NATHAN HARRIS AND RHODA LAPHAM FAMILY
of England, New England, New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Utah
The family of Nathan Harris (1758-1835) and Rhoda Lapham (1759-1849), both of whom were born in Providence, Rhode Island, is inextricably connected with the early history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For example:
- Nathan Harris and his wife Rhoda Lapham were among the very few who not only saw, but perhaps also read, the original 116-page manuscript of the Book of Mormon.
- Martin Harris, son of Nathan Harris, was one of the "Three Witnesses" to the Book of Mormon. He mortgaged his farm to assist Joseph Smith, Jr. in publishing the first 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon. According to LDS beliefs, Martin's February 1828 visit to New York City to meet with Professor Charles Anthon at Columbia College also fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy found in Isaiah chapter 29.
- Emer Harris, son of Nathan Harris, received the first printed copy of the Book of Mormon to come from the Grandin printing press in Palmyra, New York. Called by modern revelation to serve as a missionary (see D&C 75:30), he later assisted in the construction of the first LDS temple, in Kirtland, Ohio, and of the temple in Nauvoo, Illinois. Emer crossed the plains to Utah where he served as a Church patriarch.
- Preserved Harris, son of Nathan Harris, was one of the first persons to hear about the golden plates that were translated as the Book of Mormon. He served on the high council in Kirtland, Ohio but was later disfellowshipped from the Church.
- Joseph Smith, Jr. preached the funeral sermon of Nathan Harris in Mentor, Ohio on 18 November 1835.
- Lucy Harris Harris, daughter-in-law (as well as niece) of Nathan Harris, was instrumental in the loss of the original 116-page manuscript of the Book of Mormon.
- Joseph Mormon Harris, grandson of Nathan Harris who was born 19 July 1830---just over 3 months after the founding of the LDS Church, may have been the first person named in modern times after Mormon, an ancient Book of Mormon prophet, and is one of the first non-Smith family members named in honor of Joseph Smith, Jr.
- Alma Harris, grandson of Nathan Harris who was born 6 June 1832, was one of the first males named in modern times after the ancient Book of Mormon prophet Alma. (The name "Alma" in non-LDS circles is usually a female name, from the Latin word for "soul.")
- Northrop Sweet, grandson-in-law of Nathan Harris, was called by the Lord in LDS scripture (in D&C Section 33) to be an early missionary for the Church. He later became one of the first persons to apostatize from the LDS Church.
- In 1816, fourteen years before the official establishment of the Church, Solomon Chamberlain, future father-in-law to Emer Harris, saw in a vision that the true gospel of Jesus Christ would soon be restored to the earth and that another book of scripture like the Bible would come forth. Solomon later traveled with the first pioneer company to arrive in Utah, under the leadership of Brigham Young.
- Martin Henderson Harris, grandson of Nathan Harris, founded the early LDS community of Harrisville in Weber County, Utah.
- Two direct descendants of Nathan Harris served as presidents of LDS Church-owned Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah; one of them (Dallin Harris Oaks) is currently also serving as an Apostle in the LDS Church.
"The Harris Family---Early Builders of the Kingdom"
Copyright 2007-2016, Brent J. Belnap. All rights reserved. For questions or comments, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of this web site is to gather into one location information on the ancestry and descendants of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Particular attention is given to the families of Emer and Martin Harris, sons of Nathan and Rhoda Harris. Contributions and corrections are warmly welcomed.