Isaac Craig’s letter of Oct. 14, 1882:
“Rigdon had a small tannery on Penn street, near Hand, for the manufacture of book-binders sheep-skins, and supplying these to the office brought him in contact with [Silas] Engles. This impression I obtained from John Sandersen, an old time butcher, who sold sheep pelts to Rigdon.”
Letter to the Editor of the Commercial Gazette (Feb 15, 1879):
“So far back as 1822 the firm of Patterson & Lambdin, (a shade of doubt about the last name of the firm) did business as Publishers, Bookbinders and Booksellers, at the southeast corner of the Diamond and Market street. At the same time Sidney Rigdon, tanner and currier, had his tan-yard and shop on Penn street, on the lot running from Penn Avenue to Allegheny above Ninth street.”
William Whitsitt in “Sidney Rigdon, The Real Founder of Mormonism” (1891) [p. 152-53]:
“…the question that pressed most heavily was that regarding the support of Bishop Rigdon, He was good for nothing in the line of handicraft; having been brought up at the most slipshod style of farming, he was not sufficiently educated to take a hand in the school even if a place had been open there, Nevertheless his situation was somewhat relieved by the sale to James (Means) on the 28th of June 1823, of the share of the paternal estate in St. Clair township that fell to his portion (Patterson, p.9), and there was a brief season of respite that could be employed in looking for a situation, After due consideration he decided to resort to a tannery. This point is established on the authority of Joseph Smith, who must have been in possession of definite information. In his biography of Rigdon, which there is reason to suspect was based upon a brief inquiry and investigation at first hands, Mr. Smith declares: “Having retired from the ministry, Mr. Rigdon engaged as a day laborer in a tannery, which employment he followed for two years, after which he removed to Bainbridge (township), Geauga county, Ohio” (Tullidge, p. 102). This view is confirmed by the authority of Patterson (p. 8); by the testimony of an eye witness in the person of Mrs. Eichbaum (Patterson, p. 11) and by Rigdon’s family, who are uniform in the denial that he was ever at any time employed in a printing-office (Patterson, p. 9). A still further indication of the correctness of it appears in the circumstance that when on the 25th of April 1834, the prophet was dividing out such property as he had been enabled to lay his hands upon in the village of Kirtland, the tannery was accorded to Sidney. Following are the exact words of the revelation in question: “Let my servant Pelagoram (Sidney Rigdon) have appointed unto him the place where he now resides, and the lot of Tahhanes (the tannery) for his stewardship, for his support while he is laboring in my vineyard, even as I will when I shall command him (D&C 104:20). Sidney being acquainted with the art of tanning, was an appropriate person to whose keeping and stewardship this establishment might be safely entrusted. In the face of proofs so strong as these that have just been supplied to the effect that Sidney’s handicraft in Pittsburgh was that of a tanner, it would under average circumstances hardly be considered important to give attention to any other representation….”
Rigdon’s own autobiography (written in the 3rd person) in which he describes his feelings of being looked down upon in his profession as a tanner:
“Having now retired from the ministry [after Aug 1824], and having no way by which to sustain his family, besides his own industry, he was necessitated to find other employment in order to provide for his maintenance, and for this purpose he engaged in the humble capacity of a journeyman tanner, in that city, and followed his new employment, without murmuring, for two years — during which time he both saw and experienced, that, by resigning his pastorial vocations in that city, and engaging in the humble occupation of a tanner, he had lost many who once professed the greatest friendship, and who manifested the greatest love for his society — that when he was seen by them in the garb suited to the employment of a tanner, there was no longer that freedom, courtesy and friendship manifested — that many of his former friends became estranged and looked upon him with coolness and indifference — too obvious to admit of deception. To a well regulated and enlightened mind — to one who soars above the arbitrary and vain lines of distinction which pride or envy may draw, such conduct appears ridiculous — while at the same time it cannot but cause feelings of a peculiar nature, in those who, for their honesty and integrity of heart, have brought themselves into situations to be made the subjects of it. These things, however, did not affect his mind, so as to change his purpose. He had counted the cost before his separation, and had made his mind known to his wife, who cheerfully shared his sorrow and humiliation, believing that all things would work together for their good, being conscious that what they had done was for conscience sake, and in the fear of the Lord.”
Times & Seasons, vol IV, no. 12, May 15, 1843, ”History of Joseph Smith”, p. 193.
Nov. 12, 1878 Samuel Williams Letter Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers: Box 2, folder 1. Wisconsin State Historical Society Library, Madison, WI Partial Catalog: Theodore A. Schroeder Papers.
“Rigdon was in Pittsburgh in 1824 with Mr. Brooks had a tannery for a short time. They did not succeed and Rigdon was intimate with Engles and all of the old residenters knew of the printing office in which he was forman. And Mr. Patterson wished to be understood that Engles had the care of various Manuscripts that came to the office, not that Engles handed to Rigdon other Manuscripts. Mr. P. simply certifies that he supposed that Engles had returned it to Mr. Spaulding.”