Smith family financial situation: In 1823, work on a frame house at the Smith family farm was halted by the unexpected death of Smith’s eldest son, Alvin. Smith subsequently failed to make payments on the farm.
According to Donna Hill (1977):
“The basic structure of their new home had been finished some two years before. Recently they had done the finishing touches on it with the help of a hired carpenter named Stoddard, and according to Lucy were now within a few months of the last payment on the farm, although . . . no evidence has been found that they had a formal contract for it.”
Lucy Smith reported that Stoddard offered $1,500 for the house, but the Smiths declined to sell. Stoddard and two associates told the Smiths’ agent in Cananadaigua that Joseph Sr. and Joseph Jr. had run away and that Hyrum was defacing the farm and cutting down the sugar trees. This persuaded the agent to give Stoddard the deed to the property upon immediate payment. Stoddard then offered the deed to the Smiths for $1,000. The Smiths did not have the funds, so they persuaded Lemuel Durfee to buy the farm. Durfee took ownership on December 20, 1825, for $1,135.” Durfee allowed the Smiths to remain in the frame house and on the farm. According to Lucy Smith, Durfee “gave us the privileage [sic] of the place one year with this provision that Samuel our 4th son was to labor for him 6 months.”
According to Hill:
“Lemuel Durfee gave the Smith’s a lease on the house and they would remain in it another three years, until December 30, 1828, when they would move to another house a little farther south.”
Reference: Hill, Donna (1977). Joseph Smith, the First Mormon. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday. p. xii. ISBN 0-385-00804-X.
Historian H. Michael Marquardt wrote:
“Lucy Mack Smith mentions in her history that in 1829 her family had moved out of the frame house, which belonged to Lemuel Durfee and his heirs, and went back into their previous log house in the township of Manchester where Hyrum Smith and his family had been living. . . . In this building, Oliver Cowdery prepared the ‘Book of Mormon’ printer’s manuscript in 1829-30 and here individuals visited the Smith family until the Smiths moved to Waterloo, New York, in the fall of 1830.”(H. Michael Marquardt, “An Appraisal of Manchester as Location for the Organization of the Church”, Web version 2004, originally published in “Sunstone” 16 (February 1992): 49-57, at:
Lemuel Durfee, Sr., died on 8 August 1829 (Wayne Sentinel 6, 14 Aug. 1829) shortly after completion of dictation of the Book of Mormon. The probate of the will of Lemuel Durfee, Sr., lists:
“One note signed by Joseph Smith [Sr.] and Abraham Fish, thirty-seven dollars and fifty cents with interest of $1.42 (Probate Papers, Surrogate’s Court, Wayne County Courthouse, Lyons, New York). On 19 January 1830, Lemuel Durfee Jr. brought suit before Justice of the Peace Nathan Pierce (Town Hall of Manchester, Manchester, New York against Joseph Smith, Sr., and Abraham Fish for $39.92).”
Pomeroy Tucker described the family’s Manchester cabin as:
“a small, one-story, smoky log-house, which they had built prior to removing there. This house was divided into two rooms, on the ground-floor, and had a low garret, in two apartments. A bedroom wing, built of sawed slabs, was afterwards added.”
“The Smith family’s place of residency after their move to the log house of Hyrum and his family is referred to in every case as Manchester. All of the Smiths’ legal and personal documents dating from 1829-30 are dated at Manchester. This includes Joseph Smith’s revelations; letters written by Oliver Cowdery while living with the Smith family; law suits against Joseph Sr. and Hyrum; the 1830 census; and the 1830 Manchester assessment roll where Hyrum Smith is taxed for fifteen acres on Lot 1.”
Ages in late Dec 1828: Joseph Sr, born July 12, 1771 age 57; Lucy, born January 24, 1775, age 53; Hyrum, born February 9, 1800, age 28; Sophronia (married, not living with parents) May 17, 1803, age 25; Joseph, jr. (married, not living with parents), born December 23, 1805, age 25; Jerusha (wife of Hyrum), born Feb 15, 1805 age 23; Lovina (daughter of Jerusha, born Sept 16, 1827 age 1; Samuel (“Sam” or “Harrison”), born March 13, 1808, age 20; William (“Bill”), born March 13, 1811, age 17; Catherine, born July 28, 1813, age15; Don Carlos (“Carlos”), born March 25, 1816, age 12; Lucy, born July 18, 1821, age 7.
According to Larry Morris (2007), around January 1829:
“Joseph Sr. and Samuel made a trip to Harmony to visit Joseph and Emma. The details of the journey are not known, but they presumably traveled most of the 130 miles on foot, enduring harsh conditions during midwinter in upstate New York. “In January [Joseph Sr.] and Samuel [Smith] Came from Manchester to my house when I was Buisey a Drawing Lumber,” wrote family friend Joseph Knight Sr., who lived in Colesville, about twenty-two miles from Harmony. “I told him they had traviled far enough I would go with my sley and take them Down [to Harmony] to morrow[.] I went Down and found them well and the[y] were glad to see us[.] we conversed about many things. in the morning I gave the old man a half a Dollar and Joseph a little money to Buoy paper to translate[,] I having But little with me. The old gentlman told me to Come and see him once in a while as I Could[.]”