[Lorenzo Saunders Interview regarding Joseph Smith]
... I know it was before Jo. claimed to have taken the plates from the hill Cummorah. And there was some two or three of us traveled that ground over, & we could not find a hole. There was a great raft of them digging for money. E.L.K.
Who was at the head? Mr. S.
Jo. Smith with his peep Stone. I never saw Jo. Smith digging[.] ...
(Excited) I tell you, sir, I am one of them that saw digging there & I will Swear to it. I am one of them that went & tore the door down to the cave. My Father was in possession & he ordered us to break that door down & put the hole up.--
Benjamin Tabor owned the land at that time. The cave was situated on the East side of the hill. ... I never Saw young Jo. Smith there by the cave. I will tell you I take the evidence from what the old man said respecting that; The old man said: what: Jo. could see in his peep stone what there was in that cave. & the old man said that Joseph could see. [p. 8] E.L.K.
Was it not an account of the stories of there being treasure hidden there by old Spanish Buchaneers? Mr. S.
Well I will tell you they did dig; Willard Chase & Alvin, the one that died. Willard Chase told me about a place; He said he & alvin Smith went there to dig & there was a chest there; and he said it was so large, & so wide (measuring with a cane) It was an iron chest. And he said they dug down & it only lay a little under the ground. I says how did this shovel become broken up like that? Willard Chase then told me; He says Alvin & I went down & found that chest. Willard Chase claimed his sister Sally had a peep stone. The Lord bless you I have seen her peep stone a hundred times; It was a little bit of a stone & it was green & she would hold it before light. After I left there, it was thirty years ago:--after I left there I can not tell you whether the peep stone was used or not[.] When men will come to me & tell me that men can pick stones out of this Earth [sentence incomplete]. as I told Jo. Smith when he dug one out of a well on Chases Farm in the Shape of a baby's foot. They dug that hole for money. Chase's & Smiths altogether was digging it[.] [p. 9] I knew all about the stone; Edmund Chase told me all about it, He lives here now, this side of Kalamazoo. He is a man older than I am[.] his name is Edmund Chase[.] I tell you when a man will come <<tell>> me that any one can get a stone, & see knowledge of futurity, I say that he is a liar & the truth is not in him. Steve Mungou lost his pocket book in the road with some $50. in money in it. He went right to Sally Chase to get her to look & see where it was; She went & looked. He was drawing wood out of the woods. She said that pocket book lays right at the side of a log in the woods where you loaded that wood. It lays right at the side of the log well we went & hunted & raked the ground over where she said but could not find it. It past along & finally one night got a paper from Canadagua [Canandaigua, New York], & in it was that a pocket book was found & taken to an old Ontario Bank[.] Took it there & the owner could come & describe his book. And he went & found his pocket book at the bank. I lost [a] drag tooth out of my drag, dragging on my brothers premises there; I says: Sally, tell me where is that drag tooth? She told me "it lays in a log heap." She says I think it lays a little past you will find it [p. 10]
I went & hunted & hunted but could not find it there. I afterwards found it away over in one corner of the field. Well I was going to tell you about Jo. We went to Smiths one day, it was a rainy day; We went into the old mans shop, he was a cooper, and the old man had a shirt on it was the raggedest & dirtyest shirt, and all full of holes. & we got Jo. Smith to look & tell us what color our Girls hair was. well you see by & by some of them says go to Jo. says he Jo. come look into futurity & tell us how it is there? Jo. says I can not do that, I can not look into futurity I can not look into anything that is holy. The old man stood there and says: "I guess he can not look into my shirt then["] E.L.K.
Do you remember whether Joseph Smith's wife was there when you saw Rigdon? M[r]. S.
I think she was. she used to be frequently at our house but I cant tell certainly for Jo. went down & married her in Penn. she used to be an awful fine pretty girl; she was an intelegent woman. My oldest sister & she used to be very intimate after Joseph was married. Right away after they was married she used to come to our house. My Father died in 1825. [p. 11]
Speaking of the Smith family I gave them credit for everything except Mormonism; They were good neighbors; They were kind neighbors in sickness; & Hiram Smith in particular when my father died he was at our house all the time. He <<& I>> had a brother died and he was as attentive then. They was always ready to bestow anything. The old man was always telling yarns, he would go to turkey shoots & get tight & he would pretend to put spells on their guns & would tell them they could not shoot a turkey. At the time the big hole was dug in the hill they was duped by one Walters who pretended to be a conjurer, I heard Willard Chase say that he was duped. They could not be deceived in it after he had gone through with a certain movements & [-] charged them $7. I seen the old man dig there day in and day out; He was close by. I used to go there & see them work. Joseph Smith never did work. They claim there in that book that Jo. Smith was a great worker. he was a lazy dog, I tell you the truth. He never worked for my brother; because I was there all the time. & Jo. Smith never worked there, & Jo. Smith was a fellow that would not form any acquaintance with anybody [p. 12] much & if he did he would get have conflict. Them days people drank liquor everybody drank whiskey & the Smiths with the rest ... L.S.
... I do not think Joseph Smith ever got any plates or ever had any plates. He got a glass box. I saw where the box was that was all. They claimed it was in that box. Now, if the plates was the thickness of tin the box could not hold one quarter of them. ... it was when Jo. Smith claimed to get the plates. Jo. Smith told the story but he told so many stories, it was a hard thing to get the fact in any way or shape. Now I can tell you what he told to our house respecting this revelation that he had in the very commencement before Alvin died, his brother; Sometime before this he claimed that he saw the Angel & that he was notified of these plates & all that & the time would be made known to him but it was not at that time made known to him but he must take his oldest brother & go <<to>> the spot & he could obtain them. Before that time his oldest brother died. Jo. Smith got that revelation a year or two before that. I do not know as I can tell what year Alvin died in[.] It was in the summer before Alvin died he told it at our house. perhaps Mrs. Smith has got the date of Alvins death in her record. After that Alvin died; Then Joseph said that he saw the angel again; The Angel told him he must go & get him a wife & then he could take his wife & go & get the plates. & he pretended he must get a black horse or a mule to go & get the plates[.] We went there & we examined the hill [p. 16] all over where he claimed to got the plates & we could not find a place that was broke & there was no plates on the ground where the hill was not broke. Robinson said he tried many times to find the hole where he took them out, that is on the west hill it was C cleared off E.L.K.
He claimed he threw it into a brush heap there is trees on the top of the hill & timber on the South side. ...
About the revelation that Joseph had that there was going to be a new Messiah brought into the world, I heard it intimated that Catherine was in a family way. I know nothing about it. I do not know anything about it, says I, this is a very delicate matter to meddle with female characters. E.L.K.
It is Catherine Saulbury now. L.S.
The time they lived there was 1830; She was quite a solid woman at that time. If you have read Tuckers book dont you know it is said that Martin Harris went through the streets claiming they had received a new [r]evelation there was coming out a new Jesus Christ Martin proclaimed one that would open the Eyes of the blind & cause the dum[b] to Speak. I never heard him say so. & on the way to Kirtland that child was born & it was a dead one & it was a she Jesus. It was implicated there at the time it Catherine & I told your brother so. says I it is intimated around that Sidney Rigdon was the origin of that [child][.] [p. 21] says I if you want to go into obscene matters I can tell somethings too. I went to Manchester at a Tavern. The old man Smith got tight there & Blue Brown. And they was always Contending to old Jo. that his Penis was 16 inches long. I told your brother that he climax was [once?][.] it was in a cold day & there their wives sat waiting outside for them & old Jo. & al measuring his drink. And then they had a square, & they measured; so old Jo. believed it was longer[.] so they pushed so hard they pushed it right through the seat of his breeches. I never believed about this there matter that Tucker put in the book, they claimed about the Wm Stafford black s[h]eep.
[Lorenzo Saunders, Interviewed by E. L. Kelley, 12 November 1884, 1-22, E. L. Kelley Papers, "Miscellany," RLDS Church Library-Archives, Independence, Missouri., as cited in Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents: Lorenzo Saunders Interview]