In a sense Kirtland, Ohio, 1831 to 1838 is a single tree in a forest of places and events. It is well to study the tree, or even to spend time in analysis of one leaf on one branch of the tree, but neither the tree nor a single leaf thereon can really be understood without reference to the entire forest. Each event in time is unique in its relationship to other events. Each place is unique in its relationship to other places. Each group of people we might study lives at a time and in a place and has a unique perception of its environment, framed in time and place, strongly affected by times past and by its location. The citizens of the Kirtland, Ohio, area in the 1830s, both Mormon and non-Mormon, had to gain a living from day to day.
They farmed, manufactured, traveled, bought and sold land, talked of the past, tried to anticipate the future, were rained upon and snowed upon. If we are to judge their way of life, their decisions, it seems valid to suggest a look at their tree in the context of the forest. There is no pretension that this can be accomplished in one short article, but even a brief series of comments may broaden our perspective of place and time in Kirtland.