Of Joseph Smith
J. F. Goldsmith
Foils scheme of Joseph, et. al.
John A. Eddy learned the carpenter trade with my father, and married my sister. He told me that Jo Smith announced in a Mormon meeting; at such a time he would walk on the water. Grandison Newell and your father paid me one dollar a night to watch and see what the Mormons did. The night before the walking was to be, Jo Smith, Rigdon, Brigham Young, and William Aldrich worked half the night and drove forked stakes in the river in the form of a horseshoe, the ends being on one bank and in deep water. They placed green sycamore slabs which would sink in the water on the crotched stakes which were eight or more inches under water, altogether between two and three hundred feet long. After they left, I removed one of the slabs near the center. According to appointment, prophet Jo Smith came with several hundred Mormons and Jo addressed them. He said they could walk on the water if they only had faith. Jo arrayed in a long white robe, walked some distance, turned and walked backward, and where the slab had been removed, went in all over. He got to shore by the aid of the limb of a tree. Jo said at once to the audience, “Oh ye of little faith, if you had faith as large as a grain of mustard seed, I could remove mountains.” “J. F. Goldsmith’s Statement,” NTAM, Apr. 1888, p. 2 col. 5. Signed and witnessed statement obtained by Arthur B. Deming. Source
Ancestry.com has a William Aldrich, b. 1807 in Lisbon, Grafton county, New Hampshire; md. Hannah Kelly Montgomery, March 7, 1833 in Whitefield, Coos county, New Hampshire; 2 children born in Kirtland, May 6, 1837 and May 22, 1840; and four born in Spring Prairie, Walworth county, Wisconsin beginning 1845. Listed on Kirtland tax records 1836–1839.
Kirtland profile, 132, Census for 1850, 1860, 1870 has him living in Spring Prairie.
Sunday night … our Mormon neighbors informed us Jo Smith, on Sunday night, was going to walk on the water and urged our family to go. My brother and I went with Enos and Joel Smith, whose parents were Mormons.
“Joel Miller’s Statement,” NTAM 1, no. 2 (Apr. 1888): 2, col. 6. Source
Joseph in white robe
Crowd jeer ¶ After attending a meeting in the school house at the Flats in Kirtland, at which Jo and I think Rigdon spoke, we all went to the river east and below the bridge. Jo Smith again spoke to the crowd and put on a white robe and began to walk. He said something about faith and talked as he walked in a curve. He was out of water except his feet and was successful for a time. He walked slowly and finally went down. The Gentiles shouted loudly, laughed and jeered in many ways. The Mormons said Jo’s faith had failed. I saw several men step into the water and reach for Jo to help him out. I soon after learned planks had been fixed in the water for him to walk on and one had been removed.
Leonard Rich tells story
Members’ faith failed Leonard Rich, a Mormon elder, told me he saw Jo Smith walk on the water. He said planks had been fixed in the water and one had been removed so Jo went down where he got out of the water. Jo said he could have walked if the brothers’ and sisters’ faith had not failed. “William Rockafellow,” Mar. 19, 1885, NTAM 1, no. 2 (Apr. 1888): 2, col. 6. Source
Joseph’s faith failed I well remember going to Kirtland one evening with a two horse wagon load of men and boys to see the Mormon prophet, Jo Smith, walk on the water. There was a large crowd on both banks of the river below the bridge east of the Flats. Jo addressed the crowd on Faith some time. He said all that was needed to perform miracles was faith. He put on a white robe and began his walk and talked of his faith bearing him up. He suddenly went down and the Gentiles shouted and said the plank had failed. The Mormons said his faith had failed. He was helped out of the water. I was seventy five to a hundred feet from him. “J. M. Granger’s Statement,” NTAM 1, no. 2 (April 1888): 2, col. 7. Source