Eight Witnesses Monument
Question: Was Hiram Page one of the eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon?
Answer: Hiram Page was born about 1800 in Vermont, to Ebenezer Page II and Rachel Hill. Hiram was the second child in the family of nine children. Early in his life, he studied medicine which he practiced during his many travels.
On November 10, 1825, Hiram married Catherine Whitmer, daughter of Peter Whitmer, Sr. and Mary Musselman, making him a brother-in-law to both David Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery, two of the Three Witnesses. Hiram and Catherine had nine children together: John, Elizabeth, Philander, Mary, Peter, Nancy, Hiram, Oliver, and Kate.
Hiram and Catherine were baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on April 11, 1830, by Oliver Cowdery. On June 9, Hiram was ordained a teacher in the church. Hiram became one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon in June 1829.
While Hiram was living with the Whitmers in Fayette, New York, the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in August 1830 to discover Hiram using a “seerstone” to receive revelations for the church. The revelations were regarding the organization and location of Zion. In response, the Prophet Joseph received a revelation in September of that year to have Oliver Cowdery go to Hiram and convince him “that Satan deveiveth him.’ (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 28:11) Hiram agreed to discard the stone and the revelations he received.
In January 1831, Hiram accompanied Lucy Mack Smith and a company of saints from Waterloo, New York, to Buffalo on the Erie Canal, on their way to Fairport and Kirtland, Ohio. In May 1831, Hiram moved his family to Thompson, Ohio, under Lucy Mack Smith’s direction. He again moved his family to Jackson County, Missouri, in 1832 and joined the Latter-day Saints gathering there. With the other Whitmers, they formed a cluster of ten or twelve homes called the “Whitmer Settlement.” Hiram owned 120 acres of land in the area.
During the growing anti-Mormon hostilities in Jackson County, Hiram was severely beaten by a group of non-Mormon vigilantes on October 31, 1833. On July 31 and August 6, 1834, he testified to the facts of the beatings. By 1834, Hiram and his family were expelled along with the other Latter-day Saints, and lived for a time in neighboring Clay County, before moving to Far West. Hiram then helped develop the area of Far West, Missouri.
When the members of the Whitmer family were excommunicated from the church in 1838, due to some misunderstandings, Hiram withdrew from church fellowship. He later bought a farm in Excelsior Springs, back in Clay County.
On September 6, 1847, William E. McLellin baptized Hiram Page, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, and Jacob Whitmer into his newly formed Church of Christ. McLellin ordained Hiram a high priest in the church. Hiram participated in the subsequent ordinations of the others.
Hiram died on his farm in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, on August 12, 1852 (aged 51–52), still affirming his testimony of the Book of Mormon. His death was caused when his wagon overturned, crushing him underneath.
His son, Philander Page said: “I knew my father to be true and faithful to his testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon until the very last. Whenever he had an opportunity to bear his testimony to this effect, he would always do so, and seemed to rejoice exceedingly in having been privileged to see the plates and thus become one of the Eight Witnesses.’
For almost 150 years, the final resting place of Hiram was unknown. It was believed that he had been buried in the Pisgah Cemetery, north of Excelsior Springs, Missouri. The new owners (Hamer’s) of the family farm knew he was buried on the property, but did not know his significance in Mormon history. Soon after the discovery, family members laid out a stone- border around the grave. A commemorative marker was erected on April 27, 2002.
Source: Joseph Smith Papers.org; “Hiram Page, A Witness of the Book of Mormon,’ Family Search.org; LDS Biographical Encyclopedia; Andrew Jenson, Vol. 1, p.277; Jenson, Andrew ed., The Historical Record, 7 (Oct. 1888):621; FindAGrave.com