Hiram Page

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Hiram Page
Personal details
Bornc. 1800
Vermont, United States
DiedAugust 12, 1852
Excelsior Springs, Missouri, United States
Resting placeHamers Farm
39°21′22″N 94°10′35″W / 39.356045°N 94.176267°W / 39.356045; -94.176267 (Hiram Page's Grave)
Known ForOne of the Eight Witnesses
Spouse(s)Catherine Whitmer
Children9

Hiram Page (c. 1800–August 12, 1852) was an early member of the Latter Day Saint movement and one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon's golden plates.

Early life[edit]

Page was born in Vermont. Earlier in his life, he studied medicine which he practiced during his travels throughout New York and Canada. On November 10, 1825, Page married Catherine Whitmer, daughter of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. The two had nine children together: John, Elizabeth, Philander, Mary, Peter, Nancy, Hiram, Oliver, and Kate.

Early involvement in the Latter Day Saint movement[edit]

Page became one of the Eight Witnesses during June 1829.[1]

He and Catherine were baptized into in the Church of Christ (later renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints)[2][3] on April 11, 1830, by Oliver Cowdery. On June 9, he was ordained a teacher in the church, one of the church's first twelve officers.[4]

Seer stone and revelations[edit]

Page was living with his in-laws the Whitmers in Fayette, New York. Smith arrived in August 1830 to discover Page using a black "seerstone" to produce revelations for the church. The revelations were regarding the organization and location of Zion. Cowdery and the Whitmer family believed the revelations were authentic. In response, Smith announced in a new revelation during the church's September conference that Page's revelations were of the devil (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 28:11). At the conference there was considerable discussion on the topic. Page agreed to discard the stone and the revelations and join in following Smith as the sole revelator for the church. The members present confirmed this unanimously with a vote. The fate of the stone and revelations was not recorded by contemporary sources and has been the subject of interest ever since.[5] Martin Harris's brother Emer stated second-hand in 1856 that the stone was ground to powder and the associated revelations were burned.[6] Apostle Alvin R. Dyer stated that he had discovered Page's seerstone in 1955, that it had been passed down through Jacob Whitmer's family.[7] The validity of this claim has been questioned.[5]

Migration to Ohio and Missouri[edit]

In January 1831, Page accompanied Lucy Mack Smith and a company of saints from Waterloo, New York, to Buffalo on the Erie Canal, on their way to Fairport and Kirtland, Ohio. In May 1831, Page moved his family to Thompson, Ohio, under Lucy Mack Smith's direction. He again moved his family to Jackson County, Missouri, in 1832 and joined the Latter Day Saints gathering there. With the other Whitmers, they formed a cluster of ten or twelve homes called the "Whitmer Settlement". Hiram owned 120 acres (490,000 m2) of land in the area.

During the growing anti-Mormon hostilities in Jackson County, Page was severely beaten by a group of non-Mormon vigilantes on October 31, 1833. On July 31 and August 6, 1834, he testified to the facts of the beatings. By 1834, Page and his family were expelled along with the other Latter Day Saints, and lived for a time in neighboring Clay County, before moving to Far West.

Schism with Joseph Smith and later life[edit]

When the members of the Whitmer family were excommunicated from the church in 1838, Page withdrew from church fellowship.[8] He later bought a farm in Excelsior Springs, in Clay County.

On September 6, 1847, William E. McLellin baptized Page, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Jacob Whitmer into his newly formed Church of Christ (Whitmerite). McLellin ordained Page a high priest in the church. Page participated in the subsequent ordinations of the others.

Page died on his farm in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, still affirming his testimony of the Book of Mormon. His death was caused when his wagon overturned, crushing him underneath.

For almost 150 years, the final resting place of Page was unknown.[9] However, in 2000, it was located near Excelsior Springs, on property purchased by Charles and Molly Fulkerson in 1917.[9] Page's burial location was the last of the 11 Book of Mormon witnesses to be identified.[9] A commemorative marker was placed on Page's grave on April 27, 2002.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Testimony of Eight Witnesses Archived July 9, 2012, at Archive.today, The Joseph Smith Papers (accessed May 1, 2012)
  2. ^ Manuscript History of the Church, LDS Church Archives, book A-1, p. 37; reproduced in Dean C. Jessee (comp.) (1989). The Papers of Joseph Smith: Autobiographical and Historical Writings (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book) 1:302–303.
  3. ^ H. Michael Marquardt and Wesley P. Walters (1994). Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books) p. 160.
  4. ^ Minutes of 9 June 1830 meeting, The Joseph Smith Papers (accessed May 1, 2012)
  5. ^ a b MacKay, Michael Hubbard; Frederick, Nicholas J. (August 29, 2016). Joseph Smith's Seer Stones. Deseret Book Company. ISBN 9781944394059.
  6. ^ Emer Harris statement, in Utah Stake General Minutes, Local Record 9629, ser. 11, vol. 10 (1855-60), 6 April 1856, Church History Library.
  7. ^ Dyer, Alvin R., Refiner's Fire: The Significance of Events Transpiring in Missouri, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1968), 257-259
  8. ^ https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/etd/5142/
  9. ^ a b c Shull, Sharon (January 6, 2001). "Hiram Page's grave identified". Deseret News. Retrieved February 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Ray County Genealogy: A Missouri GenWeb Project: Historical Markers: Hiram Page". Kentucky Comprehensive Genealogy Database. Retrieved February 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
General
  • "The Joseph Smith Papers Project: Page, Hiram: Biography". The Church Historian's Press: The Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved February 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Mays, Kenneth (December 5, 2012). "Picturing history: Hiram Page's grave". Deseret News. Retrieved February 11, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  • Jenson, Andrew (1901). Latter-day Saint biographical encyclopedia: A compilation of biographical sketches of prominent men and women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Andrew Jenson History Company (Printed by The Deseret News Press). pp. 277–278.
  • Hiram Page at Find a Grave