David Whitmer was born 7 January 1805 in Pennsylvania, United States to Peter Whitmer (1773-1854) and Mary Elsa Musselman (1778-1856) and died 25 January 1888 Richmond, Ray County, Missouri, United States of unspecified causes. He married Julia Ann Jolly (1815-1889) 9 January 1831 in Fayette, Seneca County, New York.


Farmer, livery keeper. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church.

Migrated from Fayette to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1831.

Ordained by William E. McLellin to preside over McLellinite Church of Christ, 1847, but later rejected that movement. Elected mayor of Richmond, Missouri 1867–1868.

Book of Mormon Translation

David Whitmer arranged for completion of translation of Book of Mormon in his father’s home, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York, June 1829. Baptized by Joseph Smith (1805-1844), June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co.

Book of Mormon Witness


David Whitmer is most famous for being one of the three witnesses who testified that they had seen the golden plates from which Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon had been translated. He was one of the earliest of converts to the Latter Day Saint movement.

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

1830 LDS Church Organization

1830 Whitmer log home re-creation.

On 06 Apr 1830, Joseph Smith (1805-1844) and five other men officially organized a new church in accordance with the laws of the state of New York at the Whitmer Family Farm in Fayette, New York.

Today, visiters can tour the farm where Peter Whitmer, Sr. and his wife Mary supported the Book of Mormon translation, hosted the newborn Church, and witnessed some of Joseph Smith’s earliest revelations. On this land, some of the foundational events of the Restoration unfolded and some of the first Saints gained testimonies of God’s latter-day work.

David Whitmer was among six original members of church and ordained an elder, 6 Apr. 1830.

Missouri Church Presidency

Ordained a high priest by Oliver Cowdery, 25 Oct. 1831, at Orange, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. Traveled to Jackson Co., Missouri, with Harvey G. Whitlock, 1831. Driven from Jackson Co. by vigilantes, Nov. 1833; located in Clay Co., Missouri.

Appointed president of church in Missouri (Stake President), 7 July 1834. Left for Kirtland, Sept. 1834. Stockholder in Kirtland Safety Society. Moved to Far West, Caldwell Co., Missouri, by 1837.

Rejected as church president in Missouri at meetings in Far West, 5–9 Feb. 1838. Excommunicated, 13 Apr. 1838, at Far West. Expelled from Far West, late June 1838. In 1838, moved to Clay Co. and then to Richmond, Ray Co., Missouri, where he operated a livery stable.

1887 Final Testament of Book of Mormon

The remaining Whitmer family members left the church at the same time and together they moved to Ray County, Missouri where David died in 1888. Despite his differences and eventual excommunication, he remained faithful to his testimony regarding the Book of Mormon throughout his life.

David Whitmer founded the Church of Christ (Whitmerite), 1875. He later set forth his religious claims in An Address to All Believers in Christ, by a Witness to the Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, published 1887. Died at Richmond.

Marriage and Family


Offspring of David Whitmer and Julia Ann Jolly (1815-1889)
Name Birth Death Joined with
David John Whitmer (1833-1895)
Julia Ann Whitmer (1835-1914)


Vital Records

Missouri Gravestone


  • Location: Richmond Pioneer Cemetery



Footnotes (including sources)


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