[Saint James, MI]: . Second Edition. (17)-336pp. Duodecimo [17 cm] Bound upside down in contemporary 3/4 calf over cloth with the title and bands gilt stamped on the backstrip. Without title page as issued. Item #2937
This is the second edition of Strang's most important work, enlarged from the first edition, that was not completed during Strang's lifetime, and his follower's later printed front matter (for the third edition) to bind with the sheets.
Strang, who was born in New York State in 1803, grew up a member of the Baptist Church, and among other things practiced law, served as postmaster, and owned and edited the 'Randolph Herald.' After his family had moved to Burlington, Wisconsin, in 1843, his brother-in-law, Moses Smith, an ardent Mormon, interested him in that sect. In February 1844 Strang made a trip to Nauvoo, Illinois, with Aaron Smith, and under the influence of Joseph and Hyrum Smith converted to Mormonism.
On June 27, 1844, when Joseph Smith was killed by a mob at Carthage, Illinois, Strang claimed the leadership of the Mormon Church and with a group of followers, set up a church and printing press in Voree, Wisconsin, near Burlington. In 1847 he moved his church and press to Big Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan and founded the city of Saint James.
In 1850 Strang was crowned king of a 'kingdom' patterned on 'The Book of the Law of the Lord,' which he alleged was an ancient Mosaic document given him by divine power for translation. The publication of the present edition (expanded from the first edition of 1851, the principal difference being the elaboration of notes) was begun in Strang's paper, 'The Northern Islander,' in January 24, 1856 issue. The book was printed from the type of the installments in the newspaper, 320 copies being struck off.
The sheets were still unbound on June 16, 1856, when Strang was fatally shot, and were saved by his followers when a mob destroyed his printing office. The sheets were sent to Racine, where church apostle Benjamin Wright, a father-in-law of the polygamous Strang, took charge of them. Flake/Draper 8458. Morgan 31. Howes S1061. Sabin 92680. Streeter 2298. Michigan Rarities 88. Auerbach 1275.