190 years ago today - Feb 5, 1831
The EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE AND GOSPEL ADVOCATE publishes a letter from "A. W. B" [Abraham W. Benton] titled "Mormonites" which states in part: I saw a notice of a sect of people called Mormonites; and thinking that a fuller history of their founder, Joseph Smith, jr., might be interesting . . . For several years preceding the appearance of his book, he was about the country in the character of a glass-looker: pretending, by means of a certain stone, or glass, which he put in a hat, to be able to discover lost goods, hidden treasures, mines of gold and silver, &c. Although he constantly failed in his pretensions, still he had his dupes who put implicit confidence in all his words. In this town, a wealthy farmer, named Josiah Stowell, together with others, spent large sums of money in digging for hidden money, which this Smith pretended he could see, and told them where to dig; but they never found their treasure. At length the public . . . had him arrested as a disorderly person, tried and condemned before a court of Justice. But considering his youth, (he being then a minor,) and thinking he might reform his conduct, he was designedly allowed to escape. This was four or five years ago." This is the earliest mention, in public print, of Joseph Smiths 1826 Bainbridge trial.