Randolph Township, Vermont
Our site of the week is dedicated to our Sharon to Kirtland Tour which departs in just a few days.
In 1802, Joseph Smith Sr. and his wife, Lucy, rented out the farm in Tunbridge and moved to the “town” of Randolph, where they ran a mercantile store. While here, Lucy became seriously ill with tuberculosis and covenanted service to God if she recovered. She did recover. Lucy later wrote that, desiring to fulfill her covenant with God, she “went from place to place for the purpose of getting information and finding…some congenial spirit who could enter into my feelings and thus be able to strengthen and assist me in carrying out my resolutions.” At that point in her life Lucy was disappointed, concluding that “there was not then upon the earth the religion which I sought” (Smith, Lucy Mack. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith. Salt Lake City: Brookcraft, 1958.)
After merchandising for a short while, Joseph Sr. began crystallizing the wild growing ginseng root, which sold for a high price in China. He was offered $3,000 for it by a Mr. Stevens. This would be about $300,000 today. This amount of ginseng was worth about $4,500 in China at the time. Joseph Sr. elected instead to contract with a Mr. Stevens to sail to China and sell it for him, hoping to get the full amount. Mr. Stevens took Joseph’s ginseng to China, sold it for about $4,000, gave nothing to Joseph Sr., then fled to Canada. With a heavy debt of $1,800 for store goods, Joseph and Lucy moved back to the “old farm” in Tunbridge Gore, which they then sold for $800, half its value. With this money and Lucy’s wedding gift of $1,000 from her brother Stephen and his partner John Mudget, they were able to pay their debts and move to Royalton, then to Sharon.