Josiah Stoal-Stowell (1770 – 1844)

Josiah Stowell (Stoal) had employed Joe (aka Joseph) to look for treasure. He was the first to see the plates once retrieved from the Hill Cumorah.

In the year 1825 we often saw in that quiet hamlet, Joseph Smith, Jr., the author of the Golden Bible, or the Books of Mormon. He was an inmate of the family of Deacon Isaiah [Josiah] Stowell, who resided some two miles below the village, on the Susquehanna. Mr. Stowell was a man of much force of character, of indomitable will, and well fitted as a pioneer in the unbroken wilderness that this country possessed at the close of the last century. He was one of the Vermont sufferers, who for defective titles, consequent on the forming a new State from a part of Massachusetts, in 1791, received wild lands in Bainbridge. He had been educated in the spirit of orthodox puritanism, and was officially connected with the first Presbyterian church of the town, organized by Rev. Mr. Chapin. He was a very industrious, exemplary man, and by severe labor and frugality had acquired surroundings that excited the envy of many of his less fortunate neighbors. He had at this time grown up sons and daughters to share his prosperity and the honors of his name. (W. D. Purple, “JOSEPH SMITH, the Originator of Mormonism, Historical Reminiscences of the Town of Alton,” Norwich: Chenango Union, May 3, 1877)

He says he has never staggered at the foundation of the work, for he knew too much concerning it. If I understood him right he was the first person that took the plates out of your hands the morning you brought them in, and he observed, Blessed is he that sees and believeth, and more blessed is he that believeth without seeing, and he says he has seen and believeth. (Letter written December 19, 1843 by Mrs. Martha Campbell at the request of Josiah Stoal at whose home he was then residing to Joseph Smith at Nauvoo. Original letter in the Church Historian’s Office; B. H. Roberts published an excerpt from the letter in his Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930, I, 98.)