” his daughter. However, Isaac asked Joseph to move to Harmony and said he “would assist him getting into business.”
Harmony is a rural township on the Great Bend of the Susquehanna River. Great Bend is where the river takes a dip out of New York State and into Pennsylvania before returning back up north for another fifty miles. Then it returns to Pennsylvania for most of the remainder of its life.
Joseph Smith found himself in trouble with mobs; not in Harmony but when he decided to visit his northern neighbors in New York.
Following a conference of the Church, Joseph Smith, his wife Emma, and others visited the farm of Joseph Knight of Colesville, New York. A number of converts applied for baptism at that time. A dam was made on the stream coming out of Pickerel Pond. However, their enemies tried to intervene by breaking down the dam. But the “font” was reconstructed and the baptisms carried out.
As the baptisms were concluded, they were greeted by a hostile crowd. When they were leaving the water they were met by many of Knight’s neighbors.
Before Joseph Smith could “confirm” his followers he was taken by officers to Chenango County in South Bainbridge, New York for trial. He was accused of asserting that the Book of Mormon was a revelation from God.
Joseph Knight employed two lawyers, James Davidson and John Reid, to plead for Smith. They cleared Joseph Smith of any wrongdoing.
Before Joseph Smith was able to return to Knight’s farm he was taken again, to be tried in Broome Co. at Colesville. Knight employed the same lawyers who cleared him again. And that is the story that tells where Joseph Smith’s troubles began; in Harmony.