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Katherine Smith Salisbury

Katherine Smith Salisbury was privileged to be able to handle the plates on three different occasions.
When the Prophet "first returned home with the plates".  

"When the two sisters hid the plates from the mob".
When she "hefted those plates and found them very heavy like gold and also rippled her fingers up the edge of the plates and felt that they were separated metal plates and heard the tinkle of sound that they made."

 << Katherine Smith picture taken in 1890
Katherine Smith (sometimes spelled Catherine) was born July 8, 1813 in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Death Feb. 1, 1900.  She was the second daughter of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith. She was 15-years-old when Joseph received the golden plates. Katherine supported and believed in her older brother's prophetic calling. She was baptized when the church was organized in 1830. In January 1831, Katherine married a blacksmith named Wilkins Jenkins Salisbury. 

The Salisbury's followed Joseph, Emma and the rest of the Smith family to Kirtland, Ohio, then to Missouri and on to Illinois. Katherine was living in Plymouth, Illinois in 1844 when she was notified of the martyrdom of her brothers Joseph and Hyrum at Carthage Jail. Katherine and Wilkins did not follow the church to Utah, opting instead to remain behind in Illinois with her mother and remaining siblings.

Asked about Joseph and the golden plates in her later years, Katherine reported that:

"Joseph allowed her to heft the package but not to see the gold plates, as the angel had forbidden him to show them at that period. She said they were very heavy."

Katharine, like other family members, fully expected to see and handle the plates once her older brother brought them home.Moroni’s warnings were realized shortly after Joseph received the plates from him on 22 September 1827 at the Hill Cumorah. As Joseph brought the record home, Katharine remembered her elder brother resisting three separate attacks by men who desired the plates. Joseph, who arrived at the house exhausted, thrust the heavy, frock-covered plates into Katharine’s arms. The fourteen-year-old sister hurriedly took the plates and laid them on a nearby table and then assisted her injured brother. Katharine indicated that Joseph then fainted from overexertion, and she observed injuries to his right hand, thumb, and arm. She proceeded to help revive her brother until he began breathing properly, and she then doctored his bruised knuckles— an injury that had occurred when he struck one or more of his assailants.
From this time forward, outsiders intensified their efforts to wrest the plates from Joseph’s care. The family banded together in resisting such attempts to ensure the safety of the record. Katharine recollected: “We got a chest and locked the records up in the house. From that time on our house was searched all around; and our field and our wheat stacks were searched. The mob was around our house nearly every night, and one night they went into father’s cooper shop and tore up his floor and dug the earth up.” 
Katharine’s grandson, Herbert S. Salisbury, remembered his grandmother telling [him]:
“[Katharine] told me that while dusting up the room where the Prophet had his study she saw a package on the table con- taining the gold plates on which was engraved the story of the Book of Mormon. 
She said she hefted those plates and found them very heavy like gold and also rippled her fingers up the edge of the plates and felt that they were separate metal plates and heard the tinkle of sound that they made."

“The Prophet’s Sister Testifies She Lifted the B. of M. Plates,” The Messenger, October 1954, 1, 6, typescript copy, LDS Church Archives. This account parallels Emma Smith’s, who said, “The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen table cloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates, as they lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.” (Joseph Smith III, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald 26, no. 19 (1 October 1879): 289–90; Dan Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, Volume I (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1996), 525.)

"I desire before I pass away, to place my testimony on record. I have been a member of this church, ever since its first organization on the 6th day of April, 1830. I am the only surviving sister of the martyrs Joseph and Hyrum Smith and will soon be 73 years old. I can testify to the fact of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and also to its truth, and the truth of the everlasting gospel as contained therein.

I well remember the trials my brother had, before he obtained the records. After he had the vision, he went frequently to the hill, and upon returning would tell us, "I have seen the records, also the brass plates and the sword of Laban with the breast plate and interpreters. ...My brother William and myself are all who are left now, and we shall soon pass away, but while I can I will bear my testimony to the truth of the latter day work, both spiritual and temporal. I know that it is true."   (Saints Herald 33, no. 17, 1 May 1886)


References & Additional Information:  
Mormon Historic Sites Foundation Publications Katharine Smith Salisbury page 6-7  

Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith
Andrew Jenson, Church Chronology, February 1, 1900
Reynolds and Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 4
Historical Atlas of Mormonism
Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.3, SMITH FAMILY

Information from & by permission of:
Kelly Bingham
Website: "Moroni's Latter-Day Saint Page"
Edited by Phil Michel