Robert Wiley "finds" six metal, bell-shaped plates covered with hieroglyphs while digging in a mound near Kinderhook, Illinois. The plates are found with a skeleton eleven feet below the top of the mound. There are "two mormon elders" among the dozen people witnessing the excavation. The plates are brought to Joseph Smith who says "they contain the history of the person with whom they were found and he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven and earth." In 1855 and 1879 associates of Wiley claim that the plates were a hoax gotten up by Wiley and friends to fool Smith. There is debate about the validity of the "hoax" stories until 1981 when the plates are subjected to testing which conclusively verifies their 19th-century origin and details given by the hoaxers in their manufacture.
[Source: On This Day in Mormon History, http://onthisdayinmormonhistory.blogspot.com]