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Joseph Knight Sr and early Mormon History
1830 | Colesville NY
Joseph Knight's Recollection of Early Mormon History
by Dean Jessee
On 22 August 1842, while reflecting upon the "faithful few" who had stood by him "in every hour of peril," Joseph Smith recorded the following sentiments about Joseph Knight:
[He] was among the number of the first to administer to my necessities, while I was laboring in the commencement of the bringing forth of the work of the Lord, and of laying the foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For fifteen years he has been faithful and true, and even-handed and exemplary, and virtuous and kind, never deviating to the right hand or to the left. Behold he is a righteous man, may God Almighty lengthen out the old man's days; and may his trembling, tortured, and broken body be renewed, and in the vigor of health turn upon him if it be Thy will, consistently, O God; and it shall be said of him, by the sons of Zion, while there is one of them remaining, that this was a faithful man in Israel; therefore his name shall never be forgotten.1
Joseph Knight, Sr., was born 3 November 1772 at Oakham, Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1809 he moved to Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York and two years later to Colesville, Broome County, New York where he remained for nineteen years. He owned a farm, a gristmill and carding machine, and according to his son, Newel, "was not rich, yet possessed enough of this world's goods to secure to himself and family the necessaries and comforts of life." His family consisted of three sons and four daughters.2
While Joseph Smith was living in Harmony, Pennsylvania he was occasionally employed by Joseph Knight. Such was the friendship that developed between these two men that the younger Joseph confided in his employer the circumstances of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the elder sent provisions from time to time for the sustenance of his friend during the translation work. When Joseph Smith obtained the Book of Mormon plates in September 1827, Knight was visiting in the Smith home in Manchester. According to Lucy Smith, her son used Knight's horse and carriage as his means of conveyance on that occasion.3
Although not numbered among those present at the organization of the Church in April 1830, Joseph Knight was baptized in June of that year. His family formed the nucleus of a small branch of the Church in Colesville, New York. In 1831 he moved with the Colesville Saints to Kirtland, Ohio, and a few months later continued with them to Independence, Missouri where he helped pioneer the Latter-day Saint settlement of that state.4 Joseph Knight died on 3 February 1847 at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa during the Mormon exodus from Illinois.
Knight Farmhouse restoration in Colesville NY
Many of you have emailed requesting more information about the Knight Farmhouse Dedication in Colesville. Here is the information that we have: First, the Dedication has been changed to Saturday, June 2nd 2012 at 4:30 p.m. The location of the farmhouse is: Knight House - Latitude - 42°11'13.78"N Longitude - 75°36'19.03"W That would be on the west side of Hwy. 233 a half mile south of the bridge from the village of Ninevah. (Not far from I-88, but there is no exit right there. The closest exit is Exit 6 to Ninevah.) *** As mentioned in an earlier email, all of the restoration work has been done by private groups and individuals. Here is the information from the Knight Family contact person, Raphael Mecham - Colesville Branch Restoration Group: "The parking lot is being donated by the local Stake, material (within reason), and labor. However, we do have an expense that we would welcome and appreciate any financial assistance. We are installing a bronze statue of Hyrum Smith, 1st Branch President, and the Prophet Joseph. They will be half life size, situated on a beautiful granite slab atop a stone pillar with a raised letter bronze plaque as follows: The Prophet Joseph Smith And his Devoted Brother Hyrum In October of 1830 Hyrum brought his family from Palmyra, New York to the home of his longtime friend Newell Knight. He came by appointment from Joseph Smith to become the first Branch President of the newly organized Colesville Branch of the LDS Church. Newel Knight recorded, “Most of Hyrum’s time, as also That of my own, was spent in the villages around, Preaching the gospel wherever we could find any who would listen”. The fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith with his family and friends Always by his side. John Taylor said of Joseph and Hyrum, “In life they were not divided and In death they were not separated”. D&C 135:3 Monument erected May 2012 Colesville Branch Restoration The cost of the Bronze, plaque, granite slab plus shipping is about $5 thousand. If the Knight family wishes to participate in the sharing of the costs we would be thrilled." As the Knight Family Organization, we want to help, financially, with this restoration project and the bronze statue. James Knight has done an amazing job of putting together a special plaque that includes a slab of granite from Lydia Knight's original headstone (that was vandalized and had to be replaced - will be rededicated during the reunion) and will be offering these at the reunion. There is a suggested donation amount of $27 for each plaque including the stand. There will also be a DVD of the Knight House available for a $15 donation as well. [Of course separate donations are welcome as well.] The money will go to the Colesville Branch Restoration Group to help fund their restoration efforts and for the new monument featuring Hyrum Smith (first Colesville Branch President – first branch of the church) and his brother Joseph. If you can attend the Restoration Dedication on June 2nd that would be wonderful. However, if you can't attend but would still like to help with the project, you can purchase the plaque or DVD at the reunion. *** Attached are pictures of the plaques *** found at the Knight Farmhouse. We hope you will consider donating to the restoration project.