The Conversion of Artemus Millet and His Call to Kirtland



A frequently told story in Church history concerns the call of Artemus Millet to work on the Kirtland Temple.1 With variations here and there, historians have related the story as follows: Joseph Smith, in the company of other brethren, is walking where the Kirtland Temple will be built. He wonders aloud who could superintend its construction, and Joseph Young (or Brigham Young or Lorenzo Young) recommends an acquaintance named Artemus Millet, who lives in Canada. The Prophet then sends Brigham Young to Canada to baptize Millet and bring him to Kirtland with one thousand dollars. Historians then relate that Brigham Young fulfilled his mission with exactness, baptizing Millet in January 1832 (or 1833). Millet sells the family farm, takes his family to Kirtland, and labors on the temple from the laying of the cornerstone to the project’s completion, having full charge of the work. The differing details within the story depend upon the source cited by the historian—Millet’s diary, autobiography, biography, or family records and histories.2

Our purpose in this article is to examine the existing sources on Millet’s conversion and his call to Kirtland in order to identify the elements of the story that can be historically corroborated and to demonstrate that Artemus Millet’s greatest legacies of faith are his conversion and his lifelong commitment to establishing Zion. While it is well established that Millet, a skilled mason, contributed significantly to the building of the Kirtland Temple (fig. 1), his life story has not been as thoroughly documented.3 We focus our analysis on the period between the April 1832 baptisms of Brigham and Joseph Young through the conversion of Artemus Millet, his call to work on the temple, and his April 1834 arrival in Kirtland. We will first examine the accounts Millet made of his own life and then compare them with the contributions that Millet’s son Joseph Millet Sr. made to the accounts. We next explore the complicated process of copying sources, noting the loss of original sources and the differences among surviving copies. Finally, we will juxtapose the accounts and the copies with known Church history events between April 1832 and April 1834. Following our analysis is an appendix with an annotated examination of the long-neglected holograph of Artemus Millet’s own reminiscence. While there are discrepancies between surviving acocunts, Millet’s firsthand account provides the clearest timeline of his conversion and call to Kirtland.

Artemus Millet’s Own Words

Any discussion of the life of Artemus Millet must begin with his own accounts. Millet apparently kept a diary or journal during his life, but, shortly after his death, his papers were accidentally burned by a woman who was attempting to help clean up the house.4 Many of his personal genealogical records had already been lost during an earlier period of his life, between October 1841 and May 1843, when he was without a wife or a permanent place of residence.5

Explanation of Artemus Millet’s Accounts. What has survived are two reminiscent accounts. The first account, which we will call the 1855 Reminiscence, is quite detailed (1,769 words) and was recorded sometime after 1855, when Artemus was approximately sixty-five years old.6 The second account, dictated for a “High Priest’s Record Book” in 1872, is relatively short (313 words) and focuses primarily on genealogical events—Artemus’s birth, marriages, baptism, mission, and moves. Written when Artemus was eighty-two years old, this account is frequently called “Genealogy of Artemus Millet,” but we will refer to it as the 1872 Genealogy.7

There are three discrepancies between the two accounts, two regarding the years in which his first two wives died and one regarding the month in which he married his second wife. But confusion arises because there are several copies of both accounts catalogued together under two different titles in the archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City and under a single title in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. One Church Archives copy is catalogued as “Reminiscences,” and the other as “Autobiographical Sketches,” though both have the same content. Furthermore, some copies of the 1872 Genealogy also bear the title “Record and Journal of Artemus Millet, Sen.” Despite such confusion, it is upon the basis of these sources that the life of Artemus Millet, as he recalled it, can be examined.

Artemus Millet’s Life. Artemus Millet was born on September 11, 1790, in Westmoreland, Cheshire County, New Hampshire, to Ebenezer and Catherine Dryden Millet. He lived in several towns in Vermont and New York state. In 1824 he settled in Earnestown,8 Upper Canada (located twelve miles west of Kingston on the St. Lawrence River) with his wife, Ruth Grannis, and their family. Artemus worked for the Canadian government as a mason, a trade he had learned at age nineteen. A few years later, Ruth became ill with consumption, and she died in 1831. In January or February 1832, Millet married Susanna Peters.9

Millet’s early life was characterized by masonry and mishap. While very young, he cut his foot with an ax. At age twelve he fell from a horse and broke his arm. He contracted a fever the next year and later fell from a barn and broke his side, both times fearing he would die. In 1822, a stone fell on Millet’s head, fracturing his skull and laying him up for two months. Sometime between 1822 and 1829, Millet was “sick the most [part] of two years.”10 In 1829, a large stone fell on his leg, and he again feared for his life.

Millet linked his continual masonry mishaps with his first evidence of the truthfulness of the latter-day work. He recalled that in 1831, he “took cold which settled in my breast, and I did not get over it until the next August, when I received a witness of the latter day work in a manifestation of the healing power.”11 In January 1833, Millet was baptized by Brigham Young. Millet recalled that “in the Summer [of 1833,] Br[other] Hyrum Smith wrote to me that it was the will of the Lord that I should go and work on the Temple in Kirtland.”12 Millet went to Kirtland as soon as he was able, but when he arrived in October, the work had been suspended. Returning to Canada, Artemus collected his debts, sold his property on credit, and brought his family to Kirtland, arriving in April 1834.

In Kirtland, Millet once again suffered masonry-related mishaps, but now as a member of the Church he relied on divine protection. In 1835, he appeared before a council meeting because he desired to return to Canada and hoped to do so in safety. When the council assured him that he would travel safely, Artemus set out by wagon for Canada. He crossed Lake Ontario by ship, and arrived in Kingston “at 12 oclock at night, rainy, dark and cloudy weather.” The inclement weather conditions made the disembarking difficult; Artemus lost his footing and fell into the twenty-foot deep icy cold water. Artemus later related that “numbers had fallen in,” but the shoreline personnel “had never known of any one being taken out alive.” Artemus recognized the hand of the Lord in this experience, for he recorded that “in falling I claimed the promise of the Saints.”13

After completing his business in Canada, Millet returned to Kirtland where he and Lorenzo D. Young contracted to do the exterior work on the temple for one thousand dollars. The pair began work on November 2, 1835, though Millet’s injured leg continued to bother him.14 While working Millet came down with cholera; the administration of Joseph Smith Sr. and his brother John did not have “the desired effect.” Millet recalled:

I suffered such excruciating pain that my groaning was heard at Joseph Smith, Junr’s, a distance of 250 yards. I was afterwards told that when in agony I called out let Joseph Smith, Jun., come and lay hands on me and I shall be healed and I know it not knowing what I said. He pressed his way through the crowd (for the house was filled with people) and came forward and laying his hands on my head asked God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ to heal me; the vomiting and purging ceased and I began to mend from that very moment.15

After the temple was completed, Millet went on a mission with Oliver Granger.16 Financial difficulties in 1837 forced Millet back to Canada, but he failed to collect the debts owed him there. For the next few years, he worked on various masonry projects in Canada and Ohio before rejoining the Saints in Nauvoo in 1843. Millet worked on the Nauvoo Temple, but was “sick a considerable part of the time.”17 He was again sick during summer 1846, and he eventually arrived in Salt Lake City in 1850. Brigham Young sent Millet to Manti. Millet continued to apply his masonry skills toward the establishment of various settlements throughout the southern part of the territory.

As Artemus Millet recalled the events, the process of his conversion and his call to Kirtland spanned nearly twenty months, beginning with a priesthood healing in August 1832 and continuing through his January 1833 baptism, a call to labor on the temple the following summer, and his eventual establishment in Kirtland in April 1834. Along the way, Millet experienced a barrage of physical difficulties, in spite of which he accepted the gospel and fulfilled his Church assignments. Looking back on his life, Millet saw an overarching theme of continual preservation. Millet’s humility is evident. He never mentions any extraordinary efforts on the part of Church leaders to extend him special assignments, only that he did his best to fulfill them.

Joseph Millet’s Version of Artemus’s Conversion and Call

In addition to Artemus Millet’s firsthand accounts of his conversion and his call to work on the Kirtland Temple, several others exist among the writings of his posterity. The earliest account comes from the papers of Artemus’s son Joseph, who wrote after 1860:

The Prophet Joseph Smith[,] Joseph Young[,] and Brigham Young, were Standing upon the ground Where The Kirtland Temple was to be built. The Prophet said, who can we get to Superintend this work[?]

Joseph Young said I know a man that would be just the one and he is rich too. Who is he? [Asked the Prophet.] That is Brother Artemus Millet but he does not belong to the Church. The Prophet turned to Brother Brigham and said do you know this brother Artemus Millet? he said yes Sir. The Prophet said I give you a mission to go and baptise him and bring him here and tell him to bring a Thousand dollars with him.

They all 3 belonged to the Methodist Church before the Youngs joined the Church. That was why he called him brother[.] My Father was working on [a] big contract at the time in Canada.

The foregoing is true. I got it from brother President Brigham Young While I lived with him. I also got it from President Joseph Young, you know the part my Father took on the Kirtland Temple. I think if President Brigham Young had dictated his history it would have been mentioned. Artemus gave more than a thousand <dollars>.18

Unfortunately, this statement is undated, and there is no surviving copy in Joseph’s hand.19 It contains details not found in extant accounts by Artemus Millet, such as a consultation on temple grounds, a charge to baptize Millet, and a request for financial assistance. In order to understand why Joseph Millet would relate this information, it is necessary to examine his life and his interest in verifying his father’s role in building the Kirtland Temple.

Joseph Millet’s Life. Joseph Millet was born to Artemus and Susanna Millet late in December 1832 in Earnestown, Upper Canada, one month before Artemus was baptized.20 When Joseph was only fourteen, his life was threatened because he was a Mormon, and later his half brother Nelson who was not a member of the Church, offered him a wife and 140 acres if he would give up his missionary labors. On both occasions, Joseph remained devoted to his faith.

Joseph served a mission to Nova Scotia from 1852 to 1856, where he married Sarah Elizabeth Glines.21 After his mission, Joseph and his wife settled in Manti, near Artemus. Joseph accepted a call from Brigham Young to settle in Dixie, and father and son moved their families there in 1866. He lived his life committed to the gospel. Always seeking to serve others, Joseph was often an answer to the prayers of those he assisted.22 When Joseph’s wife died in 1889, he moved in with his daughter Mary J. Millet Cox and her family. Joseph died on October 31, 1911. After his death, his son, Joseph Jr., paid this tribute to his father: “He lived a faithful life, was kind and benevolent to all, full of charity and sympathy, ever seeking who he might do good to the Poor & Fatherless, and to those in need.”23

Throughout his life, Joseph Millet was deeply interested in maintaining family ties and preserving his family history.24 He lived either with or near his father for all but fourteen years of his life, being separated from him only from 1852 to 1866.25 Joseph recalled that before he departed on his mission, “My Father [Artemus Millet] Blessed me and said that I would live to do his work for the dead in the Temple.”26 On April 20, 1877, three of Artemus’s sons, including Joseph, went to the temple and were sealed to Artemus by Wilford Woodruff.27

Besides performing temple work for his father, Joseph devoted significant time and effort verifying the events of his father’s conversion and his work on the Kirtland Temple. In the undated statement copied from Joseph’s papers, he indicated that he got his version of Artemus’s conversion and call “from brother President Brigham Young While I lived with him” in Salt Lake City.28 According to Joseph’s diary, he “lived in President Youngs house near where the Temple is now” from 1859 to 1860.29 Joseph had close contact with President Young on other occasions as well. He traveled with him in May 1851, stopped in for a visit during summer 1851, and traded with him in July 1863.30 Joseph’s call to settle in Dixie came from President Young in January 1866, at Artemus’s request.31 Thus, Joseph Millet had several opportunities to hear Brigham Young’s version of Artemus’s conversion to the Church and call to Kirtland.

In 1882, the Sunday School, under the direction of George Q. Cannon of the First Presidency, published Lorenzo Young’s account of Artemus Millet’s call to Kirtland. Nearly fifty years had elapsed since the events at Kirtland, and Lorenzo recalled that after the temple had been enclosed in summer 1835, a meeting was held “to consult about its completion.” At this meeting

the Prophet desired that a hard finish be put on its outside walls. None of the masons who had worked on the building knew how to do it. Looking around on those present his eyes rested on Lorenzo and he said, “Brother Lorenzo, I want you to take hold and put this hard finish on the walls. Will you do it?” “Yes,” [Lorenzo] replied, “I will try.”32

Lorenzo relates that the following day he went to Cleveland, where he met a “young man” who was looking for work. He hired him on the spot and took him to Kirtland, and they worked together on the temple.33 While the 1882 published account does not mention this “young man” by name, Lorenzo later identified him as Artemus Millet.34

Unfortunately, Lorenzo Young’s account of Artemus’s call to work on the Kirtland Temple includes several discrepancies to known facts. Lorenzo recalled that he hired a “young man” to help him carry out the Prophet’s charge, but in 1835 forty-five-year-old Artemus was seventeen years older than twenty-eight-year-old Lorenzo. And while Lorenzo correctly remembered taking the contract in November 1835 with Artemus to finish the exterior of the building, he apparently forgot that both he and Artemus had been praised and blessed for their work on the temple the previous March.35 Lorenzo’s account was taken down nearly fifty years after the events in question, and this distance appears to have conflated the timing of events in his mind.

Correcting the Lorenzo Young Account. Lorenzo Young’s account of Artemus Millet’s call to Kirtland likely caught the attention of Joseph Millet. If so, like any faithful descendant, Joseph would have wanted to correct this account. Because the principal characters in the story—Artemus Millet, Brigham Young, and Joseph Young—had all passed away and because published histories of the Church were not easily accessible, Joseph sought out secondary substantiation.36 In possible response to Lorenzo’s story, he sought for affidavits that would show that his father had been in Kirtland before November 1835.

Benjamin F. Johnson and Edson Barney certified to Joseph in June 1885 that they “were personally acquainted with the construction of the Kirtland Temple from the laying of the corner stones to its completion.” According to them, “Artimus Millet did have the full superintendency and charge of all of the plastering and sementing [sic] of the Building both outside and inside.” Their statement was endorsed by John H. Ballard.37 The next month, Lisander Gee affirmed that Artemus “had the entire Charge of the Plastering of the outside of the Building making marter [sic] and all. While Jacob Bump had charge of inside. They were two distinct and seperate Jobs.”38

These four recollections, like that of Lorenzo Young, were made nearly fifty years after the events occurred, but they were most likely significant to Joseph Millet for reasons other than timing.39 At first glance, they do not seem to verify the details of Artemus’s conversion and call, but they affirm that Artemus played an important role in the construction of the Kirtland Temple. If, as the affidavits state, Artemus had “full superintendency”40 of the building project, Joseph Smith must have had a great deal of faith in his skill as a mason, and it makes sense that the Prophet would take great pains to call him to the work. After all, the Prophet would not send Brigham Young to baptize a day laborer.

In any case, the central theme of Lorenzo Young’s story—the Prophet seeking for a mason while on the temple grounds and asking who could do the job—is similar to the account eventually attributed to Joseph Millet by his children. With every good intention, perhaps Joseph Millet modified Lorenzo Young’s story to conform to what he knew of his father’s account, taking the best from both.

Having lived close to his father for most of his life, Joseph was particularly qualified to provide additional insight into events of his father’s life and character. Clearly, he added details not found in the firsthand accounts of Artemus’s experiences. Although not an eyewitness to the events in question (he was less than a month old when Artemus was baptized, and the temple was dedicated shortly after Joseph’s third birthday), it is likely Artemus and Joseph, father and son, spent considerable time conversing about family events, and perhaps Artemus’s conversion and call to Kirtland. For these reasons, Joseph’s account may well be accurate. First generation relatives, like Joseph Millet, had the advantage of personal interactions, whereas historians are at the mercy of documents.

Interestingly, in the extant historical accounts, Joseph never says that he got his information from his father, though it is likely that Artemus shared his experience with his children many times. Why did Joseph not cite his father instead of citing Brigham and Joseph Young? Did Joseph’s interest in the story arise only after Lorenzo Young published his account or was the story so well known that Joseph felt no need to document it until after his father was gone? These unanswered questions make it difficult to reconcile the statement copied from Joseph’s papers with Artemus’s 1855 reminiscence. What is certain, however, is that, a half century after Artemus’s conversion and his call to Kirtland, his son supplied additional information to the story—information that is not found in existing accounts made by Artemus himself.

Copies and Condensed Versions of Artemus Millet’s Story

After Joseph Millet’s death, the stories of Artemus’s conversion and his call to Kirtland continued to be told. Over the next fifty years, however, the primary sources by Artemus, Joseph Millet, and Lorenzo Young were condensed and combined into copies that included more information but compressed the timeline of events into an increasingly shorter period of time. And, while the copies were maintained, the originals were lost in almost every case.

Mary Millet Cox’s Copies and Transcriptions. Nearly twenty-five years after Joseph Millet’s death, his daughter Mary J. Millet Cox made at least five copies of Artemus’s 1855 Reminiscence.41 As is common in family history records, Mary corrected punctuation, omitted sentences, miswrote dates, and added information that she thought could clarify Artemus’s words.42 But by July 11, 1936, she no longer knew where the original 1855 Reminiscence was.43 The original 1855 Reminiscence ended up in the Church Archives, but, of all the possible sources for this story, it is the only original holograph to survive.44 In addition, Mary made at least four copies of Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy and three copies of Joseph Millet Sr.’s statement about Aretmus’s conversion and call.

Joseph Millet Jr. and the 1872 Geneology. Mary was not the only one of Joseph’s children who preserved the family history. Beginning in 1927, her brother, Joseph Millet Jr., began to copy Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy.45 Yet, in so doing, he loosely united statements from Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy, the affidavits collected by his father, and other unidentified sources. Joseph Jr.’s earliest copy of Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy is marked by various corrections as well as a tendency to switch between first and third person references to Artemus. In this copy, Joseph Jr. reports that Artemus was baptized in 1833 and that Brigham Young announced a mission for him on that occasion.46 On a later, more polished copy, Joseph Jr. states that Artemus’s baptism occurred in 1834, and this time he added details about a consultation in Kirtland and a charge for Brigham Young to baptize Artemus. Joseph Jr. wrote that Artemus went directly to Kirtland, where he met the Prophet and immediately began work on the temple, supervising the work from the laying of the cornerstones to the completion of the project.47

In addition to the apparent blending of sources and the errors of transcription, Joseph Jr.’s “copy” of Artemus’s own words displays various internal inconsistencies as well as several contradictions between his version and Artemus’s own account. The voice still switches from first to third person. At one point, Brigham Young announces the “mission” for Artemus before Artemus is baptized, while in the next paragraph Brigham waits until after Millet’s baptism to extend the call. Joseph Jr. also expands the narrative of Artemus’s conversion, adding that “Previous to this, Artemus new nothing of this Church.” Unfortunately, this idea directly contradicts Artemus’s testimony that he received a witness of the truthfulness of the gospel by way of a healing at least four months before his baptism.48

But perhaps the most interesting error lies in the fact that somewhere along the line Lorenzo Young got into Joseph Millet Jr.’s copy as the person on the temple grounds who recommended Artemus Millet to the Prophet.49 As mentioned earlier, Lorenzo Young had remembered Artemus as an unemployed youth anxious for work, yet in Joseph Millet Jr.’s second copy Lorenzo had become the initiator of the Prophet’s charge to Brigham Young to seek Millet out. Although Lorenzo had been baptized in 1832, he did not arrive in Kirtland until April 1834, the same time that Artemus arrived with his family.50

The errors that arose in Joseph Millet Jr.’s copies of Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy are highlighted by their discrepancy with his sister’s work. Mary’s transcriptions of Artemus’s writings make no mention of a “mission,” Lorenzo Young, or a consultation on temple grounds.51 It seems improbable that Mary, who was so alert for information about Artemus’s role in building the temple, would have left out such vital information.

A more plausible explanation is that Joseph Jr. added the information to his copy. Over time, Joseph Jr.’s copies of the 1872 Genealogy have been widely accepted as Artemus’s own account, while Mary’s more accurate transcriptions have been neglected. Thus, during the first decades of the twentieth century, the primary sources for Millet’s conversion and his call to Kirtland were expanded and blended through a gradual process of transmission and transcription. The addition of detail often contradicts what Artemus himself wrote, and the twenty-month conversion process he describes has been compressed into a single occasion in which he learned of the Church, was baptized, was called to Kirtland, and left immediately to fulfill his calling. The gradual distillation of detail that eventually occupied a century was by no means nefarious. Over time, the well-intended acts of retelling and recopying the story resulted in a compressed story that has been widely circulated in histories of the Church in Kirtland.

The Youngs: Missions, Mormonism, and the Kirtland Temple

The history of Artemus Millet’s conversion is intertwined with the conversion and missionary activities of the Young brothers. Revolutionary War veteran John Young and Abigail (Nabby) Howe raised eleven children, four of whom—Joseph, Phineas, Brigham, and Lorenzo (fig. 2)—would be directly involved in Millet’s conversion and his work in Kirtland.52 Before joining the Church, the Young brothers had each accepted Reformed Methodism. Brigham noted that by 1823 he had become “serious and religiously inclined.”53 In 1824, Phineas received his license to preach Methodism publicly.54 In 1828, the Young family (which had been separated by children marrying and moving away) began to settle in Mendon County, New York. They worked together, “opened a house for preaching,” and fanned each other’s faith.55 But they yearned to know more. Joseph wrote, “I was anxious about this period, to know something of the future existence, beyond this mortal life and labored for the knowledge of it incessantly.”56 In 1830, Brigham, Joseph, and Phineas Young each encountered the Book of Mormon in his own way.57

In August 1830, Joseph and Phineas traveled to Canada to preach Reformed Methodism in Earnestown, Loborough, and Kingston, although Phineas “could think of but little except the Book of Mormon.”58 It is possible that Artemus heard the two preach at this time. After returning from Canada, the Young brothers visited an organized branch of the Church in Columbia, Pennsylvania, where Phineas was baptized on April 5, 1832, and Joseph, the next day.59 A little over a week later, in Mendon, Brigham was also baptized.60

During summer 1832, the Young brothers set out to preach their newfound faith. Brigham and Joseph went first to surrounding areas, preaching the gospel in Genesee, Avon, and Lyonstown, New York.61 Later that summer, while Brigham remained in New York, Joseph and Phineas set out on their familiar preaching circuits in New York and Canada.62 They arrived in Earnestown just as the annual Methodist Reformed Church conference was coming to a close. Phineas had preached at the conference the previous year as a Methodist circuit preacher and was acquainted with most of the participants. Joseph and Phineas attended the Methodist meeting on the Sabbath, at the close of which Phineas “begged the privilege of preaching in their meeting-house at five the same evening, which they very reluctantly granted.”63 That first meeting was the start of a successful six-week stay:

Here thousands flocked to hear the strange news; even so that the houses could not contain the multitude, and we had to repair to the groves. Hundreds were searching the scriptures to see if these things were so. Many were partly convinced, and some were wholly, so, when we left.64

During this visit, the first branch in Canada was established at Earnestown.65 Although the missionaries do not specifically mention administrations to the sick, it was possible during their visit that Artemus was healed and received a testimony of the gospel.66

The Youngs in Kirtland. After a successful summer of preaching, Joseph Young joined Brigham and their friend Heber C. Kimball and set out for Kirtland, where they visited with the Prophet. According to Brigham, the trio left for Kirtland in September 1832 and returned home in October.67 However, Joseph Smith remembered the visit as being “about the 8th of November.”68 In either case, the visit has been much heralded, as it was the first meeting of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the first time the Prophet heard the gift of tongues, and the occasion for a prophecy that Brigham would one day preside over the Church.69 This visit is also significant to the Artemus Millet story because it was the only time that the Youngs and Joseph Smith were in Kirtland together before Millet’s baptism. Thus, it is the only time when a consultation between the Prophet and any of the Young brothers about temple construction could have occurred.

The Youngs stayed in Kirtland for “about one week,” but surviving accounts of their visit mention little about discussions they had with the Prophet. Brigham noted that they “held meetings nearly every night” and “conversed together upon the things of the kingdom” and that “the blessings of the Lord were extensively upon us.”70 Heber C. Kimball called the visit “a precious season.”71 Joseph Smith mentioned only Brigham’s manifestation of the gift of tongues,72 and Joseph Young’s account does not mention the visit at all.73

The existing sources are vague in their descriptions of discussion content during the Youngs’ visit. None of them mention a charge to baptize the prospective supervisor of a temple construction project. There are additional circumstances, however, that can help establish the probability or improbability of such a discussion.

The Lack of Temple-Building Plans in Fall 1832. The first question is whether the Prophet was thinking about building a temple in Kirtland in fall 1832. Temples are mentioned in the Book of Mormon and in revelations from at least December 1830.74 In January 1831, when the Saints were commanded to gather in Ohio they were told by the Lord that “there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high” (D&C 38:32).75 On September 22 and 23, 1832, Joseph Smith received a revelation directing that the city New Jerusalem should be built “beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri” (D&C 84:3).76

These references may suggest that the Prophet was actively making specific arrangements for temple construction in Kirtland in November 1832. However, the command to build a temple in Kirtland was given to the Prophet on December 27, 1832, when he was instructed to “establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God” (D&C 88:119).77 This was at least one month after Brigham and Joseph Young left Kirtland.

But even this revelation may not have motivated the Prophet to seek out a supervisor for the project; six months later, in June 1833, the Lord rebuked the Saints for their tardiness and neglect in constructing the temple.78 Elder James E. Talmage connected this delay to the September 1832 revelation to build a temple in Independence, writing that “perhaps because their eyes were directed too steadily toward the ‘center place,’ and because the people were prone to contemplate too absorbedly the glory of the future to the neglect of then present duties, compliance with the requirement to proceed at once with the erection of a temple was not prompt.”79 Whatever the reason for delay, it appears unlikely that Joseph Smith was concerned with details of an imminent construction project in Kirtland in early November 1832.

Brigham Young’s 1833 Missions to Canada. After their visit in Kirtland, Brigham and Joseph Young headed home to New York and began preparations for a mission to Canada. Taking advantage of improved travel conditions, the Youngs crossed over to Kingston in late December 1832. Brigham records that they preached for “about one month,” baptizing forty-five people and establishing the West Loughborough Branch, among others.80 Though Brigham Young does not specifically mention baptizing Millet, his account corroborates Artemus’s recollection that he was baptized in January 1833.81 In February 1833, Brigham and Joseph Young returned home to Mendon, New York, where Brigham joined Heber C. Kimball and preached “in the neighboring country.” Brigham returned to Canada again in April.82 On the way, Brigham visited Lyonstown, Theresa, and Indian River Falls and preached in Ogdensburgh, Kingston, Earnestown, and West Loughborough. He did not return to Kirtland until July 1833.83

Commencement of Work on the Kirtland Temple. While Brigham was away preaching, work began on the Kirtland Temple. On May 4, 1833, a conference was held “to take into consideration the necessity of building a schoolhouse, for the accommodation of the Elders, who should come together to receive instruction preparatory for their missions, and ministry.” Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter, and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed to form a building committee to raise funds for the project.84 Two days later, the Prophet received a revelation commanding the Saints to lay out a stake in Kirtland, “beginning at my house.” The revelation specified the dimensions of the building and confirmed the selected building committee (D&C 94:1, 2–15).

Despite these organizational advances, physical work on the temple did not commence until June 1833. On June 1, the Lord chastised the Saints, “for ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin, in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given you concerning the building of my house” (D&C 95:3). The Lord repeated the dimensions and revealed that the house would be used both as a place of worship and as a meeting place for the School of the Prophets (D&C 95).

That very day, the building committee sent out a circular letter requesting that all of the Saints “make every possible exertion to aid temporally, as well as spiritually, in this great work that the Lord is beginning, and is about to accomplish.”85 The temple site was formally selected,86 and, on June 5, Hyrum Smith and Reynolds Cahoon broke ground and began digging the foundation trenches, while George A. Smith hauled the first load of stone from the quarry.87 The following day a conference was held to counsel the building committee, and it was agreed that the committee should proceed “immediately to commence building the house; or to obtaining materials, stone, brick, lumber, etc., for the same.”88

Summer 1833 was a time of increased action toward building the temple. Artemus’s account fits squarely into this setting, as he recalls that “in the Summer Br[other] Hyrum Smith wrote to me that it was the will of the Lord that I should go and work on the Temple in Kirtland.”89 Brigham Young returned to Kirtland in July 1833, perhaps providing the opportunity for a consultation and a decision to invite Millet to Kirtland.90 It seems appropriate that the building committee would contact Millet and that they would do so at this time.

Unfortunately, the letter from Hyrum Smith appears to have been lost. Perhaps it was among the genealogical papers that Artemus lost between 1841 and 1843 or among the papers burned in 1874. If someday discovered, this letter could shed light on Artemus’s version of the story. It could have been written as a follow up to Brigham Young’s January 1833 visit or as an introduction and invitation to Millet. Or it could tell a different story altogether. Hyrum Smith’s diary makes no mention of his letter writing, and, as far as known records show, neither Jared Carter nor Reynolds Cahoon kept a diary during summer 1833.91

Work on the temple steadily progressed throughout summer 1833. Brigham Young arrived ten days before the cornerstones were laid on July 23, 1833, but Millet’s name is not mentioned in connection with any of the temple-building events that summer.92 As fall approached, work slowed and was eventually suspended. On October 5, 1833, the Prophet left on a mission to Canada; five days later it was decided that “the building of the Temple should be discontinued during the winter for want of materials” and that preparations should be made to recommence in the spring.93 Artemus must have arrived in Kirtland after October 10, for he recalls that “When I went the work was suspended, and I returned [to Canada,] sold out on credit and took my family in April 1834 to Kirtland.”94

Uncertainties and Affirmations

This analysis has identified several key elements concerning the oft-told story of Artemus Millet’s conversion and subsequent call to Kirtland. First and foremost, Millet asserts that his baptism did not occur upon his first exposure to the gospel. His witness came after a priesthood manifestation in August 1832, and he was baptized by Brigham Young in January 1833. Secondly, the command to build a temple in Kirtland came one month after Brigham Young left Kirtland, and the exact site for the temple was not selected until four months after Millet was baptized. Third, it is appropriate for Millet’s call to work on the project to have come through the building committee, the established channel for such an assignment. Fourth, it is apparent that Lorenzo Young was not involved in Millet’s initial call to Kirtland.

The Ambiguity of the Thousand Dollar Contribution. One ambiguous element of this story is that Artemus brought one thousand dollars with him to Kirtland. Artemus does not mention the thousand dollars, and the only source for the story is his son Joseph. This detail is difficult to verify as there was no “accounts receivable” record book in Kirtland.95 On March 7, 1835, Joseph Smith blessed Reynolds Cahoon, Jacob Bump, and Artemus Millet “with the blessings of heaven and a right in the house of the Lord in Kirtland, agreeable to the labor they had performed thereon, and the means they had contributed.”96 The “means” contributed by Millet and the others could refer to a monetary donation or to labor, tools, or a substantial contribution of time. Whether it refers specifically to a one-thousand-dollar donation is difficult to determine.

Outside of family sources, Millet is not usually mentioned in lists of temple donors.97 While there is no record of a one-thousand-dollar contribution by Millet, there is a reference to Artemus Millet and Lorenzo Young receiving one thousand dollars for their work on the exterior of the temple.98 At first glance, it seems strange that Millet might have contributed the sum only to be paid it in return. On the other hand, this scenario is possible because the early period of construction occurred during a period of financial strain when money was desperately needed. Two years later, when the exterior work was contracted and completed, the Church would have had sufficient means to repay a loan of one thousand dollars.

Primary Sources Considered. While several elements of the story remain uncertain, it is important to distinguish the story’s elements from its sources. There is evidence that corroborates Artemus’s account, and circumstances that draw the account attributed to Joseph Millet Sr. into question. However, there is no evidence that suggests that Artemus’s account can be exclusively affirmed or that Joseph’s should be entirely dismissed. It is significant, however, that the existing account by Artemus, as well as those of Brigham and Joseph Young, do not mention an extraordinary call or a singular conversion, call, and departure-for-Kirtland event.

Having examined the uncertain elements of Millet’s history, we conclude by asserting that there is much about the life of Artemus Millet that can be historically and faithfully affirmed. We have carefully examined his call to Kirtland, focusing on the period from 1832 to 1834, and showed that the best source for this period is, in fact, Millet’s own account. It is certain that he accepted the gospel and was baptized by Brigham Young. His testimony and commitment are amply demonstrated by his willingness to take his family to Kirtland to assist in the Lord’s work. Likewise, it is well established that he played a significant role in building the Kirtland Temple.

In March 1835, when the Prophet praised all “who had distinguished themselves thus far by consecrating to the upbuilding of the House of the Lord, as well as laboring thereon,” Millet was among those honored. Sidney Rigdon was “appointed to lay on hands and bestow blessings in the name of the Lord,” and Artemus was one of the number “who were blessed in consequence of their labor on the house of the Lord in Kirtland.”99

Perhaps the greatest lesson to be learned from the life of Artemus Millet is that he accepted the gospel and lived faithful to its teachings throughout his life. The years in Kirtland were filled with apostasy and disillusionment, spiritual maladies that afflicted even the highest councils of the Church. It is discouraging that those who stood with the Prophet and experienced miraculous manifestations of divine power could fall away. At the same time, it is inspiring that Artemus Millet and so many others could withstand such turbulent times. In truth, the history of the Church is not simply about great men and women and their miraculous experiences; it is also the history of ordinary people who accept the gospel with uncommon steadfastness and remain faithful in upholding the kingdom of God throughout their lives.100

Artemus Millet not only followed the Prophet Joseph by moving to Kirtland and Nauvoo, but he also followed Joseph’s successor, Brigham Young, to Salt Lake City and obeyed Brigham’s call to settle in Dixie. Artemus remained faithful throughout his life and lived to be eighty-four years old. He “passed Peacefully away” on November 19, 1874, “with a satisfied expression on his face.” Millet’s grandson noted that Artemus had died “clean from any bad habits or profane language or foul expressions, prepared to meet those loved ones who had preceded him on that Journey in early life, and to meet the Prophets and apostles he had been so intimitely associated with.”101 The story of Artemus Millet is the story of a life frequently spared and faithfully lived.


Of the possible first-person accounts of Artemus Millet’s life, only one undated reminiscence, made sometime after 1855, remains extant.102 Millet was at least sixty-five years old when he wrote the reminiscence that covers his life up until 1855. The account provides significant insight into Millet’s life and is the best account from which to draw information about him.

Millet’s reminiscence is written in blue ink on both sides of four sheets of now-worn blue paper measuring 8” × 12⅛”. The pages are folded in half twice, and the document is especially worn along the folds and faded along the edges. Due to the presence of several holes, the document has been treated to ensure its preservation.103 Before undergoing preservation the document was microfilmed.104

Archivists know nothing about the document’s provenance. After Millet recorded his reminiscence, the document must have been passed down through his posterity. Millet’s granddaughter Mary J. Millett Cox encountered the document in Short Creek, Arizona, and made a handwritten copy of it on April 2, 1935, but by July 1936 she no longer knew where the original was. Her handwritten copy is archived with Millet’s and is very helpful for filling in holes and faded spots that now exist in the original. However, hers is not an exact transcription. She corrected punctuation, misread several words and dates, ignored faded spots and holes, and omitted at least one crossed out passage. She also added information to her copy that does not appear in the original Millet holograph. For example, she titled pages 1–4 as “Artemus Millet’s Record,” and pages 5–8 as “Journal of Artemus, Sen., written by himself,” though no such indication appears on the original. She also added other details that she may possibly have gleaned from other sources. One possible source of additional information is Artemus Millet’s 1872 Genealogy. Mary Cox’s handwritten copy of this Genealogy is also archived with the Millet reminiscence in his own hand, and the Cox handwritten copy thereof.

We have noted in the footnotes where the 1872 Genealogy gives different or additional information and have likewise noted discrepancies with the Cox handwritten copy. All spelling, punctuation, and capitalization have been retained as they appear in the original manuscript. Where the original is unclear, current usage is given. Insertions in the text are enclosed in angle brackets < > at the place of insertion. Material that is crossed out in the original is retained with strikeouts. Editorial insertions and comments are enclosed in brackets [ ]. Where holes or faded ink have rendered the document unintelligible, the missing words are indicated by [—].

Artemus Millet’s 1855 Reminiscence

[1] Artemus Millet, Son of Ebenezer and Catharine Millet,105 born in Westmorland, Cheshire Co. New Hampshire—Septbr 11th 1790. when I was 4 years old my Father moved to Brooklyn in Vermont where we resided until the Fall after I was 10 years old when we went to Stockbridge in Vermont. When Young I was very unfortunate in cutting my feet106 with the ax, when I was twelve years old I fell from a hors[e] and broke my right arm, when 13 I had a long and dangerous sickness, Fever, by which my life was despaired of—My father died of apoplexy at the age of 74 on the 22nd of November. After I attained my 17th year [—] responsibility of taking care of my Mother and two Sisters107 fell upon me. The following July I fell from a Barn and broke my side, and was taken up for dead—when I was nineteen I let out our farm and went to Shelbourn, Vt. to learn mason work. at twenty years of age went to Louisville N Y: where I employed myself Lumbering on the St. Lawrence [River]. the next year, I returned to Stockbridge paid sold our farm and removed to Shelbourne with my Mother and one Sister, the other108 being married in my absence. the next Summer my Brother109 his wife and child and my [2] Mother and Sister were taken sick, two of them died viz my unmarried Sister110 and my Brother’s oldest daughter,—

When I moved to Shelburn I gave up my Mother & Sister with all their property to my Brother. I then went to Mason work and continued laying stone for about two years during which time I accumulated $500; when I became a huckster111 for the Army during the War112 and lost every thing— On the 17th May, 1815 I married a young woman named Ruth Grannis,113 daughter of Levi and Pir [hole in original text] Grannis of Milton, Vt. [—]114 Lake Champlain. where I also saw the Battle fought in Sept. 1814115—In March 1816 we had a daughter116 born in Milton [Vermont]—I followed masoning during the Summer. Next fall we moved into Volney, Oswego Co. N Y, and took up a Farm there—continued Mason trade, building bridges, laying foundations, &c., for six years—. about 1822, in Sept. I was stoning a well when the man [who] was attending on me let a Stone fall on my head and fractured my skull, which laid me up two months—Then not being able to pay for my land it was taken from Me, and I moved to Gravely Point [3] in N.Y. State, where I followed mason work again—Took a piece of land on Long Island the next Spring and worked in the State, built a large Stone Brewery; was take sick the most of two years; My acquaintance117 administered to our wants, brought us many comforts of life and let us have hands to help us to work—

I kept a Genealogical chart of my family which I lost after we left Kirtland on our way to Nauvoo, in consequence probably of not having a wife to take care of things—but during the six years alluded to we had three more children born—Nelson, about 18 months younger [than] Calista, and two girls, Emily and Maria.118 Calista died at the age of four years—. I was recommended to do a certain job of work for a British Officer in Canada119 where my work increased as my acquaintance increased and I put up Building after building built chimneys laid foundations &c, until it seemed I was to become a permanent resident and I became a citizen and bought a farm. We had two boys born, named George and Hyrum also a still born Son.120 My wife was taken sick of consumption and after lingering121 [4] two years died in Ernistown, U[pper] C[anada]: in March, 1831122—. In January 1832123 I married Susannah Petters daughter of Joseph and Jemima Peters, of Ernistown, and in Dec 22 following we had a son named Joseph—. I omitted to state that in June 1829 I was building a large stone house for Joseph Peters and fell through the scaffolding124 and a large Stone fell on my leg and bruised my leg so that my life was despaired of in 1830 built two large flouring Mills three Stories high beside considerable other work and in [—]125 I took cold which settled in my breast, and I did not get over it until the next August, when I received a witness of the latter day work in a manifestation of the healing power— In January 1833 I was baptized by Brigham Young126 in Loughborough U[pper] C[anada] in the Summer Br. Hyrum Smith wrote to me that it was the will of the Lord that I should go and work on the Temple in Kirtland when I went the work was suspended,127 and I returned sold out on credit and took my family in April 1834 to Kirtland, & in Septbr (fig. 3) my Son Alma128 was born there, on September 22nd and I worked on the Temple.129

[5] In May, 1835,130 I called a [—]131 to know if I should go to Canada and return safe132— it was sanctioned by the congregation— I started in my own wagon and proceeded as far as Niagara Falls then I went on board the Ship Great Britain the[n] we landed in Kingston at 12 o’clock at night, rainy, dark and cloudy weather— Men with lanterns came on board <from the office [—]133> to escort the passengers off the ship and I tried to follow one, missed my footing and fell into the water where it was 20 feet deep, I had never learned to swim, but falling near the wharf I caught hold of the logs in a hole and claimed the promise of the people as I was following a light I pitched off the wharf and in falling, , before I reached the water I claimed the promise of the people and by Some means I found myself clinging on where there was a hole in the logs of which the wharf was built134 and as I was following one of the lights, in trying to get beside the man, I missed my footing and was pitched off the wharf about 10 feet above the water which was 20 feet deep. When I fell I had my trunk with me which perhaps helped to save me from sinking, for I was not wet more than to my waist, in falling I claimed the promise of the Saints and although I was thrown off a distance [6] to save myself, I found I had caught on to a hole in the wharf and while in this position there was a cry that a man had fallen off the wharf and the bystanders were so much alarmed that they did not dare to proffer assistance— I called out to them not to be frightened for I was not. Still it was some time before they became Sufficiently calm and collect in their minds to conclude to help me, then I told them first to take my trunk, and then to help me out, when we got to the hotel it was quite the topic of conversation amongst passengers and citizens the <calmness>135 of the man who had fallen into the water, and were astonished as they said that numbers had fallen in but they had never known of any one being taken out alive.

I collected in my debts, sold my property on credit, and returned to Kirtland, where I <continued> working on the Temple as much as could, my leg being occasionally troublesome—. My son Artemus136 was born on June 14, 1836, and in the Fall [of 1835] I undertook to put the cement on the Kirtland Temple, in company with Br. L[orenzo] D[ow] Young our contract was for $1000. I was taken sick with cholera and we sent for Joseph Smith, Sen., and John his brother, who said the sickness was not unto death, did not [—] [7] [—] they administered it had not the desired effect, they repeated it [again but] without effect—. I suffered such excruciating pain that my groaning was heard at Joseph Smith, Junr’s, a distance of 250 yards. I was afterwards told that when in agony I called out let Joseph Smith, Jun., come and lay hands on me and I shall be healed and I know it not knowing what I said. He pressed his way through the crowd; (for the house was filled with people) and came forward and laying his hands on my head asked God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ to heal me; the vomiting and purging ceased and I began to mend from that very moment— When Kirtland Bank broke I went again to Canada <to collect debts, failed, so I went> and worked two Seasons on arched bridges for government. I was overseer a part of the time—. In Nov 1839, my son William137 was born, and my wife died in Oct. 1841—. In 1842 I went back to Kirtland, leaving my children who would not come along138 <not being able to take them with me>. I worked at mason work at Chagrin Falls in the Summer, and started for Nauvoo in the Fall, but did not arrive there until April 5th, 1843, just in time for conference—about the end of April139 I was married to the Widow Oakes140 by Brigham Young. I worked on the Nauvoo Temple more or less for two years, was sick a considerable part of the time.141 The Pioneers started for the Bluff. [8] [—] I was sick all Summer on the prairie near Bonaparte—. My wife was taken sick and I had her taken up on Fox River, Iowa, where she died in October [1846]—. The next October [1847] I married Triphenia Booth, Sister to Brigham Young’s first wife after living with me a year, she left me at Council Point—.142 In March 11th, 1849, I was <married> to Nancy [Hamlet] Lemaster143 in Kanesville, by Orson Hyde, then went to Missouri in April and worked for an outfit, returned to Kanesville in July for my family and took them to Missouri where I continued working until <8th> June <1850> when we started from Oregon. My son Liberty144 was born Sept. 22nd, 1850, 11 miles this side Fort Bridger at 4 o’clock in the morning—. We arrived in G[reat] S[alt] L[ake] City on 2nd Oct—. Next day I went to see Brigham, who told me I must go to Manti, and after working four weeks on his barn, I left for San Pete. Br. John Smith145 blessed my son Liberty when he was four weeks old and ordained him a High Priest—. We arrived in Manti Nov 18th, 1850—. In 1852 built a stone house for B[righam] Young <and superintended the building of the little fort>. In 1853 Bishop [John] Lowry146 appointed me overseer over the Tithing House in the little Stone Fort and In 1855 he put me in Superintendent of the Council House. I labored m[ason] on the Fort Wall in 1854 & ’55.147

About the author(s)

Keith A. Erekson is a graduate student in the American history program at Indiana University. He received a B.S. in sociology and an M.A. in history from Brigham Young University.

Lloyd D. Newell is Assistant Professor of Church History and Doctrine at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. in family sciences from BYU. He is a descendant of Artemus Millet.

The authors would like to thank Robert L. Millet, Larry C. Porter, and Paul Peterson for reading this article and making many helpful suggestions.


1. Artemus Millet’s name has appeared with various spellings, but we have spelled it in the text of this article as he wrote it in his 1855 account of his life. This account is catalogued as Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” [ca. 1855], holograph, 3, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City. This document is printed in full as an appendix to this article.

2. The earliest published account of the story is in George Francis Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millett from Chertsey, Surreyshire, England to Dorchester, Massachusetts. And His Wife Mary Greenoway (Mesa, Ariz.: By the author, 1959), 109–18. See also Daniel G. Millett, “The Temple Builder,” Church News, published by Deseret News, August 30, 1975, 16; Eugene England, “Brigham Young as a Missionary,” New Era 7 (November 1977): 30–37; Laurel B. Andrew, The Early Temples of the Mormons: The Architecture of the Millennial Kingdom in the American West (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1978), 37; Milton V. Backman Jr., The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 150–51; Roger D. Launius, The Kirtland Temple: A Historical Narrative (Independence, Mo.: Herald Publishing House, 1986), 55; Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland: Eyewitness Accounts (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989), 15–16; Truman G. Madsen, Joseph Smith: The Prophet (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989), 58; C. Mark Hamilton, Nineteenth-Century Mormon Architecture and City Planning (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 38; Elwin Clark Robison, The First Mormon Temple: Design, Construction, and Historic Context of the Kirtland Temple (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1997), 48, 99; Craig K. Manscill, “Artemus Millet,” in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, ed. Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 753–54; and Church History in the Fulness of Times: The History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000), 164.

3. The most extensive treatment of Artemus Millet’s work on the Kirtland Temple is Robison, First Mormon Temple, 33–52. Robison draws from Millet’s accounts to recreate a detailed, though at times somewhat speculative, story. He notes the discrepancies among sources, but a thorough examination of primary and family sources fell outside the range of his history. There are many parts of Millet’s life that deserve a more complete analysis, such as his career in Canada, his work in Ohio after the completion of the Kirtland Temple, the gathering of his children to Nauvoo, and his work on the Nauvoo Temple and building projects in Utah. Nevertheless, they are beyond the scope of this article.

4. Artemus’s grandson explained, “Grand Fathers records were distroyed (burned) in Scipio, just after his death, by a woman who went to help clean up the house. Aunt Anna (as we called her[)], tried to stop her, but spoke too late. The flames had devoured them.” Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island, 1927,” microfilm of holograph, 5, Church Archives. There is also a copy of part of it with variations in the M. Wilford Poulson Collection, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah (hereafter cited as Perry Special Collections). “Aunt Anna” was Artemus’s wife Ann Stout.

5. See Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences.”

6. Artemus Millet’s 1855 Reminiscence is the primary source for his life story, as it is both his only remaining holograph as well as the only original source among family records. In addition to the original, there are several copies archived in various repositories. Artemus Millet’s granddaughter Mary J. Millett Cox made at least three transcriptions. The first transcription, made on July 9, 1934, is found in Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book” [ca. 1850–1947], holograph, 21–22, Church Archives. The second transcription, made on October 26–27, 1934, is in Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 29–31. The third transcription, made on April 2, 1935, is in Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” along with Artemus’s holograph. In addition to the transcripts of the original, Cox made at least two typescripts of the third transcription. The first typescript, made on July 11, 1936, is filed as Artemus Millett, “Autobiographical Sketches,” holograph, Church Archives. The second typescript, made in September 1936, was sent to her cousin George Francis Millett and later archived as Artemus Millett, “Autobiographies, 1855–1861,” Perry Special Collections. This second typescript was also published by George Millett in 1959, in Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millett, 109–13. On the transcription Cox provided to George Millett in September 1936, she stated that she no longer knew where the original was. Because of the significance of the 1855 Reminiscence and because various errors crept in throughout the copying process, we include an analysis of the original as an appendix to this article.

7. Artemus Millet’s 1872 Genealogy was recorded by William Faucett in a “High Priest’s Record” book in Spring Valley, Nevada, on February 16, 1872. The “High Priest’s Record” cannot be located, but a copy was made by Rosa Jarvis in St. George, Utah, on December 18, 1906. The Jarvis copy is also missing, but Cox made at least two transcriptions of it. One undated copy is cataloged with Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences” and another made between October 1934 and February 1935 is in Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 32–33. Cox also made two typescripts. One dated September 2, 1936, is in Church Archives (Artemus Millett, “Autobiographical Sketches,” typescript, Church Archives). The other she sent to George Millett in September 1936. It is now catalogued with the reminiscences in Artemus Millett, “Autobiographies, 1855–1861,” Perry Special Collections.

Working independently of Mary, her brother Joseph Millet Jr. made two transcriptions of the 1872 Genealogy, which both appear in Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” pages 1–2 and 70–71 respectively. The first transcription was made on March 8, 1927, while the second is undated and has no name. The second transcription, on pages 70–71, has also been duplicated and is catalogued as Millet Family, “Papers” [1850–1914], microfilm of holograph, Church Archives. There are several significant discrepancies between Mary’s and Joseph Jr.’s copies that will be discussed in greater detail. These sources collectively are what we call 1872 Genealogy.

8. Although various spellings have been printed, we have chosen to spell the town’s name “Earnestown.”

9. Susanna was born October 19, 1804, in Earnestown. See Joseph Millet Jr., “Joseph Millett on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” 1.

10. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 2–4.

11. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 4. The Mary J. M. Cox typescript gives the impression that Artemus became ill in 1830 and that his manifestation occurred in 1831. See the accompanying documentary analysis for more information.

12. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 4.

13. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 5–6. In July 1835, Brigham Young and William E. McLellin visited Brother Millet in Canada on their way to the British Isles. See The Journals of William E. McLellin, ed. Jan Shipps and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1994), 189.

14. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 6. See also Dean C. Jessee, ed., The Papers of Joseph Smith, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989–1992), 2:75. Mary J. M. Cox recalled hearing her father and brother say that, during the course of construction, Artemus also fell off the top of the Kirtland Temple and broke his shoulder blade. See Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 28.

15. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 7.

16. See Artemus Millet, 1872 Genealogy.

17. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 7.

18. Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 24.

19. Mary J. M. Cox, daughter of Joseph Millet Sr., copied the statement from her father’s papers into his “Record Book.” Joseph Millet Sr. began the “Record Book” in Cedar City, Utah, on January 17, 1908, when he was seventy-five years old. He copied information about the Millet family beginning from 1532, but, by the time he died in 1911, he had filled only twenty-one pages, ending with the history of Artemus’s father, Ebenezer. Cox continued the work, beginning with the life of Artemus Millet. After making a copy in the “Record Book,” Cox made a more polished copy that is catalogued as Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Statement regarding Artemus Millet,” [undated], holograph, Church Archives. Both copies, though catalogued under Joseph Millet Sr.’s name, were made and signed by Cox. The statement first appeared in print in George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millett, 110–11. Since Cox sent George copies of Artemus’s 1855 Reminiscence and 1872 Genealogy, it is likely that she also supplied him with a copy of Joseph’s statement.

20. Biographical information about Joseph Millet Sr. is taken from copies of his diary. Like nearly all of the other sources for this article, Joseph’s diary has not been preserved in his own hand. Mary Cox made a copy in Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 40–97, between November 1935 and August 1936, and Joseph Millet Jr. made a copy in “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island.” Portions of an unidentified copy of the diary were published in Eugene England, “Without Purse or Scrip: A 19-Year-Old Missionary in 1853,” New Era 5 (July 1975): 20–29. Because all of the copies have different pagination, we refer to them collectively simply as Joseph Millet Sr., Diary, with no page numbers given.

21. For information on Sarah Elizabeth Glines, see Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1998), 3:2015.

22. One of Joseph Sr.’s experiences in helping a man named Newton Hall in answer to Brother Hall’s prayer has been shared once by Elder Boyd K. Packer and twice by President Thomas S. Monson in general conference. See Boyd K. Packer, “A Tribute to the Rank and File of the Church,” Ensign 10 (May 1980): 63; Thomas S. Monson, “The Service That Counts,” Ensign 19 (November 1989): 46; and Thomas S. Monson, “Gifts,” Ensign 23 (May 1993): 61.

23. See Joseph Millet Sr., Diary.

24. Sadly, Joseph Sr. did not have all the facts of his own history. Among the genealogical records lost by Artemus between 1841 and 1843 was the exact date of Joseph’s birth, and Joseph never knew if he was born on December 22, 1832 or 1833. Joseph Millet Sr., Diary.

25. Father and son and their families moved together to Dixie (1866), Spring Valley (1868), and Scipio (1872).

26. Joseph Millet Sr., Diary, as copied in Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” 5.

27. Wilford Woodruff, Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 1833–1898, Typescript, ed. Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. (Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1983–84), 7:346, April 20, 1877.

28. Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 24.

29. Joseph Millet Sr., Diary. Joseph does not give the month of his arrival in 1859, but he states that he left in March 1860.

30. Joseph Millet Sr., Diary.

31. A copy of Brigham Young’s letter to Joseph Millet is found at the end of Millet Family, “Papers.”

32. “Lorenzo Dow Young’s Narrative,” in Fragments of Experience, Sixth Book of the Faith Promoting Series (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1882), 43.

33. “Lorenzo Dow Young’s Narrative,” 43.

34. Artemus Millet’s name is given in James A. Little, “Biography of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly 14 (1946): 44. Neither “Lorenzo Dow Young’s Narrative” nor the “Biography” gives a date for the meeting, but it is recorded between events dated March 8, 1835, and November 2, 1835. Brigham Young gave his brother’s history in “History of Brigham Young,” Millennial Star 25 (June 27, 1863): 406–8. In 1946, the Utah Historical Quarterly devoted an entire volume to Lorenzo Dow Young (vol. 14). Celebrating the centennial of Utah settlement, the editors printed both Lorenzo’s biography (25–132) and his diary (133–71). The biography was written by Lorenzo Young’s nephew James A. Little, who interviewed Lorenzo in the 1880s. While the periodical’s editors noted that the account is “uncritical, prolix, and naïve” and that Little was less concerned with historical minutiae than in recording the life of “a saint of the Restored Gospel,” they felt that because it told a good story and gave significant place to women, it deserved reprinting. Brigham Young and Little tell much the same story, though Little’s account is off by a year. Thus, Little records that the Youngs were baptized in 1831, instead of 1832, and the error is carried through the discussion of the time period in question. This discrepancy is perhaps the result of Lorenzo Young’s telling a story of events that were separated from him by over fifty years.

35. See Joseph Smith Jr., History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2d ed., rev., 7 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1971), 2:205–7 (hereafter cited as History of the Church).

36. Artemus Millet died November 19, 1874, Brigham Young on August 29, 1877, and Joseph Young on July 16, 1881. Joseph Smith’s History of the Church, sometimes referred to as the Documentary History of the Church, was published serially in the Times and Seasons (1839–46) and in the Deseret News (1852–57). It was not available in its current seven-volume format until 1932. See Howard C. Searle, “History of the Church (History of Joseph Smith),” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, 4 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 2:647–48.

37. The original letters are in “Statement, 1885 Jun 22,” Church Archives. Included is an interesting note by Elder Franklin D. Richards, dated July 28, 1899, which indicates that Joseph Millet Sr. wanted to obtain the originals but Richards felt they should be kept in the Historian’s Office. Copies of the letters are in Millet Family, “Papers.”

38. Lisander Gee to Joseph Millet, July 18, 1885, in Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 34.

39. Similar efforts to seek out corroboration continued for another fifty years as Joseph Millet Jr. and Mary Cox remained alert for opportunities to verify Artemus’s role in building the Kirtland Temple. Joseph Millet Jr. received a January 19, 1914, letter from Benjamin Johnson’s nephew, Nephi Johnson, confirming that he, too, had heard his uncle mention Artemus in connection with the temple. The letter is included in Millet Family, “Papers.” In 1934, Mary J. M. Cox added her testimony that she had heard older members of the Church talk about the plaster on the Kirtland Temple. She recorded her witness in Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 28.

40. In 1828, Noah Webster defined “superintendence” and “superintendency” as “the act of superintending; care and oversight for the purpose of direction, and with authority to direct.” An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828). He gives examples that directly link the word to building or construction projects, although “in some reformed churches” a superintendent was also “an ecclesiastical superior.” Usage of “superintendence” remained the same in 1877. William G. Webster and William A. Wheeler, A High-School Dictionary of the English Language, abridged (New York: Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor, 1877), 293. In Brigham Young: American Moses (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985), 51, Leonard Arrington reported that Brigham Young superintended the “painting and finishing of the temple.”

41. Cox recalled that she had sat upon Artemus’s knee “manny a time and he told me storys and sang me songs.” Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 28. The earliest copy made by Cox is the 1855 Reminiscence that appears in Joseph Millet [Sr.], “Record Book,” 21–22. In this copy, she integrated information, such as that Joseph Young confirmed Artemus and that Artemus blessed his son Joseph, from her copy of Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy, other copies noted in note 6.

42. A detailed analysis of Cox’s additions, deletions, and “corrections” to Artemus’s 1855 Reminiscence is found in the footnotes of the documentary analysis in the accompanying appendix.

43. See Mary J. Millett Cox to George F. Millett, July 11, 1936, a brief note appended to the typescript copy of Artemus Millet’s reminiscence. The letter is archived with Artemus Millett, “Autobiographies,” Perry Special Collections.

44. Other vital original records that are missing include Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy, the diary of Joseph Millet Sr., and a statement in his hand regarding his father’s call to Kirtland.

45. See Joseph Millett [Jr.], “Reminiscences and Diary,” [1881–1931], microfilm of holograph, Church Archives.

46. The first attempt, dated March 8, 1927, is recorded in Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” 1–2. Joseph Jr. prefaced his copy with the affirmation that this was Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy as copied from the missing “High Priest’s Record” book. However, the blending of facts and accounts is quite apparent, as this version switches from Artemus telling the story in first person to being addressed in third person and back again. Several crossed out passages and various parentheses heighten the confusion. The account reads as follows, with punctuation as in original:

I, Artemus Millet, was Born Sept, 11, 1790. in the Town of west morland & county of Cheshire, State of New Hampshire, U.S.A. my Fathers name was Ebenezer, and my Mothers Name was Catherine Dryden Millet. when 4 years of age, I moved with my Parents to the State of Vermont, and in May 17. 1815 I Married Miss Ruth Grannis. in 1817. I moved with my wife to Olney. Oswego Co, N.Y. in 1824. we moved to the Town of Ernest Upper Canada. And in June <March> 1832<1> my wife Ruth died, leaving seven <six or 5> children, namely Calista <she died at 4 years of age>, Nelson, Emily, Mariah, George Jefferson, and Hyrum. (Artemus was buisly Engaged at this time doing Contract work for the Brittish Government, building stone Bridges and Culverts and had a servent Girl working for them by the name of Susannah Peters, who remained with them. allso his wifes Mother (Grandma Grannis) and Prior to Ruths death. She requested Artemus, that, if she died, he would Marry Susannah as She knew She would be good and kind to her children. So Subsequently after her death, it was agreed with “Grandma” Grannis & Susan that they should get married. Grandma said, “I know of no one I would rather have to care for Ruths children & take her place than Susannah.”) and Artemus says: and on the 15. of February <January> 1832 I married Susannah Peters. I was Baptized in to the church of Jesus Christ of Laterday Saints by Elder Brigham Young, and confirmed a member by Elder Joseph Young. (in Canada in <January> 18343.) and Brigham anounced that he had a mission for me. That the Prophet Joseph wanted me to go to Kirtland Ohio and take charge of the mason work on the Temple as they were going to build a Temple thare. So I closed out my business thare and in <April> 18[original numbers scribbled out] <34> I moved to Kirtland Ohio. and worked on the Temple from the laying of the corner Stones, untill the its completion, and I did have the full suprentendincy of the Building. & had charge of the Plastering and cementing of the Building, both inside and out. (Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” 1)

47. The second attempt is in Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” 70–71, and is merely a polished version of the account that appears on pages 1–2 of the same source. Furthermore, it has been duplicated and archived separately as Millet Family, “Papers,” despite being an exact copy. This undated account reads:

As coppied from his Biography he says: after giving date of birth & etc,

“My Fathers name was Ebeneazer. and my mothers name was Catherine Dryden Millet. Daughter of Artemus Dryden Esquire when four years of age I moved with my Parents to the State of Vermont” here they resided untill 1815. & he says “May 17. 1815 I married miss Ruth Grannis, & in 1817 I moved with my wife to olney oswego county N.Y. & in 1824 we moved to the Town of Ernest upper Canada. & in January 1832 my wife Ruth died. leaving seven children, namely: Colista, Nelson, Emily, Mariah, George Gefferson & Hyrum Golden Millet.”

Artemus was buisily ingaged at this time in doing contract work for the Brittish Government, building stone bridges and Culverts, a traded he had previously learned & became very skillful in. they had a servant girl working for them by the name of Susannah Peters who was very industrious & trust worthy, and prior to Ruths death she requested Artemus that if she died for him to marry Susannah. So conesquently after her death it was agreed with Ruths mother and Susannah that she should marry Artemus. “Granma Grannis” said “I know of no one more capable of takeing care of Ruths Children than Susannah. So Artemus says, “on the 15th of february 1832 I married Susanah Peters. I was Baptised in to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints by Elder Brigham Young and confirmed a member by Elder Joseph Young. in Canada.” & Previous to this, Artemus new nothing of this Church but Brigham Young was given a special mission to go to Canada and baptise bro, Artemus Millet “by the Prophet Joseph Smith.” which call resulted from a consultation held at Kirtland respecting the building of the Tempel there, and as to who they could get that was capable of taking charge of the work. When Elder Lorenzo Young exclaimed to the Prophet “I know the very man who is capable of doing this work.” “who is he?” asked the Prophet. “Lorenzo replied “it is Artemus Millet!” The Prophet turned to Brigham and said “I give you a mission to go to Canada and Baptise Brother Artemus Millet, and bring him here. tell him to bring a thousand dollars with him.

Artemus was mutch surprised when Brigham announced his mission to him and asked “what kind of a Church is that ?” then Brigham explained the Principles of the Gospil to him and he accepted and was Baptised <in 1834> and after this ordinance was Performed Brigham informed that he had a mission for him. what is it? asked Artemus. and Brigham replied that the Prophet Joseph wants you to go to Kirtland Ohio and take charge of the construction work of a Temple they are going to build there. Artemus had 36 scotch masons working under him at the time, and he turned the work over to them to finnish, left his family in Canada and went to Kirtland, met the Prophet & Patriarch and others of the athoraties and amediately work began on the Temple. Artemus helped in the selection of the stone for the building, located a suitable querry of stone, which when first taken from the ground was soft and easy to work so they hewed it out with axes, and piled the rock up to dry in the sun & harden. after which they were put into the building. after getting the work well under way Artemus left the work in charge of Jacob Bump and Renolds Kahoon and returned to Canada “for my family” & says “I settled up my buisness in Canada & in 1834 I moved with my family to Kirtland Ohio. and worked on the Temple from the laying of the foundation to its compleetion. and I did have the full suprentency of the building, and Plastering both inside and aut and I did invent the cement & plaster that was put on that building and suprentendid the mixing of the ingrediences, and was assisted in this labor by Jacobump, Reynolds Kahoon and many others a young man by the name of Carr did mutch of the inside plastering with Jacob Bump while I did the plastering outside. I was ordained an Elder and Received my Endowments in this Holy Temple after it had been dedicated ap or opened for that purpose.

It is quite evident that this account is a composite of Artemus Millet’s 1855 Reminiscences, Artemus Millet’s 1872 Genealogy, the statement attributed to Joseph Millet Sr., the letters of affidavits, and the “J. Millet on Cape B[reton] Island” account on pages 1–2.

48. Compare with Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 4.

49. Lorenzo’s name appears only in Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” 70–71; and Millet Family, “Papers,” 70–71.

50. Lorenzo Young was baptized in Mendon, New York, and shortly thereafter started for Jackson County with his family. They traveled to Olean Point, the head of navigation on the Alleghany River. There they were joined by Phineas Young and six other families. The group built some boats and floated three hundred miles downriver to Pittsburgh, arriving by at least October 1832. Journal History of the Church, December 31, 1833, Church Archives, microfilm copy in Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. Lorenzo had been ordained an elder by Phineas, and he began to raise up a branch in Pittsburgh. Journal History of the Church, December 31, 1832, 2. In April 1833, Lorenzo returned to New York and later brought his father back to Pittsburgh with him. In late summer or early fall 1833, Lorenzo, Phineas, and their father continued toward Jackson County, traveling down the Ohio River. Lorenzo’s wife became sick, and the family stopped indefinitely in Beardstown, Ohio, while Phineas and his father, John Young, went on to East Liverpool. Lorenzo later purchased a boat and continued to West Union, Columbiana County, Ohio, where the family stayed for the winter. See Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 390, 406–8; and Little, “Biography of Lorenzo Dow Young,” 35–44. This seems to make it impossible for Lorenzo to have been present in June 1833 when the first load of rock was hauled to the temple. This story is also mentioned in the 1882 “Lorenzo Dow Young’s Narrative,” and Little, “Biography of Lorenzo Dow Young,” 44–45. The earliest mention of Lorenzo Young in Kirtland in History of the Church is in August 1834 (2:149).

51. Cox’s typescript of Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy reads:

I Artemus Millet was born September 11, 1790, in the town of Westmoreland, County of Cheshire, State of New Hampshire. My father’s name was Ebenezer and my mother’s name was Catherene Dryden. I moved to Vermont with my parents when four years old. And in May 17, 1815, I was married to Ruth Grannis. In 1817 moved to Olney, Oswego County, New York. In 1824 moved to the town of Earnest, Upper Canada. My wife died in January, 1832. I married Susanna Peterson 15th of Feb., 1832.

I was baptized by Elder Brigham Young and confirmed by Elder Joseph Young. I moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1834. I worked on the Temple as mason until the work was done. I was then ordained an Elder and got my endowments. In 1836 I went on a mission with Elder Oliver Granger and labored in Highland County, Ohio. At the breaking up of Kirtland I moved back to Canada in 1838. My wife died in 1841.

In April, 1843, I arrived in Nauvoo and in May the same year I married my third wife Elmira Prichard (or Widow Oaks). And in 1845 I was ordained a High Priest by Noah Packard. I remained in Nauvoo until the Saints left, 1846. I worked as a mason on the Nauvoo Temple and again got endowments in the Nauvoo Temple. And from Nauvoo I moved to Iowa where my third wife died. I then married Mary Hamlet (Widow Nancy Leamaster) and moved to Council Bluffs in 1848. And moved to Salt Lake City in 1850 and settled by council in Manti, where I acted as president of the High Council for about five years. In 1861 I moved to Gunnison, Sevier Co. In 1858 I married Ann Stout. I volunteered to come to the Dixie Mission. I settled in Shonesburgh, and I now reside in Spring Valley, Nevada. (Millet, “Autobiographical Sketches”)

52. See Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses. A good history of the Young family is found in Leonard J. Arrington, Susan Arrington Madsen, and Emily Madsen Jones, Mothers of the Prophets, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 2001), 29–39. Their children were Nancy (born August 6, 1786), Fanny (November 8, 1787), Rhoda (September 10, 1789), John Jr. (May 22, 1791), Nabby (April 23, 1793), Susannah (June 7, 1795), Joseph (April 7, 1797), Phineas (February 16, 1799), Brigham (June 1, 1801), Louisa (September 25, 1804), and Lorenzo Dow (October 19, 1807).

53. Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1801–1844, ed. Elden Jay Watson (Salt Lake City: Smith Secretarial Service, 1968), 1. Brigham Young gives significant detail about the history of his brothers in Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” which appeared in the Millennial Star in 1863–64. For a summary of Church Historical Department holdings and a discussion of Brigham’s personal writings, see Dean C. Jessee, “The Writings of Brigham Young,” Western Historical Quarterly 4 (July 1973): 273–94.

54. “Life History of Phineas Howe Young,” Church Archives. Phineas Young’s history was printed in Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 326–28, 360–61, 374–76, 390–92, 406. John Young Jr. became a licensed preacher in 1825, and Rhoda married John P. Greene, also a Methodist circuit preacher. See Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 310.

55. Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 327.

56. Joseph Young, “Diary,” 5–6, Perry Special Collections.

57. In April 1830, Samuel Smith gave Phineas a copy of the Book of Mormon, which he read in one week before lending it to his father and his sister Fanny. Samuel Smith also left a copy at the home of John P. and Rhoda Young Greene. This copy was read by Brigham Young and introduced to Joseph Young. Phineas and Joseph met Solomon Chamberlain at Lyons Township, New York, on their way to Canada in August 1830. Chamberlain told them of the necessity of baptism into the Church. See Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 310, 360–61, 374–75, 424.

58. Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 374. Phineas preached and defended the enchanting new book, telling people about it as often as permitted. He records, “I still continued to preach, trying to tie Mormonism to Methodism, for more than a year, when I found that they had no connection and could not be united, and that I must leave the one and cleave to the other.” Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 375.

59. The Columbia branch had been organized sometime during 1831. See Journal History of the Church, December 31, 1831, 3. In fall 1831, Elders Alpheus Gifford, Elial Strong, and others preached in Mendon, New York. Brigham was convinced at this time by their preaching. By January 1832, Phineas had returned from Canada, and he, Brigham, and Heber C. Kimball made the trip to Pennsylvania to see the Church in action. They “spent some time with the few Saints that were there, and became more and more convinced of the truth of ‘Mormonism.’” They returned home, “preaching the gospel by the way.” Journal History of the Church, January 31, 1832, 1. Upon their return, Brigham followed his brother Joseph to Canada and shared the newfound faith with his brother-in-law John P. Greene. Brigham and Joseph arrived home in New York in March, whereupon Phineas, Joseph, and John Sr. went to Pennsylvania. See Journal History of the Church, April 6, 1832; Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 375–76; Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1–2; and Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball (Salt Lake City: Stevens and Wallace, 1945), 18–20.

60. See Journal History of the Church, April 14, 1832; and Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 2–3. Brigham was baptized by Eleazer Miller. Shortly thereafter, a branch was organized in Mendon.

61. They were accompanied by Heber C. Kimball. See Journal History of the Church, April 14, 1832; Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 3; and Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 22–26.

62. They were accompanied by Eleazer Miller, Elial Strong, Enos Curtis, and an unidentified elder. Richard E. Bennett suggests that proximity and ease of travel encouraged these missionaries to preach in Canada. He also argues that similarities between Mormonism and Methodism, as well as well-known preaching routes, influenced their choice of preaching sites. Richard E. Bennett, “A Study of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Upper Canada” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975). See also Melvin S. Tagg, A History of the Mormon Church in Canada (Lethbridge, Alberta: Lethbridge Herald, 1968); Larry C. Porter, “Beginnings of the Restoration: Canada, An ‘Effectual Door’ to the British Isles,” in Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837–1987, ed. V. Ben Bloxam, James R. Moss, and Larry C. Porter (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1987), 3–43; Richard E. Bennett, “‘Plucking not Planting:’ Mormonism in Eastern Canada, 1830–1850,” in The Mormon Presence in Canada, ed. Brigham Y. Card and others (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1990), 19–34.

63. Journal History of the Church, June 30, 1832; Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 376.

64. Eleazer Miller and Elial Strong, Journal History of the Church, March 19, 1833, 2.

65. Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 376; Journal History of the Church, April 6, 1832; March 19, 1833.

66. Millet does not give the name of the person who healed him in August 1832. Nevertheless, he could have met Joseph Young at this time.

67. Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 3, 5.

68. History of the Church, 1:295.

69. Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 4–5; History of the Church, 1:295–97.

70. Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 439; Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 4–5.

71. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 28.

72. See History of the Church, 1:296–97. Joseph Smith’s “Ohio Journal” began after this visit on November 27, 1832. Unfortunately, there is a gap in the journal from December 6, 1832, to October 4, 1833, making it difficult to obtain Joseph Smith’s perspective on the Millet story. Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith, 2:1–37.

73. Joseph Young’s diary passes over the trip to Kirtland. He mentions his baptism in April 1832 and then jumps to his role in preaching to healing and baptizing his brother John Jr. See Joseph Young, Diary.

74. Nephi built a temple in the land of Nephi (2 Ne. 5:16), King Benjamin taught at a temple in Zarahemla (Mosiah 1:18; 2:1, 5–7), and Jesus Christ appeared at a temple in Bountiful (3 Ne. 11:1). Doctrine & Covenants 36:8 was received in December 1830 (History of the Church, 1:131). In February 1831, the Prophet was instructed to purchase lands for a temple in Jackson County, which land he dedicated on August 3, 1831. See Doctrine and Covenants 42:35–36; 57:1–5; History of the Church, 1:148–54, 1:189–90, 199.

75. Doctrine and Covenants section 38 was received January 2, 1831. See also History of the Church, 1:140–43.

76. See also History of the Church, 1:287–95.

77. See also History of the Church, 1:302–12; and Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980), 128. The most recent authorized history states that on this day “the Saints first learned of the Lord’s command to build a temple.” Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1996), 33. See also Church History in the Fullness of Times, 162; Richard O. Cowan, Temples to Dot the Earth (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989), chapter 2, page 21–43; Anderson, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland, 155. Allen and Leonard accept the date but also recognize the promise of Doctrine and Covenants 38. Allen and Leonard, Story of the Latter-day Saints, 108–9.

78. The rebuke, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 95, was received June 1, 1833. History of the Church, 1:350–52. An important function of this house was its designation as the meeting place for the School of the Prophets. The Saints first mobilized toward the establishment of this school to the neglect of the construction of the house.

79. James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1979), 95. See especially the first half of chapter 5, “Modern Day Temples—the Temples at Kirtland and Nauvoo,” pages 92–102. Talmage was not the only early Church historian to recognize the cause of this delay. Joseph Fielding Smith links Doctrine and Covenants 88 exclusively with the School of the Prophets in Essentials in Church History (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1953), 148–51. B. H. Roberts dates the “first steps” of the temple construction as May 4, 1833. B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century One, 6 vols. (Provo, Utah: Corporation of the President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1965), 1:310.

80. Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 5. Millet’s branch in West Loughborough had about twenty members.

81. On other occasions, Brigham Young did mention the names of people he baptized and converts who traveled with him. See Brigham Young, “History of Brigham Young,” 440. Artemus Millet could not have been baptized in January 1832, since he certainly could not have been baptized before Brigham Young.

82. Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 6.

83. Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 6.

84. History of the Church, 1:342–343.

85. History of the Church, 1:349–50.

86. See Robison, First Mormon Temple, 150. Robison has compiled a useful documented chronology of the Kirtland Temple in his appendix, 149–65.

87. See History of the Church, 1:353. Journal History of the Church, June 5, 1833, states that Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Brigham and Lorenzo Young, and Reynolds Cahoon assisted in hauling rock to the temple site. However, both History of the Church, 1:388, and Brigham Young, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 6, show that Brigham was in Canada at the time and did not return to Kirtland until July. Journal History of the Church, July 13, 1833, 2, also records his return on July 13, 1833.

88. History of the Church, 1:353–54; Journal History of the Church, June 6, 1833.

89. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 4.

90. In the Daughters of Utah Pioneers Library in Salt Lake City, there are twelve different histories of Artemus Millet’s life submitted by various descendants, the most recent submitted in 2000. Millet’s great granddaughter, Mary Delilah Millet Davis (1880–1966), oldest child of Alma Millet Jr., prepared a history of Artemus Millet in 1959 and states that the consultation occurred after the July 1833 cornerstone laying.

91. Hyrum Smith, “Diary,” [December 1831–February 1835], typescript, Church Archives; Jared Carter, “Journal,” [January 1831–January 1833], holograph, Church Archives; Reynolds Cahoon, “Diary,” [1831–32], holograph, Church Archives.

92. See Journal History of the Church, July 23, 1833; and History of the Church, 1:400. See also Journal History of the Church, June–August 1833.

93. See Journal History of the Church, October 10, 1833.

94. Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” 4.

95. Robison pointed out that the practice of the united order, the common exchange of goods at the Prophet’s store, and poor documentation complicate attempts to sort out where temple financing actually came from. Robison, First Mormon Temple, 99–100.

96. History of the Church, 2:207.

97. John Tanner and Vienna Jacques are frequently mentioned. See Anderson, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland, 163–66; Launius, Kirtland Temple, 50–52; and Robison, First Mormon Temple, 99. Robison and Anderson mention Artemus Millet, but only Robison clarifies that family sources are the only ones that indicate Artemus’s donation.

98. Jessee, Papers of Joseph Smith, 1:132; 2:75.

99. History of the Church, 2:205–7. Artemus Millet received the blessing along with Jacob Bump and the building committee—Hyrum Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and Jared Carter. This reference to Millet in Kirtland in March 1835 is further evidence in contradiction of Lorenzo Young’s claim that he picked Millet up in November 1835. Ironically, Lorenzo Young was also among those blessed on this occasion.

100. While relating an experience about Joseph Millet Sr., Elder Boyd K. Packer commented that “whenever we seek for true testimony we come, finally, to ordinary men and women and children.” Packer, “Tribute to the Rank and File of the Church,” 63.

101. Joseph Millet [Jr.], “J. Millet on C[ape] B[reton] Island,” 4.

102. The extant firsthand account is one of three documents catalogued as Artemus Millett, “Reminiscences,” [ca. 1855], holograph, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

103. The document has been treated with Crompton’s heat set tissue, a process activated with tacking iron and reversible if carefully worked off with a cotton swab application of alcohol and water. The tissue adheres to the odd pages of the document.

104. Unfortunately the document was microfilmed out of order. The pages appear in the following order: 6, 5, 3, 4, 7, 8, 1, 2. Also, pages 5 and 6 are labeled 8 and 7, respectively.

105. Ebenezer Millet was born in 1731 in Beverly, Massachusetts, to Nathaniel and Elizabeth Millet. Ebenezer fought in the battles of Louisburg and Quebec under General James Wolfe during the French and Indian War (1754–1763), losing the use of one arm in the fighting. During the American Revolution, he worked as a recruiter and was known as the one-armed soldier. Ebenezer married Mary Wheeler (born April 12, 1743, in Worchester, Massachusetts) on April 6, 1761. They had six children: Nathaniel (born 1761), Thomas (unknown), Hannah (c. 1765), Elizabeth (c. 1767), Mary (c. 1773), and Lydia (unknown). After Mary Wheeler died, Ebenezer married Catharine Dryden in January 1775.

Catharine [Catherene in Cox] Dryden was born May 1751 in Beverly, Massachusetts, to Artemus Dryden, Esquire, and his wife. The couple had nine children: Polly or Mary (born December 1775 in Holden, Mass.), Sarah (July 11, 1777, Holden, Mass.), Samuel (June 14, 1779, Woodstock, Vt.), Leaffe (Woodstock, Vt.), William August (February 25, 1781, Walpole, N.H.), Luke (c. 1783, Walpole, N.H.), Catherine (c. 1785, Walpole, N.H.), Susanna (c. 1787), and Artemus (September 11, 1790). Ebenezer died on November 22, 1806, at Stockbridge, Windsor County, Vermont, and Catharine died on May 14, 1814. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 49–53.

The handwritten Cox copy includes Catharine’s maiden name, which Artemus Millet gave in his 1872 “Genealogy.”

106. The handwritten Cox copy rendered “feet” as “foot.”

107. Polly and Sarah were at least thirty years old by this time, and both lived long enough to marry. This reference is most likely to the youngest two sisters: Catherine and Susanna who would have been twenty-two and twenty years old, respectively.

108. Artemus’s sister Catherine married Van Volkenbury. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 50.

109. George Millett identifies this brother as William. William married Fanny Townsend (September 15, 1778–May 21, 1866), daughter of John and Eunice Townsend. The couple bore no children but adopted nineteen orphans. William died June 29, 1856, in Stockbridge, Vermont. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 50, 105.

110. Susanna died in 1812. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 50.

111. In 1828, Noah Webster traced the word huckster from the Danish hocken, which meant “to take on the back, and to signify primarily a pedlar, one that carries goods on his back.” In other words, “a retailer of small articles, of provisions, nuts, &c.” As a verb, the word meant “to deal in small articles, or in petty bargains.” An American Dictionary of the English Language (New York: S. Converse, 1828).

112. The War of 1812.

113. Ruth Grannis was born in 1796 to Levi and Priscilla Grannis. She died March 20, 1831, in Earnestown, Upper Canada. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 107.

114. This missing sentence falls right along the primary central fold, and the document is especially faded and worn. The Cox handwritten copy inserts in this place “I then moved to Drawland.”

115. The Battle of Lake Champlain was decisive, and the American victory was a turning point in the War of 1812. Despite British superiority, an American naval force secured a victory at Plattsburgh Bay in Lake Champlain. The victory severed the British waterborne supply lines and forced British troops to retreat back into Canada. For more information, see J. C. A. Stagg, Mr. Madison’s War: Politics, Diplomacy and Warfare in the Early American Republic, 1783–1830 (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1983). The Cox handwritten copy inaccurately transcribed the year as “1815.”

116. Calista, who died in 1820. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 107.

117. There is no further information to verify the identity of this person.

118. All three were born in Olney, New York: Nelson (born 1818), married Augusta Bumps; Emily (born 1820), married William Henry McDonald; and Maria (born 1822). See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 107.

119. In 1872, Artemus Millet added that this occurred in 1824.

120. George Jefferson (born September 14, 1825) married Pricilla Randall, Hiram Grannis (1827) married Mary. The stillbirth occurred in 1823. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 107.

121. The Cox handwritten copy reads “suffering.”

122. In 1872, Artemus Millet recalled this date as being January 1832.

123. In 1872, Artemus Millet recalled this date as being February 15, 1832.

124. The phrase “and fell through the scaffolding” is omitted in the Cox handwritten copy.

125. This crucial spot is faded and worn. The Cox handwritten copy does not indicate that something is missing, and therefore infers that Artemus Millet took sick in 1830. What is most likely missing is at least the year 1831 and perhaps even a month. Thus, “the next August” would be 1832—the time when the first Mormon elders preached in Upper Canada. For further details of this mission, see the accompanying article.

126. The Cox handwritten copy adds that Artemus was confirmed by Joseph Young, information she likely gathered from Artemus’s 1872 Genealogy.

127. Work on the Kirtland Temple was suspended on October 10, 1833. See Journal History of the Church, October 10, 1833.

128. Alma (born September 22, 1834) married Harriet Sylvania Beal on May 12, 1855, and her sister Eunice Amy Beal on September 24, 1862. He died April 21, 1886. See Susan Easton Black, comp., Membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1848, 50 vols. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, 1989), 31:112–15.

129. The Cox handwritten copy adds that Artemus was ordained an elder, received his endowments, and, in 1836, served a mission with Oliver Granger to Highland County, Ohio. Artemus supplied this information in the 1872 Genealogy.

130. The Cox handwritten copy renders the year 1833. The top of the five is both faded and torn, but the lower portion more closely resembles a five than a three. Corroboration for this date comes from William E. McLellin, who noted that Brother Millet gave him money on July 7, 1835, while McLellin and Brigham Young were traveling in Canada. See William E. McLellin, The Journals of William E. McLellin, ed. Jan Shipps and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 189. For the context of this mission, see also Larry C. Porter, “Beginnings of the Restoration: Canada, an ‘Effectual Door,’ to the British Isles,” in Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837–1987, ed. V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, and Larry C. Porter (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987), 3–43.

131. The Cox handwritten copy renders this phrase twice: first as “I was called before a council meeting,” and then as “I was called before the meeting.” Such councils were not uncommon. For example, when a council of elders convened on July 13, 1833, James Lake “desired to know [from them] the will of the Lord, whether he should proceed on to Zion, or remain in Kirtland.” Journal History of the Church, July 13, 1833.

132. The Cox handwritten copy renders “safe” as “in safety.”

133. The Cox handwritten copy renders the missing word as “house.”

134. If one thing stands out about Millet in this account it is that he had a strong conviction that his life had been preserved on many occasions. This miraculous event is the only portion of the reminiscence that Millet crossed out and reworked. Millet made three attempts to write this story before he was satisfied with it.

Both crossed-out versions were included in the Cox handwritten copy but were not perpetuated in typed copy. That he made three attempts when recording this experience underscores Artemus’s conviction that his life was preserved on many occasions.

135. The word “calmness” is written in black ink over a previous word in handwriting different than Artemus’s.

136. Artemus Jr. was born June 15, 1836, married Nancy Jane Beal (October 22, 1846–February 23, 1921) on October 11, 1865, and died October 31, 1902. See Frank Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Utah Pioneers Book Publishing, 1913), 2:1040; Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1998), 3:2014–15.

137. William, born November 16, 1839, in Earnestown, died about eighteen miles west of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, in 1841. See George Millett, Ancestors and Descendants of Thomas Millet, 107.

138. This crossed-out section was not perpetuated in the Cox handwritten copy.

139. In 1872, Artemus Millet incorrectly recalled this month as May.

140. In 1872, Artemus Millet identified his wife as Elmira Prichard. Catherine Almira Prichard was born in 1792 in New Haven, Connecticut, to Reuben Prichard and Sarah Bottsford. She married Selah Oaks (born 1790) and the couple had nine children. They apparently accepted the gospel in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and later Selah went to Tennessee while Catherine and the children gathered to Missouri. Catherine married Millet on April 20, 1843, and she died October 1846. While Millet and Oaks were not sealed in life, they were sealed in the Endowment House on October 18, 1867. Her history is reconstructed in Dallin Harris Oaks, “Biographical Sketch of Selah and Catherine Almira Prichard Oaks,” 1978, holograph, Church Archives.

141. In 1872, Artemus Millet added that he was ordained a High Priest by Noah Packard in 1845, and that he again received his endowments.

142. Perthenia Works was born June 23, 1811, in Aurelius, Cayuga, New York, to Asa Works and Abigail Marks. She married Lorenzo Dow Booth (born October 13, 1807), and they had seven children between March 1831 and September 1847. Perthenia and Lorenzo separated early in 1847, and she married Artemus in October of that year. It is not known why she left Artemus the next year, but she remained in the Midwest and died on December 6, 1893, in Pleasanton, Iowa. In 1872, Artemus Millet made no mention of this marriage. Perthenia’s older sister, Miriam Angeline Works, was Brigham Young’s first wife.

143. Nancy Hamlet was born April 15, 1805, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to Jesse Hamlet and Sally Gatewood. About 1836 she married Richard Lemaster (1796–1845). After Lemaster’s death, she married Millet on March 11, 1849, in Kanesville, Iowa. After Millet’s death, Nancy married Andrew Morton Humbleton on December 5, 1883, in St. George, Utah. She died on December 2, 1898, in Castle Dale, Utah.

144. Liberty was born September 22, 1850, and died August 13, 1930, in Napa, California. He married Sarah Ann McMeechin.

145. John Smith was ordained a high priest (June 3, 1833) and sustained an assistant counselor to Joseph Smith (September 3, 1837). President Smith was released upon the death of the Prophet and ordained Patriarch to the Church on January 1, 1849. He served until his death on May 23, 1854, in Salt Lake City. See 1999–2000 Church Almanac (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1998), 55.

146. John Lowry was born August 10, 1799, in Nashville, Tennessee, to William Lowry and Polly Norris. He served as bishop of the Salt Lake City Second Ward from 1849–1850 and bishop of the Manti Ward from 1850–1855. He died January 7, 1867. See Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Western Epics, 1971), 4:623.

147. In 1872, Artemus Millet added that he spent five years as president of the Manti High Council. In 1858 he married Ann Stout, and in 1861 they moved to Gunnison, Sevier County, Utah. They later moved to the Dixie region of Southern Utah; Shonesburg, Utah; and Spring Valley, Nevada, where Millet recorded his 1872 Genealogy. He died November 19, 1872, in Scipio, Utah.

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