Clio Logo

In this small log cabin, April 6, 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formally organized according to the laws of the state of New York. Church member Peter Whitmer lived at the cabin along with his wife and 8 children from 1809-1830. The cabin that stands at this location is a replica that was built to match the original cabin and built on the same location where the original cabin stood. A visitor center is also located near the cabin and operated by the church.


  • Peter Whitmer Sr. log cabin as it looks today (replica)
  • Interior of cabin
  • Sign by Visitors Center
  • late 19th century photo of Seneca Lake. This side of lake is where the baptisms are believed to have taken place.
  • Three Witness: (L-R) Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer and Martin Harris
  • Painting of Joseph Smith Jr. with the Eight Witness (in no order): 
Christian Whitmer
Jacob Whitmer
Peter Whitmer, Jun.
John Whitmer
Hiram Page
Joseph Smith, Sen.
Hyrum Smith
Samuel H. Smith
  • Painting depicting Joseph Smith Jr. leading in the formal organization of the church
  • Painting depicting the Angel Moroni appearing and showing the gold plates to the Three Witnesses

The family and others were baptized in nearby Seneca Lake. In 1829, Joseph Smith Jr. and his wife, Emma, lived here briefly as Smith continued translating the gold plates into the Book of Mormon. According to Mormon theology, the Three Witnesses (David Whitmer, one of Peter's son, Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery) were visited by the Angel Moroni near this cabin. The Angel entrusted Smith to allow these three men to witness and hold the gold record. An additional eight witnesses later testified to seeing the golden plates. Of these eight, four of the witnesses were the other sons of Peter Whitmer (Peter Jr., Christian, Jacob and John). After allowing these men to witness the existence of the gold plates, Mormon theology claims that Moroni took the golden plates with him. 

This farm was the location of many pivotal moments in the early years and growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Members of the church believe that Joseph Smith translated the original gold plates that form the basis of the Book of Mormon at this location. The farmhouse was later the site where the founders formally organized the church as a legal entity. The first six members of the church were Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer, Jr., Samuel H. Smith, and David Whitmer.

In 1926, LDS church member B. H. Roberts purchased this land so that the church could own the site where it was organized. The former farmhouse was no longer standing, and in 1979, the church constructed this replica cabin and made this a place for church members and visitors to learn about the history of Joseph Smith and the formation of the LDS church. The site was dedicated by LDS President Spencer W. Kimball April 6, 1980.



1 Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, Revised and Enhanced, edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996). 2 See Doctrine & Covenants 17. 3 Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), 1: 80. 4 Ibid, 1:74-79. 5 Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, edited by Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, & Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 1339. 6 Ibid. Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951), 1: 54-55. Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, Revised and Enhanced, edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996); B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930), 1: 142-143. Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith, Revised and Enhanced, edited by Scot Facer Proctor and Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996). “Remarks and Dedication of the Fayette, New York, Buildings,” Ensign, (May 10, 1980), 54.