In 1841, rumors began to circulate that Martin Harris, one of the three Book of Mormon witnesses, had been murdered. The Mormons (who else?) had supposedly shot him to death. But, in fact, Martin Harris was perfectly healthy. He would live on until age 92, dying on July 10, 1875, in Clarkston, Utah. As Mark Twain later quipped after reading his own obituary, the report of Martin’s death was “an exaggeration.” He was now, the “Painesville Telegraph” wryly observed, “a living witness of what shall be said of him after his death.”
While still under the misapprehension that he had been killed, the Christian Mirror, published at Portland, Maine, printed an article by Alvah Strong about Martin Harris. Editor of the Rochester Daily Democrat, Strong had worked previously in Palmyra, N.Y., and had known Harris personally.